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Allen Marshall ICIOB
Site manager
Miller Homes

Project: Centro West, Derby: construction of two four-storey apartment blocks, completed in 72 weeks
Value: £5.9m
Contract: Design & build

Allen Marshall sets his sights on running a perfect site, and consistently took responsibility for making this scheme a success.

All construction processes matter to Marshall, whether or not the output is visible. During the piling, for example, noticing the arisings from one of the continuous flight piles were of a different consistency than the rest and suspecting an unsound pile, he asked the subcontractor to put in an extra pile with a large cap.

His decision was vindicated a few days later when the original pile failed its integrity test, but the project was not adversely affected because he had already addressed the issue.

At an early project meeting, where products, materials and buildability were discussed, Marshall noticed that the walk-out balconies would not be fully secured until the brickwork above them had been laid and cured.

He pointed out that fixing a small bolt on plates to the rear would make the balconies safer to build and quicker to install.

He also found a financially and structurally viable solution to the problem of a flood prevention wall on one boundary, where the existing partial wall was not thought to be stable enough to withstand the planned car park. Marshall designed a cost-effective way to strengthen the existing wall without affecting the water course alongside it.

As well as these contributions, Marshall controlled the project with flair. Bounded by busy roads, the site was extremely tight: there was just enough space to store one load of blocks and one load of bricks at any one time. As the site was using four loads of blocks and two loads of bricks each week, his smooth scheduling of materials was crucial.

Committed to teamwork and constantly striving for high standards, Marshall also pulled off the feat of zero defects at handover.


Harry Dainton ICIOB
Construction manager
Miller Homes

Project: City One final phase, Preston: construction of 11 apartments in three blocks, completed in 124 weeks

After reading through the site investigation reports and proposed work specification for this town centre project, Harry Dainton must have needed a stiff drink. From the state of the ground to the use of timber frame for three multi-storey blocks, the scheme was fraught with difficulty.

Dainton had to drive 500-600mm-thick piles down to an average depth of 7m on a sloping site that had been repeatedly built upon. The horrors in the ground included the foundations for three newly demolished tower blocks, a railway tunnel with a weight restriction of 40 tonnes running 3m below ground level, and a large number of high-voltage cables going in every direction and at various depths.

Access and logistics were equally problematic. The site was hemmed in on all sides by roads, houses, university buildings and a 20-storey BT exchange.

And then he was faced with building a timber frame to a height where the technology’s structural suitability is often regarded as unproven.

Dainton rapidly got to grips with the challenges. His careful planning, experience, control of the labour force and encouragement of a team ethos all helped solve the problems that arose.

One of his biggest successes was introducing an innovative movement joint beneath all the openings in the external envelope as well as around the service penetrations and the lift cores. It eliminated the cracking that can result from the settlement of a timber frame building after construction.

As well as solving the shrinkage problem, Dainton further boosted quality by introducing sign-off sheets for trade workers to create a record of who was responsible for what in each area. He held fortnightly trade meetings onsite to discuss programme, quality, safety and costs, and carried out daily inspection routines to maintain standards.

The result is a prestigious development delivered with a minimal number of snags, six months ahead of programme and completed to budget. Undoubtedly time for another drink, this time in celebration rather than for courage.


Chris Adams ACIOB (Bewley Homes) for St Johns Place, Odiham
Steve Head (Bewley Homes) for Tavistock Court, Caterham