Meet the finalists

Primary education
All Finalists2019 Winners

Mark McElwee MCIOB

Morgan Sindall Construction

This two-storey new-build school was perfectly delivered by Mark McElwee. Professional and wholly customer-focused, he successfully defended his client’s interests in a difficult land transfer negotiation that got the project moving. His championing of a SIP solution and digital construction lopped eight weeks off the build programme and slashed the preliminary and build costs. All that plus fine quality management delighted the client, who has subsequently appointed Mark to his next project, and awarded the contractor a further scheme.

About the Project

Abbey View Primary Academy, High Wycombe

Client: Buckinghamshire County Council

Contract: JCT D&B 2011

Value: £6.8m

By ably and actively protecting his client’s interests in difficult negotiations with a private housing developer remediating the site for this new-build school project, Mark McElwee broke the stalemate that threatened the scheme with oblivion. Demonstrating excellent grasp of the detail of a land transfer agreement between his client and the developer, he organised independent soil testing that gave the client the risk mitigation comfort not just to complete the land transfer and move on with the scheme, but to award the full contract.

Mark’s precontract triumph was made even more complete by identifying a more efficient construction method to proceed with. He changed the traditional steel frame with brick/blockwork wall and layered standing-seam roof to a timber-frame structural insulated panel system with outline steel support, precast concrete floors and a reduced roof build-up while retaining the envelope design of external brick leaf and rainscreen cladding.

The SIP solution permitted the use of 3D techniques within BIM level 2 for clash detection and the accurate fabrication of the panels off site. It slashed the build programme by eight weeks and resulted in substantial prelim savings and reduced build costs. And by simply adding three entrance area steps and a disability ramp to the building, he was able to raise the ground-floor slab by 480mm, eliminating 800 cubic metres of reduce-dig muck away.

Through a series of early site surveys, Mark also ensured the housing developer was financially responsible for incomplete utility services, an unremediated area of site, and unremoved ground obstructions. All that, allied to Mark’s proactive approach to quality management, delighted the client, who subsequently appointed him to his next project, and awarded the contractor a further primary school project.