BAM cites Asta Powerproject as a critical success factor in Harrogate Royal Hall refurbishment

Asta Powerproject played an instrumental role in the restoration project at the Royal Hall in Harrogate.

The contractor responsible for the refurbishment work was BAM Construction Ltd., North East, part of the European construction enterprise, Royal BAM Group, one of the largest in Europe. It used the software, which is the UK’s leading professional project management software for construction, to ensure all activities were carried out to deadline and within budget. The software also proved fundamental in helping BAM keep project stakeholders well informed of progress and in providing them with the impartial information needed to make and approve important decisions.

Asta Powerproject has been the standard project management tool at BAM since 1993. It proved to be particularly important in the refurbishment project at the Royal Hall at Harrogate for two reasons. Firstly, having received significant funding, the project involved a number of stakeholders that needed to be consulted and updated on progress of the project. These included Harrogate Borough Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Harrogate International Centre and stalwart Royal Hall Restoration Trust. Secondly, BAM Group worked for Harrogate Borough Council under a New Engineering Contract (NEC). Under the terms of the contract, BAM needed to resolve problems in a proactive way as the job proceeded. The project encountered multiple ‘compensation events’ – modifications or changes made to the plan after the initial stage. Asta Powerproject was used to calculate the impact of carrying out various solutions on the overall delivery schedule and cost of the project in order to present the findings to the stakeholders and make informed decisions.

Derek Clayton, M.C.I.O.B, BAM’s Planning Engineer, said “Maintaining the budget was a primary concern for the council. The use of Asta Powerproject helped us complete the work both to deadline and within budget.A number of important additional works took place during the course of the project as additional funding became available. These included the full restoration of the interior decoration of the auditorium and the restoration of the upper balcony. Asta Powerproject enabled us to predict the cost and impact on the overall delivery schedule of the project when implementing new activities. It enabled us to provide ‘what if scenarios’ for a number of different solutions to a given requirement and to offer complete transparency to stakeholders in the project.”

Michael McCullen, Managing Director at Asta Development said: “Delivering projects to budget and to deadline is of upmost importance at this time. We are pleased to be providing contractors with a tool that helps them plan, present and execute complex projects efficiently and professionally. We are proud to have played a role in the successful and timely delivery of the highly-commended refurbishment project at the Royal Hall.”

The Royal Hall was designed by the country’s most prolific theatre architect, Frank Matcham and is the only surviving kursaal in the UK. Opened in 1903 and named the Kursaal (a German word, meaning cure hall), it was then renamed the Royal Hall to reflect a more patriotic position during the First World War. Restoration of the hall was initiated in 2004 following a generous £6m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a £2.1m funding package from Harrogate Borough Council, and a fundraising contribution of £2.7m by the Royal Hall Restoration Trust. Also involved in the restoration project were Leeds-based project management and cost consultants Turner & Townsend and well known theatre architects, Burrell Foley Fischer.

Following the completion of the restoration, The Royal Hall was reopened by HRH Prince Charles in January 2008. In his speech he congratulated all involved in the bringing the project in on time and on budget. The project has won a number of awards including the ‘Building Project of the Year’ in the 2009 RICS Pro-Yorkshire Awards and was shortlisted in the Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award. It also has a place at the RICS national finals taking place later this year. BAM’s project manager, Geoff Wright, M.C.I.O.B, won the silver award for leading the restoration project in the industry’s annual Construction Manager of the Year Awards.

Current users of Asta Powerproject include Taylor Wimpey, Laing O’Rourke, Mace Group, Wates, Shepherd, BAM Construction, GB Building Solutions, Black and Veatch, Persimmon, Taylor Woodrow, John Sisk, Sir Robert McAlpine, Carillion.

“Asta Powerproject enabled us to predict the cost and impact on the overall delivery schedule of the project when implementing new activities. It enabled us to provide ‘what if scenarios’ for a number of different solutions to a given requirement and to offer complete transparency to stakeholders in the project.”

Derek Clayton, M.C.I.O.B, Planning Engineer, BAM Construction Ltd.