The Building Innovation Awards once again assembled a wealth of industry talent last night (12 October) for a glitzy celebration of the industry’s achievements these last 12 months.
This year, the Awards took place at the Kimpton Clocktower Hotel in the heart of Manchester, where guests came together to honour those taking construction into the 21st Century and –dare we say? – beyond.
Naturally, there were plenty of tenterhooks, as everyone wondered who would be taking home a prize, but there was entertainment a’plenty, good food, convivial company, and a great atmosphere.
As the night’s host – former athletics star turned media presenter and speaker – Kriss Akabusi MBE told the audience: “Tonight we celebrate the individuals, organisations and companies who have embraced technology and digital transformation in order to push UK construction to the cutting edge.”
Reflecting the ever-expanding nature of that cutting edge, and how new technologies are coming to the fore, this year the Awards featured three new categories. These were: Best Use of 3D Printing Technology; Best Use of Robotics in Construction; and Best Use of Digital Twin Technology.
All told, there were 26 categories up for grabs this year, and competition was fierce. Entrants certainly put the judging panel through their paces.
The chosen charity for the Building Innovation Awards 2023 was Switch the Play Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting all sports-people to make a successful transition into life outside sport.
At the after-show party, the fabulous band, Mustard kept guests entertained – and dancing into the early hours.
By its nature, not everyone at the Building Innovation Awards could win a prize, but one thing is clear from the assembled achievers at last night’s events – they are winning the race for change.
Now we turn to the prize winners of last night’s Awards, but first let’s offer our thanks to the judges, the sponsors and all those who entered and attended. They make it all possible. Thank you.
Most Innovative On-Site Monitoring Tool
Summary: SymTerra’s platform allows easy, instant, and intuitive communication across multiple contractors working on the same project. The judges comments were only positive, saying the tool was “user-friendly”, and an “excellent product” that the judges could see “really taking off in years to come”. One of the judges summed it up by saying this was an “innovative and valuable offering” to the construction industry.
Best Use of AR/VR in a Construction Project
Winner: XYZ Reality
“XYZ Reality and Mace have demonstrated how AR can be a productivity tool, not just a communication tool.”The 2023 judging panel
Summary: The judges were impressed with what they called “proper use of augmented reality”. In their eyes this really did show “comprehensive use of the tech” and was a “real solution” for a high profile industry collaboration.
Best Use of 3D Printing Technology
Winner: ChangeMaker 3D Ltd
“This is world class innovation that demonstrates the practical benefits of 3D printing technology.”The 2023 judging panel
Summary: The judges were blown away by the way ChangeMaker deployed “innovative technology” in the rail industry. Demonstrating 3D printing technology on such a large scale project was deemed by the judges to be “excellent”, “fascinating” and “groundbreaking”. And finally, it was deemed a “strong contribution to Net Zero and driving efficiencies on a major government project”.
Best Use of Information Management Using BIM
Summary: The judges described xbim’s submission as “a solution that embraces open data structure and inter-operability”. Digging deeper, one judge said it was “great to see the development of Opensource BIM toolkits around improving IFC workflows and data processes, particularly when extracting information for costing”. And finally, the general consensus was that this was an all-round “good example of software supporting the BIM process”.
Best Use of Robotics in Construction
Summary: The judges said that hyperTunnel is a pioneering development for underground construction. It really was “an impressive example of securing funding for innovation”. This example of robotics on a project really showed “world class innovation that ensures the UK leads as a global player in infrastructure”. High praise indeed.
Best Modular Innovation
Winner: Allia Future Homes
Summary: The judges described Allia Future Homes’ entry as a “great focus on circularity and upfront materials assessment”. They thought that this was an “excellent approach that focuses on a key social challenge”. The social value aspect of this modular innovation really impressed the judges and was deemed “a great social value proposition which helps people get out of homelessness”.
