A look behind the scenes at the activities of the Project Team working on the IALS Transformation Project 2018-2020, by Andrew Beach.
The IALS Transformation Project has been up and running now for well over a year and is on schedule, within budget and delivering a high quality environment for both users and staff, with minimum disruption.
The 4th and 3rd floors are essentially complete and fully in use with fitting-out works now taking place on the combined 2nd and 1st floors.
Feedback from staff and library users has been very positive. The team makes great efforts to ensure clear and regular communications with everyone who may be affected by specific activities. Extensive use is made of a large whiteboard in reception to keep library users and visitors informed.
Minimum disruption are the key words of the Project Cornerstone used by the main contractor Overbury as a way to focus the minds of its operatives and sub-contractors on the importance of the job at hand.
The full text of the Cornerstone is ‘Meeting the changing needs of the Institute and enhancing the experience of both staff and users, with minimum disruption’.
At various times in the last year the Project Team have used an alternative saying in their weekly Catch-Up meetings to describe the nature of certain aspects of the project – ‘You couldn’t make it up!’
A classic example was the The Colour Blue…….
When it came to painting doors in the 4th floor lift lobby, Overbury asked for the detail of the blue paint colour in use at IALS. The information was supplied and doors painted in Azure Blue Ref: 18C39, only for the Library team to then point out that the colour used was not the right blue!!!
The Project Team started looking into the matter and discovered that the paint that had been used for occasional touching up was clearly not a great match and that Ref: 18C39 was not in fact Azure Blue but Dolphin Blue. Dolphin Blue was then tried in both satinwood and eggshell. The test area chosen was the inside of the Project Office door which now looks like a patchwork quilt.
It turned out that Dolphin Blue was still not right and the only way to get a good match was for the existing paint to be scanned and a specific mix to be made up. We now have the correct colour blue.
At times this piece of detailed research combined with repeated trial and error looked and felt like a comedy sketch. The subject was reported on at Steering Group meetings, Project Progress meetings and IALS Management Committee meetings. It was intensely frustrating and at the same time increasingly hilarious but we got there in the end.
By the way, the paint is called 9030-S7020B10G (but is also affectionately known as IALS Blue).