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Robert Sankey

Client project manager, Greater Manchester Police

Greater Manchester Police

Specialist Operations Centralised Hub, Manchester

The success of this project owed much to Robert Sankey’s realisation that the early construction of a dedicated road for police vehicles exiting the complex would give direct construction site access and eliminate a vast amount of security vetting. He also futureproofed the main building by building the flat roof to the same specification as the floors, extending the stairwells and lift shafts to roof level, and strengthening the foundations and frame to take a prefabricated fourth-storey block in the future.

About the Project

Specialist Operations Centralised Hub, Manchester

Construction of three-storey police operations building, completed in 91 weeks.

Contract: JCT 2016, with quantities

Value: £7.7m

Faced with a badly dated 1980s building that had gradually accumulated old shipping containers and modular cabins in doomed quick-fix attempts to keep pace with user needs, Robert Sankey made a powerful business case for new build rather than a refurbishment and extension.

The success of this project owed much to Robert’s realisation that the building of a dedicated emergency road for police vehicles exiting the complex could be developed for the benefit of the users and the construction works alike. By constructing this road – a complicated civil engineering scheme in its own right, cutting through a large retaining wall and with a 1:10 gradient down to street level – to base course level early in the project, Robert was able to use it as a direct access road for construction traffic. And as site workers did not have to enter the main police complex as a result, it eliminated a vast amount of vetting work that could have delayed overall project delivery.

While the force was keen to have sufficient capacity to host extra numbers in the event of another major incident in the city following the Manchester Arena bombing, Robert knew constrained finances would make it difficult to justify building a facility 25% bigger for an eventuality that might never happen. Instead, he successfully proposed upgrading the flat roof to the same specification as the concrete floors, extending the stairwells and lift shafts to roof level, and strengthening the foundations and frame so that it could take a prefabricated block on the roof in the future.