This week the countdown to the British Construction Industry Awards begins. They will be presented at an already sold out dinner at the London Hilton on Wednesday 24 October.
Full results of the Awards will be published in New Civil Engineer on 25 October. Our coverage begins with the Small Project category, for which nine of the 55 entries were shortlisted for an Award.
Two of the nine were also shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Award for Better Public Building. This new Award is given for infrastructure projects of any size commissioned by, or on behalf of, central or local government or by a grant-aided organisation.
The Award is jointly sponsored by CABE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, and OGC, the Office of Government Commerce. The Prime Minister's Award recognises quality in design and delivery, and best value in publicly funded infrastructure.
Black Dog Hill
Bridge, A4 Calne, Wiltshire
The Sustrans cycle route from Calne to Chippenham follows a dismantled railway and a bridge was needed to replace the one that used to span the busy A4 trunk road.
Both the client and Sustrans wanted a landmark structure, which would add to the wooded landscape. As the bridge would link between the trees on either side of the road it was logical to use timber as the prime material of the new crossing.
Designer Mark Lovell chose a laminated timber arch lying fashionably askew of the horizontally curved plywood deck structure, which is also flitchbraced by cables and has a fire resistant steel wearing surface.
Major maintenance should only be required every five years, he says, when a cherry picker will be used for access to fill any shakes in the timber before re-coating the arch with varnish.
Client: North Wilts District Council Cost: £225,000 Principal designer: Mark Lovell Design Engineers Contractor: Cowley Structural Timberworks Other firms: Downing Rudman & Bent (foundation contractor); ECC Timber Engineering (erection)
CASPAR , Birmingham B3 City-centre apartments for single people at affordable rents (CASPAR) is a prototype for low cost housing that takes a fresh approach to an elusive goal - the creation of high density housing where people can have their own outside front door, but without the social disadvantages that have become inherent with balcony access flats. Building cost was only £51,000 per unit.
The building, at the site of a former warehouse on the Birmingham and Fazeley canal, consists of two five story blocks facing each other but separated by a large void which appears to be an atrium. In fact it is an open courtyard space with an umbrellalike roof separated by an air gap from the top of each building - and the key to rationalising access conforming to fire regulations.
A single lift at one end of the court and a staircase at the other are linked to each front door by a series of staggered bridges, giving maximum privacy to all residents.
Client: Joseph Rowntree Foundation Cost: £2.3M Principal designer: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Structural engineer: Adams Kara Taylor Contractor: John Sisk & Son Other firms: Alsop Zogolovitch Urban Studio (urban design): Jackson Coles (QS); Jenny Coe Landscape (landscape architect)
Indoor Cricket Centre, Edgbaston Edgbaston's indoor cricket centre is intended to provide opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to learn to play.
The eight nets include special nets for disabled players and one with an extended run up for fast bowlers. Video and coaching facilities back up the centre as a training facility and it includes office facilities for youth cricket teams and local amateur cricket.
It attracted an exceptionally high lottery grant of 85% and is unusual in integrating art into the building, so attracting support from Sport England, the Arts Council, the Association of Business & Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Cost per square metre was £815.
Client: Warwickshire Cricket Club Cost: £2.5M Principal designer: David Morley Architects/Bryant Priest & Newman Architects Contractor: Moss Construction Other firms : Price & Myers (structural engineer); Max Fordham & Ptns (building services engineer); Francis Graves (QS); Watson Steel; Redbank; Unique Cladding/Alumet Systems; Schuco.
March Library, Cambridgeshire Also shortlisted for Prime Minister's Award 'We never expected anything as good as this!' declared one of March's librarians during the BCIA judges' visit to the bright new building. The extensively glazed, laminated timber frame structure houses the Fenland town's Registrar, IT services, and facilities for Isle College of Further Education - as well as the public library.
It has become a major new focus of activity in the centre of March and library use has increased by 150% since its move from a cramped 1920s building on the edge of the town. Teamwork among the client users as well as the traditionally procured building team has characterised the project since its inception.
Working within a very tight budget the team has produced a fresh, naturally ventilated building which makes the best possible use of daylight and appears to have made minimum compromise in housing its multi-purpose functions.
Client: Cambridge County Council Property & Contract Services Division Cost: £1.25M Principal designer: Bernard Stilwell Architects Structural engineer: Morton & Setchell Consulting Engineers Contractor: John Mowlem & Co Other firms: Jenks Associates (services engineer); Tilyard (QS); Chris Drury (artist)
Marine Transfer Facility, Newport , Isle of Wight Wind turbine blade maker Aerolaminates wanted to consolidate four manufacturing units into a single factory in Newport, Isle of Wight, to take advantage of the island's 90 years of aircraft building experience.
