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All Finalists2020 Winners

Stephen Harnett MCIOB

Willmott Dixon

Personable and patient, Steve Harnett is a team player through and through, prepared to go beyond requirements in the quest for the perfect product. He drove quality and performance on this health centre scheme. His fully completed sample rooms, full-size mock-up panels and walls, and 3D CAD fly-through gave the client and stakeholders powerful indicators of intention. The minimal snags and outstanding quality delighted the client.

About the Project

Tessa Jowell Health Centre, East Dulwich, London

Construction of three-storey health centre, completed in 102 weeks.

Client: NHS

Contract: NHS Lift, bespoke

Value: £17m

It’s a fair stretch from carpenter’s apprentice to a national contractor’s project performance overlord. Steve Harnett has travelled the long road with the help of a keen eye for quality and detail.

On this three-storey health hub project, Steve put ‘the golden rules of good manufacturing practice‘ into operation. Those rules insist that pharmaceutical production lines should be started only when sampling, benchmarking, planning and testing are complete and a long-term vision is in place. He started procurement early on to produce sample rooms and mock-ups in good time and to deliver value and quality amid a competitive market.

His drive for excellence had a chain reaction throughout the project. Rejecting the first test panel for inadequate brickwork, Steve forced the subcontractor to up its game. The bold move brought buy-in across the project, as all stakeholders realised that quality was a driving force. Suppliers and trades knew that subpar options would not be good enough for the job.

Three months before the project even went on site, Steve had made a 3D virtual reality walkthrough available. The offer of a tool for seeing inside an as yet unbuilt building was a huge hit with the client.

Eight months before completion, he had two fully finished sample rooms for stakeholders to look at, complete with multiple repeated elements, lighting, doors, and the wall and flooring finishes. A refreshing change for the client from the typical 1m by 1m sample. Meanwhile the benchmarking panels (8m by 6m) and walls (3m by 3m) had full-scale windows, brickwork, cavity and zinc cladding, fire-stopping and internal wall details.

Steve may not have quite hit his ambitious zero-defect target for this building, but the snags were minimal and the quality outstanding. The client is absolutely delighted with what it considers one of its best buildings. On a project with onerous terms (a guaranteed price, no variations, and high penalties for being late), Steve also delivered on budget and on time.