Meet the finalists

REFURBISHMENT & RESTORATION Over £10 M
All Finalists2020 Winners

Jocelyn Whittaker-Smith

Willmott Dixon Interiors

The technical holds no fears for Jocelyn Whittaker-Smith. On this complex cut-and-carve in a live environment with multiple stakeholders, she demonstrated a formidable technical grasp. She merged three different floor levels across three different staircases into one, while simultaneously extending the floor plates and converting outside area into internal floor space. She also aced the tricky challenge of fixing the steel frame and curtain walling to the existing steel structure, which was no longer square.

About the Project

Riverside House, London, SE1

Refurbishment of office block, completed in 95 weeks.

Contract: JCT, design and build

Value: £30m

A graduate in space engineering, Jocelyn Whittaker-Smith has ended up building structures rather than spacecrafts after falling in love with construction.

This project involved a hefty level of complexity. Working in a live environment, Jocelyn removed existing cladding, balconies and parapets before building on extra floor space by infilling an existing atrium and adding a rear extension, and then installing new curtain walling.

Recruited by the contractor for this project, Jocelyn arrived four months after site start to find some activities struggling to meet the timelines. She resequenced the works to maintain the end date while renegotiating some of the sectional handover dates, winning the client’s trust and confidence by convincingly setting out the rationale.

Her technical grasp was absolute. Merging three different floor levels across three different staircases into the same level on the floor plate may not seem like an insurmountable challenge. But Jocelyn did so while simultaneously extending the floor plates, converting outside area into internal floor space, existing plantrooms into offices, and the roof into a terrace.

She also aced the tricky challenge of fixing the steel frame and curtain walling to the existing steel, which was no longer square. By breaking into the existing parapets and slabs to locate the structure, she was able to modify the connection plates and steel frame design to allow transfer of the eccentric load to the existing frame.

Finding a way through stakeholder-imposed constraints can tax the most dynamic of construction managers. Jocelyn’s flexibility of approach and negotiating finesse proved invaluable. After the council rejected the use of a gantry to protect pedestrians on the riverside walkway from the works, she came up with the solution: 4m-wide safety net fans above a series of shipping containers that provided pedestrian walkthroughs (with windows cut through the sides to keep the river views for restaurant patrons at ground level).