Ashberry Homes, Whitehouse Park, Milton Keynes – Foundation Record
ECL’s site manager, Peter Fil, helps set new company foundation record, laying 250 plots, the highest total completed, within just three-and-a-half months. At the same time, smashing the program timeline and finishing two weeks ahead of schedule.
The Whitehouse Park scheme in Milton Keynes was delivered for Ashberry Homes, part of the Bellway Group.
The development is situated on land south of Watling Street and east of Calverton Lane. The 275 homes are part of the broader Whitehouse neighbourhood, which has outline planning permission for more than 4,000 new homes.
At the end of February, the groundwork team was swept in to commence work amid the infrastructure phase and fast-track the project to avoid costs associated with the latest building regulation update set for June 2023.
Peter Fil (aka Pete) commented: “In under four months, we had 250 units left to complete. I just didn’t think it was possible. But we saw it as a challenge.”
“This job was just unique with how close we had to work with the Infrastructure team. The communication between the management on both sides had to be spot on for it to work, and it did, it worked well.” Added Pete.
With the total weight of the ECL machine pulling together and with the resources of Head Office Buying and Technical teams working in collaboration with the on-site teams, ECL was uniquely placed to make the impossible possible.
But this project was not without its complications, and in true Brit weather style, the first two weeks were met with torrential downpours causing interruptions in infrastructure works.
Pete remarked: “The infrastructure guys were getting behind because of the weather. That’s where it got interesting; we had to re-plan the plot work day by day, dotting all over the site to avoid missing the deadline.”
For an arduous 55 days and sometimes nights, the groundwork team laboured methodically week by week, excavating Monday to Thursday, pouring Tuesday to Friday and using Friday to complete plot pours to ensure no plots were left open over the weekend.
“We had four GPS machines digging and another gang pouring roughly 100m3 of concrete per day with a twenty-one tonne excavator to achieve our daily foundation target of 4-7 plots.”
“The biggest concrete pour was 260m3 for a block of flats. On Monday, we had all four GPS machines in action so that on Tuesday, we could pour the entire 260m3 of concrete. That was some going!” said Pete.
Despite the weather and issues with the vast loads of concrete deliveries causing the team to work late into the night, the ECL site team at Whitehouse Park nailed it: Constructing 250 foundations and handing over the scheme on May 15th, ready for development, two weeks ahead of schedule.
Pete added: “I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime, and I’ve been in the industry since I was 17.”
“This is easily the biggest number of foundations I’ve delivered in such a short space of time.
“I have to say that the lads I had were top-notch. The groundworkers worked to a very high standard, and our machine drivers, Andy Gilbert, Chris Darby, Mick O’Neil and Cliff Edwards, were the best of the best.
We completed what we did because of the team I had in place, and we couldn’t have done it without them.”
David Fil, ECL’s Construction Director, followed on by saying, “I’d like to add that this couldn’t have been achieved without the support of so many moving parts within ECL all coming together. The Buying and Technical Departments both excelled under extreme pressure and grabbed the task with both hands until it was delivered. Great teamwork by all involved.”