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NEC has been used to procure a major further-education building in west London, UK. Client Richmond upon Thames College chose an NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) Option A (priced contract with activity schedule) to procure its new £37.6 million state-of-the-art main teaching block in Twickenham in the London Borough of Richmond.
The college engaged contractor ISG via the Pagabo major works framework in February 2018 to deliver the five-storey building on a former sports pitch. Atkins was appointed multidisciplinary designer along with project manager Fusion and cost consultant Faithful & Gold. The works were completed on time and budget in February 2020.
Called The Richmond Building, the 12,715m2 reinforced-concrete-framed structure features exposed concrete soffits and columns, with a rainscreen cladding and curtain walling facade. It includes a wide range of classrooms, studios and workspaces plus a 160-seat theatre and 100-seat restaurant.
The building was the first phase of a wider redevelopment of the college’s 8.7ha site to create a mix of education, sports and technology facilities and housing. On completion of the college works in 2021 there will also be a Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) building, a sports hall and four sports pitches. Two new schools have already been completed on the site, while later phases include a digital media technology hub and construction of 150 new homes.
Transparency and cost certainty
According to project manager Dan Porter, ‘We advised the college to use NEC due to its collaborative approach and the fact that it provides greater transparency and cost certainty to the client compared to other forms of building contract.
‘This was of key importance due to the size of the scheme, as the cost impact of any delay or change to the works would have been extremely high. Tight management of the budget and programme was critical and the NEC contract mechanisms made it easier to control and monitor both.’
He says overall the contract worked well. ‘NEC was operated in line with its intended collaborative approach by both the project manager and main contractor. Early warnings were issued promptly by both parties to flag up any potential compensation events as early as possible and ensure that both parties worked together to resolve the issues to provide the best outcome for the client.’
In particular he says the requirement for to the contractor to submit an updated programme each month made it easy for the project manager to track progress. ‘Ultimately the scheme was delivered on time and to the agreed budget, a great credit to the project team’.
Benefits of NEC
- NEC facilitates a more collaborative approach if both parties use the contract and its various notices in the right way.
- NEC makes it easier for the client to track and monitor the programme.
- NEC significantly reduces a contractor’s ability to hide issues and then potentially hit clients with late delays and cost claims.
- NEC provides greater cost certainty to the client as the final account is updated on a monthly basis.