BUILDING up his reputation, a Rugby construction manager has struck gold at a national award ceremony.
Stepnell project manager John Neill won the Public Infrastructure and Healthcare category at the Chartered Institute of Building’s 2017 Construction Manager of the Year Awards.
One of just nine gold medal winners out of 85 finalists from across the UK, Rugbeian John was nominated by staff at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, where Stepnell built the new Remembrance Centre.
John received his award at a black tie ceremony, hosted by BBC Breakfast’s Steph McGovern, at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.
He said: “I feel very honoured to have been recognised for my role in helping deliver the new Remembrance and Learning Centre. The gold medal is a testimony to the expertise and hard work of the entire construction team and adds to the enormous pride we all share at having worked on this iconic project.
“The finished building is a sympathetic addition to the National Memorial Arboretum and has provided this national site of remembrance and commemoration with world-class facilities.”
The award-winning £15.7m centre – the UK’s national focus for remembrance – brought together an existing chapel, a former visitor centre and external spaces and gardens.
John, who works at Stepnell’s national head office in Lawford Road, and his team also enabled existing facilities to stay fully operational for 300,000 annual visitors during the 50-week construction programme.
Stepnell director Bill Haynes said: “John’s gold medal is fully deserved and underlines the scale of his achievement and importance of his contribution to the success of the finished building.”
Sarah Montgomery, managing director of the National Memorial Arboretum, said visitors to the new Remembrance Centre saw it as and outstanding success.
She added: “John was a pleasure to work with, building strong working relationships with the Arboretum team and demonstrating a clear understanding of our needs as a client.”
And the director of construction consultants Edmond Shipway, who managed the overall project, said it was one of the most successful he had worked on in 40 years.
Clive Layton said: “Without a shadow of doubt, most of that success was as a result of John’s efforts and approach to the inevitable issues all construction projects face.
“The quality of the finished product is exemplary and across the hundreds of various people who have now visited and inspected, some with an extremely critical eye, I am not aware of one negative comment.”
John managed the tight 50-week construction programme so that the building was ready for the 2016 Armistice Day ceremonies and events, and devised ways to save time and money by streamlining the build process.
The centre has already received a number of accolades, including the Regional Award and the Building of the Year title at the Royal Institute of British Architects’s awards.