The problem was that each blade will be up to 40m long and the most feasible transport method for the main part of their journey to remote sites around the world is by sea. A means had to be found to carry the completed blades from Newport's St Cross Industrial Park to Southampton's deep water terminal. Failure meant parent company NEG Micon was likely to relocate its whole blade manufacturing facility to its home country, Denmark.
Engineer John Pattisson conceived and designed a complete transportation system.
This lifts the blades from the factory yard using a straddle hoist which trolleys across the river bank, out over the Medina on two slender jetties built with minimal disturbance to the foreshore, and sets them down on a special low draught barge - also designed by Pattisson - which then ships them across the Solent to Southampton.
Client: Aerolaminates Cost: £1.2M Principal designer: John Pattisson Associates Contractor: Dean & Dyball Construction Other firms: Terence O'Rourke (planning and environmental consultant); Wise Handling(straddle carrier)
Mercury Bridge, Richmond, North Yorkshire A massive section from one of the main arches of Richmond Bridge over the River Swale collapsed in June last year, a result of serious scouring of a main pier during flash flooding.
The 1890 decorative masonry structure provides important access to the town of Richmond.
North Yorkshire County Council quickly looked for contractors to stabilise and rebuild the structure and forestall total loss of the bridge.
Temporary foundation caissons were placed in the river bed. These were used to support deep section steel beams forming two A-frame spans from which the remaining precariously balanced masonry could be chocked. New deep piled foundations were than installed from within temporary cofferdams and the masonry piers and arches reconstructed above.
Client: North Yorkshire County Council Director of Environmental Services Cost: £2.6M Principal designer: Mouchel North Yorkshire Contractor: Morrison Construction Other firms: Pell Frischmann (foundation design); Butterly Engineering (detailed design, fab and erect temp steelwork); Fondedile Piling (mini piling stabilisation); Eslington Stone (masonry design and erection); Dunhouse Quarries (masonry supply)
Plashet School Footbridge, London E6 Also shortlisted for Prime Minister's Award For the 28 years since it was established Plashet School has been divided by a busy main road.
The school's infrastructure consists of a1960s school campus on one side of the road an a 1930s building on the other.
Lesson changes were marked by queues of children streaming across a pedestrian crossing between the two. This put pupils at risk, demanded considerable staff supervision and caused substantial traffic disruption.
Proposals for a bridge were frustrated by lack of funds until the London Borough of Newham commissioned a distinctive design involving a deep steel beam structure with a PFTE fabric roof. It was only two thirds the cost of the Council-designed, through-truss scheme.
The 67m-long link curves to avoid a mature tree, provides a secure all-weather link unifying the school, and includes attractive features such as a glazed lookout cabin near its mid span over the road.
Client: London Borough of Newham Education Department Cost: £530,000 Principal designer: Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects Structural engineer: Techniker Contractor: C Spencer Other firms : Architen (fabric subcontractor): Gardner & Theobald (cost consultant); MSI (steelwork subcontractor); Relief
Channel Lock, Denver, Norfolk Building a lock at Denver enabled opening for navigation of 17km of the Great Ouse Relief Channel leading to Kings Lynn, creating the first new navigable waterway in East Anglia for half a century.
Having worked out key criteria with consultant Posford Duvivier - such as a suitable size lock and the impact its operation would have on the existing waterway complex - the Environment Agency let the job as a design and build contract to obtain an early start.
Costs were kept low by measures such as re-using the construction cofferdam sheet piles to create a mooring basin on the upstream side of the new lock.
Piers and abutments of an existing waterside structure were also reused as the foundations of a new bridge. The job progressed well and was completed three months ahead of schedule.
Client: Environment Agency Anglian Region Cost: £1.1M Design and build contractor: May Gurney (Construction) Engineer: Posford Duvivier (outline design, project management) Other firms: Mawdall Engineering (lock gate supplier)
Shrewsbury School Music School & Auditorium
The design had to pack a three storey auditorium for an audience of 200, together with practice rooms and classrooms, into a single envelope which would have the minimum visual impact on Shrewsbury School's existing listed buildings.
The solution was partially to bury the structure in a hillside and place the ancillary rooms around the perimeter of the auditorium, insulated from it by a roof-lit corridor.
Mechanical ventilation has been avoided as far as possible. Air is drawn from a cool labyrinth in the undercroft and leaves through the roof. The structure has a thermally efficient envelope and timber has been used extensively for the superstructure, roof and floors.
Client: Shrewsbury School Cost: £1.39M Principal designer: Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects Structure & services engineer: Buro Happold Contractor: Bowmer & Kirkland Other firms: Arup Acoustics; Davis Langdon & Everest (QS); Merk-Holzbav (roof structure supplier)