Meet the finalists

Higher Education
All Finalists2019 Winners

Karl Crisp MCIOB

Willmott Dixon

Karl’s focused planning, one-team approach and level-headed leadership on this campus project delivered a defect-free building on time and inside budget. Clear, decisive and creative, he reduced the programme and build costs by moving to a lightweight superstructure of hybrid steel-frame and brick-slip facade that removed the need for piled foundations. The client recognised his successful leadership by immediately awarding him a further scheme.

About the Project

The Kennedy Building, Canterbury

Client: University of Kent

Contract: NEC 3 option A

Value: £14m

Apprehensive? Well, yes. With an important client making an exceptional award of repeat business to a delighted main contractor on the back of an excellent first project, Karl Crisp clearly had some extra-large shoes to fill. Just to make the comparison unmissable, his project for a 4,000sqm campus block was located next to the RIBA award-winning first that had gone down so very, very well.

What was shaping up to be a make or break job turned into a follow-on triumph thanks to Karl’s early collaboration, focused planning, one-team approach and joint problem-solving mindset. His handover of a defect-free building on time and within budget was rewarded with the award of a third project for the contractor, led by Karl.

A clear, decisive and creative approach took Karl from appointment angst to completion satisfaction here. Consider how he closed out both a programme reduction and a further £100,000 value-engineering target set by the client in the precontract period. He superbly made the case (at a point when the frame, floor slabs and foundations had all been designed around a traditional masonry option) for a hybrid CLT (cross-laminated timber) and steel frame, maximising the lightweight frame’s advantages with brick-slip cladding. The facade and frame change reduced the weight of the superstructure, removing the need for a piled foundation, and achieved the big programme and cost reductions the client wanted.

Karl’s level-headed leadership also scaled the digital heights. He deployed BIM viewers for the site team, giving them tablet and smartphone access to the up-to-date building information model when on site. Walk-throughs of the 3D project model were provided for the professional team and the supply chain.

On what must have been one of the least problematic of construction projects, the biggest challenge came towards the close. Enthused by Karl’s success and knowledge of the environment, the client wanted his involvement in another scheme where a reinforced concrete frame and piled foundations had been proposed. Karl worked out the methodology changes required to achieve that scheme’s budget and programme, while still hitting all the milestones, targets and sign-offs, not to mention a defect-free build, of his current project.