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Innovative projects and individuals recognised at the 2024 Robert Stephenson Awards

Date
08 March 2024

The annual awards ceremony in Newcastle celebrated outstanding civil engineering projects and exceptional individuals from across north-east England.

Innovative projects and individuals recognised at the 2024 Robert Stephenson Awards
Dawdon Short Sea Outfall scheme, winner of the Small Category Robert Stephenson Award 2024

Top civil engineering projects from north-east England have been awarded for their excellence at the 2024 ICE Robert Stephenson Awards.

These included an enterprise zone, sea outfall, and a major interchange.

The annual dinner and awards, attended by the ICE President Professor Anusha Shah, took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle on Thursday 7 March.

It saw 14 shortlisted projects battle it out to win the Large, Medium and Small Category Project Awards.

The winners of three individual awards were also revealed on the night – the STEM Ambassador of the Year Award and two new awards for 2024, the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) Champion Award and the Sustainability Champion Award.

Funds were raised for the People’s Kitchen in Newcastle, a charity which supports homeless and vulnerable people and helps to fight hunger and loneliness for locals in need.

Large Category Award

A66 Elton Interchange, winner of the Large Category Robert Stephenson Award 2024
A66 Elton Interchange, winner of the Large Category Robert Stephenson Award 2024

The winner of the Large Category Award, for projects valued over £5 million, was A66 Elton Interchange.

The project was delivered by Balfour Beatty and Arup for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.

The judges thought that this was a great example of social value and the extent to which it can be delivered.

They commended the creation of a one-team environment and the initiatives to achieve it, including the judges’ favourite: an ice cream van!

Medium Category Award

Trinity Enterprise Zone Enabling Works, winner of the Medium Category Robert Stephenson Award 2024
Trinity Enterprise Zone Enabling Works, winner of the Medium Category Robert Stephenson Award 2024

The winner of the Medium Category Award, for projects valued between £1 and £5 million, was Trinity Enterprise Zone Enabling Works.

This project was delivered by Mott MacDonald Limited and Esh Construction for Sunderland City Council.

The judges were impressed with the community impact of the project, the team’s enthusiasm and the consideration of carbon footprint from the outset.

The workforce was involved in decision making and the team lived by the ‘three Cs’ of consensus, collaboration and common sense.

They also fundraised, ran mental health campaigns, developed a QR health and safety system – now used nationally and by the client – and undertook work with local school children.

Highly Commended Certificates

Hexham Industrial Estates FAS, highly commended in the Medium Category Robert Stephenson Awards 2024
Hexham Industrial Estates FAS, highly commended in the Medium Category Robert Stephenson Awards 2024

Hexham Industrial Estates Flood Alleviation Scheme was presented with a Highly Commended certificate for its use of Project 13 philosophies, which led to bold decisions to reduce carbon.

Specifically, the use of non-standard concrete and an update to British standards which has enhanced the availability of low-carbon solutions industry-wide.

It was delivered by Arup and BAM Nuttall for the Environment Agency.

Mandale Bridge, highly commended in the Medium Category Robert Stephenson Awards 2024
Mandale Bridge, highly commended in the Medium Category Robert Stephenson Awards 2024

A Highly Commended certificate was also presented to Mandale Bridge, delivered by AtkinsRéalis and Balfour Beatty for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.

This maintenance project stood out due to the early rethink which led to design changes and improved site accessibility and security.

The judges were extremely impressed with the breadth of social value undertaken.

Small Category Award

Dawdon Short Sea Outfall scheme, winner of the Small Category Robert Stephenson Award 2024
Dawdon Short Sea Outfall scheme, winner of the Small Category Robert Stephenson Award 2024

The winner of the Small Category Award, for projects valued under £1 million, was Dawdon Short Sea Outfall.

The project was delivered by WSP and Southbay Civil Engineering Ltd for the Coal Authority.

The judges said that this was a hugely interesting project. The design changes and the final impact on the environment was impressive, given the exceptionally difficult site conditions brought about by climate change.

Highly Commended Certificate

Whitburn Conservation Centre, highly commended in the Small Category Robert Stephenson Award 2024
Whitburn Conservation Centre, highly commended in the Small Category Robert Stephenson Award 2024

Whitburn Conservation Centre was presented with a Highly Commended certificate on the night.

It was delivered for the National Trust by JC Consulting, MawsonKerr and Northern Bear Building Services.

