Strong leadership and a commitment to design quality helped Manchester City Council rebuild after the devastating IRA bomb – and won it this Schüco International-sponsored category
After the city centre was badly damaged by an IRA bomb in 1996, the council took the opportunity to rid the area of its tired, Arndale-style shopping precincts and start again with a clear vision of injecting life and confidence back into the city. Contractors and consultants agree that all this change has been driven by the strong leadership of council chief executive Howard Bernstein. "He rose to the challenge of rebuilding the city and hasn't let bureaucracy stand in the way of quality," says Paul Stanion, partner at cost consultant Davis Langdon & Everest and procurement adviser to the council.
The council has invested more than £500m in regeneration schemes and civic structures over the past five years, employing some of the best design talent the industry has to offer. Highlights include the creation of an Arup-designed and Laing-constructed stadium for this summer's Commonwealth Games, Michael Hopkins' City Art Gallery, the Sports Institute by FaulknerBrowns and the city's newly completed millennium project, the £30m Urbis Centre designed by Ian Simpson Architects. It is this focus on quality that sets Manchester apart from other local authorities.
You know where you stand with Manchester. The people involved with procurement want to understand your vision as a designer. And they listen carefully to their contractors
Jim Chapman, partner, Chapman Robinson, masterplanner for the central Piccadilly Gardens area
"Manchester approaches procurement with professionalism, procuring its project using an impressive 70:30 split between quality and cost," says Stanion. He also points to the effective use Manchester has made of two-stage tendering, whereby the contractor first reviews the construction details and then produces a tender package for its subcontractors to establish a target cost. The method has proved highly successful, particularly for large complex projects like the stadium.
Manchester's consistency as a client is highly rated by designer Jim Chapman, partner at Chapman Robinson, and creator of the masterplan for the city's central Piccadilly Gardens area. "You know where you stand with Manchester. The people involved with procurement want to understand your vision as a designer. And they listen carefully to their contractors so that they end up with a very good understanding of how the projects work." The result is an effective partnership with the private sector.
Building Awards 2002
- Currently reading
Client of the year