John Blundell MCIOB
T J Evers
Energetic decision-making, well-thought-out planning and a refusal ever to let project momentum slip were the hallmarks of John Blundell’s management of this new-build teaching block. He derisked the unidentified services on the site and mastered its taxing logistics. His rethinking of the heating and ventilation strategy brought significant savings in installation and running costs. Through exceptional foresight, insight and diplomacy, he delivered under budget, completed six weeks early and carried off a potentially difficult demolition with assurance.
About the Project
Teaching Block and Amphitheatre, Dame Alice Owens School, Potters Bar
Client: Dame Alice Owen’s School
Contract: JCT D&B
On paper, it all seems so straightforward. Yet building this replacement teaching block in the centre of the campus, then demolishing the old building and landscaping the area within the time and budget available but without disrupting the live school required exceptional foresight, insight and diplomacy from John Blundell.
Shuddering at the risk presented by the services needed for the new build lying concealed under the old block (which could not be demolished until the new block was built), John remodelled the whole scheme. He moved speedily to get all the necessary pre-demolition surveys done during holiday periods so the new build could go ahead, and then brought the demolition forward to the summer. Some 300 student lockers in the old block that were still required by the school he relocated to the demolition scaffolding, which was rigged out with temporary lighting, floor and roof. This in turn allowed the significant landscaping work – included the creation of an open-air amphitheatre with seamless resin surfacing – to progress in autumn rather than in potentially merciless winter.
John mastered the taxing logistics of a new build accessible from one side only. He developed independent scaffold towers at each structural column with temporary timber studwork at each opening so that the curtainwall could be installed at the same time as the stainless-steel balustrade detailing in the atrium.
Concerned about potential overheating in the new block, he rethought the heating and ventilation strategy. He ditched gas, introduced photovoltaics, and added heat recovery facilities and more air conditioning. It brought significant savings in installation and running costs.
John’s decision-making was energetic and his planning well thought out, and he refused to let project momentum slip. He delivered under budget, completed six weeks early and did not disrupt the school’s activities.