|NEC Small Project of the Year Winner 2016
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Beanfield and Gretton primary schools are part of the Brooke Weston Trust, a multi-academy trust based in Corby, Northamptonshire. The two schools are some 10km apart and provide around 600 school places for children aged 4–11 in Corby and the outlying village of Gretton.
Undertaken during the 2015 summer holiday, the work included refurbishment of a prefabricated classroom and toilet block at Beanfield and conversion of an existing classroom into a catering-level kitchen. At Gretton a creative studio was relocated to a smaller classroom to leave a larger year 6 classroom; damaged suspended ceiling tiles in an adjacent classroom were replaced; and an external storage facility was re-roofed.
Added to this was the immovable deadline for completion of internal works, with teachers and children due to return to school at the start of the autumn term on 7 September.
Following a rapid tender preparation and bid process, contractor Jeakins Weir was engaged under a lump sum NEC3 Engineering and Construction Short Contact with a value of £265,630. Work started on schedule, with the Beanfield kitchen completed by 31 August, the Gretton works completed by 4 September and overall contract completion achieved by 24 September.
‘Despite the inflexible programme and budget and high political risk should the project fail, we had faith in our ability to deliver project through the effective project management and collaborative approach engendered by NEC,’ says Pick Everard project manager Paul Gibbs.
‘From the outset it was agreed that a standardised and compliant NEC contract management system should be used by all parties, and our preferred Sypro NEC3 system was selected. This gave all team members immediate access to any risks and events raised and the platform for prompt actions to respond to risks which may impact on the delivery,’ says Gibbs.
He says risks were identified pre-contract and agreed with the contractor, which managed each risk and its associated mitigation. ‘Subsequent events with time or cost impact were raised as early warning notices on Sypro and reviewed, initially by conference calls and then if necessary at a risk mitigation meeting attended by the contractor, project manager and employer.’
One such event was finding asbestos within disused underfloor ductwork at Beanfield during excavations for kitchen drains. ‘A risk mitigation conference call was held immediately and we sourced an approved asbestos removal company. Due to the amount and type of asbestos discovered, a mandatory 2 week notice period had to be served, so trades were redistributed within the project to ensure progress was made elsewhere.’
According to assistant project manager Oliver Hatton, ‘Following the ethos of NEC target contracting, a very thorough and collaborative open-book approach was adopted, with the ability and commitment to make decisions.’
He says the project team was also insistent that NEC contractual processes were administered correctly to ensure success. ‘Decisions were made promptly and formalised with the issue of project manager instructions, acceptance or notification of compensation events, review and agreement of compensation event quotations and issues of programme.’
A total of 47 early warnings, 36 project manager instructions and 34 compensation events were raised during the 9 week programme. ‘All early warnings were closed and all compensation events agreed the day before handover on 24 September,’ says Hatton.
Benefits of NEC3
- Encouraged effective project management and a collaborative approach, which in turn ensured success on a project with a tight budget, inflexible programme and high political risk.
- NEC processes of early notification, collaborative discussion, decision and re-programming enabled project delays to be minimised and still achieve the target completion dates.
- ECSC target contract led to adoption of a thorough and collaborative open-book approach, with the ability and commitment to make decisions.
- Ensured decisions were made promptly and formalised with the issue of project manager instructions, acceptance or notification of compensation events, review and agreement of compensation event quotations and issues of programme.