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Project of the Year (under £15m): Winner

Winner: VolkerFitzpatrick – Stratford Retaining Wall

“Industry problem-solving at its very best” was how the judging panel summed up VolkerFitzpatrick’s Stratford Retaining Wall in naming it Project of the Year (under £15m).

This year’s category proved to be one of the most competitive on record, with the judges commending aspects of every single finalist and debating long and hard over the ultimate winner.

However, the substantial amount of value created for its client Lendlease, combined with its exemplary approach to health, safety and sustainability, saw VolkerFitzpatrick edge in front to clinch this year’s prize.

Lendlease brought in VolkerFitzpatrick to design, supply and install a 305 m-long retaining wall on the southern boundary of its International Quarter development in east London, adjacent to Docklands Light Railway and Network Rail lines.

Of three outline designs developed at tender, the preferred option was a reinforced concrete wall that minimised distances from a high-voltage cable, a major sewer and the boundary fence to the DLR, just 4.5 m away.

VolkerFitzpatrick’s design allowed the wall and parapet to be realigned by up to 6 m, which in turn enabled Lendlease to create 5,000 sq m of additional developable space. So significant was this added value that Lendlease’s masterplan had to be revised, thereby allowing for a 30 per cent increase in the floorspace of those buildings adjacent to the wall.

“VolkerFitzpatrick delivered a brilliant example of how designers and constructors can add value for clients. This project demonstrates industry problem-solving at its very best”

Judges’ comment

Health and safety represented a major challenge on this site given the close proximity of rail lines and pedestrians, not to mention work at height. 

VolkerFitzpatrick collaborated extremely closely with Network Rail and employed a 160-tonne GPS-assisted crane to reduce the risk for operatives.

The contractor also worked with a specialist tethering company and bought £1,000 of new equipment for its subcontractor aimed at preventing tool drops from height; these measures have now become best practice across the business.

The project saw zero RIDDORs during 88,920 worker-hours and VolkerFitzpatrick has collaborated with Lendlease to produce several best practice videos that are now used as standard by both firms.

Judges lavished similarly high praise on VolkerFitzpatrick’s sustainability efforts. The wall reused excavated material as backfill, saving 9,875 vehicle movements – equal to 220,000 kg of CO2.

The team also avoided having to import any prime aggregates and the 5,500 cu m of concrete required was all batched within 3 km of the site.

The judges said the end result offered a brilliant showcase of the value that proactive and innovative contractors can offer their clients. 

Highly commended: Gilbert-Ash – City of London Freemen’s School Swimming Pool

Gilbert-Ash delivered a 25 m six-lane swimming pool that judges praised as a “beautiful space of which it should rightly be proud”.

The building is unusual in using a full glulam frame for both the walls and roof, which was completed on site in just three weeks. 

Gilbert-Ash says the project marked the first ever use of a slot diffuser system in a large-scale pool, allowing it to avoid the usual ductwork hanging above swimmers and adding to its outstanding design. 

Judges commended the firm for looking to use the success of its glulam frame to encourage further ambitious projects.


  • Dudley College Alliance Team – Advance II
  • Galliford Try Partnerships and The Guinness Partnership – Quayside Extra Care
  • Henry Brothers Midlands – Loughborough University, STEMLab
  • Kier – Sensor City
  • Portakabin – Kensington Aldridge Academy (KAA2)
  • Robertson Group – North Uist Primary School, Outer Hebrides
  • Willmott Dixon – Schuster Annexe, University of Manchester

CN Awards 2018 sonsor Bennetts logo

CN Awards 2018 sonsor Bennetts logo

Sponsored by: Bennetts

Bennetts is a specialist tower crane hire and sale company supplying the commercial and residential sectors.

The company has an extensive fleet of luffing jib, saddle jib and self-erecting cranes selected from leading manufacturers from around the world. It is also the exclusive UK dealer for Italian crane manufacturer Raimondi.

The fleet includes a range of new and innovative models of crane, while the Bennetts in-house team has the specialist knowledge to suggest the right lifting solution for any commercial or residential site.

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