Construction Manager of the Year 2021 Healthcare

Marc Burton FCIOB
Garenne Construction Group

After just 25 days on site, Marc Burton handed over, significantly under budget, a fully functioning Nightingale hospital amid lockdown. With no single local company able to cover a specific trade task, his ability to get competitors to work collaboratively was the key to success. His rapid placement of orders for key items gave the project the inside track on materials. And his skillful reuse of key elements in a Nightingale built by a partner company drove the super-squeezed programme.

About the Project

Construction of 180-bed field hospital, completed in four weeks.

Client: Government of Jersey

Contract: NEC 3, option E (cost-reimbursable)

Value: £6.6m

Build a fully functional 180-bed hospital in just 25 days? Pre-Covid, laughter might have been the likely response, but for Marc Burton, along with the whole island of Jersey, the urgency was entirely justified. Marc’s expertise and ability to galvanise the island’s construction sector saw the completed building handed over, significantly under budget, after just 25 days on site. The excellence of Marc’s achievement was recognised by the award of an MBE.

It was Marc’s extensive local knowledge that made this scheme so successful. With local lockdown creating an available pool of 6,000 construction workers on the island, he knew that site labour would not present a risk. But he also realised the need for the innovative approach of competing suppliers working collaboratively. No single local company was able to cover all of a specific trade task. Five floor-laying companies had to work together to install the vinyl in 24 hours, and it was a similar story for carpenters, service contractors and so on.

No local subcontractors had ever done this before, but the process ended up being hugely successful and has given local trades the confidence to work together on future large projects. The same spirit of innovation was demonstrated by Marc’s prefabrication of all the MEP bed modules off site in Jersey, using the experience in his own team to pass on new knowledge to a local supply chain unversed in the processes.

With other UK Nightingales and surge centres also under construction or in planning at the time, creating competition for materials, Marc used the Manchester Nightingale being built by Garenne’s UK partner company as his template. He placed orders for key items in the first 72 hours of getting the project go-ahead, and shrank design time by reproducing much of the Manchester layout and specification.

Right from the start, when he came up with the key greenfield location for the site rather than the conference centres typically used for the UK Nightingales, Marc took hold of this project and made it work. The rotunda design of Jersey’s own conference centre site option would have been inefficient and required much more remedial work, compared with Marc’s greenfield site. The land, which was owned by an old client of his who concluded the deal in less than an hour, met all the location criteria, including being no more than four minutes from the main hospital.

Jersey General Hospital Nightingale Wing