Blog: Integration & Collaborative Working SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - The Great Hall, Canterbury

11 June 2020

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Integration & Collaborative Working SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - The Great Hall, Canterbury (submitted by WW Martin)

The Great Hall - delivered by WW Martin - opened in September 2019 and provides Kent College with an impressive new facility for the school and county. The 600-seat auditorium provides cutting-edge facilities for worship, concerts and the performing arts. 

This project significantly benefitted from close collaboration across the whole team.  It captured the specialist knowledge and expertise of each of the respective local businesses involved and delivered value for the client and the community.

One of the key criteria at the proposal stage was to provide an assembly space for the school whilst also providing an intimate theatre space suitable for professional standard drama and music performances. These varying uses and scales of spaces were catered for by creating a flexible space that can be transformed. Since its opening, it has been used as a key venue to host 4 events in support of ‘The Canterbury Festival’.

In 2019, The Great Hall was awarded the South Eastern Counties Regional winner for 'Most Sustainable Project' in the Institute of Structural Engineers' Structural Engineering Awards. The award recognises projects demonstrating outstanding commitment to sustainability and respect for the environment in the structural design. It also achieved a rating of BREEAM Very Good rating.

The project championed the use of local businesses. The significant private investment of close to £8million into the project delivered significant economic and social benefits as a result. As a Kent based construction company, WW Martin engaged and appointed a Kent based architect, structural engineer and M&E services engineer to work on the project. And their supply chain partners focussed on local Kent based companies to help spread the investment of the project into the Kent economy.

In more detail:

To achieve the delivery of the project in accordance with the programme, as a team they utilised their Project Execution Plan (PEP). This plan set out clear strategies and responsibilities for managing all aspects of the project. As an overarching document, it included detailed plans and programmes for individual works packages focusing on specific items of works for all of the companies involved in the project. Their project programme also incorporated all the relevant information from the PEP to ensure time was allocated for the project team to communicate efficiently and address design and construction items as well as health & safety matters, risk and cost-mitigation.

They set target deadlines within the procurement schedules to focus attention on the priority design team issues requiring resolution ahead of design sign off and issue to the construction team. Through clear planning, they managed the project throughout the delivery stage by seeking and then controlling the specialist contractor design input and dissemination of information throughout the team.

With regards to working collaboratively with supply chain partners, they worked with the specialist contractors during the design and development processes to ensure that their specialist knowledge and skillset was captured to the benefit of the project. For a project of this nature, two of the key specialists’ subcontractors included acousticians and theatre seating installers.

As the project progressed, the design was still being developed by the design team including items such as the finishing schedule. This presented a significant challenge to the project. This was successfully managed through early engagement workshops and meetings with supply chain partners so that they could discuss the issues and the design intent of each item of work.


  • The site is now a landmark building in Canterbury, providing a modern theatre for the school and local community
  • The project championed the use of local businesses, helping drive investment and income into the local economy
  • The project demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and respect for the environment in both the overall design and the construction methodologies used

About the Integration & Collaborative Working Award: 

Collaborative working is central to the core values of Constructing Excellence and its drive for positive change in construction.  It is most likely to manifest in the delivery of specific projects, however those who can demonstrate a culture across a series or programme of projects show leadership in a sustained approach. Integration of the supply chain, the client and end users will normally lead to a better outcome satisfying all stakeholders.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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