21 April 2020
sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
As a big step up on anything they had previously delivered within the UK market and with a point to prove that they can deliver this scale of development, Bennett Construction (BC) needed to push the boundaries with their Hounslow House project. They proposed an ambitious but achievable programme.
Once BC were appointed, they set to work on how they could better the programme whilst maintaining quality and H&S. Initially, the first approach was the use of prefabrication but due to the lack of standardisation this was not an option. However, they did set out and change a series of elements through the use of modern methods of construction and the implementation of some intuitive approaches.
They took the decision to challenge the site as one big block and work on all fronts at once as opposed to moving block to block which meant they had all ten blocks running at one time. Their initial announcement of this approach was met with reservations and apprehension but it worked out well. As a consequence of this restructure they handed every block over ahead of programme with some blocks coming in months ahead.
One of the biggest issues during the build was an overheating issue which forced a significant redesign of the windows. This issue only became apparent after the windows were in manufacture so a percentage of glazing needed to be changed along with remedial works to the majority of the windows, as well as having to retrofit blinds throughout.
Serious about their responsibility to the environment, client and community they implemented a number of strategies including: local labour employment and suppliers where possible; rigorous recycling efforts, enforcement of delivery compliance with the standards laid down in the London Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) and regular communications with the neighbours.
Managing the project
To manage this process, it was important that BC had the correct blend of managers on-site that would push the standard approach of construction delivery into a streamlined delivery model through forward planning and the implementation of new construction methods. One thing that was encouraged through all managers was a high level of autonomy to make decisions whilst enforcing a zero-policy blame culture and all issues were dealt with as a collective group as opposed to isolating an individual. This worked really well, decisions on site got made instantaneously which increased production on-site and not to mention this encouraged managers to suggest new ideas.
Logistics became intense with their approach, with 15-20+ deliveries per day with 400+ operatives at peak. With an ever-evolving site, this required precision management which was managed by specific design software which was shared to all subcontractors and enforced by daily meetings which worked really well.
BC took an ambitious programme that most people shied away from and shortened it again, which was delivered via predominately traditional methods by adding a blend of innovation and thinking outside of the box.
Testimonial from James Moody, MD, Meyer Home
"In choosing Bennett Construction we have been delighted with their professionalism, high quality of workmanship and close attention to detail throughout the whole of the build programme, in particular during the critical fit-out stages. They have provided us with high-quality homes which we are extremely proud of."
About the Building Project of the Year Award - sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
The SECBE Awards team look for outstanding local projects that: demonstrate great team working between the client and entire supply chain; were delivered before the programmed completion date, below the approved cost plan and to quality exceeding expectation whilst delivering the highest of health and safety standards; achieved the lowest environmental impacts; delivered outstanding customer satisfaction and may have also received praise from other stakeholders, and demonstrates the highest levels of the application of best practice, innovation and technical achievement to overcome the project’s challenges.