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Martin James

Willmott Dixon

On this challenging ward refurbishment, with multiple phases and staged handovers, Martin James brought the user-first mindset and respectfulness required for working in an operational hospital. He planned meticulously and formed excellent relationships with ward managers. When urgent remedial work on two fire-damaged wards was added towards the end of the project, he inspired the trades to work 24/7 to complete them, still delivering on time and with zero defects, as was the case with the previous six.

About the Project

Transitional Care Unit – Singleton Hospital, Swansea

Refurbishment of eight hospital wards, completed in 116 weeks.

Client: Swansea Bay Health Board

Contract: NEC 3, option A

Value: £10m

During a lifetime in the construction sector, this refurbishment has been the most challenging project Martin James has ever delivered. The impossibility of building investigations before site start resulted in an ever changing M&E spec and greater levels of fire protection than envisaged, while changing user requirements generated hundreds of variations. Yet it was also the most rewarding project he has ever led.

On a complicated scheme with multiple phases and staged handovers, Martin had to refurbish eight different wards, creating among other facilities a new special care baby unit. He ensured his team understood and adopted the user-first mindset and elevated levels of respectfulness required for working in an operational hospital.

His team would be working in one room, while on the other side of the wall a baby would be being born. And there were a huge number of work stoppages as consultants in the neonatal unit carried out their ward rounds or other clinical activities. In the labour ward corridor, with patients and staff having the right to come through the works areas whenever they needed to, Martin reduced disruption to construction progress and hospital operations alike by introducing overlay vinyl flooring rather than lifting the existing floor covering to make good before installing new flooring.

He planned meticulously and formed excellent relationships with ward managers, keeping them up to date with upcoming works while also listening to what they needed.

First on site and last to leave, Martin modelled the work ethic required from a scheme where urgent remedial work on two fire-damaged wards was added towards the end of the project. He went from knowing nothing about it to site start in five weeks. To help meet the constrained finances, he massively downsized the M&E, keeping existing services wherever they were in good working order. Just as importantly, he inspired the trades to work 24/7 to complete these final two wards in four distinct stages, each delivered on time and with zero defects, as was the case with the previous six. For Martin and the client, that is a brilliant outcome.