Colm Henry, Contract Manager for Realtime Civil Engineering speaks to CONSTRUCT

Colm Henry, Contract Manager for Realtime Civil Engineering speaks to CONSTRUCT

Member Profile – Realtime Civil Engineering Ltd 

Colm Henry – Contract Manager

Please provide an introduction such as your name, job role, how long with Realtime, etc. 

Colm is a highly experienced and ambitious Contracts Manager with a strong understanding of the role and responsibilities associated with the profession. He has been with Realtime since 2017 and has over 20 years’ experience within the industry, working on a variety of projects.  

He has strong analytical abilities, and assists in preconstruction estimating, programming and value engineering. He regularly works with clients and principal contractors regarding costs, programming and buildability. He has proven his capabilities in project management, project planning, coordination and implementation with extensive knowledge of computer applications and programs. He has excellent leadership skills, can effectively convey ideas and work collaboratively across a wide variety of site-specific challenges in addition to working effectively as part of a team.  

 Tell us a little bit about the company and your own career. 

Realtime Civil Engineering Ltd has been successfully trading since 1989 and has grown to become one of the leading groundwork’s contractors in the London and Home Counties regions. Realtime have gained a reputation from some of the country’s top contractors and prestigious clients for providing a quality service with a non-confrontational approach, thus leading to a large amount of repeat business. 

Realtime Civil Engineering have vast experience in groundworks, substructure & superstructure activities within the commercial, residential, educational, and health care sectors of the industry. The company has direct labour and plant resources to deliver the most complex and challenging construction projects ranging in value from £250,000 to £14,000,000. 

Realtime Civil Engineering work with a wide array of blue-chip clients which include Sir Robert McAlpine, Mace Group, BAM, DML, Astra Zeneca, Kier Group, The Austin Company, and Stanhope. 

Tell us about your current site and any issues you have had to overcome.  

The Westbury Hotel is an eight storey building located in Mayfair and it occupies a corner plot on the junction of New Bond Street and Conduit Street in Westminster City Council area.  

The project is a cut and carve of the existing building. Approximately one third of the super structure has been demolished for a new steel frame to be erected alongside an additional 2 floors above. Within the basement Realtime have demolished 75% of the B1 footprint to enable access for mini rig pilling. Upon completion of this, the retained structure has been jacked via 28no of the existing columns at the soffit of GF, standing upon frames which transfer the live load down into 112no CHS’ within the piles previously constructed.

This enables the removal of the 200 linear m of existing strip foundations (2.5m wide, 1.5m deep) and subsequent completion of 4m dig to formation of the new B2 slab. Alongside the jacking, RCE have Design and installed temporary works to include, but not limited to, the earth support structure to existing B1-B2 perimeter. Formation of the B2 basement slab inclusive of; waterproofing membrane, cavity drain, and concrete topping slab. Detailed design of the basement waterproofing system in line with the design intent information provided by the Client’s Consultants. 

The challenges have been a relatively small footprint of works against the number of contractors working within the area, with phased handovers meaning on various occasions, Realtime, Demolition Contractors, Piling Contractors, Steelwork Contractor have all been working directly alongside and with each other to achieve planned outputs. 

Have you undertaken any sustainability or environmental initiatives on your current site?  

Realtime are currently transitioning to electric powered plant across all projects where possible and practical. At the Westbury Hotel project electric powered dumpers, a static electric concrete pump, and a Brokk electric demolition robot have been implemented. This has eradicated the requirement for diesel powered equivalents and has dramatically reduced the carbon emissions on the project.  All remaining diesel-powered plant and company owned vehicles delivering to the project are fuelled using HVO biofuel.  Our biofuel suppliers are diligently assessed to ensure the HVO is sourced from 100% waste materials and is virgin crop free and are accredited to substantiate this. 

Please provide information on any operatives on site who are undergoing an apprenticeship. 

Adam Campbell, Trainee Construction Manager 

Adam researched and pitched his course to Realtime Civil Engineering, and in September 2022 began his Construction Site Supervisor Apprenticeship at Southbank College. 

Whilst with Realtime, he has also taken additional courses on Level 1 in Health and Safety, Sustainable Construction Environment, Electrical Site Safety, Construction Management, PASMA, 1st aid at work, Mental Health Awareness, Manual Handling, Fire Marshal training, Document Control (Aconex) and Asbestos Identification. 

Since joining Adam has been a proactive participant, his primary role is supporting Site Management with Quality and Health and Safety paperwork, ensuring items are ready for the week ahead, as well as managing/filing Site documents to adhere to Realtime’s’ ISO Standards.  

Adam also assists the Senior Engineer on a high-profile grade 2 listed building contract one day a week with setting out and surveying.  

Realtime’s H&S department have prepared an abridged version of the SMSTS course for him to work through over several months, which allows him to better understand the importance of Health & Safety Law and the role of a site manager in being compliant and able to manage a safe and efficient site.  

How is Realtime coping with current construction issues such as material and workforce shortages, etc? Is there any action you’re taking?  

Cost inflation is still a challenge however material availability issues have eased considerably compared to the last two years. Realtime actively engage with suppliers at tender stage with the aim of mitigating any issues during the project. On some projects the company have been able to pre-purchase, which has given more certainty.  

Realtime have a highly skilled, longstanding workforce with high retention and low turnover of staff. 

What is your outlook for the concrete structures and groundworks industry for the next 3 years?  

Comment from Damien Gallagher, MD:  

The outlook for the industry is somewhat uncertain with economic and industry professionals predicting a recession or at best a significant downturn form the previous two years growth following the COVID-19 economic interruption. This is mainly linked to the residential slow down due to current market pressures and interest rate increases which have affected the market. 

However, we are optimistic as commercial and public opportunities appear to be increasing, so, looking forward for the next 3 years, I believe we will see better opportunities in the new commercial and mixed-use new build sector, as well as the continued growth in the retrofit market which continues to repurpose some of the country’s finest existing building stock, which in many cases leads to retrofitting basements and additional sub-structure spaces. 

What activities run by CONSTRUCT such as forums and committees are you and or Realtime involved in?  

Realtime attend and participate in various forums and committees within Construct, such as Groundworks, Health & Safety, Temporary Works, and Sustainability & Training committees. The company have found these to be extremely beneficial to all the relevant departments and have actively been involved in hosting a number of meetings. Realtime have also arranged Mental Health awareness training through Construct.  

What else would you like CONSTRUCT to do for your organisation 

Realtime would welcome more active involvement from Construct via site visits and training opportunities. 

Get the latest news from CONSTRUCT