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Higher Education
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Andrew Greaves MCIOB

Henry Boot Construction

With this new-build research facility Andy Greaves gave an established client every reminder of why he is such a trusted partner. His outstanding ability to provide comprehensive and robust solutions in short timescales was invaluable for meeting the complex technical requirements. His broad technical knowledge and helpful attitude were decisive in exceeding client expectations. His well-judged value engineering generated long-lasting client benefits. And he was instrumental in delivering exceptional quality.

About the Project

Royce Discovery Centre - Harry Brearley Building, Sheffield

Construction of 3,000sqm R&D facility, completed in 101 weeks.

Client: University of Sheffield

Contract: JCT, design and build

Value: £11m

With this project tightly bounded by highways on three sides and two occupied buildings on the other, Andy Greaves’s extensive knowledge of pavement-to-pavement builds on landlocked sites proved unbeatable in tailoring the operational strategy.

Naturally, the challenges went further than the logistics. One was building on a gradient, which required a split-level piling mat. It took meticulous planning and management to ensure the piling could be completed in a single visit.

Andy’s keen sequencing was key in mitigating risk on the tight programming of this complex job. He constructed the internal leaf of all the cavity walls in advance of the external leaf to eliminate the impact of bad weather on the internal works, which progressed simultaneously with the external works.

His well-judged value engineering included cost-neutral changes that had long-lasting benefits for the client. By giving the double-height workshop space on the ground floor a higher-quality concrete finish than originally specified, Andy reduced the long-term maintenance costs of the heavily serviced soffit, as it could be left unpainted.

The introduction of BIM for clash detection and 3D modelling was key to his successful coordination of the complex cocktail of services required by the labs and workshop. One lab alone required three types of power, five different gases, data and local ventilation for 25 individual workstations.

With the building requiring a specialised concrete frame that minimised vibration to give the super-sensitive lab equipment the absolute stability needed to operate properly, Andy’s technical knowledge and intelligent approach proved crucial. The building’s ground-floor slab had to be able to resist mega loadings while the 7m-high first-floor slab needed independent support. Yet until the building was complete, the vibration couldn’t be assessed, which made Andy’s rigorous quality management the key to avoiding catastrophic project consequences, as 2,500 cubic metres of concrete was poured to achieve a vibration specification more stringent than an operating theatre’s.