Earlier this year, John Perkins Construction won the prestigious 'Most Considerate Site' (£1-5m category) accolade at the 2018 Considerate Constructors Scheme Awards. Rupert Perkins explains how we did it - and how we're striving to be even better in the years to come.
Only one Most Considerate Site award is given out each year in the £1-5m size bracket, so it was a shock and an honour when Site Manager Hayden Pickett and the John Perkins team were recognised in such a significant way.
The winning project was the £2m+ extension and refurbishment of Hutton CE Primary School in Weston-super-Mare. Working with Willmott Dixon for North Somerset Council, the scheme was carried out over 47 weeks, and involved the construction of five new classrooms and refurbishment of two existing classrooms, plus the creation of quality outdoor space, including a performance stage.
During the works, we were careful to maintain a site that matches the Considerate Constructors Scheme's ideals. There are four key areas that we feel contributed to our award win:
1. Keeping the school running
The top priority in any job that involves a 'live' site is to keep disruption to a minimum. Hutton CE Primary School remained operational throughout the works, and there were complex logistics required to make sure teaching could continue.
A phased programme was implemented, and the school's activities were moved into the new build extension as soon as it was complete. This allowed the existing school building to be refurbished. The multiple changeovers required close, sensitive working with the school, coordination of dates, and the careful moving of equipment.
Strong communication with the school was crucial for keeping the classrooms open and the staff and students happy. "John Perkins builders were always polite and helpful throughout the construction works," comments Luci Amos, the school's headteacher. "The site manager was always available to discuss things with and the team made the whole process run smoothly."
2. Creative approach to traffic management
It wasn't just the school's staff and students that were affected by the works. The school is tightly situated in the middle of Hutton village, with many close neighbours. Therefore, to minimise disruption, a creative approach to traffic management was in order.
As a way to reduce the traffic burden on the roads surrounding the school, we negotiated with Hutton Garden Centre (a mile from the school) to allow use of their car park for site parking, with a minibus used to ferry site operatives and tools to and from the site.
3. Getting the children involved
Rather than simply shielding pupils from the works, we wanted to turn the building works into a learning experience for them. The school children from Hutton CE Primary School got to take part in supervised tours of the new extension and materials workshops given by Site Manager Hayden Pickett.
Ivor Goodsite, a mascot of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, attended a whole-school assembly (210 students) to engage with the children about safety. Ethan Best, a student at Hutton Primary School, was also a regional winner in the NFB Stay Safe poster competition.
4. Community outreach
We also wanted to give back to the community by volunteering time and resources to improve the local area. Volunteers from John Perkins Construction and subcontractors Bedrock and Optimum repainted and refreshed a local scout hut. We also sponsored a minibus and driver to take a group of school children on a two-day singing tour of nursing homes, residential homes, and community events.
Winning the Most Considerate Site accolade obviously represents a high point for us, but we're not content to rest on our laurels. Our Bath Cats and Dogs Home project scored 40 ('Excellent') on its latest Considerate Constructors Scheme site inspection, with 'respect for the community' highlighted as a particular area of excellence.
On this project, Site Manager Paul Glennon has also been thinking outside the box on what to do with the old timber from the existing structure on the site. The JP site team decided to 'upcycle' the timber to create furniture, bird tables and planters for Bath Cats and Dogs Home to use.
We're aware that the CCS scoring gets more and more demanding each year. This keeps us striving to maintain our high scores and find new ways to engage with the communities local to our sites. For us, it's a core part of keeping construction a force for good.
“John Perkins builders were always polite and helpful throughout the construction works. The site manager was always available to discuss things with and the team made the whole process run smoothly.”
Hutton CE Primary School