8th April 2024

Reimagining a landmark building: 80 Strand

David Mills, Chief Engineer at Sir Robert McAlpine talks to us about working on 80 Strand and being shortlisted for Construction Manager of the Year.

David Mills, Chief Engineer at Sir Robert McAlpine, worked on 80 Strand, which earned him to be a finalist for the CIOB's Construction Manager of the Year Awards.

80 Strand80 StrandDavid joined our Special Projects team on 80 Strand at the height of the Covid pandemic. He’d been working as Section Manager on our 100 Liverpool Street project in the City of London and was due to join the 80 Strand team once the project had completed. But as Covid restrictions were being introduced, he moved jobs earlier, taking up his new position on a project which involved the reimagining of a landmark building on the North bank of The Thames.  

Completed in 103 weeks for client Strandbrook, the £60 million project saw the remodelling of the interior of the 1930s Grade II listed building to provide a more contemporary working environment.  
As well as providing new office space, all landlord areas were reconfigured, the team also completing major plant and services upgrades as well as the refurbishment of 12 passenger lifts – and all whilst the building remained occupied. A new glazed reception pavilion was constructed at the building’s Strand entrance, while two, steel frame structures clad in bronze aluminium were erected either side of an existing link bridge to form co-working space.

Reflecting on the various roles he’s had since joining Sir Robert McAlpine, David said: “Starting out, I was involved in various stages of projects, from tendering to practical completion, and even post-completion activities. Along the way, I became a Chartered Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers which was a significant milestone for me. As time went on, my responsibilities grew, culminating in my current role as a Construction Manager, or as we call it, Chief Engineer." 

80 Strand was David’s first project in the role of construction manager, and it is certainly one to remember


We faced various challenges, from managing Covid protocols to navigating design discoveries and fluctuating market prices, but through it all, we aimed to create a new workplace that's not just functional but also fosters a happy and productive environment.

David Mills Chief Engineer at Sir Robert McAlpine

Work to finalise the design wasn’t possible until the building was vacant and the strip-out had started, all of which meant significant discovery and design change throughout the project.  

"I worked closely with our Project Manager, John Parkins, overseeing day-to-day operations and ensuring everything ran smoothly. I also mentored our team, fostering a collaborative and proactive approach to problem-solving. Balancing technical challenges with team dynamics was key, we tackled each obstacle head-on and kept the project on track."  

David’s leadership qualities were also instrumental in helping ensure the team remained mindful of their impact on the local community and environment.

“Throughout the job we were continually looking at ways we could minimise noise and dust pollution, offer job opportunities, and how we could leave a positive impact on the area,” says David. It was an approach that saw the team record excellent scores under the Considerate Constructors Scheme.  

A true reflection of the success of a project is when the client isn’t just happy but when they’re so pleased, they award you another contract.

David says: “It’s a real compliment that the client wants to work with us again. I’m proud of the work we did on 80 Strand and I hope we can replicate this success oour next project." It isn’t only the client that was impressed by David’s work. His line manager nominated him foChartered Institute of Building Award and after a comprehensive and demanding application process, he has been shortlisted for Construction Manager of the Year in the Restoration category. Now in their 45th year, the awards will take place at London Hilton Metropole on 9 April 2024. We wish David every success. 

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