Despite the tough economic conditions the sector faces, all finalists and the 11 winners showed high standards of design and building quality, as well as sustainability and good environmental practice. Unlike other industry awards, the LABC Building Excellence Awards recognise the importance of building control in England and Wales in creating safe and accessible buildings.
This year’s finalists showcased how local authority building control is at the forefront of facilitating high environmental standards in difficult economic circumstances and proved how innovative and sustainable development can also be very cost effective.
Five projects, in particular, highlighted this:
Phases 4a and 5, The Pentre Nicklaus Village, Carmarthenshire won the award for the Best Large Housing Development and best project overall. It won because the development of the golf course complex has kick started the regeneration of an area where industry had gradually withered away.
Dandridge’s Mill, East Hanney, near Wantage, won the award for the Best Technical Innovation. The judges chose the project because of the way the grade II listed former silk mill has been converted into homes with an energy system including both hydro and solar power which operates 25% more efficiently than building regulation requirements – unheard of before in a period property.
Bath and North East Somerset Council and the David Brain Partnership won the Best Partnership award for their collaborative work over the last five years which has improved the design of projects, improved communication and addressed critical issues at a much earlier stage freeing up time for staff to focus on other aspects of the projects and saving money by preventing problems from occurring in the first place.
The Clare Hall development in Halifax was a finalist in the Best Domestic Conversion category. The project gave a vital boost to the local Calderdale community. The contractor, J Clark Properties, made a conscious decision to employ local labour and craftsmen and even saved one local manufacturer by ordering 50 of their kitchens!
The redevelopment of St Austell town centre in Cornwall was shortlisted for the Best Sustainable Project award for its focus on sustainability in the broadest sense. It not only achieved a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating, but it also addressed social sustainability by developing a training and education programme with Cornwall College and providing local people with jobs.
LABC Chief Executive, Paul Everall said, “All the finalists deserve recognition for their great work in helping to improve building standards, boost sustainability and efficiency and show that despite a difficult economic backdrop, standards do not have to slip. These awards show good building control can save both time and money. Our congratulations go to the finalists – and especially the winners – all of whom have helped to show the importance of local authority building control.”
Nearly 600 guests were entertained by author, broadcaster and former MP, Gyles Brandreth. Money was also raised for LABC President Mick Henman’s charity – the British Heart Foundation. The event was sponsored by Elmhurst Energy, Kingspan Insulation, LABC New Home Warranty and noise.co.uk.