Matt Davis is a project manager at Kier. He recently worked on the Greenwood Centre in Camden which has been shortlisted for a number of awards including the Construction News Award ‘Project of the Year (under £20m)’. Here, Matt gives us an overview of this vital project.

“At the end of 2016 we started on site to construct the new Greenwood Centre in Camden. The centre is a new-build resource and community centre for adult social care and is for anyone with disabilities, learning difficulties and mental health problems. The centre brings services together for the first time in the Camden Borough.

The centre opened in February 2019 and it houses Camden’s first ever Centre for Independent Living (CIL). The centre is run and controlled by people with disabilities with a purpose to improve the life chances others with disabilities in Camden. It’s a one-stop-shop for advice, information and support and will provide volunteering, learning and work opportunities for Deaf and disabled people.

From the beginning of the project I made sure the project team understood how vital this building was going to be for people living in the Borough. As with all projects, we were determined that it would run smoothly, however, at the time I didn’t realise how well the project would go. We were able to deliver it on time and on budget with zero defects at handover.

Throughout the 22-month project we had zero RIDDOR incidents, 235,080 accident-free man hours, achieved 45/50 for the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) and have since been awarded Gold at the National Site Awards. The project has also been shortlisted in the ‘Project of the Year (under £20m)’ category for the Construction News Awards and ‘Social Infrastructure project of the Year’ for the British Construction Industry Awards.

We worked closely with the client throughout and knew there were several things we needed to keep in mind throughout the project. Firstly, we had to make sure the building was fully accessible and to do this we installed handrails throughout, allowing anyone with physical difficulties or restricted eyesight to navigate their way through the centre. The end feel of the building was that it needed to be light and airy, creating a safe and welcoming space for users; we used ‘gravity defying’ structural glass on the roof terraces to provide users with unobstructed views of London landmarks.

Community engagement was vital throughout and we achieved an exceptionally high level of community engagement for the duration of the project. For the duration it was important for us to continually engage with end users and we created a high level of end user and stakeholder engagement across the life of the project which included site visits for future service users to inform the design and assist the transition into their new building.

We worked with a number of local businesses and organisations. A local garden group cultivated plants ready to be moved into the new building terraces and roof gardens. To print and distribute site newsletters we used the Camden Society’s ‘Mail Out’ project, a London-wide organisation that employs people with disabilities to print and distribute large quantities of brochures, newsletters and information packs, etc.

I was really proud to hand this ground-breaking building over to the London Borough of Camden. To know the difference this vital centre will make to people living in the area is very humbling and it’s a project I will forever be proud to have worked on.”

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