Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Best Construction Work Tribute

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Best Construction Work Tribute

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Knox

THE sixth annual Constructing Excellence in the North East (CENE) Awards has seen some of the best projects and companies from across the region recognised by their industry. The awards dinner, held at the Gosforth Park Hotel in Newcastle, brought together the cream of the region's clients, contractors and consultants to recognise quality building practices in projects ranging from the preservation of a ruined bastle to the construction of a innovative new school. This year's event attracted 120 entries in 12 categories, with the top prize of Project of the Year awarded to US firm Parsons Brinkerhoff (PB) for the new Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside.

The project saw the construction of a flexible, energy-saving building, with features including a ceiling-free sports hall to help carry out spaced learning trials, which involves 20-minute bursts of revision interspersed with 10-minute physical breaks to help improve concentration and the retention of information.

As well as staying true to the project brief, PB managed to reduce the initial spending forecast on the project by pounds 15m to just over pounds 20m.

CENE's chief executive Catriona Lingwood said: "The Monkseaton High School project was, in the judges' eyes, an excellent illustration of how the principles of Constructing Excellence can come together to achieve the client's aspirations.

"The recession may have had an impact on the quantity of construction work taking place in the region, but our awards show that quality continues to improve.

"The judges were encouraged that financial belt-tightening is not having a detrimental effect on the sector's approach to delivering excellence for clients."

Other winners included the Shittleheugh Bastle preservation project, near Otterburn in Northumberland.

The bastle had been on English Heritage's at-risk register before conservation organisation Natural England stepped in and agreed to help the landowner carry out urgent work on the building using funding from the Higher Level Stewardship scheme.

The work by specialist craftsmen Gary and Jim Simpson, of Heritage Consolidation Ltd, involved the use of traditional lime mortar, which had to be protected from frost, so the bastle was swathed in hessian wrapping to protect it during the winter. …

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