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Are you leading the field in innovation?


Has your company transformed the way it gets things done - either through technology or management? If so, it is time to start dusting down your achievements for the Quality in Construction Awards 2007, which this year includes a new housing category

OVER the past 10 years the annual Quality in Const ruct ion Awards has become established as the industry's most prestigious celebration of the very best of construction best practice.

The purpose of these awards is to recognise significant achievements and innovations which can demonstrate a real and lasting benefit to the industry at large. These might be technical innovations in site practice or in the development of new products.

Or they could be achievements which in some way take the industry further towards its goal of a better health, safety or environmental record.

Launched in the wake of Sir Michael Latham's Const ruct ing the Team repor t of 1995, the Quality in Construction Awards has charted the industry's shift towards greater efficiency, better supply-chain management and the adoption of integrated team-work ing st rategies.

This year, however, Const ruct ion News is expanding the scope of the Awards to bring into focus increasingly urgent issues surrounding design and construction in the housing sector.

Since economist Kate Barker's 2004 review of the British housing market, the hunt has been on for new ways of delivering affordable homes on the little land available and heading off a massive shortfall in housing supply.

At the same time, two recent reviews - in astonishingly quick succession - of the energy efficiency (Part L) provisions of the Building Regulations have created an urgency in the design and construction of residential developments. This revision has since been extended to embrace other types of new-build construction as well as refurbished buildings.

As a consequence, the Quality in Construction Awards 2007 will introduce a new category of 'Innovation in Housing' to give recognition of the best technical, econom ical and social advances in this fast-changing industry sector.

There are two other QIC awards for Innovation besides the new Innovation in Housing category.

Innovation: Management and Processes is for improvements in business processes and methods and Innovation: Products & Equipment is for significant advances in the development of new or improved construction materials, products and plant.


Innovation In Housing

This new award will be won by a company or team that has pushed the boundaries in housing delivery or design in the past th ree years. It is open to all those promoting modern methods of construction, or improving sustainability in const ruct ion or building performance.

The award is for innovations and products that have come onto the market in the three years to 29 September 2006. This can relate to anything from a specific product to a finished housing scheme that showcases a variety of innovations.

Entrants should be able to demonstrate that their product or method saves time or money and hence improves the efficiency of house building without any loss of quality and without unduly restricting design freedom.

Energy efficiency is such a crucial factor in today's built environment, innovations which contribute towards the thermal performance of a development will carry a lot of weight with the judges.

Crucially, the winning entry will be a viable, practical and economical innovation able to demonstrate its cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency and commercial success.

Innovation: Products & Equipment

Previously divided into two separate categories, this Award recognises exceptional innovations in the development of materials, plant or other equipment which have helped the industry improve its performance.

Previous winners have included:

Oxford Safety Components' Stairwell Platform System, a working platform designed to fit into a standard stairwell to provide a safe working surface so that plasterers, carpenters, electricians and other trades can reach right across the stairwell.

Described by the judges as 'elegant, simple, practical and life-saving?a cracking piece of kit!'

Bardon Superf lex, a new high-performance blacktop that is resistant to both rutting and fatigue cracking and has a better skid-resistance than traditional hot-rolled asphalt. Its development 'showed superb integration of the supply chain' said the judges.

Innovation: Management & Processes

This Award is presented to a company or a team that has introduced new methods of working that have resulted in significant improvement in the efficiency of construction processes with resulting benefits in terms of cost, quality, health, safety or sustainability.

Among previous winners are:

The Gas Alliance, a partnership between National Grid Gas, Skanska-McNicholas Plc JV, Balfour Beatty, Amec and Morgan Est. This team which is delivering the National Grid Gas asset replacement programme throughout the UK has pioneered a new way of working that is already delivering cost savings while increasing production and lowering accident rates. The judges commented: 'This is a really excellent achievement. They've taken on a quite backward sector and really got to grips with it.'

Mulalley & Co. This London-based housing maintenance contractor transformed its whole approach to local authority maintenance work with stunning results. Resident complaints are minimal, jobs no longer over-run and defects are negligible.

'This company has made a step-change beyond recognition?absolutely superb' said the judges.


Company Culture

Corporate Social Responsibility Achievement

Training Achievement

Health and Safety Management Achievement

Excellence in the use of ICT Innovation

Product and Equipment Housing

Management and Process

Project performance Major

Project Medium-sized Project Small Project International Performance Project Safety Excellence in Collaborative Engineered Design Personality of the year

The Quality in Construction Awards will take place in the Hilton Hotel on 21 March 2007. Deadline for categories is October 13 2006. For more information on entry categories, judging criteria and to download entry forms, visit www. qicawards. com