Faithful+Gould has successfully delivered the first and second phases of work at South Tyneside College, valued at over £6m. Having been awarded the projects through the Government Procurement Services Framework, Faithful+Gould provided full design team services, directly delivering project management, quantity surveying and health & safety services on the schemes, both partially funded by the Skills Funding Agency.
Faithful+Gould's contribution was instrumental in the success of both of these projects, with phase one completed in September 2011; comprising of the relocation of the existing refectory, restaurant and kitchens, the provision of new hair and beauty facilities and lecture rooms. Phase two, handed over in September 2012, incorporated the refurbishment and remodelling of a number of areas key to the College's success, including the development of the fine art and music departments, marine/offshore and engineering school as well as the expansion of the LLDD zone, an inspirational facility for students with learning difficulties. The principles behind the Campus redevelopment was to upgrade the College's estate, creating a more cohesive and secure Campus with modern facilities and a vibrant atmosphere. This enhanced College environment has improved access and safety and provided an image to meet the expectations of learners. Having to work to a tight programme and within a fully operational College, the client was delighted with Faithful+Gould’s assistance in the delivery of these new facilities.
Communication was clear throughout with recognised roles and responsibilities for project development within the design team and client team to ensure project development could be delivered within the identified programme and budget. In delivering the project, the team worked closely together with heads of each design discipline reporting directly to the project director who provided a “hands on” approach throughout.
Both schemes required delivery to very tight budgets and ambitious programmes, with works being delivered against the backdrop of a busy operational College. The projects were designed, tendered and delivered recognising the risks to the College's continued delivery of teaching services and sought to deliver works around key academic calendar dates, where possible, through mitigating strategies. Each of the phases required application to and compliance with Skills Funding Agency Grant conditions as well as strict compliance. Faithful+Gould reviewed and monitored risk throughout the development with the College team, ensuring a balanced view was taken regarding impact on the continued operation of the College and project. The projects were subject to continued review and monitoring against a development programme and subsequent construction programme of works through regular progress meetings.
Both phases presented a number of challenges to the project team, among them; the available budget and proposed scope of work, availability of the sites to deliver the projects, delivery of works within a busy operational facility and condition of the existing estate. Faithful+Gould managed these and other significant issues throughout delivery by developing and closely monitoring a realistic overall project programme, with critical dates emphasised along with the development of a project execution plan, to direct project delivery and facilitate expedient decision making, avoiding delay. Supporting the delivery of the plan, regular focussed design and project team meetings were held to review design, progress and cost whilst a risk register was developed from the outset with key risks clearly identified with mitigating strategies. Faithful+Gould ensured that thorough intrusive investigations of existing buildings were carried out to reduce the possibility of any surprises that may have jeopardised the programme and budget. Surveys and advanced works to remove asbestos and deliver vital enabling works packages helped to reduce the programme time and the likelihood of delays when delivering the main contracts, mitigating risk to the College. Costs were developed and subject to value engineering before and after tendering (with the contractor) to ensure best value.
Strong communication between the teams was central to the project’s success. By underpinning project delivery during meetings, we were able to monitor and review progress throughout each phase this ensured all parties were aware of what was required at each stage. Faithful+Gould ensured that forthcoming activities were co-ordinated accordingly, supporting the College through planning reporting and distributing the appropriate information to staff and stakeholders which was essential to the delivery of both projects. Robust change control procedures were implemented to maintain cost control both pre and post contract, managing additions and omissions to the schemes. Faithful+Gould carried out design audits and co-ordination meetings to ensure adequacy of design, these meetings ensured the brief was followed, minimising new and existing service issues within buildings being refurbished and the adjacent estate. The construction contract was tendered using a form of contract which was quick to prepare with appropriate distribution of risk, keeping tenders competitive whilst also ensuring contractors with significant experience of similar educational institutions scored highly through the review process.
The College is delighted with the design, quality and execution of the new facilities it gained following completion of the two projects. The contractor also achieved a very high Considerate Contractor score causing minimum disruption to the College. The completed works have transformed the College providing modern high quality and flexible accommodation with significant appeal to students in the region, supporting skills development in key areas and facilitating economic growth in the South Tyneside community