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CENE Awards 2021

Sponsored by CDM Recruitment Ltd

CENE 2021 Award Winners Announced

Our heartfelt thanks go to everyone who joined us for the Constructing Excellence North East 2021 Awards last Friday evening.

I know we say it every year, but honestly, the calibre of the submissions was truly outstanding, so if you were one of our worthy winners or a shortlisted project/organisation you should be very proud.


It was fantastic to hear the delight coming through from those receiving Awards and Highly Commended Awards too.

We would like to thank all our sponsors and especially our Headline Sponsor CDM Recruitment for your support over the last year, you have all been amazing. Our brilliant judges who didn’t have an easy task at all in deciding on the eventual winners, we really couldn’t have done it without you. Also thanks to Steve Walls who kept proceedings going and finally to the staff at Grand Gosforth Park Hotel, Solution Group, Big Purple Productions, Crazy Pix and Prime Entertainments.

The overall winner of the night was Durham University for Mount Oswald scooping three awards. We can’t wait to find out how we stack up against the other region’s winners at the national awards in January. I reckon we have a blooming good chance! Leanne will be in touch with the winners shortly about the National final.

If you missed Friday night’s Awards then see below those who received Awards. All details will be available on our website and images from the night can be found on our Facebook page shortly.

If you would like to order further certificates or Award blocks for your partners of the project then please contact Leanne by emailing leanne@cene.org.uk

Finally, we are delighted to have raised just over £4,000.00 for the Lighthouse Club North East Charity so thank you all very much for your donations.

Best wishes,

Building Project of the Year

Durham University – Mount Oswald – Tilbury Douglas Construction Ltd, Durham University, Equitix Management Services Limited, Willmore Iles Architects Limited, PCE Ltd, Campus Living Villages, Sablono GmbH and Curtins

Well it won’t be any surprise to you that the winner of the Project of the Year award is already a winner here in a few categories earlier in this newsletter!

A real game-changer, generating many tangible benefits, including improved life cycle costs, 25-week programme reduction, zero defects, less waste as well as reducing safety risks. A collaborative approach and golden digital thread runs throughout the lifecycle and has ensured all project and diverse stakeholder objectives were achieved; along with exceptional client and student experiences. The project was delivered three weeks early, is 100% occupied and has received excellent post occupancy feedback.

Highly Commended – Globe Theatre – Willmott Dixon Construction, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Space Architects, Todd Milburn and Billinghurst George & Partners

Highly Commended – Integrated Covid Hub North East – Turner & Townsend, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Robertson Construction, Ryder Architecture, Desco and Geoffrey Robinson Ltd

Civils Project of the Year

Wolsingham Sewage Treatment Works (STW) Growth Improvement – Tilbury Douglas Construction Ltd, Northumbrian Water Ltd, Wood Plc, Sirius, Aquardia, Seepex and JHT

The winning project brought together the use of new technology, the implementation of off-site and sustainable construction methods and exemplar collaboration to deliver a scheme 100 days early and £800k below client budget. The client is now using this project as a model for all future builds.

Highly Commended – Grassholme Reservoir Spillway – Tilbury Douglas Construction Ltd, Northumbrian Water Group, Wood Plc, Meldrum Civil Engineering, A19 Drilling, FLI Carlow, St Astier Limited and Stantec

Highly Commended – Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor Phase 3 – Esh Civils, Sunderland City Council and Capita

Client of the Year

Teesside University and Wates Construction – a collaboration

Through effective communication, collaboration and exceptional teamwork, the winning client organisation has delivered against an exceptionally tight timeframe with clear and positive direction from the outset. The impact of Covid19 was limited to a 48hr stoppage whilst new procedures were developed, due to the trust and support of the client. Trust also resulted in a ‘no blame culture’, leading to no adversarial situations throughout the project.

The result was a record-breaking 24 weeks from feasibility to site, with a 75 week build programme with no defects on the BREEAM Excellent rated building.

Conservation & Regeneration

Seaton Delaval Hall – Mosedale Gillatt Architects, The National Trust, Historic Property Restoration, Todd Milburn Partnership, Blackett-Ord Conservation Engineers, Sine Consulting and Southern Green

With a thorough and rigorous conservation strategy, innovative temporary works and highly skilled masonry repair methodology. The combined efforts of the design team, contractor and client allowed for these unique property to be repaired in a sympathetic manner, which in the truest sense of preservation maintained the highest degree of historic fabric and was led by a philosophy of minimal intervention.

Overall, the project has transformed the visitor experience which can be evidenced through the feedback received and increasing visitor numbers.

Highly Commended – St Nicholas Cathedral – Common Ground in Sacred Space – Historic Property Restoration Limited, The Chapter of St Nicholas Cathedral, Purcell Architects, Harrison Stevens, RNJ Partnership, Harley Haddow and TGA Consulting Engineers

Commended – Auckland Castle Project – Meldrum Construction Services Ltd, The Auckland Project, Turner & Townsend, Purcell, Niall McLaughlin Architects, TGA Consulting Engineers, Thornton Firkin, The Morton Partnership, Hickton and Focus Consultants

Health, Safety & Wellbeing

Northumbrian Water Living Well – creating a digitally inclusive health, safety & wellness offer

Following the announcement of Covid, this winning organisation took it upon themselves to change the way they worked, not only just for the good of company but more importantly their employees. A new website was developed which included three main elements – Mind, Body and Social. It focussed on key aspects including Male Mental Health Zones so employees could openly share their concerns.