Best Financial Innovation
“A perfect example of technology making existing jobs easier rather than taking them away.”The 2023 judging panel
Summary: The judges described this platform as “a great solution supporting sub-contractor payments”. It allows subcontractors to upload, view and manage their Applications for Payment and invoices through the platform which they agreed not only gave “good customer feedback” but was indicated as “a transformative solution for many contractors” in the industry.
Best Asset Management Innovation
Summary: The judges found Cadline’s solution a great tool to support the 2022 Building Safety Act, which is of course a hot topic right now. One judge said that a platform that can simplify the data collected, to make it useful, is definitely required in the industry right now. Potentially this platform could be future-proof as well, as it links to the Net Zero agenda. Cadline have made a useable product here, that really works.
Best Carbon Monitoring Tool
Unfortunately, Preoptima wasn’t able to attend on the night, so to collecting the award on its behalf was 2023 Judge, Melanie Dawson, director of Origin 7.
Summary: The Preoptima Climate-Tech Venture really impressed the judges in this hotly contested category. They liked that it made “good use of AI” and the carbon twin concept. Looking to the future, the judges said the venture really did drive positive decision-making and had a “well designed interface” to boot.
Best Use of Alternative Fuels
Winner: Laing O’Rourke
This was a judges’ choice award, so there was no shortlist
“The determination to succeed is most impressive.”The 2023 judging panel
Summary: The judges agreed that Laing O’Rourke had “grasped the metal on this” for their use of alternative fuels in the building industry. One judge described this entry as “a highly commendable example of leading the way in emission-free sites and their commitment to Net Zero”. Their case study demonstrated over 60% of emissions saved.
Best Health & Safety Innovation
Winner: Safety Shield Global and Ardent Hire Solutions
Summary: The judges definitely had a tough job in this category, but Safety Shield provided a game-changer, in real-time, which provided excellent risk reduction. The additional insights that the data brings really improves safety on site, and what the judges described as a real testament to how Safety Shield are thinking outside the box. One of the panellists even scored a 10 for this innovative way to overcome an important health and safety issue – with measurable benefit.
Best Materials Innovation
Winner: Leadax Circular Waterproofing
Summary: The judges said that it was “great to see a real focus on the possibility of circularity”. And a fantastic example of “recycling and improving safety performance for installation”. What they liked the most was the fact that Leadax actually works here and now, and is being used right now, as a real solution.
Most Innovative Commercial Project
Winner: 40 Leadenhall Street – by M&G Real Estate, Mace, Make Architects, Glider & Arcadis
Summary: 40 Leadenhall Street was deemed by the judges to be an obviously impressive project. It had scale, innovation and impact, using digital tools to a high degree. One judge scored 40 Leadenhall Street a 10 and was blown away. All in all, a fantastic project, that applied digital tools not only in the supply chain, but with stakeholders at the final stages of handover, and in the operational phase.
Most Innovative Restoration/ Refurbishment Project – sponsored by Bricsys
Winner: Building 84, Cranfield University – by R G Carter
Summary: The judges said that R G Carter showed “detailed innovation and measurable benefits” and that the submission mentioned all of the criteria, and significantly reduced the carbon impact of the building. One judge commented that the “sustainable approach was sensitive to the character, but transformed the building’s performance”. The judges all agreed that the “impressive approach” of working bottom-up, was such a clever idea, it deserved recognition.
Best Use of Timber on a Construction Project
Winner: B&K Structures
“It’s commendable to see this complex project embed such a high level of timber.”The 2023 judging panel
Summary: The judges were impressed with B&K’s project, it combined timber use, biophilic design and human-centric design in one. It was agreed to be an excellent all-round entry and a great job. An excellent example as to how an existing building can be re-purposed and extended with lightweight, sustainable construction.
Most Sustainable Construction Project – Sponsored by Travis Perkins
Winner: Bellway – Future Home @ Energy House 2.0
Summary: Bellway really pulled out the stops for this Future Home project, and all the judges deemed it “an excellent all round entry”. One went on to say “it’s great to see Bellway considering affordability in their solutions”, which added an extra level to their “ground breaking research” that was evident in this Energy House. The conclusion was “an exceptional research project that can have a sustainable impact on the wider construction industry”.
