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Community Engagement Project of the Year: Winner

Winner: Graham – Dalbeattie Learning Campus

Construction News sought to find the best examples of community engagement during the past 12 months with this inaugural award.

The category was inundated with entries in this category – and it was Graham that emerged victorious.

The contractor was appointed through Hub South West Scotland’s framework to replace Dumfries and Galloway Council’s various nursery, primary and secondary schools with one single learning campus.

Before tendering, Graham began research into schools that could act as an inspiration for its project, and held meetings with the community. The design had no planning objections following a period of prolonged engagement. 

Designs were changed to reflect feedback from pupils. When it was suggested that moving handwashing facilities outside of bathrooms could help prevent bullying, the design was changed to reflect the suggestions.

Graham appointed a dedicated community benefit adviser to identify training opportunities.

The group hosted 11 stakeholder consultation workshops, one of which had more than 300 people in attendance. Local business owners were consulted over the routes schoolchildren would take to get to the campus and took children into ‘space labs’ to test and vote on the interiors and furniture.

“Graham showed passion, helped local suppliers to write strategies so they could win work, and put its project at the heart of everything it did”

Judges’ comment

When one pupil suggested they would like to leave class at the end of the day via a slide, it was duly installed.

Holmes Miller Architects’ Mark Ellson said: “I don’t think there was a single line drawn for this project that stakeholders weren’t engaged in controlling.”

Judges said Graham’s passion for and commitment to learning about the community and engaging with the pupils, local businesses and everyone concerned was “brilliant – a dream to work with as a client”.

“Graham showed passion, helped local suppliers to write strategies so they could win work, and put its project at the heart of everything it did,” the judges added.

“Pupil’s feedback was incorporated into design. The firm went above and beyond to immerse itself in the community and make sure the project was a two-way process, listening to the locals’ needs and providing brilliant facilities.”

Graham managed to get 71 per cent of its subcontracts through the local supply chain, which included helping some to write documents to help them to qualify. Judges said it stood out because the discussion reflected all stakeholders and was a two-way conversation.

When the community raised concerns, Graham listened. Its work has seen the contractor establish a firm foothold in the region where it has gone on to win more projects thanks to its satisfied clients.


  • BCM Construction – BCM Cable Drum Tables for Primary Schools
  • Engie – Love and Tolerance
  • Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck – Northern Spire Bridge
  • Jackson Civil Engineering – Build Your Future: Jackson’s employment and skills initiative
  • Kier – Garnock Community Campus
  • Kier – Refurbishment of Sussex Arms Welfare Centre, Baker Barracks
  • Wates Group – Kirkstall Forge, Leeds

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