RPS is the construction cost consultant for our Building The Ark project. RPS Consulting Services Limited is part of a multinational energy resources and environmental consultancy company headquartered in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. It advises clients on the built and natural environment across diverse economic sectors both public and private.

RPS has been assisting Noah’s Ark since 2015, taking the challenge of working with the broader team to integrate industry contributions and 8build as main contractor and in reporting financial progress as the build progresses. An integral part of the build team, it has shown dedication to the goals of delivering our project for best cost and supporting the construction group in managing the Build Contract.

Neil Andrews - RPS GroupNeil Andrews is the Director of RPS. Here’s more about the partnership from Neil…

“Acting as construction advisers to Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice, William Pears Group initially invited RPS to provide pro-bono construction cost advice back in 2015. Initial cost estimates were well over £6m, but the Noah’s Ark team were enthusiastic to capitalise on industry good will and seek to drive the costs down through engagement of the construction sector. ‘Do what you do best’ is the catch phrase to inspire industry specialists to offer their unique contributions.

RPS has since assisted with the construction contract and QS services. Nevertheless, this hasn’t been a standard contract arrangement by any means. The challenge was to find a mechanism to incorporate what could be relatively random offers of financial support with the cost and program risks of inserting these into a major construction contract. 8build contractors were appointed after a selection process to find a suitable construction partner prepared to be flexible in this context.

The big challenge is to build The Ark for significantly less than the commercial market rate. It certainly has not been an easy process with a lot of hard work by the Noah’s Ark team and 8build to generate opportunities and translating these into the construction process is equally challenging. With some successes and some frustrations, the building is coming along and looking tremendous as a weathertight shell with the finishing works ongoing and completion early 2019.

Many RPS locations across the world engage with their local communities through support of charitable organisations and initiatives. This consists of financial donations or contributions in kind, provided directly by RPS or through the endeavors of employees. The estimated value of this contribution in 2017 was £973,000.

In ‘Building The Ark’, the passion of the Noah’s Ark team always comes through and reminds the project team of what this is all about, which is the children and families whose lives will be transformed. Individual members of the team will also have built new and personal relationships many of which will endure, proving this scheme is all about the people. That’s what we will all look back on long after the struggles and strains of this building project are in the dim and distant past.”

Thanks to Neil for writing this article. To read more about The Ark and how the build is progressing see October build update from The Ark