Meet the Finalists

2022 | Higher Education

Paul Southgate MCIOB
Willmott Dixon Interiors

University of Westminster CSE, London W1: refurbishment of classrooms, completed in 15 weeks. 

Client: University of Westminster 

Contract: JCT, design and build 

Value: £1.7m 

About the Project

University of Westminster CSE, London W1

Speed of delivery was all on this scheme for a first-time client. With 15 weeks to refurbish 8,500sqft in a live environment, Paul Southgate had no margin for error or downtime. 

He was on site a week after the contract win to create a lab that could also function as an exhibition area. He had to juggle the sequencing constantly – sometimes daily – to ensure seamless and synchronised working. The difficulty was dialled up as design and scope were developed as the scheme progressed, not to mention £700,000 of additional works – a 40% uplift in contract value – in just two extra weeks. 

Weekend working, 12-hour days, more people power, concurrent rather than sequential working – all were key elements in doing a great deal in a very tight space. Paul used all his personal skills and technical experience to keep all the packages spinning while holding costs on a tight rein.  

Take the classroom lighting specification – not just expensive but on a lead time that simply couldn’t meet the programme. Paul sourced an alternative with the same look, feel and performance but cheaper and available pretty much off the shelf.  

And when the work of the electrical services specialist working directly for the client didn’t go to plan, he stepped in to help, resequencing his operations to dovetail with theirs. The client was thrilled with his leadership and the project outcome. 

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