23 May 2019
Sponsored by Waterloo Air Products
Village Hotels - submitted by Willmott Dixon
Managed by their South London and South East team, in 2017 Willmott Dixon (WD) delivered the first of its type in the country - a new five-storey ‘Black Box’ which represents the next generation for the Village Hotel brand. The Village Hotel Portsmouth scheme was an interesting project for WD that was handed over on time and on budget.
Their customer was satisfied with delivery of the Portsmouth scheme so they subsequently engaged with Willmott Dixon to be their construction partner to deliver additional projects - with the South London and South East team managing the process.
However, it was not going to be straightforward as the customer wished to evolve the design with some significant changes; for example, adding another storey (400m2) onto the side of the building when the steel frame was due to start on site in less than two weeks.
Their biggest challenge for the Bristol project was to manage and incorporate the progressive change as the building works went underway, without delaying programme or considerably affecting cost. The only way WD could achieve this was by having a ‘one team’ approach, fully integrating their customer and supply chain partners to work collaboratively, to ultimately achieve the best results.
One team approach
Following the success of the first scheme in Portsmouth, they looked at how they could build on that with Bristol - streamlining the process where possible, looking at cost and programme time savings, whilst also researching new ways to be innovative in their delivery.
Having a ‘one team’ approach to the project with customer, people, supply chain partners, consultants and the customer’s supply chain meant that WD performed better than the previous scheme with an improved design that made the compact space within the hotel work harder and smarter. As a result, the Bristol project finished two weeks early, defect-free and the customer received a complete turnkey package to a fully operational building.
Typically, it can take anywhere between 4–8 weeks for a hotel to be ready to open to the paying public. However, at Bristol, a completion workshop was held 12 weeks before project completion for all stakeholders to feed into how they believed the handover of the building should be managed. This process provided valuable information and ensured that all requirements were identified ready for the day of handover. In this instance, WD's customer specified that they wanted to open early with a specific date, which meant the building was fully operational and open to the public within 24 hours of being handed back to the customer, allowing them to gain 4-8 weeks extra revenue they had not previously anticipated.
In the customer satisfaction interview, Village Hotel’s Andrew O’Brien rated the project a 10/10 from a quality perspective, saying the hotel was “probably the most complete building we’ve ever built. They were effectively building a product that we sell. They knew it was vital to get it running from day one, and they made sure this was the case.”
As further testament to the success of Portsmouth and Bristol, they began work on site constructing a new ‘Black Box’ in Basingstoke, their third project in partnership with Village Hotels. Having successfully completed two projects and reviewing efficiencies, they were able to offer a financial benefit to the customer on future ‘Black Boxes’ and have several more opportunities now in the pipeline.
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The SECBE 2019 Integration & Collaborative Working Award is sponsored by Waterloo Air Products.