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UK Construction's Finest

15 October 2009

The St Martin-in-the-Fields refurbishment/restoration project, with Costain as the main contractor, has picked up its second national award this month.

The famous London Church received the British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA) top prize in the Conservation category. Only days earlier the project won the Institution of Structural Engineers' Heritage Award for Buildings.

The 2009 BCIA once again brought a huge entry representing over 170 of the best projects in the UK and those abroad for which UK Companies had a significant input. The Awards are rigorously judged with each of the 35 UK shortlisted projects visited by members of the judging panel and their project teams quizzed on site. Teams representing the International shortlist of six projects were interviewed in London and visits made for the judges to glean further information.

It is well known that the BCIA is not a design competition - while excellence of architecture or engineering are factors, these Awards are all embracing with the judges considering many aspects from procurement, performance against prediction, quality of design and construction, safety, innovation, sustainability, usability and benefit to the community among many others listed in the Awards application form.

The BCIA made its award to St Martin-in-the-Fields 'for a project designed and executed with respect for original fabric, design and form while making a minimum intervention consistent with safety and structural integrity.' 

The judges stated: 'The renewal of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London's Trafalgar Square is a significant and highly complex public building project offering a great deal more than just the famous Church. It's Grade I listed Crypt and three Grade II listed buildings have been completely upgraded and extensive new spaces created to provide additional facilities.

'The project is a showcase for the construction industry with a real wow factor and an uplifting atmosphere. A classic scheme using a wide range of design and construction skills to upgrade the buildings. Sensitive refurbishment and upgrade of historic features have been coupled with totally appropriate new build sections.

'A chaotic working environment has been transformed. St Martin can now fulfil its important role in London life, with facilities for the homeless, the local Chinese community and the general public.'