Business Gazette September 1991

A £70 million project which is transforming Woking's town centre

The Peacocks tale

The Taylor Woodrow personnel on site manage the work of approximately 100 contractors ranging from heavy civil engineering piling to intricate feature plaster work.

Gloucester Square with The Peacocks                         

Walford Pears (left) MD of Computerline with Taylor Woodrow executives on site at the Peacocks

AFTER two years' work and about six months to go, the huge Peacocks development looms over Woking and is clearly set to transform the town centre with a new life-style for the millennium.

The £70 million scheme incorporates a new covered shopping centre on three main levels with a glass atrium (unmatched in size in the United Kingdom) forming the core of the development with well lit and attractive malls extending from it.

Additionally, there is to be a new arts and entertainment complex The existing Rhoda McGraw Theatre is to be refurbished and integrated into the plans as well as a new spectacular 1,300-seal auditorium; plus a three-screen cinema and a night club. There will also be a new function suite and four committee rooms available for hire -and a new library.

Car parking for some 2,500 cars will be available to users of The Peacocks with direct access to the centre via glass wall climber lifts providing a dramatic-entrance into the main atrium.


The project is a joint development by London & Edinburgh Trust, Allied Lyons and Woking Borough Council, and the main contractor is the widely experienced Taylor Woodrow Management Contracting whose progress has been rapid and bang on schedule

The function of the 40 Taylor Woodrow personnel on site at Woking, is to manage the work of approximately 100 contractors ranging from heavy civil engineering piling to intricate feature plaster work. To manage such a diverse spread of activities, Taylor Woodrow called on their preferred method -a personal computer-based project management system called PLANTRAC.

PLANTRAC was designed and developed by a Surrey company, Computerline. based at Woodham near Weybridge. Computerline has the distinction of having designed the world's first PC-based project management software package. Walford Pears, Managing Director of Computerline (who incidentally also lives in Woking), was responsible for the original design.

Nick Ring is the Taylow Woodrow Planning Manager on site at The Peacocks. With a background in mechanical engineering, he has been with the company for 15 years. Five years ago he joined its central computing department and, after an initial period, he helped to develop and enhance the use of computer systems in the company and assisted in the training of personnel in their use. Four years ago he joined the management contracting operation to put his skills to use on site. He has been working in Woking since June 1989.

At the tender stage, Taylor Woodrow Management Contracting prepares programmes using PLANTRAC for submission to the client outlining the main areas of works and the logical sequence that they be carried out. These programmes are developed when the contracts are awarded.

At The Peacocks development, the enabling works programme was expanded from the tendered programme of ten activities to nearly a hundred. This programme consisted of the demolition of the swimming pool, spiral ramps and library as well as the construction of new car park access ramps and the A320 road diversion.

Additionally, the main construction programmes was expanded from 200 to 856 activities. Breaking down the project in this way enables Taylor Woodrow to monitor the progress of the project, to identify problem areas and to advise the project team of recommended remedial action.


As the project progresses, the completed activities are summarised to maintain an "audit trail" of the project. The activities forming the next phase - such as the finishes - are expanded to provide the required degree of project control.

To assist in the procurement of the work package contractors, Taylor Woodrow uses PRE-POD. This is primarily a materials scheduling software package that is now used alongside PLANTRAC It provides a checklist of dates when items have to be completed to get the work package contractor on site on lime. These encompass dates calculated from lead times when drawings have to be issued, bills of quantities compiled, tenders issued and returned etc.

PLANTRAC also generates the monthly summary progress report for submission to the client. This takes the form of a bar chart report and key date schedule showing actual progress against the planned.

Walford Pears (left) with Nick Ring. Nick Ring's verdict on PLANTRAC mirrors that of the entire Taylor Woodrow team: "It's a good all round system - versatile, reliable and easy to use."

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