Meet the finalists

All Finalists2020 Winners

Henry Camillus MCIOB


The technical skills, innovative thinking and solutions-based approach of Henry Camillus delivered this project to build 130 homes on time and on budget. Aided by his engineering background and in-depth knowledge of groundworks, he saved time and money by repeatedly challenging the brief and devising ways to tackle myriad problems. His ability to anticipate and solve problems on a site with a very high water table was the key to his success.

About the Project

Southmere, Thamesmead

Construction of two tower blocks and 26 townhouses, completed in 126 weeks.

Client: Peabody

Contract: JCT, design and build

Value: £47m

A civil engineer by training, Henry Camillus needed to keep that engineering hat pretty well permanently on for this job to construct 130 homes. His ability to anticipate and solve problems on a site with major challenges in the ground was the key to delivering an outstanding project on budget and on programme.

The water table was only half a metre below the current ground level, so everything had to be built on piles, including the drainage run and manholes. Keen to negate the serious cost and time challenge this presented, Henry calculated the exact time required to dewater each pile, enabling accurate project costing. And by demonstrating that the outflow pipe for storm water drainage only needed to reach the edge of the lake around which the project was to be built, he eliminated the construction of an expensive and time-consuming temporary cofferdam and sheet piles. His initiative saved £300,000 and halved the installation time.

With the water utility demanding diversion of a storm water drain running across the site to ensure clear maintenance access to a manhole, Henry identified another manhole further downstream as being within the required access distance. As a result, he was able to close one manhole and avoid the diversion, saving further time and money.

As the superstructure rose, Henry’s technical skills, innovative thinking and solutions-based approach were just as much in evidence. Another 20-week saving came from his amending the original plan to construct 26 townhouses on the site using traditional brick and block. By using concrete frames instead, he simplified and streamlined the build. When a wind tunnel created by two existing tower blocks repeatedly downed his two tower cranes, he devised a secondary lifting system at a lower level, with heavy forklift trucks and extra loading bays, to compensate for the lost time.