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Phil Parnell
Project director
Bovis Lend Lease

Project: Oncology Centre, St James’s Hospital, Leeds: construction of 67,000m2 cancer centre, completed in 165 weeks
Value: £183m

The sheer scale of this project – it covered 67,000m2 and consisted of more than 3,000 rooms – required an exceptional construction manager. It found him in Phil Parnell.

Heavily involved in assembling the project team, defining roles and establishing clear lines of communication, Parnell laid the groundwork for the excellent relationships with the client, consultants and subcontractors that made the project such a success. He ensured that issues were discussed in an open forum and achieved a spirit of partnership and teamwork that overcame the complexity of the project and the high number of specialists.

By taking the time to understand the radiological protection and equipment issues, Parnell was able to engage the client’s consultants on highly technical matters. With £12m spent on the design, procurement and installation of specialist cancer equipment, this was crucial. His insight allowed him to integrate the issues into the initial design so that the kit – which included 12 linear accelerators, five simulators, two magnetic resonance scanners and five computerised tomography scanners – was right first time.

He also spent a lot of time on programme management, monitoring resource levels and ensuring key milestones were achieved.

Parnell’s value engineering initiatives demonstrated an incisive focus on programme and buildability benefits rather than relentless cost cutting. Particularly noteworthy were the use of extremely dense magnetite concrete for the radiotherapy bunkers to limit wall and roof thicknesses, the incorporation of two absorption chillers in the plant room where they could use waste steam, offsite fabrication of service modules to reduce installation times and improve safety, and pre-glazed storey-height cladding panels to enclose the building rapidly.

He also maintained rigorous cost control over the 100 trade packages. One of the many keys to success was the fact that he passed on the design risk only when the subcontractor could clearly manage the design effectively.

Parnell led his team to a cohesive and professional delivery of this vast, complex and challenging project on time, within budget and to the immense satisfaction of client and users.


Mark Chamberlain FCIOB
Operations manager
Willmott Dixon Construction

Project: Heart of Hounslow Health Centre, Middlesex: construction of 9,500m2 five-storey health centre, completed in 130 weeks
Value: £17m

The pressure on Mark Chamberlain with this project – the first in a new breed of ‘super’ healthcare facilities – was immense. There were many stakeholders and neither Chamberlain nor Willmott Dixon had much experience of healthcare buildings, never mind a local improvement finance trust (LIFT) scheme.

But he completed the largest primary healthcare centre in Europe, under onerous conditions and exacting circumstances, on time and to budget. In doing so, he has built such a persuasive argument for his employer’s competence in delivering LIFT projects that it has already won more such deals on the back of it.

Chamberlain had to master a staggering amount of complexity on this project. The host of health-specific technical requirements was matched by the very different priorities of more than 50 stakeholders, many of whom had to sign off their areas. And with much of the detailed design still unfinished by financial close, he had to finalise technical specifications and push user group meetings to close out the design while trying to achieve a highly ambitious programme.

Despite the worries of financial penalties and managing costs, Chamberlain was committed to building a real partnership – which the client views as the project’s greatest success – and accommodated considerable user variations outside the scope of the contract.

Flexible, patient, approachable and professional, he built excellent lines of communication. His careful planning, accurate reporting and well-judged risk management ensured all the milestones were achieved for decanting 200 staff from the existing facilities onsite and installing them in their newly built areas.

The centre’s eye-catching design is inspiring, but without Chamberlain’s management skills it would never have been delivered to such high standards of quality, let alone to programme and price.


Andy Ellis MCIOB (Willmott Dixon Construction) for Sunshine House, Southwark Children & Young Peoples’ Development Centre
Mark Platt MCIOB (Laing O’Rourke Construction North) for MaST LIFT Health & Social Framework, Ancoats Health Centre, Manchester
Christopher Ryder MCIOB (Kier Build) for Failsworth School, Manchester
Stephen Scott MCIOB (now of Mansell formerly of Kier South East) for North Kent Police Station, Gravesend
Ian Wade ACIOB (Verry Construction) for Holmesdale Technology College, Snodland
Jim Ward MCIOB (BAM Construction) for Hermitage Academy, Helensburgh
Richard White MCIOB (Wates Construction) Slough Schools PFI project, Beechwood & Arbour Vale Schools