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Project of the Year (£10m-£20m): Winner

Winner: Galliford Try – East Midlands Airport Runway Refurbishment

The East Midlands Airport runway refurbishment is a ground-breaking project that has the potential to change the industry.

Galliford Try refurbished the entire 3 km runway for East Midlands Airport over seven consecutive weekend closures lasting 48 hours each.

This was a project with a difference that faced a number of unusual challenges, all of which the judges felt Galliford Try tackled with aplomb.

Meticulous planning was needed from the start in order to alleviate risk and avoid delays throughout.  There was no room for any slip-ups whatsoever, as even a small amount of debris left on the runway could get caught in a plane’s engine.

In addition, with aircraft landings timed for immediately after each closure, it was of the utmost importance that the site was handed over on time.

Over the 48-hour period, an average of 12,000 t of existing surface needed to be removed and the same volume of new asphalt laid – 7,000 tonnes more than the amount used during a typical motorway closure.

“Galliford Try’s logistical grip on this project was phenomenal”

Judges’ comment 

Around 350 people were working on site each weekend and the airport setting meant that vigorous security checks had to be conducted before anyone could access the site.

The judges praised how the project, which posed a mammoth logistical challenge, was run with military precision by Galliford Try.

Despite heavy-duty movements through a single gated access point – which could peak to 80 plant and people movements an hour – there were no accidents or RIDDORs on the project. The panel described this health and safety record, and Galliford Try’s logistical grip on the scheme, as “phenomenal”.

The project is an excellent example of collaboration between client and contractor, enabling Galliford to complete the works with 12 hours to spare.

The contractor showed impressive instances of innovation, despite the scheme seemingly not offering many opportunities to do so. In particular, a special tarmac (Beton Bitumeux Aeronautique asphalt) was used, which bought Galliford some much-needed time to deliver the project.

The team has also shared best practice - lessons learned on this project in terms of planning and maintaining compliance of security at airfields have been shared to ensure this expertise is offered to other customers throughout the industry.

The judges felt that the project was an “industry-first” in terms of the innovation on display, setting an example of how construction could and should operate.


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