The Challenge:

Throughout the duration of the build the Kier team were tasked to keep the existing Department of Chemistry running at all times without any detriment to the important research taking place, but with every square inch of the site forming part of the construction stage at one stage or another this was easier said than done.

This was further compounded by the new structure being linked into adjacent existing buildings at three different floor levels which included the provision of two new link bridges, one of which spanned over a live UKPN HV substation and a local LV substation that powered the entire Department of Chemistry.

In addition to this the secant piled basement wall was within 2m of the public highway and there were several existing plant and chemical storage areas abutting the site that served the main Department.

The Solution:

A positive relationship with our neighbours at the Department was the key to ensuring successful project delivery. We were quickly able to establish a very close working relationship with their project lead through informal weekly 'look ahead' meetings where we presented our upcoming works, identified any interfaces with existing Department activities and agreed the best way forward that would limit or negate our impact on the research being undertaken.

Sticking to these plans or raising any changes - and proposing solutions quickly and concisely so that they could be disseminated back down to the individual building users - allowed us to build up confidence and good will that we would deliver as promised. When more serious problems inevitably arose this paid dividends in smoothing out otherwise potentially confrontational situations.

The Impact:

By working closely together with the Department we were able to progress our works without causing any appreciable disruption to their day to day function. Even though highly critical services such as nitrogen gas and main power supplies were shut down and switched over, everything was planned out and executed on time so could be factored into the research being carried out.

We were also able to undertake all overtly noisy work outside of exam times, and for the rare instances where something did slip and cause potential nuisance the well-established lines of communication between all parties ensured it was dealt with swiftly.

" This project set a number of challenges for both the design and delivery teams. These included complex and substantial enabling works, relocating a liquid nitrogen bulk storage tank, working on a confined city centre site in a conservation area and, not least, building a heavily serviced complex research laboratory surrounded on three sides by live buildings. There have been practical and logistical difficulties to overcome and overall Kier have performed well. From the start they established an excellent working relationship with stakeholders, being open and collaborative throughout. I would have no hesitation in working with this team on another project. "
Joe Ackers Project Leader University of Cambridge, Projects Section, Estate Management

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