Karl shows the 'wannabes' how its done to scoop gold at UK Construction Awards

John Hooks


John Hooks



KARL Jordan’s collaborative, design-led approach to this remodelling of an office block as a hotel in a restricted location combined insight and intelligence, vision and talent.

Those were the comments of the judges as a Blackwatertown man scooped a gold medal for winning his category at the UK Construction Manager of the Year awards which took place last month in the Grosvenor Hotel in London’s Mayfair.

The 34 year old, who is a former pupil of St Malachy’s Primary School and St Patrick’s Grammar School in Armagh, fought off stiff competition  in the leisure category with initially 3500 entrants being whittled down to 150 and then to 63 for the final.

Employed by Gilbert Ash, this is the first time anyone from the company has has won a prize at the awards.

Karl has worked very hard and says without the support of his wife Caroline his parents Agatha and Philp and his employers, Gilbert Ash this achievement would not be possible.  Karl is married with four young boys Dylan 6, Emmet 3, Tomas 2 and Micheál 6 months.

Karl’s winning entry was for the work he completed turning the Hub by Premier Inn in Tothill Street, Westminister from an office block into a hotel.

“Karl Jordan’s collaborative, design-led approach to this remodelling of an office block as a hotel in a restricted location combined insight and intelligence, vision and talent,” said the judges.

“He identified the potential for adding another score of bedrooms by building a double mezzanine in the basement. And his proposal to leave most of the existing plant room area, external walls and roof in place, overcladding rather than removing them, delivered an enormous budget boost for the project. The client was delighted.

“Proactive leadership, technical innovation and collaborative teamwork are virtues that more aspire to than deliver. On this conversion of a seven-storey office block to a hotel, Karl Jordan showed the wannabes how it’s done.

“During the client’s site strip, Karl undertook a fully measured building survey to aid the design team and supply chain in ensuring all bedrooms could be built as proposed. The building information model generated helped him realise that what was being planned as a 316-bedroom hotel had in fact enough head space to allow for 21 extra bedrooms by fitting a double mezzanine in the basement.

“The client was understandably ecstatic at the prospect of a substantial extra income stream for little extra capital outlay.

“Karl then concluded that instead of completely removing the existing plant room area, external walls and roof, he could leave the structure and most of the carcass in place and overclad it.

“He identified and located the key thermal details for the robust airtightness required – vapour membrane, cladding rails, cladding and insulation on the walls and roof, roof strengthening, etc. It not only saved costs on remedials and removals, but the retention of the plant room structure created space for an additional two bedrooms, giving the client a further unexpected room count bonus.

“And when, during the final stages with the bedroom fit-out virtually complete, an oversail agreement for the replacement of a full-height curtain wall could not be secured, Karl stepped up again.

“He not only managed the fiendishly difficult task of installing the new curtain wall 150mm back from its original position without damaging the internal finishes in a tight-tolerance and limited-access environment, but also met the client’s request for handover six weeks earlier to generate the funds to cover the unforeseen expense of the facade replacement.

“Add to all that his ability to overcome significant delivery and access restrictions, meet the stringent acoustic criteria through intricate detailing, the construction of bedrooms from preformed pods, a drainage reconfiguration and new storage tank installation, new lift cores and a highly complicated design and install of bedrooms within a restricted footprint, as well as crucial party wall negotiations, and it’s clear Karl’s input was significantly more inspirational than aspirational.” 

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