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Neil Adams MCIOB

Willmott Dixon Interiors

Neil’s structural remodelling involved replacing the existing building’s inner core with a self-contained three-storey film production studio, with classrooms wrapped round it. Determined to finish on time despite losing six weeks to groundworks failure, Neil revisited the logistics and accelerated the programme, with early starts, late finishes and weekend working. He innovated impressively by incorporating polystyrene balls into the screed to level sagging floors without overloading the structural support.

About the Project

London Screen Academy, Highbury, London

Client: Education & Skills Funding Agency

Contract: JCT D&B 2011

Value: £27m

With the demolition and groundworks subcontractor falling alarmingly behind with its work, which included removing and replacing the sole service road on which the projected logistics depended, Neil Adams had little option but to bring in a replacement. But with six weeks lost by that time on this project to remodel a four-storey factory building as a film production school, Neil had to change his delivery methodology too.

So tight was this site that every item of equipment and all materials had to come in and out of a small hole in the basement. With no laydown area available for storage or assembly, and the service road incomplete, Neil introduced loading bays on the scaffolding. Once a new enabling works contractor and logistics methodology were in place, he was able to accelerate the programme. The site team started early, finished late and worked weekends for months to deliver in time for the start of the new academic term.

Once properly up and running, he drove an exacting structural remodelling that involved demolishing the existing building’s inner core. In the space he built a self-contained three-storey studio, with classrooms wrapped round on three sides of each floor, plus an additional studio in the lower ground. Neil took enormous care in ensuring temporary works could hold up the floors and keep the sides of the building from collapsing inwards until a steel framework tied into the existing structural frame had been installed.

Sagging in the existing classroom floors presented another hefty challenge. The bowed floors were unable to take the additional weight of the 60mm screed needed to level their surface. Neil innovated by incorporating aerated ceramic and polystyrene balls in a 25mm screed to create the required depth without overloading the structural support.