Meet the finalists

Higher Education
All Finalists2019 Winners

Lee Wayper MCIOB

Sir Robert McAlpine

Lee skilfully managed a tangle of agendas, needs and priorities on this stakeholder-rich project to build four storeys of teaching space. His essential but thoughtful value engineering including switching from a concrete attenuation tank to a prefabricated steel tube alternative. He deflected site challenges through flexible and powerful programming. And his bespoke acoustic solution for dividing a giant lecture theatre into two smaller halls when needed outperformed the design specification.

About the Project

Frederick Douglass Centre, Newcastle

Client: Newcastle University

Contract: NEC option A

Value: £31m

Lee Wayper skilfully managed the tangle of agendas, needs and priorities on this stakeholder-rich project to build 6,900sqm of teaching and administration space. He determined the differing user and design team requirements, and succeeded in aligning them. His participative and collaborative leadership style identified the shared values of the project team, then integrated and supported them.

Through thoughtful value engineering, he cleared up the early uncertainty over the affordability and buildability of the scheme. His switch of the stormwater attenuation solution from a concrete tank to prefabricated steel tubing saved the client substantial sums in the ground.

He deflected the site challenges through powerful programming. With the cranes repeatedly winded off and bad weather delaying the concrete frame, he still got the support steel erected on programme by dismantling the tower crane early and putting a crawler crane outside the building to continue pumping in the concrete. Lee kept the overlapping works moving on a very restricted site by extensive facade resequencing and energetic logistical juggling.

On the building’s largest single space – a 750-seat auditorium that could be subdivided into a 500-seat and a 250-seat hall – he successfully achieved the stringent acoustic separation required of a movable wall running through the tiered seating. By touring Germany to inspect products and installations, he drove a bespoke and fully automated solution of a pair of stepped back-to-back movable walls with automatic acoustic seals engaging as each panel meets the next, closing off the tiered elements and restricting sonic leakage to an exceptionally low level.

When a district heating system was introduced into the design, delay seemed inevitable as the space allocation was worked out for the heat exchangers and switchgear required. Lee ensured the client fit-out got under way while the final snagging was continuing, allowing timely practical completion.