Meet the finalists

Higher Education
All Finalists2020 Winners

Rob Cooper MCIOB

Laing O’Rourke

Rob Cooper delivered this science block scheme on a highly constrained site ahead of programme, on budget, and to the highest quality. He generated efficiency savings by challenging the design and specification. Collaborative, transparent and pragmatic, he focused on quality and fitness for purpose with impressive results. His off-site fabrication of structural elements and service risers drove quality and programme, and was key to maintaining progress during lockdown.

About the Project

Biochemistry Completion, Oxford

Construction of four-storey science block, completed in 109 weeks.

Client: Oxford University

Contract: JCT

Value: £74m

Rob Cooper met the challenges of this science block scheme head-on. He delivered the project on a highly constrained site in a safe and collaborative manner, ahead of programme, on budget, and to the highest quality.

His challenges of the design and specification generated efficiency savings, and he used his experience of previous schemes to come up with the best possible solutions for all stakeholders. His logistics strategy – a key factor given the need to feed a scheme in the middle of a live university campus with materials, plant and subcontractors – demonstrated a complete understanding of the environment. He visually demonstrated the plan through digital engineering, establishing safe routes for vehicles and pedestrians, and monitoring its effectiveness through fortnightly neighbourhood meetings.

Other challenges he overcame included connecting the new build into an existing building and matching the existing facade. Collaborative, transparent and pragmatic, he focused on quality and fitness for purpose with impressive results.

Rob’s introduction of modern methods of construction underpinned programme delivery. The off-site fabrication of structural elements and service risers drove quality and programme, and minimised the number of workers on site during lockdown. In particular, it allowed progress to be maintained with the completion of roof-top plantrooms as the pandemic struck.