Meet the finalists

Higher Education
All Finalists2020 Winners

Nick Preedy MCIOB

Willmott Dixon

On this five-storey showcase for modern methods of construction, Nick Preedy took his passion for prefabrication to new heights. He championed a hybrid precast concrete frame tied to a glulam timber frame and clad with 2,000 square metres of preglazed double-storey concrete. His determinedly innovative approach derisked installation and programme, and assured a higher level of quality than a traditional build. His 27m-tall factory-assembled mega riser was dropped into the shaft off a single tower crane in just two days.

About the Project

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, Coventry

Construction of 7,000sqm research and teaching block, completed in 118 weeks.

Client: University of Warwick

Contract: JCT, design and build

Value: £36m

On this five-storey showcase for modern methods of construction, Nick Preedy took his passion for prefabrication to new and even more successful heights. Finishing off another defect-free project for the client while starting on site with this one, he took a determinedly innovative approach that cut six weeks off the programme and generated consistently high quality.

He championed a hybrid precast concrete frame tied to a glulam and cross-laminated timber frame. Cladding it was 2,000sqm of preglazed double-storey concrete that integrated 90 windows in 9m by 3.3m panels. When Covid-related delays held up deliveries of the glazing, he installed temporary weather protection and rerouted perimeter services affected by the need to keep the scaffolding in place for the cladding.

Moving away from a traditional in-situ superstructure and facade towards a leaner, safer and much higher-quality watertight shell is a huge leap, and it took Nick far out of his comfort zone. He got it right by working long and hard to research, explore and learn everything he could about modern methods of construction.

Nick’s innovation derisked installation and programme. He instigated the design of a 27m-tall factory-assembled mega riser that could be dropped into the shaft off a single tower crane in just two days, compared with 18 weeks on a traditional programme. More than 2,000 penetrations were manufactured off-site to incorporate and align with the mega riser and over 100 horizontal multiservice module frames.

The volume use of factory-manufactured products halved the number of deliveries from the 4,000 expected of a traditional build to around 2,200. It also greatly reduced the number of site workers needed to complete the works – a team of just eight installers and two supervisors assembled the entire precast concrete frame on site, a team of three put the timber frame together, and the 2,000sqm of concrete cladding was installed by four people, utilising just one tower crane.