From NHS marvel to cultural jewel: celebrating the South West award winners

The resilience and human impact of regional projects was on display at the ICE South West Civil Engineering Awards 2021.

The NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter was built in just 57 days at the height of the first pandemic wave.
The NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter was built in just 57 days at the height of the first pandemic wave.

A South West cultural asset has claimed the top prize at the region’s most prestigious civil engineering event, with awards also recognising how engineers have worked together to help communities during the pandemic.

The winners of the ICE South West Civil Engineering Awards 2021 in association with Kier BAM were announced by Rob Bell, TV presenter and engineer, on Thursday 30 September at a gala ceremony at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel.

The Box in Plymouth, the region’s biggest multi-disciplinary arts and heritage space, won the highly-coveted Showcase Award. The judges said the attraction was a worthy winner in recognition of its contribution to the culture and visitor economy of Plymouth and the wider region.


The Box in Plymouth claimed the evening’s top prize.

The Collaboration Award, sponsored by Atkins, was presented to the NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter. The judges said the scheme, which turned a former DIY store into a 116-bed healthcare facility in just 57 days, showed how extraordinary things can be achieved by working together.

Overcoming the challenges of the pandemic

Ten projects from Cornwall to Gloucestershire were vying to walk away with an award after a year that has seen civil engineers battle to overcome the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping complex infrastructure works on track or delivering emergency schemes at breakneck speed.

Mike Gallop, Network Rail Western route director and chair of the judging panel, said: “These awards are an amazing showcase for our regional industry, highlighting the endeavour, passion and technical ability that goes into building things.

"But more than that, the awards shine a light on what infrastructure can do for people. It’s this human impact that has really defined the awards this year. In particular, how civil engineers in the South West have responded during a time of crisis to deliver on behalf of their communities.”

An emergency housing scheme in Cornwall to provide temporary accommodation for homeless people during the coronavirus lockdown was the first double award-winner of the evening. The scheme was presented with the Community Award, sponsored by Stantec, and the Judges’ Special Award in recognition of the positive human impact it delivered for vulnerable residents.

Public vote winner

A canal restoration project in Gloucestershire also claimed two prizes, including the South West People’s Choice Award, sponsored by AECOM, which is decided by the public via an online vote.

The judges were impressed with the technical solution used as part of the A38/A419 Whitminster Roundabout Canal Bridges scheme to restore a missing section of the Stroudwater Navigation Canal through the centre of a major roundabout.

Young engineers representing future talent in the region were also recognised at the awards event.

Katie Lawson, a civil engineering apprentice with Cormac Solutions in Cornwall won the Apprentice of the Year Award, sponsored by Tony Gee and Partners. Alex Kaye, a Transport Planner with Arup in Bristol, was presented with the Graduate of the Year Award, sponsored by WSP, with Sally Ameen of Richter, based in Exeter, was highly commended in the same category.

Miranda Housden, ICE South West regional director, said: "The one thing all the winners have in common is the direct benefit they bring to people through their work. Our awards are a real tribute to the thousands of civil engineers who continue to bring huge societal benefits to people in the South West.”

Full details of all the shortlisted projects and awards sponsors can be found here

List of winners

Project Awards:

Showcase Award – The Box, Plymouth

People’s Choice Award and Project Under £8m (New Build) Award – A38/A419 Whitminster Roundabout Canal Bridges

Judges’ Special Award and Community Award - Emergency Homeless Housing Project - Cornwall's Rapid Response to COVID-19

Collaboration Award - NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter

Project Over £8m (Re-Engineered) Award – Marine Parade, Dawlish

Project Over £8m (New Build) Award - Hinkley Point C Marine Works – Tunnels

Project Under £8m (Re-Engineered) Award - Helston Flood Alleviation Scheme

Individual Awards:

Apprentice of the Year Award – Katie Lawson, Cormac Solutions

Graduate of the Year Award (winner) – Alex Kaye, Arup

Graduate of the Year Award (highly commended) – Sally Ameen, Richter

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