Meet the finalists

SCHOOLS ABOVE £20 M
All Finalists2020 Winners

Martin Horton

Vinci Construction UK

In building an entire academic campus on 80 acres of greenfield to time and to budget, Martin Horton managed to haul back a projected £4m budget overspend without cutting aesthetic corners. His formidable technical credentials were fully deployed in an earthworks remodelling and a facade redesign that saved time as well as money. His exacting standards, listening ear, sense of proportion and humour and willingness to focus on client-friendly solutions were the hallmarks of his project leadership.

About the Project

The King’s School in Macclesfield

Construction of 16,000sqm school, completed in 108 weeks.

Client: The King’s School In Macclesfield

Contract: JCT 2011, design and build

Value: £47m

Brought in at the 11th hour for the country’s biggest school project at the time – an entire academic campus replacing and uniting the client’s previous three sites – construction veteran Martin Horton soon realised that the scheme design was lagging badly.

He beefed up the overstretched design team and instigated review workshops to virtually construct the project from start to completion. His aim was to understand, and improve on, the key delivery strategies. As the design was unlocked, it emerged that the planned scheme was £4m over budget.

Martin reviewed the windows, brickwork and cladding. He kept the main front facade as traditional brickwork, using his own early career experience as a bricklayer to optimise resources. He introduced cladding for the rear elevations to save programme and cost and achieve weather tightness earlier.

His introduction of precast for the lift shafts reduced the installation time from two weeks to just three hours by minimising the on-site blockwork requirement. He changed the piled foundation to load bearing, reducing construction time by four weeks and saving £300,000. Further savings came from his streamlining of wall and ceiling types to reduce the number of components required on site.

Even greater gains came from his early earthworks remodelling of the 80-acre greenfield site. His innovative strategy resulted in the movement of 150,000 cubic metres around the site rather than off it. Martin carefully planned the extensive cut and fill by using 3D design models and GPS systems to accurately position earthwork machinery. And by rationalising the foul drainage design into one tank rather than four, and using directional drilling to connect the pipework to an existing foul drain over 1.5km away, he saved the client £200,000.

Yet amid all the savings – another £600,000 came from finding a third-party caterer to fund the kitchen construction and installation – Martin protected and promoted the quality and finish that were crucial for projecting the quality of the institution and its credentials. With the hands-on head teacher, who lived next to the development, coming from a family of architects, Martin’s demand for visual, practical and design excellence was particularly well judged.