19 July 2017

Needham House Extra Care Facility

  • Region: Devizes
  • Client: Wiltshire Council
  • Value: £7,500,000
  • Contract terms: JCT D&B 2011
  • Contract length: 77 weeks
  • Completed: May 2017
  • Customer satisfaction score at PC: 89%
  • Site features and challenges: Constrained site with close neighbours / national brick layer shortages / demanding quality requirements
  • Client comments: ‘We are so impressed with the building, the quality of finish is even better than we expected’ – Wiltshire Council

The project comprised the construction of a 47 unit BREEAM Very Good extra care facility; offering high-quality town-centre accommodation for the over 55’s, and providing independent living with the comfort of supportive care if required. The project was challenged, with the works taking place on a constrained site with restricted access, closely bound on all sides by residential properties.

Following a demanding planning application process, it was essential that the council’s efforts to promote the project to local neighbours be maintained throughout the construction process. The client highlighted neighbour interaction as a KPI, and the team’s actions included creating a detailed traffic management/delivery plan to prevent obstructions on the surrounding residential roads – hiring a local rugby club car park for contractor use, installing a 45m reach tower crane, and limiting delivery vehicle sizes and times.

Efforts to introduce the project to neighbours were also made prior to starting on site, with the Senior Project Manager holding a presentation at a local community hall and explaining the works in detail before discussing measures to be taken to mitigate disturbances.  Close neighbours were encouraged to form a committee through which feedback was delivered, and during the project regular newsletters were produced detailing works and project progress. Open days were also held which allowed neighbours to visit the site.

Client KPI Score ‘Neighbour Interaction’ – 9/10

The project was won via a single-stage competitive tender, with the client recognising Mi-space’s comprehensive and competitive price, supported with an extensively detailed methodology demonstrating neighbour engagement and access/logistics plans. The core operational team’s demonstrable recent experience delivering similar extra care schemes was another highlight.

Overcoming project challenges 

  • Potential issues relating to a national bricklayer resource shortages were mitigated by proposing a Metsec internal skin proposed in lieu of the original brickwork design, avoiding associated programme risks

  • Constraints imposed by the small site footprint were overcome with the use of a 45m tower crane, arranging contractor parking at a nearby rugby club, and implementing a detailed delivery plan with just-in-time deliveries

  • The client’s required high standards of quality were delivered by prioritising the early completion of a ground floor show flat, which was used to benchmark quality with the client and demonstrate requirements to the supply chain

As a local authority, the client was keen to ensure that all opportunities to contribute to their district were taken. The team’s local employment/engagement plan was drafted with the help of the Midas Group dedicated Community Engagement Manager, and included advertising a site roles in flyers, the site newsletter and the local Job Centre. A resident from the adjoining street was employed to clean the site offices on a bi-weekly basis, and the crane operator and a labourer were also local to Devizes.

The team also erected a charity board on site and encouraged subcontractors to donate in return for displaying their logo – £1500 was raised for the local branch of Age UK. A local M&E subcontractor was also trained to use BIM software, allowing them to be chosen for the project over a larger, national BIM-ready competitor.

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