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Engineer receives further praise for restoration of the Leas Lift at Construction Excellence Awards

28 Sep 11 Crofton, the consulting engineer, has been highly commended in the Heritage Project of the Year category at the Constructing Excellence Awards (16th September 2011) where it has received further recognition for the restoration of the Victorian Grade II-listed Leas Lift in Folkestone, Kent.

Originally installed in 1885, the Leas Lift carries passengers between the seafront and the promenade and is one of the oldest water lifts in the UK. It is a remarkable piece of Victorian engineering that operates by alternately filling and emptying water tanks that are fixed beneath the two lift cars. Before Crofton began its work, the Leas Lift was in serious need of restoration.

Derek Rees, Regional Director of Constructing Excellence and Chief Executive of the South East Centre for the Built Environment (SECBE), who managed the Awards Scheme, said: “Crofton demonstrated considerable expertise in restoring the structure while incorporating modern technology and health & safety standards. The results clearly show that they applied care and attention to every aspect of this project and deserve to receive special recognition for their achievement.”

Mark Taylor, the director at Crofton responsible for the project, said: “Winning two awards for the Leas Lift and being highly commended at the Constructing Excellence Awards has made us all extremely proud. It was a pleasure working to restore a remarkable piece of engineering that is so important to Folkestone.”

The Leas Lift had been closed in June 2009 after Shepway District Council decided that the historic lift was too expensive to continue running, causing widespread local upset. The Radnor Estate agreed to restore the lift which was reopened last year and is now run by local residents who formed the Leas Lift Community Interest Company - a non profit organisation that manages the attraction as a “living museum” of Victorian engineering. It offers an educational transport link between the town centre and the sea front.

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Crofton has already won two awards for its work on the Leas Lift, including the “Restoration Award” at the Institute of Civil Engineering Awards and the “Best Building Structures” award at the ACE Engineering Excellence Awards.

The project was also Highly Commended for the Institute of Civil Engineering Awards Community Award.

Constructing Excellence aims to drive the change agenda in the construction industry. It exists to improve industry performance in order to produce a better built environment. The Construction Excellence Awards are organised by the regional centre for Constructing Excellence, the South East Centre of the Built Environment (SECBE). The awards began in 2007 and are one of the most prominent built environment awards.

Crofton has offices in Tonbridge, Kent; Newhaven, East Sussex and in London. Smith Woolley Perry was the agent on the project.

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