Blog: SECBE Awards 2021 finalist - University of Kent

12 May 2021

University of Kent (submitted by Willmott Dixon)

Client of the Year SECBE Award 2021 Winner

The new Medical School is a partnership between the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University. It will be the County’s first medical school, bringing together the existing centres of excellence in health and medical education provided by the two universities as well as local healthcare organisations, thereby offering a new model of patient-focused medical education. The Medical School will also be an essential part of the solution to recruiting and retaining medical professionals in the region.

This entry is for the outstanding leadership shown by the University of Kent (UoK) over the delivery of three new education facilities: their flagship £26m Sibson Building, the £13.5m Economics Building and the £9.9m Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS). All of which were built by Willmott Dixon.

The client’s vision here was an ambitious one. They wanted to create a hub of better connected, smarter and more sustainable education facilities that would not only benefit the education sector but would reap rewards for the local area and supply chain too.

At the heart of this vision was a desire to break down internal barriers and promote cross-faculty learning, all while fostering better working relationships with their supply chain to improve delivery.

The results? UoK’s leadership delivered not only three state-of-the-art education facilities but brought real wealth to the area, with Kent businesses making up 74% of the total spend on supply chain partners. On Sibson alone, achievements included 100% waste diverted from landfill, 11 apprentice training weeks delivered and 87% of days worked by local people.

In order to achieve this, UoK gave clear and consistent leadership throughout. They ensured team continuity, retained in-house specialists and hired an independent project manager to promote fair and quick decision making.

Ever striving for collaboration, they took on a Willmott way of working through their principal meetings, which promoted regular open and honest conversations on core aspects of the project every month.

As one project came to an end, UoK were keen to pass on any learnings to the next challenge ahead. This was seen in the way it shook up its procurement to drive real value (starting with a competitive tender, and then opting to negotiate on the next two buildings).

They understood how critical supply chain integration was to the success of each job, getting behind innovative software to bring teams together or by joining early engagement design meetings with specialist partners, who brought value added solutions to the table on elements like the building frame.

Combined, we truly believe that UoK embodies what this award is about. Starting with one project, they rewarded Willmott and our supply chain with two further projects, showing how successful and collaborative delivery can be beneficial for all involved.

Key facts:

  • The delivery of three vital education facilities that not only fostered cross-faculty learning but took on lessons learned from each building to improve the delivery of the next
  • Exemplary collaboration between the client, contractor, and the whole supply chain
  • 74% of the total spend on local supply chain partners, bringing real wealth to the region

About the Client of the Year Award: 

Construction clients have an important role to play in transforming the way the industry operates.  How projects come to market has a significant impact on the ability of the construction industry to provide innovative, whole life value-for-money solutions. More info.

Find out who wins at the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2021 Summit & Awards Ceremony on Thurs 1st July 2021. Free attendance.

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