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Low carbon concrete wins first-ever North West Mercer Innovation Award

23 May 2022

Projects and people were celebrated across nine award categories in a sold out, in-person ceremony for the ICE North West Civil Engineering Awards.

Low carbon concrete wins first-ever North West Mercer Innovation Award
Low Carbon Graphene Enhanced Concrete was first used to build a mezzanine structure at a new venue.

A form of low carbon concrete won the inaugural ICE North West Mercer Innovation Award for its ingenious formula.

Low Carbon Graphene Enhanced Concrete was created in Manchester to a secret recipe by Nationwide Engineering and the University of Manchester.

The product was honoured at the ICE North West Civil Engineering Awards, where the regional chair, Chaido Doulala-Rigby (Yuli) presented awards across nine categories.

The ceremony, held at the Midland Hotel, Manchester on 19 May 2022, had an audience of over 400 engineering professionals.

ICE North West director Emma Antrobus praised the projects and the civil engineers behind them for bringing countless benefits to society through the infrastructure they build.

“More and more, we see efforts that are delivered through effective collaboration, from addressing global carbon emission issues, to local connectivity and the creation of important spaces,” she said.

Game-changing: ICE North West Mercer Innovation Award

Use of Low Carbon Graphene Enhanced Concrete

The award winner, Low Carbon Graphene Enhanced Concrete, forms part of a change in the industry to reduce the reliance on carbon-heavy concrete.

In its first commercial use, building a mezzanine structure at Escape to Freight Island, an open-air food hall, the product was useable within 48 hours of casting and achieved carbon savings of over 4.3 tonnes.

A home for new talent: Large Project Award

Manchester Engineering Campus Development

The Large Project Award went to the Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD).

It’s a world-class, integrated engineering campus providing 75,000m2 of sustainable, flexible, and innovative teaching spaces to support world-leading research and learning for over 8,000 students and staff.

Unrivalled in scale, MECD is a publicly accessible showcase of the essential and inspiring work engineers do when solving the world’s most pressing issues.

Furthermore, it has an important role in the supply of future talent from across all engineering disciplines.

Refurbishing hidden assets: Medium Project Award

Seacombe Ferry Terminal refurbishment

The complex Seacombe Ferry Terminal refurbishment took the Medium Project Award.

The project engineered the replacement of 130-year-old linkspan bridges while working around the challenges of the tidal river, including active shipping lanes.

Careful re-use: Small Project Award

Escape to Freight Island project

The Small Project category was awarded to Escape to Freight Island, part of the extensive Mayfield Depot regeneration close to Manchester city centre.

The project was recognised for its sustainable approach and careful repurposing of a former derelict building.

Clever engineering means that the temporary structures used can be dismantled and repurposed in future.

A fitting memorial: Special Recognition Award

Medieval Quarter and Glade of Light project

A Special Recognition Award was given to the Medieval Quarter and Glade of Light project, incorporating the poignant memorial for those killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena attack.

Effective communication and a sensitive, inclusive approach were at the heart of delivering this meaningful and tranquil space for the community to reflect and remember.

Effective collaboration: Constructability Award

Silver Jubilee Bridge

The Constructability Award, covering temporary works, went to the Silver Jubilee Bridge re-painting project.

What set this job apart was the limited access to the structure, which is UK’s largest steel arch bridge, standing 80m above a tidal estuary.

Strong collaboration between permanent and temporary works designers and the use of bespoke wind monitoring and load forecasting tools meant the work could be conducted swiftly and safely.

People Awards

Awards recognising effort in Diversity and Teamwork were won by John Sisk & Son and the engineers behind the South Heywood Relief Road scheme, respectively.

A new Rising Star Award was won by early career engineer Kit Wolverson, from Mott MacDonald.

The North West STEM Volunteer of the Year was confirmed as Maria Eftimova from Costain.

“We owe a lot to our civil engineers for their efforts and are pleased to shine a spotlight on all of the engineering excellence on display here in the North West,” Antrobus said.

The event was supported by Tensar International, The Temporary Works Forum, Civic Engineers and Richter.

Find out more

The Mercer Innovation award does not constitute an endorsement by the Institution of Civil Engineers of Low Carbon Graphene Enhanced Concrete.

  • Lynn Caddy, communications lead at Institution of Civil Engineers