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Gold winner

Employer: Telford Homes

Project: Pavillions, London

James Howlett’s achievement in this complex four-storey residential build was rooted in the technical design. Despite the constraints of the Channel Tunnel rail link and water utility infrastructure below the site, an overground railway running just three metres away from the works, steep slopes and a nature conservancy designation, he enthusiastically found innovative and efficient ways to deliver.

On the long and narrow site, tower cranes were not an option due to the proximity of the railway and the weight they would impose on the Eurostar tunnels. James’s masterly handling of the logistics of the mobile cranes, deliveries and services avoided site paralysis by ensuring the cranes never blocked off the works.

He used the site test load results to identify how to build a 150m-long block safely just four metres above the railway tunnel. The solution that made the project viable was completely new to Telford Homes: a lightweight steel frame on a concrete raft foundation that eliminated soil movement near the tunnels – the project horror scenario. Manufactured offsite to the exact sizes required, the steel frame required a shorter programme than traditional concrete, and allowed every delivery to be programmed, ensuring logistics to the rest of the project could continue.

James proved up to this extreme engineering challenge of building above high-speed rail tunnels on a heavily constrained site with a single tight access point onto a busy road. He also proved you can push the boundaries of construction and building methods to suit different environments.