The Hold, Ipswich

The Brief:
The client has asked for a flagship heritage facility to securely hold Suffolk’s archives, providing high quality teaching facilities and provide a welcoming facility for the public. The project aims to contribute in a positive manner to the regeneration of the Ipswich waterfront area.

The Scope:
As Employer’s Agent we worked closely with the client and end users to fully understand their requirements and key project risks from an early stage. This working relationship has continued throughout the project and also now that it is on site.

Due to the funding arrangements of the project we undertook a careful review of the project finances and assisted with applications to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We established rigorous cost control procedures and ensured the design was strictly monitored against the agreed cost plan. Any difficulties have been rectified and the approved cost limit is maintained. We also attended the Lottery Fund monitoring meetings every three months to provide updates on the project and its progress.

Due to the location of the project (on a live university site) we made recommendations to the client on the need for site investigations and held engagement sessions with all parties that would be affected by the project. We carried out these regular meetings with the construction and design team, in parallel with client and stakeholder meetings (Suffolk County Council and the University). In conjunction with these meetings, we also held workshops to bring all of the teams together (construction, design, client and stakeholder) to inform, educate and give progress updates.

Through our role as Employer’s Agent we have steered the project and supported the client through challenges associated with funding and a tight urban site within the centre of Ipswich. We have ensured the project execution plan has been followed and the project being constructed on site is in line with the employer’s requirements, as well as meeting the client’s expectations of a new flagship public building.

As Client Design Advisor we were appointed to independently review the proposals put forward by the design team. We needed to make sure they met the client’s employer requirements and complied with necessary legislation.

The Client Advisor’s roles and responsibilities were delivered via a multi-disciplinary team. This ensured that all aspects of the project were supported. This includes support from the following professional disciplines: –

• Architectural Services
• Electrical Engineering Services
• Mechanical Engineering Services
• Landscape Architect Services
• Structural Engineering Services

During the Stage 3 submission we identified some areas of the design which had insufficient detail to enable the client to sign off the work stage and progress the design. We presented a report to the client which proved the design team needed to provide revised information. This removed client risk and potential claims for additional cost at a later date.

Working alongside other members of the project team, we were able to carry out the below tasks effectively:

• Carry out strategic risk assessments of the project.
• Identify lessons learned from previous experiences of similar projects.
• Define an agreed set of project outcomes.
• Consult key stakeholders to identify significant project issues.
• Facilitate preparation of feasibility studies.
• Help set a budget and propose a funding strategy, taking into account the whole project-life costs.
• Identify and develop the most appropriate procurement strategy for completing the project on time, to budget and to the quality required.
• Ensure that the project is compliant with the original brief to ensure the client is getting what they originally asked for. Where changes are unavoidable, divergences or modifications will be agreed and reported as necessary.
• Aid preparation of a full project brief, output specification and sustainability goals.
• Manage the invitation and evaluation of tenders from design and construction teams.
• Check budgets, design proposals, construction details and project documentation.
• Technical advisory services during the construction phase of the programme.