One St. Peter’s Square

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One St. Peter's Square registered with the Scheme in May last year and has since gone on to win a Bronze Award at the 2013 National Site Awards. Before it completes next year, Industry Image spoke to Project Director John Currie to find out more about this award-winning site.

Please can you describe the project you are working on?

As part of the St Peters Square remodelling works being commissioned by Manchester City Council, the Elisabeth House General Partner Ltd was formed as a JV partnership between Argent and the GMPVF investing £65 million in the development of the former Elisabeth House into the now One St Peters Square. The building is part of a cohesive urban composition enhancing the regeneration of central Manchester.

One St. Peter's Square (OSPS) is a 13-storey building standing 60.5m tall with office and retail accommodation. The clients wish to deliver a scheme that will improve the built environment and that puts sustainability principles into practice. OSPS is designed in line with Manchester City Council's commitment to make Manchester "the greenest city in Britain", and is on track to achieve a BREEAM 'excellent' rating. The scheme is planned to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.

How have you incorporated the Scheme into your site?

The principles which guide all of Carillion Construction's work mirror and complement the requirements of the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

OSPS is committed to working closely with the local community, in order to minimise disruption and inconvenience and so that in addition to enhancing the built environment, we make a lasting positive contribution to the community. On site, Carillion is committed to fully involve the workforce in health and safety initiatives and in community work.

OSPS has been running for 17 months, and in that time has hosted 20 Business Action on Homeless (BAOH) clients, 10 of who gained full-time employment. Some, in their thirties, have never worked before yet have been reliable and hard-working employees for over a year. There are also three Carillion job coaches on site, who mentor BAOH clients.

So far there have been 50 apprentices on site, and five graduate placements. All five of the graduates have been offered full-time employment. In addition to training young people, OSPS constantly up-skills the contractors on site.

The site has close relations with local universities and the Mustard Tree, a ready for work charity. There have been numerous site visits giving young people an idea of the many careers open in construction. OSPS also held a UKCG Open Doors event, attended by 120 students and neighbours. It was a great chance for young people and our neighbours to talk to the site team, to see what happens on sites, and to engage in hands-on construction-related activities, including directing the Tower Crane.

The site also hosted a visit from an NHS Senior Nurse Leadership group, where directors of nursing from various trusts visited and were given a presentation on Carillion's Culture of Safety. They went away with a number of good ideas, but also with a better opinion of construction in general.

The team also raised money for Bite Bags, a scheme where local people with mental health issues produce and sell fruit and vegetables, and they volunteered for a week to create raised beds so Bite Bags can increase production. The team also supports Wai Yin Chinese women's society. We reinstated a path to their day centre and created a five-elements garden.

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Bite Bags scheme

Since the beginning of the project, what challenges have you faced?

Eliminating the potential for disruption to adjoining businesses and users of the city, whilst showing real consideration to the adjoining residents was at the top of the project team's agenda.

The excavation of the basement required a contiguous Piled Wall, which meant that our underground services strategy was paramount to avoid disruption to the city.

The slipform technique adopted for the giant central core required 150m3 of concrete and 2 articulated vehicles of reinforcement to be delivered to site each day during the activity and circa 130 operatives was employed for this element alone.

In addition, we were conscious of the large volume of pedestrians that use Oxford Street throughout the day and we developed a robust work at height strategy to protect the public.

How have you been able to overcome these?

Our logistics strategy incorporated a web-based delivery management system that gave subcontractors a booking-in facility for all deliveries so these could be timed and controlled in a just in time manner, minimising delivery vehicles waiting within the city centre and enabling the city traffic to flow unhindered.

Being a city centre site surrounded by existing infrastructure supporting the city needs such as utilities and fibre optic services, our challenge was to work alongside and on top of these services without damaging them. At the outset we planned and developed a robust underground services strategy and throughout the construction phase were successful in protecting each and every service causing zero disruption to the City.

During the construction of the concrete frame, we used a perimeter self-climbing safe screen edge protection system, which encapsulated the top three floors of construction ensuring that the works were fully protected from falls of materials and persons, whilst working at height. In addition we constructed a pedestrian protective corridor to the pavement outside the site along Oxford Street to give further comfort and protection to the general public.

For the tower crane dismantling process, we recognised that placing a 500 tonne mobile crane on the residential side of the site would have had an impact on the access for the users of the building, so we developed the strategy to enable the 500 tonne mobile crane located on Oxford Street to have a 40 meter Luffing Jib attachment, which enabled us to remove both cranes from one single location, so our neighbours could carry on with business as usual.

We also held a neighbourhood forum and engaged with the adjoining neighbours on a regular basis, which enabled us to fully understand how our operations could affect them, which gave us the basis of all our solutions.

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Children learning electrics

Could you detail a few examples of good practice you have put in place on site?

Carillion was creative in the ways they minimised nuisance and disruption to the City centre.

Monthly newsletters and polite notices were placed on the hoardings and letter dropped to all surrounding neighbours keeping them informed of the works. Our close relationship with the Chinese community enabled us to get the newsletters translated into Chinese which enable the non-English speaking members of our community to remain fully informed. A neighbourhood forum was held with the environmental health officer attending to support the project initiatives.

OSPS cares for its workforce. The culture of Behaving Safely is strong at OSPS, because if safety is to continually improve, the whole workforce has to be fully on board. Our 'Roll the Dice' module is interactive and let's people find out how they are shortening the odds of an accident happening, and to decide how they can react better to situations in future. Other safety initiatives are introduced in the light of lessons learned.

Two-way communication is essential on site. Safety and health messages are clearly stated, but action speaks louder. OSPS actively promotes health, with nurse visits and health challenges, and acts immediately when anyone raises a safety issue or makes a suggestion. Our priority is to involve everyone in their own health, their own safety, and their own community.

Carillion developed a community plan, which resulted in the entire project team getting involved with numerous initiatives. Decision-making and collaboration were facilitated thanks to volunteering together, and through constant communication within the Project team.

Any other comments?

John Currie, Project Director at Carillion responsible for the OSPS project says: "I have been incredibly proud of the entire project team and not only their attitude towards everything that is important under the Scheme, but from all we have achieved it is evident that they truly believe it and Live the Carillion Values.

"The Client was excellent to work with and fully supported, and often engaged with, the initiatives, which inspired the project team to do more.

"The project is a testament to everyone who has been involved; from clients, consultants and contractors we have made this building worthy of its name – One St Peters Square."

James Heather, Director for the Elisabeth House General Partner Limited, commented: "The exceptional work undertaken by the whole delivery team is resulting in a delivery which is meeting and exceeding the targets set for the team in Autumn 2011.

"The teams approach to working not just within the aspirations of the Scheme, but in a wider context that has engaged with so many stakeholders and community members, has resulted in the delivery of a hugely significant new building, on a heavily constrained city centre site with very little impact or disruption to the community and one that we are very proud to be developing."