Northcote House

University of Exeter

Project Details


University of Exeter

Project Manager

Faithful + Gould


Faithful + Gould


Morgan Sindall



Contract Period

25 weeks

Procurement Type


Form of Contract

JCT 2011 SFC

Project Brief

The works involved removing and replacing all existing external windows and external doors, providing a new fire alarm and emergency lighting system, new sub-main power installation and new heating distribution pipework and radiators. Due to the pre-construction stage being very short, our team had to ensure a speedy and accurate order for new windows which were manufactured by Nordic and immediately delivered to site for just in time arrival for fitting.

The works were completed within an occupied building out of hours ie all works carried out overnight from 6pm – 7am leaving the areas in a suitable condition for re-use by the building users the following day which included the relocation of furniture and all associated equipment. The works also included floor slab concrete repairs acting as lintels. The works were completed within an occupied building over a series of 24 weekly phases.

These phases were programmed in detail with the stakeholders to incorporate each of their requirements ie to take into account their busy times; for example there was a 3 week period within the central block when it operated as a 24 hour call centre for a telethon. Within the programme, consideration was also given for graduation weeks, exam periods and open days. Each phase was vacated at the end of each working day and all works delivered out of hours.  Works also included the erection and dismantling the scaffold around the live building, campus and the car park for Northcote House.

Key Challenges

The building is the main HQ of the University which is occupied by all of the senior management team at the University including the Vice Chancellor.

The window installation around the Vice Chancellor’s office (Executive Suite) needed to be within strict timescales to be “seen and not heard”. We created a scheduled timetable with the building occupants so they were all aware of busy and noisy periods enabling them to plan their meetings accordingly.

There were to be exams held within the building throughout the duration of our works therefore a schedule was worked out around timetables. Works were then planned to commence out of hours and at weekends to hand back the offices on the Monday.

To enable the building to remain fully operational without disruption and accommodating the out of hours working, we photographed each room prior to the shift starting, moved all furniture away from the windows ready to remove and replace and then put the room back to how it was in the morning ready for staff to use the office space. The building was a large building and the works as such were done under multiple phases with each requiring very close liaison with the building users within each office area.

Project Takeaways

Our Success

  • Cost Management: Throughout the project as contract change was identified we provided quick quotations with supporting information and a detailed breakdown of the costs. All change and instructions were included in our valuation document with a rolling final account figure continuously reported on and advised to the client.
  • Delivered within budget: The project was delivered within the client’s budget with the final cost for the contract works coming in below contract sum. This allowed the client to spend additional funds and increase the scope of the project to include additional windows not included in the original scope with a number of additional internal doors and screens.
  • Value Management & VE: One area in which savings were made was by identifying areas where internal blind replacement was not required. This omitted a large portion of the works and provided a saving to the client. A number of works within the schedule were also reduced in number to provide additional value to the client in the form of savings.

Our Learnings

  • During the works to remove the windows, we encountered issues with the brick work at the heads, this was due to poor construction details when the building was first built back in the 1950s. To rectify this we had to undertake extensive remedial works to correct the head details with temporary work and structural designs. These works were all completed within a week, benefiting the already tight programme/phases. We fabricated our own steel lintels which were bespoke to the project and added another 2 trades into our process of works with great success and no impact to the programme.

Value Added

  • Morgan Sindall’s early engagement allowed them to complete a detailed appraisal of the project’s challenges and budget, offering their expertise and experience in dealing with the various logistical, design, financial and very specific working requirements of the project.

KPI’s & Statistics

ContractGateway 3 Contract AgreementGateway 4 Contract CompletionVariation
Time24 weeks24 weeks0 weeks