Scape: Behind the Silverware Part 1

The real stories that helped clients scoop top construction awards for two Scape projects.

The glitz and glamour of an awards evening is the result of years of grit, guts and determination. This two part series written by Tom Woodhead, Group Business Services Director strips back the success and looks at the specific issues and resolutions that helped two recent Scape Projects receive recognition at two industry awards.

The first part explores the National Space Centre Project and the aspirations of the client to make, a challenging, fast paced scheme a success.


  • Winner – Constructing Excellence Award for Integration and Collaborative Working
  • Winner – Constructing Excellence Award for Value

Project Overview

The National Space Centre is an educational charity, visitor attraction and conference facility dedicated to space, which attracts around 300,000 visitors annually. Housing six interactive galleries, over 150 hands-on elements and a world class artefact collection, it is also home to the UK’s largest planetarium and iconic 42 metre-high Rocket Tower. The brief was to deliver a cost-effective 190m2 new build extension to create an ‘out of this world’ visitor experience, whilst the centre remained open.

Efficient Procurement

The Scape framework was vital for the client to deliver the works within their timeframe. The project was taken from stage three design, developed, and mobilised within 11 weeks, delivering the building approximately 14 weeks earlier than possible through traditional procurement.

Tom highlighted that this collaborative approach enabled the space centre to open in time for the lucrative summer holiday period. “One key issue we were acutely aware of was Trip Advisor, and maintaining the National Space Centre’s excellent reputation and reviews during the build. It’s something that is becoming increasingly important when working in operational visitor attractions and we regularly monitor it when working on such high-profile sites.”

Chas Bishop CEO, National Space Centre said: “Scape allowed us to form strong collaborative relationships from the beginning. All members of the team were fully engaged and committed to understanding and delivering our vision.”

True Collaboration to Deliver Technical Excellence

Collaboration is two-way, with Woodhead Group sponsoring “Ignite”, a National Space Centre initiative that focuses on developing the next generation of scientists and engineers. It has also hosted corporate events at the centre, reciprocating the relationship and building lasting bonds.

Tom commented, “We hosted 22 contractors and supply chain partners at the National Space Centre for a team building day. At the start of the project we signed up to their Ignite Programme which gave us many corporate benefits, one of which was a ‘Challenger Mission.’ The experience was incredible and we were pleased to be able to support the National Space Centre.”

“The Ignite Programme was mentioned at an informal catch up, having regular discussions with clients is crucial to finding out how we can all add value to each other’s business, it really is a win win.”

Adding Value in the Community

The project team worked with the National Space Centre, supply chain, Considerate Constructors Scheme and a local school, Beaumont Leys to deliver an interactive learning programme called “Classronaunts”, where experts from Sent into Space inspired learners to engage with STEM subjects.

Tom expanded on this, “We specifically held dialogue with the National Space centre to identify a school to support, with the space centres existing relationship with Beamont Leys School, it really helped us tailor an initiative that would be beneficial to our client and the school whilst linking it to the project”

The event culminated with a high altitude space launch, sending a golden bolt to the edge of space. Whilst in flight, the balloon’s location was tracked and live footage taken from the capsule, leaving an innovative legacy for all involved. The golden bolt was presented to the Space Centre and the School received the soft toy that was launched to space. An inspirational and unforgettable day for all involved.

The Scape framework places great emphasis on local spend and local procurement to boost the economic growth. 47% of local labour was sourced within 25 miles of site and 53% of the local spend within 40 miles.

The Invisible Contractor

79,000 people continued to visit the centre as works took place, with no public complaints about the construction works. VIP events, weddings and exhibitions continued as planned which was a key client driver.

Six of the best – Paving the way for Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) Best Practice

A key part of the recent award applications focused on the CCS achievements, all six of them!

We worked with the Scheme to register the project as an “Ultra Site”

    1. The first Ultra Site recorded through the Scape framework
    2. The first Ultra Site scheme under £1m in value
    3. The first Ultra Site scheme under 52-weeks in duration

The project pushed the boundaries of considerate construction scoring 48/50 which benchmarked added value against 9,000 other sites, placing it within the top 1% in the UK. The score resulted in three areas of Innovation:

  1. Free on site gym for the workforce
  2. Community engagement through the Classtrounaughts programme
  3. Exemplar first impressions with enhanced signage and visitor wayfinding.

These innovations in particular epitomised the Woodhead Group ethos of collaboration, providing community benefit and adding value wherever possible.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme was well received by the supply chain, with many seeing the client benefits and signing up, becoming members. By working together, this will continuously improve the image of construction into the future.

Looking at the CCS Report, which was referenced in the award applications, Tom focused on one aspect in particular that helped secure the award recognition “Registering the site as an Ultra Site, really inspired the team and supply chain to take best practice to the next level. the lessons we learned on site have been cascaded into the business. I would encourage all contractors to have an ultra-site mentality, it drives improvement and engagement which leads to continuous improvement.”

It’s also important to celebrate success, it was a particular highlight to attend the National ceremony in March with the team. Click here to read about the National Space Centre project on the CCS best practice hub

To find out how your project can benefit via Scape, please get in touch with our team. Click here to contact us.