Awards time

It’s that black-tie time of year. Last night, the Construction News Quality in Construction Awards 2008 were presented at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane. And tonight sees the Building Awards 2008 presented at the same venue.

I went to last night’s ceremony, supporting Bovis Lend Lease – shortlisted in the ‘Excellence in the use of ICT’ category for its development (with my employer BIW) of InTouch, a replacement for its venerable Hummingbird system. Almost five months after submitting an entry, getting shortlisted and after a presentation to the judging panel, sadly, BLL didn’t win but – as with all finalists – it has the satisfaction of seeing its achievements described in the event programme (details reproduced here). The winner was a housing maintenance management system created by housing association United House; the other shortlisted candidates were Morgan Professional Services, Atkins and Construction Photography.

I won’t be going to this evening’s event (though I’m sure there will be people with the stamina to do both) – I’ve been to the Building Awards a couple of times, the last time being the year (2006) BIW won the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ category.

Those doing both events will doubtless see some similarity in the night’s topical jokes. Back in 2006, just about every industry event poked fun at Wembley Stadium and Multiplex; this year’s target is – on last night’s evidence – likely to be BAA’s Heathrow Terminal Five project, much in the news at the moment due to its baggage handling problems. It got a bit of a bashing last night from comedian compere Patrick Kielty, but BAA still walked away with two awards (Client of the Year, Collaborative Engineered Design) while the T5 principal contractors picked up the occupational health award – all decisions probably made before the baggage handling system issues arose), and I expect whoever is compering this evening’s presentations will also find T5 a convenient target.

Incidentally, well done Building for its April Fools Day news item: Elephants to work on UK construction sites.

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