The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) held their first in person West Midlands Awards Ceremony since 2019 in Birmingham on Thursday, 5 May.

Awards were presented by ICE President, Ed McCann and West Midlands Regional Chair, Vicky Bache, in recognition of some of the best civil engineers and civil engineering projects in the region. Projects nominated were those that have been significantly completed during the last 12 month across the West Midlands. The judging panel comprised seven experienced civil engineers from across different sectors and companies.

The overall winning project, which also won the Sustainability Award, was the Marches Mosses BogLIFE Project, delivered by WM Longreach, working with Natural England, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Brian Killingworth, WSP and RAB Consultants.
The project was designed to restore Britain’s third-largest lowland raised bog within the Fenns — Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses and Wem Moss NNRs, near Whitchurch and Wrexham.

After hundreds of years of exploitation, no-one in the UK has ever tried to restore bog edge habitat on this scale. As well as being environmentally sustainable, the project will also help the local economy by attracting visitors to the area, encouraging volunteer involvement and providing education opportunities.

The judges agreed that the BogLIFE project was an exemplar in terms of sustainability and planning for the future, and it fully deserved the accolade of overall winner.

Winning the Communication Award was a project delivered by Balfour Beatty and WSP — for Shropshire Council — for making significant improvements to the Mile End roundabout in Oswestry.

Stakeholder engagement was key to the success of the project, which involved the construction of an additional roundabout and new junction The scheme relieved congestion and also enabled plans for new housing and a commercial development to be brought forward, which will enhance employment opportunities.

The judges applauded the Mile End Junction Improvement team for their engaging stakeholder communications and the positive impact they had on the wider community.

Winner of the Geotechnical Award was the i54 Reinforced Soil Bund project at the i54 Business Park in Wolverhampton; the project was delivered by Maccaferri, with partners AFS Earthmoving & Aggregates, Amey Consulting, Staffordshire County Council, City of Wolverhampton Council and Amey.

One of the planning conditions of the business park extension was to construct a bund, or embankment, to provide a substantial landscaped screen between the extension and Pendleford Hall nature reserve and caravan site.

The resulting 260 metre bund — a double-sided reinforced soil structure, rising up to a height of 6.5 metres — was applauded by the judges.

The Education and Inspiration Award went to WSP for a road safety education programme for school children, which they are delivering on behalf of Shropshire Council.

WSP employs two Road Safety Officers, who deliver nationally-recognised good practice initiatives at primary and secondary schools, which support the wider health, environmental and transport agendas.

The judges agreed that this project stood out due to the impact, hard work and dedication of the Road Safety Officers, who despite Covid-19 restrictions, ensured that road safety education was successfully delivered to children of all ages.

The Innovation Award was given to the team at Mott MacDonald for their innovative Phosphorus Removal Programme delivered on behalf of Severn Trent — part of their £2bn investment in construction projects under the Asset Management Plan phase 7 (AMP7) obligations.
As part of AMP7, Severn Trent focussed on water quality schemes, specifically the reduction of phosphorus being released into water courses to limit the risk of the contamination of lakes and rivers.

The judges were impressed by with the project’s use of digital technologies and innovative construction techniques to help solve one of the water industry’s biggest challenges.

The Studies and Research Award went to the Shropshire Natural Flood Management Defra Pilot Project, delivered by WSP working with Shropshire Council and Cardiff University.

The judges were impressed by the whole project impact of this study, with its potential for slowing water courses and improving flood attenuation. The implementation of this research globally could really be significant with many long-term benefits for society.

Winning the Team Achievement Award was Mott MacDonald Bentley, who delivered a series of new wetlands for Severn Trent. 

Mott MacDonald Bentley worked collaboratively with a range of stakeholders to deliver a series of wetlands for Severn Trent Water at Cinderford, Gloucestershire. The new wetlands will improve the conditions for the Cinderford Brook, which will create new habitats for wildlife and enhance biodiversity.

The judges were impressed with the collaborative approach to deliver the new wetlands and with their collaborative communications approach that ensured all stakeholders, specialists and staff were fully engaged and kept up to date with progress.