A Covid hub for employees has been used by over 2,500 staff with a handbook being produced to keep everyone up to date with changing pandemic rules. A back to work policy was developed to ensure the safe return to the office with a hotline being introduced for those showing concerns.

The social aspect included seasonal recipes, spotify playlists, giveaways and live scheduled events including physical activities.

An exemplary idea that has been shared as best practice, with many organisations implementing it in their businesses too.


Wolsingham Sewage Treatment Works (STW) Growth Improvement – Tilbury Douglas Construction Ltd, Northumbrian Water Ltd, Wood Plc, Sirius, Aquardia, Seepex and JHT

The project was originally tendered and awarded based upon traditional construction processes. However, effective collaboration and a dedication to using off-site build technology and innovative construction methods, resulted in a programme reduction of over four months and a client saving of approximately £1million.

The reduced programme duration decreased the person hours on site by over half, significantly cutting the potential for on-site health and safety incidents, with no reportable accidents on site.

Lessons learnt from the use of the new technology has led to the client adopting off-site build solutions in the future and the contractor has already shared the good practice with other teams working on similar projects across the UK.

Integration & Collaborative Working

Dame Margaret Barbour Building – GSS Architecture, Newcastle University, Robertson Construction, Couch Perry and Wilkes, Summers Inman, Billinghurst George & Partners, Identity Consult and Oobe

Despite losing their main contractor and an worldwide pandemic, 90% of the original sub contractors were retained and quality never compromised. The project delivered £3m under budget, despite the numerous changes and is an exemplar for students, to look at innovative approaches to construction and how to deal with unforeseen issues.

Highly Commended – Durham University – Mount Oswald – Tilbury Douglas Construction Ltd, Durham University, Equitix Management Services Limited, Willmore Iles Architects Limited, PCE Ltd, Campus Living Villages, Sablono GmbH and Curtins

Highly Commended – Ponteland Schools and Leisure – Kier, Northumberland County Council, Faithful+Gould, FaulknerBrowns Architects, BGP, One-Environments, SES Engineering Services and TGA Consulting Engineers

Offsite Project of the Year

Durham University – Mount Oswald – Tilbury Douglas Construction Ltd, Durham University, Equitix Management Services Limited, Willmore Iles Architects Limited, PCE Ltd, Campus Living Villages, Sablono GmbH and Curtins

The project employed an effective collaborative approach, bringing all stakeholders together early in the project to develop an optimum solution for the project life cycle, with a clear focus on quality, and improving the end user experience. Two modern methods of construction were adopted to protect the programme, improve safety, and promote quality. The result was a 25 week programme reduction, zero defects, 22% less waste, reduced safety risks and excellent post-occupancy feedback.

Outstanding Achievement

People Development

GT3 Architects

Across a difficult year, the senior Management Team of this winning organisation worked diligently to balance their employees continued professional development against overall business success, whilst supporting them individually. They believe that success stems from commitment to placing people’s wellbeing at the heart of every business decision with a quick and sensitive reaction to changing circumstances.

A new operations structure, designed to facilitate career progression at every level and fit every working style was developed. With a ‘One Team’ approach and flexible working policy allowing them to broaden their project and sector expertise.

Despite the challenges of 2020, the staff base grew by 10%, attracting professionals from across the globe. With feedback from a Workplace Stress survey indicating they’d got things right with 97% of their staff base saying they were supported by their colleagues and team leaders, and 89% felt their work during lockdown directly contributed to practice success.

SME of the Year

Applebridge Construction Ltd

This organisation has demonstrated controlled expansion within the workforce and committed to the upskilling of their staff through professional development and training programmes. Launching an education facility to provide construction opportunities to people across the region, whilst offering re-skilling and employment opportunities to candidates from outside of the industry. They also developed a nine-day sector-based programme with the local football foundation to give youths a direct route into a career in construction.

The company invested in a bespoke App and the use of iPads on site, to transform the way in which Quality Assurance, site controls and Health & Safety are managed.

The purchasing of pioneering plant and machinery ensuring the safety of their staff has clearly demonstrated the importance of them investing in their future.

Meanwhile, their support of local communities through charity work, especially during the pandemic, has been exemplary and firmly places our winners as a lead SME in the North East of England.


Core 364 – Gentoo Group, Engie Regeneration Ltd, Hall and Partners, Kensa Heat Pumps, Armstrong Priestly, BA Electrical, DTA Consulting Engineers, Sunamp and Switchee

Retrofitting of existing buildings is always a significant challenge which as an industry we sometimes struggle with. Our winner tonight undertook a significant programme of decarbonisation, safety improvements, installation of smart home technology, as well as education and impact measurement for the end users, resulting in an impressive carbon reduction of 7,549,500 tCO2 over the next 20 years. This visionary scheme will leave a legacy on the buildings, the people, and the planet!


Durham University – Mount Oswald – Tilbury Douglas Construction Ltd, Durham University, Equitix Management Services Limited, Willmore Iles Architects Limited, PCE Ltd, Campus Living Villages, Sablono GmbH and Curtins

A project which, by using a design for manufacture and assembly approach along with effective collaboration the project succeeded in a 25week programme reduction, zero defects, 22% less waste and improved life-cycle costs.

The project exceeded all social value and sustainability targets placing 75% of contracts locally and creating 17 new sustainable jobs, 11 new apprentices and 26 work placements. The result is a 10/10 client satisfaction rating for a project which has already been recognised in previous award categories tonight.

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