Through the vehicle of the Northwin Consortium, comprising a number of Northern Ireland’s leading construction companies, we helped deliver Belfast Education and Library Board’s “biggest capital schools building programme”. As part of a Public Private Partnership, we undertook the design, build, finance, and operation responsibilities for two school campuses – Wellington College, and Balmoral High School, which included a Regional Teacher Training Unit. Notably, the requirements also featured hard maintenance services (as a subcontractor to the SPV under the 25-year PPP concession). This comprised building fabric, mechanical and electrical, planned and reactive maintenance, grounds maintenance, asset and lifecycle replacement, and the provision of helpdesk facilities.
Thanks to our ability “to make it work”, the schools and regional teacher training unit were successfully handed over in January 2002. Despite an incredibly tight 14-month building programme, close collaboration and a deep understanding of the construction process ensured agreed timelines were met, and that the connected parties could welcome pupils as planned. Typically in PPP/PFI projects, the procurement of furniture and equipment can be problematic, however, in the spirit of true partnership between the consortium, GRAHAM Facilities Management and other stakeholders, all parties worked together to meet the unique requirements of each school/college. Significantly, the seamless operation of the facilities has benefitted from GRAHAM FM’s educational expertise. The multi-skilling of engineers to provide operational and resource efficiencies, which also reduced fix/response times, was a notable innovation.
“There is a willingness on the consortium’s side to make it work and that has helped. We have not, for example, had to initiate the dispute resolution procedure and this is primarily down to the good relationships that we have established with all members of the GRAHAM FM team. To date we have been able to negotiate, talk, communicate and resolve issues.”