Jason Ruddle

At this time of year most people are looking forward to a Summer break – but businesses are already looking towards a busy Autumn.

We are no exception and, as sponsors of various awards, particularly look forward to ceremony season. However, our involvement with the Construction Manager of the Year award always stands out. We are always delighted by the stories of how construction managers, planners and project managers get around amazing problems. We write up as many stories as possible, whenever a medal-winner has used our solution to help them beat high project management odds (and are happily smug that there are more of these each year).

CMYA medals are personal achievements, not about delivery of developments. The judging is exacting, the submissions detailed and deep. Winners are project drivers who overcome extraordinary challenges, yet deliver on time and on budget. Their submissions show that they have delighted, not satisfied, clients. James Carpenter of Kier Construction won Gold for turning part of a King’s Cross development upside down – re-planning, comparing options and reducing risk in the subterranean design. Bouygues Project Director Ben Tominey had a flash of brilliance: conceiving how to dispense with tower cranes at a 7-storey City of London development. He also had his hands full dealing with a major sub-contractor collapse, leaving him to juggle 35 of its sub-contractors and 45 suppliers. It was a Herculean re-programming task – but he hit the deadline.

These are individual awards. The stories that shine most are human. Sometimes it is about innovation and value creation; sometimes a young professional in their first leadership role, leaping hurdles that would make a veteran quake in their boots. They usually demonstrate that they have adapted, re-planned and re-sequenced around unexpected changes – from sudden scope of works expansion, to unreasonable client demand, to access restrictions. Silver medallist Gary Wilson of William Anelay pointed out, quite reasonably, that “bats don’t care about your deadlines” when he encountered colonies in the roof-spaces of Middleport Pottery in the middle of a job for The Prince’s Trust – and he juggled tenants in situ with aplomb. Brymor’s John Clarke smiled through the wettest summer on record, as he juggled borehole drilling with the safety of visiting potential donors while building a centre for disabled children and young adults for local charity, Smile. He still smiles when he drives past it on the way to work.

We’re especially proud of CMYA winners who use our software. They stand out amongst our hundred thousand users around the world as some of the best. We see a wonderful mix of experienced and up-and-coming professionals. We wish it wasn’t so male-dominated – we were delighted to write up the story of Silver medallist Leanne Broderick from John Sisk & Sons last year and hope to see more entries from outstanding female PMs. As digital construction takes root, the awards will become increasingly fascinating. More young stars will emerge, who will be more technology-centred, and the ways that software is used to overcome challenge will become even more interesting.

Winning any industry award is something of which individuals and their employers are justifiably proud – the latter particularly so, recognising the marketing and brand value of accolades. In our view, though, the true reward is not in the shiny trophy or winner logo. The real benefit lies in recognition of what it takes to stand out. There is true long-term benefit for the sector in recognising and rewarding excellence, since it will encourage others to strive for the same. Individuals that receive positive reinforcement can flourish personally and career-wise, and will continue to improve.

The CMYA Awards has an ongoing place in our marketing calendar because it is unique in focusing on individual professional excellence. That’s vital in a sector where the project or building inevitably becomes the main focus.  The entries are all in for CMYA 2016. We can’t wait to see who wins this time – and hear their stories.