Helen Drennan shares her insight on the importance of collaboration in construction and the successes the industry achieves through partnership working. Collaborative working underpins everything Wates does. This is a core value we share with our partners at Scape Group and one that enabled us to take Teesside University’s Cornell Quarter from feasibility to start on-site in just 24 weeks.

It has long been a firm belief of Wates that adopting partnership working is the key to truly delivering successful projects. It creates a healthy working environment where everyone can understand each others objectives, and this results in open and honest conversations that simply wouldn’t be possible if we all worked in silos.

In April 2019, we started on-site at Teesside University’s Cornell Quarter, a new student accommodation development that forms part of the university’s £300m campus masterplan. Cornell Quarter was procured through the Scape Venture framework and it has become a project that truly demonstrates the efficiency that can be brought to privately funded projects when procured through Scape, and the key to all this is collaboration.

‘Project concept to start on-site in just 24 weeks’

Cornell Quarter went from feasibility study to start on-site in an unprecedented 24 weeks, which is a fantastic achievement by the Wates team, Scape Group and of course our client at Teesside University.

Having recently completed Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre, the Wates team began conversations with the university about how to make this priority project possible within the necessary timescales. We needed an effective and efficient solution and we collectively rose to the challenge. Design, risk, buildability, surveys, site logistics and supply chain were all managed meticulously. Our specialists know what it takes to get the job done but I can’t emphasise enough how valuable collaboration was to this process; we worked in true partnership style and we made a very ambitious plan possible.

“The procurement process for our £21.4m Cornell Quarter student accommodation project was extremely efficient and we are very pleased with the results.

“Our contractor Wates is now on-site and work is well underway. When completed, the Cornell Quarter will provide a fantastic new residential complex and will be a key addition to our ambitious campus master plan, which reinforces our commitment to providing the very best student and learning experience.”

JILL THOMPSON, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF CAMPUS SERVICES, TEESSIDE UNIVERSITY

‘Overcoming challenges through partnerships’

As with all projects, we have had unexpected turns in the road. Changes to design are inevitable and logistical challenge always need to be overcome. As one of the largest schemes procured through Scape Venture, Cornell Quarter is no exception. But the speed of resolution for arising challenges has been a huge testament to the team behind the project. A four-week feasibility period was followed by an intense design development period before the scheme was submitted for planning, which was granted in December 2018. A further design process followed with enabling works starting on 1st April 2019. A successful start to which I no doubt will be an exciting and successful project.

What’s more, by adopting public sector procurement practices, the Scape Venture framework has brought a huge focus on social value to a privately funded project. Local impact is often celebrated as a huge benefit of public sector framework procurement; Scape has a robust strategy for creating training and employment opportunities through its projects as well as ensuring a local supply chain is appointed. The framework seeks to achieve the exact same thing through privately funded projects and this is the icing on the cake for Cornell Quarter. To have brought this project to site with such efficiency while uncompromising on our social value commitments make it a project of which we’re all very proud.

Helen Drennan is Regional Business Director for Wates Group in North East & Yorkshire.

More news