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Project of the Year (under £10m): Winner

Winner: Willmott Dixon – Bolton Albert Halls

The construction industry at its best has to power to reshape communities, breathing new life into old assets and leaving a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.

In a fiercely fought category where most of the entrants would fit this description, one scheme came out on top, described by our judging panel as a “flagship project” for its town.

Willmott Dixon’s refurbishment of the Grade II-listed Bolton Albert Halls for Bolton Council transformed a building with a number of legacy defects into a revitalised, modern public venue at the heart of the town centre, acting as a catalyst for future regeneration.

The team was faced with a 71-week programme and a tight budget, with an undefined scope of works due to the nature of the building. To make it more complicated, the building had to remain live as an office for Bolton Council, ensuring that work had to be meticulously planned and phased to minimise disruption.

The work to be done included re-roofing, re-pointing of external stonework, asbestos removal, soft strip and demolition, lift installations, M&E installation, original flooring restoration, and other general upgrades and decoration.

“This is a flagship project for the town, demonstrating a highly effective client-contractor relationship”

Judges’ comment

The judges were particularly impressed at the close collaboration between Willmott Dixon and the client, with the team carefully managing expectations against what could be achieved on the budget.

Health and safety performance was very strong, too, and the team’s approach to asbestos removal was commended by the judges.

A six-week survey was conducted before works began with 800 samples taken, allowing Willmott to develop the scope of works with the input of the client, developing a 12-week programme and a management plan that was bespoke to the council’s requirements. This saved time and ensured that no unexpected surprises affected the project later on.

The project was delivered on time and on budget, with the programme developed in conjunction with the client as the scope of works developed, incorporating more than 100 variations.

The judging panel said: “This project achieved real value for money, with a strong approach to health and safety. It leaves a lasting legacy for the client by restoring an older building to its former glory.”

Impressively, the project was handed over defect-free to the happy client, giving an old building a new lease of life in the heart of Bolton town centre.


  • Bam Nuttall: Tower Bridge Refurbishment, London
  • Northumbrian Water: Brunton Park Flood Alleviation Scheme, Newcastle
  • Premier Modular: New Islington Free School, Manchester
  • Seddon Construction: Tesito House, Manchester
  • Torsion Group: St James, Newcastle
  • Willmott Dixon: Harlow College, Essex

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