Five weeks on from the project’s completion, Rob Clifford, National MEP Director at Wates Group, reflects on the team’s achievements delivering the 14th and 15th floors of the Royal London Hospital.
Find out more about the project in our news release
It’s been five weeks since we handed over the 14th and 15th floors of the Royal London Hospital on 1 May to St Bart’s NHS Trust – the same amount of time in which it took to deliver the project.
I’ve been reflecting on what we achieved as a team in just 30 days. For those who were not in our project team, the achievements at the Royal London Hospital may be hard to comprehend, because they have never been done before in the123- year history of the Wates Group and may also be a first in the UK construction industry.
Our client said that this project has ‘rewritten the rule book’
Delivering the impossible...
When I think back to the first Skype call we had with the Trust on 27 March 2020, where we presented the expertise of the Wates Group businesses including Wates Construction and SES Engineering Services (SES), we talked a lot about our history, values and culture. We explored the strength and depth of the Wates Group and why we felt we were best placed to support the NHS Trust with this critical project. This call, which marked the start of our journey, now seems a long time ago!
A strong, committed team with an 'elite' mentality
We made some significant commitments on what Wates Group could achieve on this project, in the knowledge that the original construction company involved had recommended a project programme of more than 20 weeks. We were proposing to deliver the programme in a fraction of this time. These commitments were also made against the backdrop of the current Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that our promises, and subsequent performance, would have a direct impact on the Trust’s ability to save people’s lives.
The seriousness of this challenge and the deliverables required would have overwhelmed many contractors from the very beginning.
We started this journey together as a team and we finished the journey together as a team; everyone involved has displayed an ‘elite’ mentality and an incredible level of resilience throughout our journey.
Challenging the accepted 'normal practice'
I want to personally thank the project team for their amazing contribution and commitment. Their drive, dedication and professionalism has shown our business and peers what can be achieved if we challenge the accepted ‘normal practice’.
Despite the extreme pressure felt on this project my lasting memory is about the comradery that was shared and the positive attitude we were able to maintain throughout. I feel incredibly proud to have been part of this very special team; working together each day has been a great experience and one that I will not forget.