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Project of the Year (between £10m-£50m)

Winner: Graham Construction – Grimsby River Terminal

Designing and building one of the world’s largest radial arm pontoons over a fast-flowing river at the UK’s busiest car handling port is no easy task.

Graham Construction rose to the challenge for Associated British Ports, which entrusted the contractor to deliver the largest-ever capital investment project at Grimsby Port – and to a tight 20-month timescale.

Built originally for the local fishing fleet, today it needs to accommodate the huge vessels of European car manufacturers such as Volkswagen Group and its shipments of up to 3,000 cars into the port.

Graham Construction proved its commitment to innovation from the outset. While ABP expected a steel pontoon, the contractor redesigned the specification and proposed a cheaper solution in concrete, with a precast shell.

“The scheme itself represents an awesome engineering challenge requiring work in a very challenging and environmentally sensitive location”

Judges’ comment

Not only did it save the client around £1m on the £24m project, the concrete solution was lighter and required fewer piles, which reduced the programme duration and safety risk associated with installing foundations over water.

During 280,000 working hours over water, there were no RIDDORS and only one three-day lost-time injury.

Graham Construction also came up against a restricted three-month window in which to install 163 piles and 61 temporary piles, due to the marine licence it was subject to.

Had it not completed the work within this period window, the whole project would have been delayed by 12 months.

“The deep partnership developed by ABP and Graham Construction on this very challenging project is inspiring”

Judges’ comment

Responding to that pressure, in addition to adapting the pontoon design the contractor carefully programmed the work while still in the preferred bidder stage to ensure the team could deliver the job in the allotted time.

It also had to adapt to the local wildlife, employing flat glass lighting to avoid disturbing migrating birds.

The design phase included extensive modelling of all credible wave conditions to ensure the pontoon would stay afloat.

Until the end of last year, the worst flood in the region had been in 1953, which left 307 dead and 40,000 homeless.

But Graham Construction’s design was put to the test shortly after completion on 5 December 2013, when the River Humber experienced its largest tidal surge in 60 years.

This is not the only testament to the client’s satisfaction with the project. Since successfully completing its first project for ABP, Graham Construction has been awarded a £120m scheme by the client.

Highly commended: NG Bailey – Arla’s Aylesbury Dairy

NG Bailey’s £34m energy centre for Arla’s Aylesbury Dairy was described as a “stand-out” project by the judges for its high level of innovation and design that considered the whole-life performance of the building.

“NG Bailey showed outstanding cutting-edge innovation, engineering and offsite manufacture driven by a whole-life performance perspective”

Judges’ comment

The energy centre measures 90 m long by 60 m wide – equivalent to 20 tennis courts – and will generate the services required to operate and support the dairy, which has the capacity to process 1bn litres of milk a year.

The mechanical and electrical contractor operated as a tier one to Arla. Important components of the energy centre were produced and tested in NG Bailey’s offsite manufacturing facility in Yorkshire, and it used 3D modelling to plan everything with pinpoint accuracy, eliminating waste of both materials and time.


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