• Allen Construction Consultancy’s Community Project Recognised with Top Industry Award
  • Allen Construction Consultancy’s Community Project Recognised with Top Industry Award
  • Allen Construction Consultancy’s Community Project Recognised with Top Industry Award
  • Allen Construction Consultancy’s Community Project Recognised with Top Industry Award

Allen Construction Consultancy’s Community Project Recognised with Top Industry Award

05.11.12 Allen Construction’s project management of an inspiring and unique local community space has been recognised by the Association for Project Management (APM), after the specialist property and construction consultancy picked up the Community Project of the Year Award.

The APM Awards, which took place on 1st November, celebrate achievement in project management nationwide, with the Community Project of the Year category rewarding an organisation that has made a significant contribution to a local project of benefit to the community or environment.

The accolade was given in recognition of Allen Construction’s role in project managing the £3million pound refurbishment of the historic Old Fire Station building in the centre of Oxford. Opened in November 2011, the Birmingham based consultancy was appointed by Oxford City Council and national charity, Crisis to manage the transformation of the building into a community asset for the city.

The multi-use building provides a Crisis Skylight Centre, which offers accredited education, training and employment for the city’s homeless people. It is also home to the social enterprise Crisis Skylight Café, which provides work experience and the chance to gain vocational qualifications in the catering industry. Alongside this there is also an independent Arts Centre, which has an auditorium, a gallery and studio spaces.

The judges were impressed by Allen Construction’s effective project management which included liaising with several hundred stakeholders, securing additional funding and providing building surveying services to deal with issues regarding adjoining properties.

Judges also commented on Allen Construction’s strong project management skills after the initial contractor ROK went into administration, when all the major strip and demolition works had been carried out, leaving the building at its most vulnerable stage. Allen Construction was able to quickly address and resolve the issue by putting in place a robust plan to mitigate the cost and delays, whilst driving the retender, appointment and commencement of an alternative contractor, all within a matter of weeks.

Paul Quinney, Director & Project Manager at Allen Construction Consultancy says:

“Considering the prestigious nature of the APM Awards and the quality of the judging panel, winning this award is an incredible honour. The vision was to create a unique, dynamic and inspirational centre for creativity, skills development and enterprise that the community could be proud of. It was a very unique project, bringing together a homeless facility and an arts company, all housed under one roof.”

He continues: “It was a small and challenging building and managing the big list of stakeholders was key to the success of the project. In fact, we spent a year before commencing any work mapping all of these stakeholders, engaging with them and highlighting what part they had to play in the project. We were then able to provide confidence and commitment and, with the trust of all stakeholders, develop and lead a unified team.”

The entire project, which took a total of 40 weeks to complete, was funded by the Department of Communities and Local Governments’ ‘Places of Change’ Programme to address the significant homelessness issue within Oxford. Funding was provided on the basis that there was evidence of a positive partnership between the local authority and provider and a project management approach to the building programme.

Commenting on the project, Chief Executive of Crisis, Leslie Morphy says: “We hope Crisis Skylight Oxford will become a dynamic and inspirational ‘place of change’ for single homeless people in the city. It is wonderful to see the Old Fire Station building transformed and open.”

Local Councillor, Bob Price adds: “Oxford is a very special city and the Old Fire Station will add a new and unique dimension to our community; it will bring together students, young people, the arts community and the various charitable and voluntary groups who seek to tackle deprivation and marginalisation.”

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