It’s a long way from Cape Town to Dublin, but that’s the path 2022 Irish Construction Excellence Awards nominee Shawn Lamprecht has taken.
The affable South African is proud to be a finalist in the ‘Construction Project Manager of the Year’ category for The Spencer Hotel Extension, which is one of Townlink Construction’s finest projects to date. Shawn was the Project Manager on the €7.4 million extension to the popular Dublin city centre hotel, and successfully delivered the project within a very challenging and logistically tight site.
With over 16 years’ experience in construction management, Shawn had worked in South Africa and UAE before relocating to Ireland in 2019. In fact, the project had already commenced before he took over as Project Manager in October of that year. His outstanding work on The Spencer Hotel Extension has since seen him promoted to the position of Contracts Manager with Townlink Construction.
The Irish Construction Excellence Awards are the original and premier recognition of performance excellence for the contracting sector in Ireland, and provide an opportunity for the industry to showcase and reward best practice across the full range of construction disciplines and project categories.
“It’s an honour to be shortlisted for an award like this,” Shawn says.
“It was a team effort; a collaborative effort. I had a good team behind me and that’s why I like working for Townlink. We’re a small construction company with 35-40 staff in which everyone has a part to play. We’re a trusted main contractor that has been in the market for 30 years. Everyone pulls in the same direction.”
Shawn delivered the 42-bedroom extension to The Spencer Hotel and Conference Rooms – located in the heart of Dublin’s financial district on North Wall Quay – for client MHL Hotel Collection in two phases. He took responsibility for the quality and Health & Safety on site, and adapted plans and strategies mid-project in order to facilitate working during the pandemic. Shawn spent time with all of those involved in the project to ensure excellence was produced. He always had the client’s desires at the forefront of his plans and strategies for the delivery of this outstanding project.
“The most important thing for me was that the client was very happy with both the progress of the project and the end result. It was delivered with the expected quality of the client and design team in very challenging circumstances caused by Covid-19,” he adds.
Space was made for the additional bedrooms through the demolition of pre-existing conference facilities. The seventh floor of the hotel was extended as part of the works and the 42 new bedrooms brought the total capacity to 209. All associated landscaping, drainage and other site works were also completed as part of the project. The project was undertaken in a live environment and the site was restrictive and tight.
“I moved to Ireland in October 2019 and took over as Project Manager then after being hired by Townlink Construction,” Shawn explains.
“Works on the project were underway since May of that year. As a result of the pandemic affecting the progression of works and in order to provide client satisfaction, the project was completed in two phases.
“In June 2020, the 42 bedrooms were completed and September 4th was the finishing date for the conference rooms. This change to the programme allowed for the client to be able to take over the new bedrooms and put them into use as soon as possible following immense disruption to the hospitality sector as a result of lockdowns.
“I monitored the project programme closely and took responsibility for the resequencing of the programme to ensure the project could progress at a steady pace. I adopted effective strategies for the delivery of materials due to how tight the site was logistically. I liaised regularly with the hotel to ensure they could offer their services to the highest standards with minimal disruptions for the guests.”
A combination of Brexit and Covid-19 provided Shawn and his team with many unforeseen challenges which they met head on.
“At the outset of the project, certain materials were sourced easily from the UK. But following Brexit, I had to consider different suppliers and disruptions to suppliers from the UK. Staying in touch with all UK-based suppliers was key to ensuring deliveries were undisturbed. Costs were monitored weekly by quantity surveyors and I had to ensure we stayed on budget without jeopardising the quality,” he recalls.
“The project was delivered during a very difficult time in the construction industry and although the pandemic caused a lot of disruption, I was still able to deliver it to the highest standard of quality whilst maintaining all extra Health & Safety procedures that had to be implemented. We adhered to the CIF Covid-19 SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) which was a brilliant initiative.
“This was an extremely challenging site logistically which meant I had to alter my strategy for taking materials on site. There was no extra space on site and once materials arrived, they had to be used.”
The client was very impressed by the seamless progress of the project, with MHL Development Manager Eanna Murtagh noting: “The project was a challenging one within a confined site, an extension with multiple tie-in points to an existing structure, a constant interface with the hotel which remained open throughout, and a requirement to maintain relations with neighbouring building occupiers and the local area management company.
“Evidenced by the smooth progress of the project, we found Shawn to be a diligent and professional construction manager, always working patiently with us the client and other members of the team to solve the day-to-day challenges of the project while retaining the focus to drive overall progress on multiple fronts.”
Since its foundation in 1991, Townlink Construction has become a leading main building contractor. From the outset, Townlink’s vision has been to grow steadily while consistently delivering high-quality projects across Dublin and its surrounding areas. The founders and team have worked tirelessly to take Townlink from a small start-up to a premier Irish construction company averaging a turnover of over €40 million.
In 2019, Townlink appointed David Caufield as Managing Director, John Bardon as Construction Director and Joe Boyle as Commercial Director as a result of the growth and development of the company in recent years. Townlink has always worked off a low-level management structure where the opinion of staff is valued and they feel part of the organisation. Senior management are closely involved in the day-to-day running of the business which has been the key to delivering success on-and-off site.
Townlink Construction Ltd
10 Greenhills Business Park,
Telephone: (353) 1 4627131
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, July 2022, Vol 8 No 7