Celebrating Excellence in Construction

Mark Spence, CEF Managing Director, introduces the 2022 CEF Excellence Awards… 

Returning to an in-person event for the first time in three years, I’m sure I speak for many when I say what a huge pleasure it was to see over 550 people from across the local construction industry gather on October 6 to celebrate the phenomenal achievements of our sector, and its people, at the 2022 CEF Excellence Awards. