Meet the Finalists

2022 | Public & Leisure

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Stephen McDermott MCIOB
Willmott Dixon

Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry: construction of three-storey extension, completed in 124 weeks. 

Client: University of Warwick 

Contract: JCT, design and build 

Value: £23m 

About the Project

Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

Seamlessly linking this new three-storey extension to an existing arts centre was anything but plain sailing. Stephen McDermott steered his way to success through technical ingenuity and problem-solving, while cementing the relationship with a valued client.  

Stephen was appointed project lead as the new steel frame was going in – 2,700 steel members in a complex geometry that had to be connected to the existing steel. He arrived on site just as the technical headache it presented threatened to engulf the budget and the programme. 

The fire consultant had ruled that the external cladding could not be fixed directly to the intumescent-sprayed structural steel. Installing a further angle to the steel to project it far enough for its paint to have room to expand in a fire raised the installation time requirement.  

Stephen clawed it back by resequencing the casting of the internal floor slabs and adding weatherproofing blockwork to the ground-floor areas. As a result, the internal works could start before the cladding installation (which suffered further delays due to Covid) was complete.  

On a very small footprint with a still occupied building and a busy university and bus station as neighbours, Stephen worked tirelessly to deliver. His calm and diligent approach promoted confidence, and he nurtured a collaborative culture that impressed the client. 

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