Meet the Finalists

2022 | Secondary Schools

Jess Barrett MCIOB
Inside Out Developments

Mathew Arnold School New 6th Form Block, Oxford: construction of two-storey block, completed in 83 weeks. 

Client: Oxfordshire County Council 

Contract: JCT 

Value: £3.2m 

About the Project

Mathew Arnold School New 6th Form Block, Oxford

Time-served carpenter Jess Barrett has taken the long-haul route to the construction manager level. An apprentice joiner at 16, he has moved up the career ladder rung by rung – site supervisor, site manager, contracts manager, project manager and now commercial manager.  

Originally working on this new sixth-form block as a subcontractor to Carillion, Jess stepped up when the general contractor collapsed. By that time the works had progressed only as far as the completion of the steel frame for the two-storey block. Jess took charge of the project as the tier-one contractor, with the brick cladding and curtain walling, composite roof, hollowcore flooring and M&E to complete. 

He kept the client’s trust through honesty and openness. Aware that attempting to deliver the original handover date would overstretch the supply chain and fail, he made it clear that the programme needed a further two months.  

It was a tough pill for the client to swallow, particularly coming after the long project pause imposed by Carillion’s demise. It was nevertheless the right medicine. Jess handed over on budget and on the revised completion date. 

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