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Judges Supreme Award: Winner

Winner: Manchester City Council & Laing O’Rourke – Manchester Town Hall Complex transformation

The Judges Supreme Award recognises the most exceptional entry from across all 17 categories - an incredibly challenging task given the high calibre of this year’s finalists.

In the end, however, it was Laing O’Rourke’s remarkable transformation of Manchester Town Hall that proved the most outstanding example of industry excellence over the past 12 months.

Completing an almost impossibly complex project on schedule and within budget represented an immense achievement, one our judges said made for a “simply outstanding entry that ticked all the boxes”.

Laing O’Rourke was brought in to transform two of Manchester’s most iconic public buildings: the Central Library and Town Hall Extension.

The scheme called for sophisticated engineering alongside delicate historic restorations, with the overall aim of creating a more sustainable and accessible facility that met the modern needs of both employees and visitors.

Balancing the crucial demands of English Heritage while satisfying the various requirements of the client Manchester City Council was recognised by the judges as an “enormous challenge”.

“This project demonstrated exceptional collaboration and was a simply outstanding entry that ticked all the boxes”

Yet it was one that Laing O’Rourke not only met but went above and beyond, demonstrating industry-leading collaboration and communication in the process.

Nowhere was this clearer than in the project’s approach to health and safety. Laing O’Rourke engaged with the Health and Safety Executive early in the programme and demonstrated exceptional communication with the workforce, as well as commitment to learning lessons while work progressed.

This work called on the contractor to marry heritage conservation with state-of-the-art construction solutions on this project, with Laing O’Rourke successfully overseeing complex elements such as tri-generation plant and smart electronic systems.

It also made excellent use of building information modelling to help tackle a number of technical challenges while reducing the amount of temporary works required and saving nine months on the development’s programme.

This led Manchester Chamber of Commerce to describe the project as helping “establish Manchester as one of the global leaders in the application of this technology”.

The positive feedback has not stopped there, with stakeholders praising the transformation’s quality, attention to detail and sympathetic approach to restoration.

The judges were blown away with the glowing testimony received and hailed the contractor’s “first-class” collaboration and comprehensive excellence, the sum total of which made Laing O’Rourke’s Manchester Town Hall transformation the outstanding candidate for this year’s Judges Supreme Award.

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