The Sabrina Footbridge Refurbishment Project won the Small Project Award (total project value up to £2m), which was delivered by Jacobs, working with Worcestershire County Council, Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Limited and Briton Fabricators. 

The bridge, which was installed in central Worcester in 1990 needed significant repairs after three decades of constant use. An innovative refurbishment programme was implemented, the complexity of which impressed the judges.

The Medium Project Award (total project value £2-10m) went to Paradise, Chamberlain Square, delivered by Ramboll UK, with MPEC.

Chamberlain Square is one of Birmingham’s most important public spaces, which dates back to the 19th century. Its regeneration transformed the Victorian square’s public realm providing a significantly improved public amenity for people living, working and visiting Birmingham.

In conferring the award, the judges recognised the importance of Chamberlain Square to the new Paradise Circus Development in the heart of Birmingham. The regeneration of involved overcoming various engineering challenges, including the successful integration of the original 1970s underground structures to support the modern and significantly heavier public realm works.

The winner in the Large Project Award (total project value over £10m) was the Birmingham Highways Interim Works Programme, undertaken by Birmingham Highways with Arcadis Consulting, on behalf of Birmingham City Council.

Since July 2020, the £130m project delivered 316 road and pavement schemes, meeting ambitious targets. The success of the programme led to an additional £130m of funding to deliver further highway improvements around the city throughout 2022.

In presenting the award, the judges recognised that highway maintenance is essential and is particularly visible to the wider public. The collaboration between the partners was praised by the judges, particularly in the way that they involved external stakeholders.

The winner in the Judges’ ’Award was the Armed Forces Community Garden, delivered by Balfour Beatty Living Places for Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.

The Armed Forces Community Garden, at Hillfield Park in Solihull, was carefully designed to help veterans and the community alike to heal in a place of peace and tranquility, with consideration for both mental and physical wellbeing.

In conferring the award, the judges were unanimous in their praise for this project that has transformed a barren piece of land into a bio-diverse community garden with the three distinct zones. The garden has brought people together from the wider community and provided a destination for visitors to spend quality time.

The judges agreed that this project highlights the vital role that civil engineers play in maximising improvements for community benefits and in this case, the wellbeing of armed forces veterans and their families.
This year, the People Awards celebratated individual civil engineers who have made an outstanding contribution to the West Midlands, across three categories: Young Achiever of the Year, STEM Ambassador of the Year and the Bob Dunn Award.

The Young Achiever of the Year Award is given for outstanding achievements of an engineer under the age of thirty. This year the judges named an overall winner, Mahesh Mohankumar, who works for Amey; the career achievements of Christian Quilici’s, from Jacobs, were highly commended.

Mahesh has been involved in various projects, including the construction of the Stafford Western Access Route, where he took a lead in reducing CO2 on this scheme and promoted the use of alternative construction materials.

The STEM Ambassador of the Year Award, which celebrates those who regularly give their time to represent the Institution and the profession, went to Frances Stephens, from Mott MacDonald Bentley, for her work in mentoring students of all ages. She will now be put forward to the 2023 national ICE STEM Ambassador of the Year Award final.

The Bob Dunn Award is presented in memory of the late Bob Dunn, who made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of civil engineering in the West Midlands.

This year’s winner was Mike Mann, who joined ICE as a student in June 1951, becoming chartered in June 1961 and a Fellow of the Institution in 1976. He rose up through the profession to become the Construction Director (Midlands Region) for Alfred McAlpine Construction, which he grew to become one of the top ten housebuilders in the UK, building more than 4,000 homes per year.

Commenting, ICE East and West Midlands Regional Director, Jo Barnett, said: “Congratulations to all the project teams and individuals recognised in our awards this year. It was fantastic to see so many worthy nominations despite a challenging time during the pandemic for all over the last year, not least those working in infrastructure.

“Coming together in person for the first time since 2019 was really very special as it is always great to see firsthand the contribution civil engineers make to our everyday lives that we often take for granted.”