This project really shone from the perspective of sustainability. The judges thought the use of sustainable options, like green-blue infrastructure and air source heat pumps, was fantastic to see.

They also felt it was evident that this project will have lasting impacts on the local community.

Special Award

Cawledge Viaduct Refurbishment, winner of the Special Award at the Robert Stephenson Awards 2024
Cawledge Viaduct Refurbishment, winner of the Special Award at the Robert Stephenson Awards 2024

The judges also presented a Special Award to Cawledge Viaduct Refurbishment.

They felt this project was a great example of what can be done by a community when led by engineers who are motivated to improve the environment in which they live.

They felt it was great to see how the majority of the project was funded through local support from members and the community.

The project was delivered by Adelphi Consulting Engineers, W L Straughan & Sons Ltd and CAN Structures for Aln Valley Railway.

Individual Awards

Robert Stephenson Awards 2024 individual winners: David Olive, Lucy Davison and Kirils Holstovs
Robert Stephenson Awards 2024 individual winners: David Olive, Lucy Davison and Kirils Holstovs

STEM Ambassador of the Year

The North East STEM Ambassador of the Year was presented to David Olive, highways civil engineering apprentice at AECOM.

He has supported many STEM events during 2023 and the judges were particularly impressed with his commitment to dispel the myths surrounding the apprenticeship route into civil engineering.

Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) Champion

The judges wanted to recognise the winner’s unwavering commitment to making change and giving a platform for others, as well as themselves.

The 2024 Fairness, Inclusion and Respect Champion 2024 is Lucy Davison, design coordinator at Systra Ltd.

Highly Commended

Richard Stelling, works supervisor at Sir Robert McAlpine, was presented with the highly commended certificate.

The judges said, “Every workplace needs more people like our highly commended winner, who simply operates with an inclusive way of thinking every day.”

The FIR Champion Award was sponsored by Waterman Aspen.

Sustainability Champion Award

The 2024 Sustainability Champion is Kirils Holstovs.

An engineer at AECOM, he was described by the judges as a disruptor, game changer and an inspiration for others, not only regionally, but nationally and internationally.

Highly Commended

The Highly Commended Certificate, awarded for “their commitment to sustainability design and developing others”, went to Catherine Green, infrastructure technical lead at Stantec UK.

The Sustainability Champion Award was sponsored by Project Groundwater Northumbria.

ICE president’s gifts

Recipients of the ICE's president's gifts: Robert Chesney, Meshi Taka, Paula McMahon and Kate Cairns
Recipients of the ICE's president's gifts: Robert Chesney, Meshi Taka, Paula McMahon and Kate Cairns

The president’s gifts acknowledge members’ special contribution to business objectives of the ICE in the North East.

One was presented to Robert Chesney, graduate civil engineer at Stantec and current co-chair of the North East Early Careers Network.

He took a key role in the planning and delivery of the 2023 Northern Early Careers Network Conference held in Manchester.

Meshi Taka, current North East regional chair also received a president’s gift.

Taka is deputy chair of the ICE FIR committee and honorary co-chair of the editorial panel of the Civil Engineering Journal. In 2023, she also became a Fellow of the ICE.

Paula McMahon also recieved a president's gift on the night. McMahon has been a dedicated member of the ICE for many years.

As an ICE Fellow and trustee, she dedicates significant time to guiding the direction of the institution.

McMahon's commitment to the civil engineering profession shines through her passion for promoting the industry and developing people within it.

A president's gift was also presented to Kate Cairns, who's chaired the ICE Fairness, Inclusion and Respect Committee since 2016.

She's helped to ensure everyone, regardless of their background, has equal opportunity to thrive.

Cairns’ pioneering work in the sustainability and safety spaces has resulted in the creation of two new industry standards.

Cairns has shown unwavering dedication to changing the industry in order to change the world.

Raising the profile of civil engineering

Kate Lloyd, ICE North East regional director, said the entries were strong this year.

Lloyd said: “There are thousands of civil engineers in the North East who work tirelessly to design, enhance and maintain the infrastructure that we all rely on, in a sustainable way.

“The Robert Stephenson Awards are a fantastic opportunity to highlight the impact civil engineering has on everyone’s lives, now and in the future.

“I would like to thank all the nominees for taking the time to put forward an entry and for helping to raise the profile of civil engineering.”

The annual dinner and awards ceremony were sponsored by CDM Recruitment.

  • Joanne Stephenson, communications lead at ICE