Case Study

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East Kent College

Walker Construction completed a bespoke design and build project at East Kent College. The works comprised of a major refurbishment to the existing three story Achieve Building and the construction of a new bespoke two-storey performing arts building.

The college was fully operational whilst we were undertaking the works and as per client requirement, at no time were lessons or exams impacted or disrupted. The adjacent and surrounding buildings were used by the general public for adult educational needs thus additional planned co-ordinations were implemented for these out of hours areas for safe uninterrupted works. The campus is also a centre for ‘special needs’ and it was therefore essential that routes for the public, students and staff to and from the building were maintained to the highest standards and safeguarded at all times.

This project was undertaken on a two phase design and build contract. Our stage  one submission  incorporated  preliminaries,  overheads  and  profit, design  fees  and  a  comprehensive technical response to comply with the requirements of the tender documentation including answers to the employers requirements. Stage 2 was to confirm programme, design and cost.

To ensure compliance to the timescales included within the employer’s requirements, our proposal was based upon a phased approach of the works. Phase 1 was the extensive refurbishment of the existing Achieve building with phase 2 being the new extension works. Splitting the works into phases enabled the design to be finalised and approved whilst the refurbishment works were being undertaken. This was a strategic decision to ensure there was no down time whilst waiting for design approvals.

The refurbishment works involved a scaffolding structure to be designed and installed, allowing for the demolition of external walls to create the opening for a three storey vision panel. Existing ceiling voids and roofs required repairs due to water ingress. Alterations to the windows, floors, internal walls, partitions and ceilings were undertaken to enable the design of the new building to tie into the old. Alterations and new installations of mechanical and electrical goods including the refurbishment of the existing lift were also carried out. 

To create a collaborative approach on this project, we made the decision to novate the existing design team due to their extensive knowledge of the project, the contact with the client and understanding of the requirements.

We  initially  liaised  with  the College and the designers to agree a finalised design, value engineering issues and initial key milestone dates. During design development, individual programmes were agreed with our design team to ensure other key milestones were achieved. These programmes were then used to produce a procurement programme for the various packages of work used by the commercial team. We agreed and finalised room data  sheets  with  all parties,  which allowed for  a  greater  amount  of  information  to  be produced at an earlier stage. This ultimately gave both cost certainty and programme benefits during the construction phase. During  design  team  meetings,  pre-construction  reports were produced  which covered progress  in  terms  of  discharging  planning  and  building  regulation  conditions.

We  adopted a collaborative open  book  approach  throughout the contract,  which  included  the  circulation  of  all  quotations received, together with copies of our sub-contract enquiries and expenditure. We produced a report for each package which, contained an analysis of each proposal together with a recommendation for inclusion within the priced document.

Where possible, opportunities were given to members of our regional supply chain and the majority of packages and in excess of 85% were awarded to and carried out by one of our key supply chain members, based in Kent. We appointed a BREEAM assessor to provide us and the client with additional help and support. As this college provides construction training, we offered students to partake in site visits and on site work experience.  The contract was completed within budget to the agreed timescale and to the complete satisfaction of the end users.