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Ardmac / The Design Grove

Some groundwork…

David graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Project Management, setting him off on the path to where he finds himself now. Our Operations Manager started out as a ‘setting-out’ engineer with Galliford Try and then made the move to Balfour Beatty, thriving and advancing through key roles such as Site Supervisor.

He joined Carillion in 2005 and got started on the News International projects as a Package Manager, managing various large and complex schemes in the centre of Manchester. In 2008, he moved down to Heathrow, where he worked on a massive £460-million scheme at HRT5, and from there he became the Framework Lead for the whole of Heathrow at Carillion for several successful years. Not one for stopping there, David looked after all projects up to the value of £2million across all Heathrow terminals. In this capacity, David enjoyed working on his biggest project and greatest career achievement—Heathrow, T5C.

Then came the time for fatherhood and a return home, where he ventured into the FM Team at Carillion and handled 180 buildings. Unsurprisingly, there was a large team of 260 underneath him at the time. David was, and is, a challenger, who, it’s safe to say, is not one for resting on his laurels and is always keen to take on bigger projects and more responsibility.


Before long he was onto bigger and better things, acting as the Framework Lead for the Manchester Airports Group, where he was responsible for all airport work within Carillion across all airports within the UK. Naturally, he ascended to Aviation Director.

David has become known in the industry as a Framework specialist, an expert in dealing with everything that happens within a ‘framework’. These can be complex and require a specialist hand. There may be multiple contractors within a framework, and David can ably oversee, secure, win, deliver, hand over and so on. David also operated as Project Director on a £75million student accommodation scheme at the University of Manchester.

After Carillion, he joined a contractor called Forest based in Bolton, where he was Regional Director for Liverpool. The highlights include running three schemes and £70million worth of projects. David then had the chance to work for Crate Construction as their Business Unit Director, responsible for schemes up to the value of £50million and delivering £70million of work in the year. David has shown time and time again he is more than capable of running huge, complex schemes worth millions of pounds all the way to fruition.

All this, of course, led David to the opportunity to join Ardmac as Operations Manager of UK Construction, Fit-out and Refurbishment, where his key responsibility is to grow the ‘Fit-out’ business.

There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team’

David is the first to tell you he learnt a lot from a people management point of view as the lead of the Facilities Management team. He is a firm believer that you’re only as good as the people underneath you. The team you lead is your foundation, upon which you build success together. Without them, everything would crumble.

The Ardmac experience so far…

David has hit the ground running. His first Ardmac challenge, he says, is to bring the learning and expertise he’s gained and put it into good practice here by seeing if any of the pearls he’s picked up along the way are transferrable to any of the schemes we are running here at Ardmac. If we embark on new kinds of schemes that involve entering into frameworks, then there is no doubt David’s experience will be invaluable here. His appointment could be a game-changer in this respect.

He is currently managing a team, with four direct reports, while overseeing a further team of 15, involved in tendering and pre-construction at the moment. Overall, his team delivers projects on time and on budget. David is a great believer in customer focus because that’s what brings in the repeat work. It’s simple—you do a top job and people keep coming back.

What can David bring to the worktable?

Our new Operations Manager achieved a 10/10 on his customer service report and is looking to bring that level of quality into Ardmac to help improve customer relationships and encourage repeat work.

Something that we would like to implement at Ardmac is the net promoter score, and we wanted to get feedback so that we could continuously improve. So, this is where David can come in and make an enormous difference as we continually look to grow, expand, and keep offering an industry-leading service.

To do this, we can gather all the feedback from our work to make the experience better. David assimilates seamlessly into the Ardmac dedication to improving every time, and, of course, maintaining the best safety standards.

David’s first impressions

David tells us we have some fantastic teams, a genuine commitment to safety, and prioritise the maintenance of good relationships with all stakeholders. He’s enjoyed working here so far, and we take real pride in that.

He successfully handed over a project in Leeds and so his first port of call is looking at organising something to celebrate. This commitment to team morale and recognising the stellar efforts of everyone in the team, and the vital part they play in every project, is exactly the kind of commitment we value here at Ardmac. David recognises the important part of keeping the team together, learning how to work together, and of course, the philosophy of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.’

David is enjoying getting to know the client team as well, inviting them along to celebrate. This underlines his understanding that the customer is key to improving.

As David says, “I can’t do it on my own. It’s important to me that I make sure everyone feels valued and important, because they are.”

All in all, David says he can Support, Guide and Direct but everyone else gets the job done. The guys on the ground do all the hard work.

A day in the life of an Operations Manager

  • David speaks to the Ardmac teams daily, checking in to see if they need any help, or if there’s anything he can do to make things easier.

  • He then finds out what the key risks and pain points are and actions anything that comes through.

  • David communicates with clients regularly, making sure they are happy with the Ardmac service.

  • Next, you may find him sitting down having a brew with the pre-construction team and pulling through any info with PQQ or Tender Submissions.

  • From David’s working day, it’s clear that he believes it’s good to talk, and we’re with him all the way on that one.

  • But the fun doesn’t stop there. He works alongside the pre-construction team, estimators, design management, commercial function, and project leads.

  • The key elements that David keeps on top of are the job itself, how we deliver it, how long it will take, how to make it safe, and how much is it going to cost.

  • David also oversees the delivery of live materials and securing future workload.

David’s final comments

“The best thing about working at Ardmac are the people. I’ve been welcomed very well and felt like part of the team from the off. I know too well that without that support, things can get quite difficult. But I’m very much at home at Ardmac already. I appreciate the Ardmac way and the way we do things here.”

Meet David Pierpoint: Operations Manager, UK Construction: Text
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