SILVER MEDALLIST IN 2021 Schools Above £20 M

Lianne Lawson
Willmott Dixon
All Finalists2021 Winners

Willmott Dixon

Dixons Trinity Chapeltown, Leeds

Lianne Lawson’s determination and inspiration on a school scheme with myriad stakeholders was rewarded with early completion, a 10/10 quality score from the client, and an elated end user. She found the extra cost of a late addition of a bridge to the project within the existing budget by value-engineering the foundations, changing the steel erection sequencing and rethinking an extensive cut and fill operation. The client has awarded her another school project following her success on this one.

About the Project

Construction of combined 420-place primary and 560-place secondary school, completed in 64 weeks.

Client: Department for Education

Contract: JCT, bespoke design and build

Value: £22m

On a project where successive requirements from myriad stakeholders resulted in a complete programme rewrite between tender and site start, Lianne Lawson kept the construction show on the road by solving exacting logistical and technical challenges.

Probably the biggest change headache of all came from the last-minute instruction to include a bridge across the A58, which separated the school’s car park from its main building. Lianne had to cover the significant extra cost by making savings in other parts of the project.

She value-engineered the foundations of the main building by changing from a piled raft to a combination of vibro-piling and fewer steel piles to support a thinner ground-bearing slab that used steel-fibre rather than rebar reinforcement. She changed the steel erection to improve the programme, splitting the building into thirds and installing the upper slabs earlier as the frame was being erected in the following thirds.

The introduction of a precast retaining wall saved cost on both piling and the brick facade. And her early engagement with the brickwork contractor allowed the development of a scaffold schedule that brought significant cost reduction.

She also finessed the significant cut and fill operation, reducing the 5,000 cubic metres to be taken off site to 800. By crushing the concrete from the demolition of empty buildings on the site, and using it for a sub-base for the car park, Lianne effectively contained and capped the contaminated ground, eliminating the expense of removal and disposal.

Nor did that last-minute bridge – a rectangular-framed structure that attached to the frame of the main school building and with an integrated lift shaft on the car park side – faze her. She came up with an innovative cantilever to avoid delaying the main building steel frame, which was about to go into manufacture. The bridge lift took place on a Saturday night and was executed perfectly with a 500-tonne crane.

Lianne’s efforts were rewarded with early completion, a 10/10 quality score from the client, and an elated end user. The client has awarded her another school project following the success of this one.