Meet the Finalists

2022 | Secondary Schools

James Cooper MCIOB
Willmott Dixon

Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, Sevenoaks Campus: construction of four-storey block, shell and core fit-out, and refurbishment, completed in 53 weeks. 

Client: Kent County Council 

Contract: JCT 2016, design and build 

Value: £14m 

About the Project

Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, Sevenoaks Campus

With a scheme that was essentially five projects in one, James Cooper showed fine juggling skills to ensure delivery to a tight time-frame. 

James had to build a four-storey block and undertake a shell and core fit-out of a second block to create a new school campus. He also had to refurbish another school, as well as install a mezzanine and refurbish a hockey pitch for it. His solution was to tackle the lot simultaneously. The mezzanine, fit-out and new-build all started on site at the same time and ran concurrently, each fed by its own supply chain. 

He derisked delayed major groundworks on the new-build site boundary by building a separate access road for the contractor working there. That way he didn’t have to share the only access into his site with muck trucks and heavy plant.  

James also kept the programme on track by reversing the bottom-up sequencing of the fit-out element. Doing so allowed the doors to be locked on completed works, protecting the finishes. 

Among the clever savings he generated for his client was his reuse of bleacher seating that had to be removed to make way for the new mezzanine. By storing it on site for a year, he was then able to re-assemble and install it in the new assembly hall of the other school.

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