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Mark Wakeford: "I'm not convinced that there will be significant Government investment in the sector"

End of year review: Stepnell Group

Mark Wakeford, Joint Managing Director of Stepnell, gives us a quick roundup of the year

Posted by Stephanie Broad | December 14, 2015 | People, policy, politics, money

What has been the most interesting development or project for you this year?

Magdalene College, Oxford, is a great project we’re delivering at the moment. It is a technically complex and spatially challenging city centre scheme which involves inserting modern functioning buildings into Grade II-listed old ones and making the old facilities fit for re-use. 

Have you seen any new techniques, materials or cost-saving methods, from home or abroad? 

The main one would be processes using lean techniques which speed up project deliveries and reduce risks. BIM is coming in but we’re not seeing results due to current procurement processes that don’t allow enough time to get it set up. Procurement will have to change before the true value of BIM can be achieved.

A recent Stepnell refurbishment at Stratford-upon-Avon College

What challenges exist for building great educational establishments?

Making investments go further and procurement are always challenges. I would also say persuading clients to look at value and educational benefits of built solutions and not just costs can be challenging.

How has the outcome of this year’s General Election affected school building activity?

It hasn’t had a marked effect on us – we’ve been particularly busy on university and private sector education projects .

What is your top tip for schools, colleges and universities to look after their buildings?

My top tip would be to always procure on whole-life costs including energy.

What does the future look like for construction in education?

While Government spend will require a BIM level 2 compliance, the majority of the industry is not ready for this yet. School procurement is likely to go into large frameworks to those who are BIM ready.  I’m not convinced that there will be significant Government investment in the sector, with so many other pressures on their purse.

www.stepnell.co.uk

 

 

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