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Project of the Year (over £50m)

Winner: Carillion – Library of Birmingham

Carillion’s entry for the Library of Birmingham took the prize in a category bursting with innovative and inspirational projects.

The judges praised the degree of collaboration between client and contractor, which was evident throughout the six years of the project and carried through into Carillion’s submission and face-to-face presentation, where the contractor and its customer described their work together as “a six-year journey, a six-year marriage”.

Carillion was employed before the concept design was even complete. An ‘expectation exchange’ took place in 2009 to set outcomes – and culture – right from the start. Birmingham City Council’s brief was that it wanted ‘the best library in the world’.

Client, main contractor and supply chain needed to agree what that would look like.

The main works packages were let quickly to allow maximum supplier innovation and involvement, with Carillion operations director Simon Dingle clear on the ethos from the start: collaboration is not about the good days; it’s how you behave on the tough days.

“If you treat a partner like a subcontractor, you get a subcontractor,” he says. Client, main contractor and supply chain members worked together from one office. 

“This project brought everything around good practice into one area that was typified by a client and supply chain working so closely together”

Judges’ comment

The project also stood out because of its local employment and use of apprentices. The council and contractor agreed ‘stretch targets’, all of which were exceeded.

Nearly 80 NVQs were delivered through the site and the scheme employed ex-offenders and homeless people, while providing work and support to long-term unemployed from some of the most needy postcodes in Birmingham, saving taxpayers an estimated £6.5m.

The duration of the project allowed time to influence and support people through health and safety initiatives, too, with an emphasis on health awareness and targeted initiatives, as well as 4m person hours worked without serious accidents or incidents.

It was a pilot for a comprehensive ‘soft landings’ approach, meaning Carillion will retain an involvement until 2016 to ensure the asset’s smooth operation.

Involving the community was paramount, and Carillion and its partners exemplified successful negotiation with neighbours and the public, some of whom had initially declared ‘war’ on the development.

The project also involved regenerating the existing repertory theatre, working closely with the team to create a 600-person studio theatre with a post-tension concrete frame.

The end result is an iconic project, completed on time and under budget, which the team said is loved by the residents of Birmingham and visited by 14,000 users a day.

Highly commended: 4Delivery and Southern Water – Cleaner Seas for Sussex

This controversial but essential scheme marked Southern Water’s largest ever capital project and was delivered on programme and on budget.

“The project had an impressive record on community involvement and education”

Judges’ comment

Client and contractor showed the community the sewer and treatment works were necessary and demonstrated impressive achievements in engineering, health and safety and supply chain collaboration.

The judges felt the project represented the full scale of the challenges the construction industry can face – and the solutions it can supply.

The project aligned client and local area requirements, leaving a local legacy now visited by similar clients from all over the world.

Highly commended: Skanska Civil Engineering – Borough Viaduct

Presented with clear passion and evident personal dedication, this was a unique project completed in a very tight space on time and to budget while achieving the client’s aims of staying out of the newspapers.

“A beautiful project, well delivered by a great team”

Judges’ comment

Metres from London Bridge station and surrounded by cultural heritage and listed buildings, there had been talk of a new viaduct in this area for 100 years.

With 283 party wall awards and the viaduct sitting inches from existing buildings – requiring the removal of the tops of others – this project would not have been possible without impressive community involvement by Skanska, a high-level BIM model and a perfectionist commitment to get everything right first time.


Lend Lease SSE Hydro Arena

Mace The Place

Mace The World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre, The British Museum

MPT Manchester Metrolink Phase 3

Skanska Building LSE Brent Civic Centre

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