Meet the Finalists

2022 | Healthcare

Daron Walker MCIOB
Sir Robert McAlpine

Airedale Barn Theatres, Keighley, Yorkshire: construction of two-storey operating theatre block, completed in 96 weeks. 

Client: Airedale General Hospital Solutions  

Contract: NEC 3 option C 

Value: £7.5m 

About the Project

Airedale Barn Theatres, Keighley, Yorkshire

In his first project management role, Daron Walker finessed fraught finances to get this state-of-the-art open-plan operating theatre onto site.  

But first of all, he pointed out the major risk involved in the proposed courtyard site. Not only was it unsuitable for the complex logistics required, but it simply wasn’t big enough for the facility’s operational requirements. He had the site shifted to the edge of the existing hospital complex, building into a bankside that he held in position with a piled retaining wall. 

With the projected cost double the original business case, value-engineering was essential. Daron replaced the cladding and extensive curtain walling with render, removed some of the glazing, leveraged the capacity of the existing services, and changed ventilation and chiller suppliers.  

With so much change, he made sure stakeholders understood what they would actually be getting. He handed out VR headsets for the architect’s 3D walkthrough of the facility. He brought products to user meetings – most notably, the surgical and lighting pendant rigs so that staff could handle them and move them around.  

Daron delivered this building early, under-budget and with zero defects. The client’s early realisation that he was the man to deliver is evident from its award of a £1.5m car-park scheme to keep him available for this project. And its post-occupancy satisfaction is equally clear from the string of 10 out of 10s it awarded. 

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