Over 22 of the West Midlands’ most impressive and community beneficial property schemes battled it out for top honours at the RICS Awards 2018, West Midlands. BBC Midlands Today, TV presenter, Mary Rhodes hosted this year’s sell-out ceremony – supported by headline sponsor Sika Building Trust - held at the Grand Station in Wolverhampton.
The highly acclaimed Project of the Year title is presented to the scheme which demonstrates overall outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area.
The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is the new purpose-built music school and is the first digital conservatoire of the 21st Century. Covering approximately 10,500m2 of lecture and teaching space the conservatoire also boasts 100 rehearsal rooms, a new 500 seat concert hall, intimate 150 seat recital hall, and Birmingham’s only dedicated jazz club and an organ performance space.
Judges praised Faithful+Gould, Feilden Clegg Bradley, Galliford Try and Birmingham City University for delivering this ‘world class’ facility with national and international appeal which will attract further investment to the City. This grand project, which has also received the Royal seal of approval, had stiff competition from other entries but in many ways stood ‘head and shoulders’ above other entries.
Image credit: Birmingham Conservatoire
Sponsored by University of Wolverhampton
Attingham Park is a major Shropshire visitor attraction and heritage site. This project strove to ensure the site could sustainably develop and sensitively improve services in order to provide an enhanced visitor experience whilst safeguarding funding for conservation works. Construction included a new Visitor Reception and Biomass Boiler House to the west of the historic stable block and an Extended Production Kitchen with Café Refurbishment in the southeast of the Stables block.
Judges praised The National Trust, Brownhill Hayward Brown and Croft Building & Conservation Ltd for how they were able to restore and subsequently open the areas of the stables for a seamless journey, ensuring visitors experience the history throughout the building. Judges were also impressed by the consideration for sustainability and the visitor’s journey by maintaining clear sightlines through and around the property, for all.
Sponsored by Rider Levett Bucknall
Working in partnership with First Choice Group, local stakeholders and grant funding from Birmingham and Solihull LEP, Opus Land successfully remediated and developed 100,000 sq ft of industrial accommodation on a former open cast mine. Due to this previous use of the land, a unique ground treatment package was required to enable development of the site. The process of 'Dynamic Compaction' and 'Super charging' (funded by the LEP) assisted in bringing the land back into a suitable condition for the project.
Judges believe this is a fine example of an experienced developer working in conjunction with a knowledgeable tenant, a proactive local authority and LEP, to provide a first rate commercial facility to safeguard and indeed expand local jobs and regenerate an area.
TouchBase Pears is a pioneering and innovative development for Sense, a national charity that supports deafblind people or those who have sensory impairments.
The judges praised the new purpose built facility for delivering a building that delivers specialist services for their disabled users, as well local people and businesses across the private and public sectors. They felt Greenwood Projects, Stepnell and Glenn Howells Architects had provided a space that was not only easy to get to by rail, bus or car but was welcoming and made good use of the natural daylight.
Fisher German new innovative solution to specialist training on construction projects - through an entertaining video ‘story’ – shows the impact of best practice versus poor practice for landowners, contractors, clients and health & safety on water pipeline projects.
The judges felt this project showcases how improving the process, not just the end result of an infrastructure project can bring massive benefits. Engaging hearts and minds early in the process through carefully thought out animated storytelling, which highlights ‘chaos theory’ in terms of how poor decisions magnify later in a project into large problems. If the messages are taken on board by contractors and land owners alike, then the result is massive savings in cost, carbon and potentially casualties.
Sponsored by Faithful + Gould
The £18.4million college in Birmingham was the UK’s first National College for High Speed Rail and was delivered to BIM Level 2 mandate. Designed to meet the requirements of 1200 students each year, it provides them with the skills necessary for the delivery and ongoing operation of the UK’s new high speed rail line.
Judges remarked on the significance this project has had for the regeneration of Birmingham’s former science park to lead the transformation into the City’s Learning Quarter. Acivico Limited, Bond Brown Architects and Willmott Dixon have made important connections between Curzon Station, past and future, and the local community to ensure that the rail industry is once again at the forefront of innovation.
This 5,700m2 college will create the next generation of world-class rail engineers and make a valuable impact across the region as HS2 acts as a catalyst to development.
Maple West provides 140 contemporary apartments all of which are available for affordable rent. Its residents can make use of the development's communal facilities, including a village street set at the very heart of the building. The development’s success has ensured that older people are able to continue living independently within their own home, contributing to inclusive, safer, sustainable communities, supporting older people to live healthy, active, fulfilling lives and alleviating feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
Built on the former Westcliffe Hospital site the judges were impressed with the extremely high levels of engagement with the local community and the sympathetic conservation of the original lodge and entrance gates. Seddon Construction and PRP LLP have taken careful consideration throughout the entire life cycle designing the building to HAPPI principles and it is worthy of its BREEAM Excellent status.
With the primary objective to safeguard the future of Wedgwood judges praised the team for retaining an important historic manufacturer through a well-managed phased redevelopment. Using the principles of a ‘factory in a garden’ the scheme has remodelled the manufacturing functions to modern standards with high quality offices and improved staff facilities. More importantly visitors are now given a fantastic tour through the factory watching the production processes and travelling through the history of Wedgwood.