Behind the scenes of CMYA: My role as a judge

Ian Fletcher

What I’m looking for as a judge is to be inspired. Nobody wins CMYA by being ordinary.

I’ve been a judge for the Construction Manager of the Year awards since 2011. Every year I still get the same kick out of finding the best construction managers in the UK! I get to spend time with the candidate and I want to see that they know their project inside out. From quality to performance, I want to know that they’ve lived and breathed the work that they do and have a passion for it.

We receive about seven to ten entries for the category and, due to my location, I focus on the entrants from the north of the UK. My work begins with two to three days of  reading and marking up reports, which summarise  the entries, before  agreeing a date and time with the candidates to go and visit them.

This logistically is always the most difficult as you have to balance not only your own calendar but that of the entrant and their company. Depending on how many of the entrants are allocated to me, I could end up spending seven to ten days out on visits! After each visit I write up a report, and send back to the CIOB. Then the last step in the process is the judging interviews. I spend around two to three days on the judging panel and they are intense. There’s a lot of hard graft involved for both the judges and entrants.

This may sound like a big commitment but I feel fortunate to be able to play a part in the process. I’m fortunate to work for a business that supports the CMYA and the process I have to work through, enabling me to see some outstanding work completed by brilliant candidates. Each entry inspires me, so selfishly it also helps my learning and CPD to see new ideas and approaches which I take away and bring into my professional life.

Every year when I go to visit candidates I get to see the pride they have as they share the detail of their projects with me and talk me through what they’ve achieved. Once all candidates are seen, as a collection of judges we debate each entry and give our scores. It’s always close but the scoring is effective in ensuring the right people take home the titles. CMYA is unique for the very fact that it’s not about the size, the budget, or the location of the project – it’s about how it’s delivered.

Over the years I’ve seen an incredible variety of projects and people take home the top prizes. From £500k to £400m budgets, the level of value provides different challenges and opportunities. Those who spend more time and effort on their product stand out regardless of all other factors because they truly are extraordinary leaders in our industry.

If you have ability, passion, and do something different to everyone else, these awards are the chance for them to be seen and celebrated. Not as part of a project or a team but for who they are, what they bring to the built environment and what makes them unique. Every year I’m overwhelmed by the high standard and level of entries that we get, they truly are the best in the construction industry. On the awards evening when I see those Silver and Gold winners take to the stage, you can see the joy in their faces as they know they’ve been able to prove themselves in front of their peers, mentors and leaders.

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