Meet the finalists

Primary education
All Finalists2019 Winners

Mike Castle FCIOB

Knights Brown

Nimble works juggling, learned through previous projects involving live schools, was the hallmark of Mike Castle’s project to construct a link walkway and extension. Aware that the user’s construction-quality experiences were poor, he snagged all five phases with the head teacher, delivering each 100% defect-free. His communication of works to the school was impressive. And his user engagement effort included running a competition for students to become assistant site managers for an afternoon.

About the Project

Church Crookham Junior School, Hampshire

Client: Hampshire County Council

Contract: JCT

Value: £1.4m

Experience is a valuable commodity, as Mike Castle aptly demonstrated when constructing a link walkway between two existing school blocks on this scheme.

As he was building the footings for the walkway, Mike found that the ground-bearing slab clashed with the main foul drain. Unable to shut down and relocate the drain, as that would force the school to close, he used his experience as a bricklayer to come up with the idea of trimming back the drain manhole while maintaining the drain. By relocating the end walkway wall and replacing its brickwork with reinforced concrete, he was able to build a thinner wall and avoid clashes with the drainage.

Nimble juggling, learned through previous projects at live schools, was the hallmark of Mike’s management. Working in multiple areas, in close proximity to the live school, he managed all five phases of the works in fine detail, ably communicating the process to the school. When design changes and the installation of a new gas main delayed work starting on a new kitchen beyond the Easter holidays, he minimised the impact on the school by pushing back the start date to the summer holiday and having food brought in at a time when demand for hot meals was at its lowest.

Aware that the school’s past construction-quality experiences were poor, he snagged each phase of the project independently with the head teacher. It helped him manage expectations, focus on elements that were important to the school and deliver each phase 100% defect-free at practical completion.

Mike also put in a great school community engagement effort. Not only did he address assemblies and decorate the hoardings for each phase with printed versions of pupils’ safety posters, he also ran a competition for students to become an assistant site manager for an afternoon. It involved him picking two applications from each year group, with the ‘assistants’ going behind the site scenes and reporting back on progress to an impressed head teacher.