Best Use of Digital Twin Technology
Summary: IES were chosen as the winners as they showed “brilliant use of digital twins at a multi-building level to address carbon challenges”. It was a good practical use of energy modelling and an interesting approach to the decarbonisation challenge, where retrofit-first has been considered, citing all aspects of the retrofit value proposition.
Best Digital Transformation – sponsored by Revizto
Summary: All the scores were high in this category, and it caused some debate amongst our judges, however IES won because they were described as providing a “fantastic solution answering industries big question on carbon reporting”. It also showed “a good understanding of digital twins and the connected systems”, and a “clever use of technology to address important issues”.
Most Innovative New Product (Hardware)
Winner: Brilliant Ideas with ALIMATS load spread solution for MEWPS
“A great example of innovation to improve construction methodology especially for tighter spaces.”The 2023 judging panel
Summary: Brilliant Ideas surpassed the competition with their ALIMATS load spreader solution for many reasons. One of the judges said “it looks like a good product with a range of applications”. Plus the practical application on sites has proven to work “live”. All in all “innovation and safety combined to create a real solution to a real problem”.
Most Innovative New Product (Digital) – Sponsored by ProCore
Winner: ONE Engage
Summary: The judges deemed ONE Engage to be a “great solution giving residents engagement and control”. One judge described it as an “excellent concept” and that it was “important to recognise the innovation in developing a product for such a cause.” Social value and resident engagement was clearly at the core of the One Engage agenda for this product, which shines through.
Most Innovative Contech Start-up
Winner: VisiLean Ltd
Summary: VisiLean addresses one of the key challenges faced in the later stages of a project, eEspecially where there is a need to address visibility and change management from the studio to site. VisiLean showed a “rare example of applying lean principles to construction”.
Highly commended: Inevidesk Ltd
Most Innovative SME
Winner: AeroBarrier UK
Summary: The judges said that AeroBarrier UK addressed a really important subject that is well communicated. One judge said it’s “a very useful product for the improvement of building fabric and it’s innovative in its approach to technology in controlling air leakage in buildings”. A game changing innovation deserving of this award.
Highly commended: ONE Creative environments
Most Innovative Supplier
Winner: Brilliant Ideas Ltd
Summary: Brilliant Ideas are paving the way for the future in their supply to the building industry; the judges really had nothing bad to say about their approach to innovation. Saying it was “at the heart of this company’s DNA and growth strategy”. Another judge went on to say it’s a really “useful on the ground innovation, with a good research and development budget, further demonstrating a focus on innovation into the future”.
Most Innovative Contractor – sponsored by Fexillon
Winner: Three Sixty Ltd
Summary: Three Sixty were said to show “a business capable of combining purpose with profit to deliver social value”. Their shift to digital for carrying out works is a game-changer and demonstrates better service and customer satisfaction. The social impact on this entry gives a real edge and provides the most valuable contribution.
Highly commended: Winvic Construction
Best Technology Partner
Winner: ALICE Technologies
Summary: The judges said that ALICE Technologies demonstrate a comprehensive solution addressing many construction challenges, including a valuable use of AI in their work and projects. This type of technology could significantly reduce cost, programme time, and risk on large-scale projects.
Innovation Champion 2023
Winner: Scott Pilgrim – co-founder and chief product officer, Operance
“It’s one thing to understand the requirements for innovation, and another to go and learn the skills of a different discipline to ensure it happens.”The 2023 judging panel
Summary: The judges agreed all three nominees deserved this accolade, but Scott Pilgrim just seemed that one step ahead. Starting the conversation off by calling Scott a ‘visionary’ and not only that, but a credit to the vision. He impressed the judges by turning his ideas into a working software product. Everyone on the panel summed him up a real industry leader.
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