Project audit and best practice at prestigious listed building

At a glance

Project: Project audit and best practice implementation at prestigious listed building
Client: National Construction Contractor
Sector(s): Education
Service(s) delivered:
  • Construction expertise
  • Site visits
  • Project audit
  • Process review and recommendations
  • Action plan
  • Follow up report and support with implementation
Location: Oxford, England
Construction contract value: £6.5 million
Cube contract duration: 3 months
Cube Construction Consultants_Construction Expertise

In brief...

Our construction contractor client had some concerns about a major refurbishment project at a historic university campus. With a set of complex upgrades and maintenance work required within an existing Grade II listed structure, there were a number of potential problems that could impact on successful completion of the works.

Cube Construction Consultants were introduced to the project director through a former colleague and were quickly hired to carry out a live project audit and implement a proactive action plan, so that the site team could demonstrate best practice delivery for other teams to emulate.

Drawing on extensive construction expertise, Cube delivered us an honest, objective and comprehensive audit of a complicated listed project which had potential to run into problems. Following their recommendations we were able to avoid challenges and proactively implement positive change within the team to deliver a success for the client. We’re looking forward to working with Cube again soon
Project Director

Proactive project management

With specialist contract works required including refurbishing windows, concrete cleaning, a new roof, upgrades to mechanical and electrical services, plus a hospitality standard catering kitchen, the scope was challenging.

The client was keen to understand any potential pitfalls in a proactive way. It was not about finding out what was wrong on the project, it focused on identifying the opportunities to prevent problems and implement an action plan which would keep things on track. We were appointed to complete a live project audit and make recommendations for continuous improvement through delivery of a defined action plan.

Settling in on site

The site team were fairly skeptical about the approach and on day one felt judged. However, by day two, drawing from over two decades of operational site delivery, Mark Johnston (link to bio) had become an accepted part of the team. After several site visits he was able to demonstrate his understanding of on-site processes and the additional challenges the team faced. Mark was then able to build empathy and trust to get an independent overview of what was needed to support them on site.

Live project audit

The first stage was to carry out a full site audit. This included analysis of working documentation against company procedure and industry best practice. Site roles and responsibilities were reviewed. The audit also looked at the culture on site covering health and safety, management of sub-contractors, client communication and tracking performance against deliverables and KPIs. In essence it provided a ‘Health Check’ of the project to date and identified where improvements could be made.

Reporting recommendations

The findings showed which processes were being implemented, proved the reasons for concern and provided an audit trail to review the issues whilst presenting solutions for implementation or correction. This incorporated all elements including the build programme, procurement schedules, risk register, drawing status, the content of client reports and lines of communication.

We produced an honest, objective and comprehensive appraisal of the project, clearly identifying issues that needed focus or clarification. We provided clear steps for implementing corrective measures and a method for reviewing and monitoring future outcomes.

Implementing an action plan

Our defined action list and recommendations for implementation proved effective and empowered the project team to reprioritise their every-day tasks and get support from in house services as required.

The Project Lead later felt comfortable enough to ring Mark directly to discuss “what if scenarios”, as he appreciated an honest and independent view from someone who had gained a good working knowledge of the project and its specifics.

The follow up inspection and report found that implemented recommendations had improved communication with the client, enhanced site processes and reduced the risk of project complications emerging.

By working with Cube, the Contractor has:

  • Delivered a project that has been deemed a success by the University end client
  • Proactively managed the project to avoid pitfalls and financial penalties
  • Implemented best practice and team buy-in to the whole construction process
  • Empowered the site team to deliver continuous improvement
  • Got the project on track prior to the March lockdown, so the team were able to continue working safely throughout
We were engaged to complete a full review of a complex project to identify what could be better – not what was wrong. This led to an empowered team and a proactive approach to project management.
Mark Johnston, Director, Cube Construction Consultants

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