Our latest project, developing PBSA (206 beds) at Hendy House in Central Bournemouth is at the mid-way point following rapid progress in the first 8 months. We asked the team to talk through some of the challenges they’ve faced so far and how we’ve worked proactively to overcome these.
MOBILISING AT LIGHTENING PACE
When the previously appointed main contractor unexpectedly withdrew from the project, Shore Construction stepped in and worked with the client, completing due diligence and contracting rapidly keeping the development and investor returns on track.
At the heart of our approach, we needed to mobilise a delivery team with the experience and expertise to deliver the project. Crucially we also built a team with a shared vision based on the unwavering belief that we always succeeded – failure on this project or any other, simply isn’t an option for the team.
“We handpicked the team to deliver the project based on the relationships we’d built delivering complex projects previously. We looked for the right mix of experience and attitudes, plus the desire to be part of fast-scaling construction company which we could shape from the ground up.”
Coupled with a strong Delivery Team, the financial backing of the group and the lack of any legacy development issues or over-running projects meant the team were setup to hit the ground running unencumbered.
In just over 2 months, we’d gone from an initial conversation with a client, building an expert delivery team, to signing the contract as main contractor for Hendy House.
The rapid contracting process gave us a taste of what was to come. In just two weeks we identified and mobilised soft strip and demolition contractors and the project was underway.
Unexpectedly, we identified that the party wall agreement with a vacant adjoining property had yet to be secured. Rather than delay the project, we moved quickly to change the construction from front-to-back to back-to front.
“Our attitude is always to find the way to succeed. We asked ourselves ‘What can we do to make the job go?’. Whilst it was a major shift, changing the construction order allowed us to move at pace whilst we secure the party wall agreement.”
And the challenges with the party wall agreement didn’t end there. Ultimately as an agreement in time wasn’t feasible, we switched to removing this section brick by brick rather than delay the build. We found a way and made it work.
As well as our client partnerships, we invest significant time and effort building strong relationships with key project stakeholders including local planners, building inspectors and other advisors. These stakeholders are critical to programme success and creating effective working relationships is pivotal to project completion.
At the Hendy House site, the planning approval included provision for cycle storage at the front of the building however subsequent design and drawing alterations had scattered these around the site. Our Design Manager worked collaboratively with the local planning team to agree a solution which worked for all parties and kept the programme on track.
“Cycle storage isn’t a major build item but it has the potential to delay or prevent programme completion. Rather than pass this issue to the client, my approach is always to work with the planners and present clients with a solution. It creates certainty in the programme and often by being proactive, we find ways to improve the original approach for everyone.”
DELIVERING DESIGN AND VALUE ENGINEERING
Every stage in the build process from pre-con to completion presents an opportunity to improve design and usability, reduce maintenance requirements and decrease costs. And our preference is to be involved as early as possible – ideally during the tender.
“We often submit two bids for a tender; one quoting for the build exactly as per the specifications and a second include design and value engineering initiatives that simplify the build and lower cost. This is where the team’s expertise really comes to the fore and benefits investors.”
Whilst the project timelines didn’t allow for us to be involved at tender stage, this hasn’t prevented the team from adding significant value during the build.
At Hendy House, our involvement has challenged the original requirement for piling for the crane tower and lifts, and remove the original design including a basement entirely. These changes reduced the programme duration and removed in excess of £500k in cost from the overall build.
The team also identified that removal of the muck off-site, rand eplacing this with fresh aggregate was both a waste and would decrease the quality of the footings. Our positive challenge led to a review of the specification, a reduction in costs and reduction in the environmental impact of the build too.
“It would have been easier to simply build out to the design drawings however it isn’t our way. We will continually challenge and positively look for ways to improve the outcomes for our clients and simplify the process.”
POWERED BY PROCUREMENT
Our procurement process is founded on the pillars of assured supply, meeting quality standards, optimising value and delivering social benefits. The rapid mobilisation of the Hendy House project, challenged the team to deliver on all fronts.
Prior to appointing a supplier, our procurement process includes PQQ, vetting, tendering and supplier interviews. This is followed by credit checks, compliance and due diligence before moving to contracting and pre-start meetings. This process combined with our extensive knowledge ensures we build a supply chain set up for success.
Our extensive supply chain knowledge and backing of our sister company, helped ensure the programme was set up for success. Over 95% of the programme procurement process was completed before the shell was complete.
Materials supply and pricing has been exceptionally challenging and our market knowledge supported decisions to buy ahead, securing both availability and lower pricing for key items like rebar and plaster board. The impact on the build budget and timescales would have been significant without this.
Our supply chain knowledge has also enabled the team to secure high quality, financially robust sub-contractors and suppliers from the local area, ensuring benefits from the project reach the local community. Whilst the Hendy House planning consent did not include any s106 requirements for local requirement, this approach is built into our sourcing process.
Over 90% of the suppliers used on the project are from BCP or the surrounding areas including cladding, roofing, electrical, brickwork and scaffolding contractors. This secures financial benefit for the local area, supports community employment and delivers greater value for the client through more competitive pricing.
SHOW FLAT INNOVATION CREATES CLIENT VALUE
We aim to bring our creativity and innovation to every stage of the development process. Ultimately our role is to support the client to achieve their investment objectives, and securing pre-sales through the show flat is a great way to demonstrate this alignment.
The site at Hendy House presents a number of challenges for this. A tight build schedule, construction access points at the front of the site and social challenges in the areas as the regeneration progressed were all points of concern for the team.
Rather than compromise the sales potential, our Delivery Team identified a vacant retail unit within a 5-minute walk, with greater prominence and a far higher student footfall. Developing the concept further, we shared these challenges and designs with the client securing their agreement to proceed with the off-site marketing suite.
The marketing suite is now up-and-running, ahead of schedule and actively taking bookings ready for Sept 2023.
BIGGEST CHALLENGES TO DELIVER
As we move the second half of the programme, the team will continue to innovate and challenge as part of delivering successfully. What challenges are remaining to successful delivery at Hendy House?
Weather is a constant risk with both temperature and wind an ever-present threat. The team have worked to reduce this risk through programme flexibility and materials selection. For example, the innovative weatherboarding used creates a weather tight structure even before the cladding is fitted. This means that internal works can continue whatever the South Coast weather throws at us.
As well as presenting challenging conditions, the winter months also present the highest risk of supply chain failure, another key risk. Here the team’s due diligence comes to the fore along with continual risk management and financial robustness checks. And in the unlikely event of a supplier failure, the backing of sister company The Shore Group, provides access to thousands of known sub-contractors.
Similarly, the relationship with The Shore Group helps us control labour costs and secure the compliant workers we will need on site over the coming months.
Finally, materials supply remains tight. Through advanced procurement we have secured both pricing and supply advantages however we will remain vigilant, with alternative supply routes available as required.
DRIVING TOWARDS COMPLETION
Hendy House has been a project like no other so far, challenging the team every step of the way. In just 12 months we’ve achieved a huge amount…
- Building an expert, experienced Leadership and Delivery team.
- Rapid contracting and mobilisation.
- Pre-con changes to drive value for the client.
- Proactive assistance to resolve party wall, planning and procurement challenges for the client
- Protection against bad weather and supply chain risk
- Innovative thinking to optimise the sales experience for tenants, boosting client value with pre-sales.
But we’ll only celebrate success once the project has been successfully delivered for the client, with full occupancy and happy students. Until then we’ll continue to innovate, find a way and drive towards completion.