The remarkable regeneration of Birmingham has seen this once seemingly industrial blot on the landscape transform to become a true great British city. An almost unrecognisable shadow of its former self, Birmingham now boasts many landmarks that are comparable with other places famed for their design excellence.
Long gone are the dilapidated eyesores, concrete towers and run-down buildings, today chic shopping malls, boutique hotels and restaurants take precedence in Birmingham city centre.
One company that has been instrumental in revitalising Britain’s second city is project management consultants Faithful+Gould, which has worked closely with developers on high profile projects such as Brindleyplace, Selfridges, No 1 Colmore Square and the Mailbox.
After providing its services on these developments, Faithful+Gould continues to be a fundamental ingredient in Birmingham's ongoing transformation.
Following the success of the exclusive Mailbox project, the company has been chosen as employer's agent, quantity surveyor, programme monitor and planning supervisor on the latest phase of development, the Cube. This new £50 million expansion will comprise office space, apartments, shops, restaurants, a five star hotel, as well as a basement car park, and is set to become as iconic as the Mailbox.
Described as 'Birmingham's most sophisticated mixed-use building', construction work began on the Cube earlier this year. This truly unique project is an excellent example of how Faithful+Gould can work with architects and developers to provide vital management support, from concept right through to creation.
For such a high profile project, running smoothly from start to finish was a pre-requisite, particularly as the site in question is a complicated one. It is set to form a convergence point for two major city lines, linking New Street station with Broad Street and Brindleyplace with the Mailbox. Indeed, it was Faithful+Gould’s expertise and know-how that made it the natural choice when it came to advising on timescales and costs to ensure the development ran exactly to plan.
Faithful+Gould has enjoyed a long history of being involved with some of the most prestigious construction projects in the world, thanks to its professional but informal work style. But despite its international acclaim, the company handles each contract with the same 'can-do' attitude and personal touch, ensuring a tailored service for each client, whether it’s for a local project or a multi-million pound international development.
Gordon McDonald, operations director for Faithful+Gould’s Birmingham office said: "It's our distinctive approach to project management, depth of resources and our ability to work as a true extension of our clients' organisations that helps us to achieve the best possible result and it's this that we pride ourselves on."
This commitment to providing lasting client relationships combined with the unrivalled knowledge of the construction sector has resulted in Faithful+Gould winning numerous prestigious awards.
Last year, the company was recognised for its outstanding work by winning four Project Management Awards. The company scooped Project Manager of the Year at the Builder & Engineer Awards and Project Management Team of the Year at the Insider Property Awards. Additionally, Sandra Cummings won APM Young Project Manager of the Year and Claire Charman was voted Birmingham Young Professional of the Year in the construction category.
It’s these awards that are testament to Faithful+Gould’s outstanding reputation as the leading project and cost management specialists in the UK and across the globe. The company’s planned, organised and controlled approach to problem solving and effective teamwork enables it to communicate, control and deliver projects to cost and on programme.
Faithful+Gould has provided Birmingham with a wealth of services. Alongside traditional project management and commercial skills the company also offers advice on sustainability, service costs and programming. It provides added value services for risk and value management, programme management, specialist and strategic contract advice, asset management and whole life cost. Drawing on this knowledge, the experts at Faithful+Gould ensure the most appropriate balance is achieved between revenue generation and amenity.
Faithful+Gould’s active presence in and around Birmingham has seen it provide project and cost management to various new schemes, not just the Cube. The company has a major role in the Birmingham International Airport departure lounge extension, New Street Station redevelopment (Quantity Surveying services) and Birmingham University Mason Hall residence thanks to the company’s extensive knowledge of the city and its construction and development environment.
Faithful+Gould understands the importance of quality and high standards in its work and in response to clients also insisting on evidence of officially recognised procedures, the company is in the process of ensuring that many of its project managers obtain the PRINCE2 (Projects In Controlled Environments) accreditation, run in conjunction with the Office of Government Commerce.
PRINCE2 sets out procedural-driven standards to be implemented on projects, represents the best practice of project management and is the de-facto standard in the UK and is practiced worldwide.
Gordon McDonald has been made only too aware that having PRINCE2 accreditation is imperative when wanting to be involved with public sector projects. “Whilst we have our own best practice manual for staff to adopt the correct procedures, it has become increasingly evident that official recognition of standard procedure is required by clients – particularly those from the public sector.
"The benefits of using PRINCE2 are that organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the opportunities for adopting a project approach to the way that they address change. Businesses are now also getting to know the benefits that a single, common, structured method for project management can bring. A conscious decision was therefore made in the Birmingham office to have enough people with the PRINCE2 accreditation to be able to offer our services to any public sector project that arose. PRINCE2 embodies established and proven best practice in project management. It is widely recognised and understood, providing a common language for all participants. By introducing accredited project managers into our skill base in Birmingham it gives us more flexibility and even greater opportunities in the market place to make the city an even better place to live, work and socialise", added Gordon.
So what lies ahead for the future of Birmingham? More development and more change is firmly on the agenda, and with Faithful+Gould at the helm of new and evolving projects, the city will no doubt retain and continue to build upon its already iconic status for embracing new additions to its skyline whilst firmly keeping its history and personality firmly in tact.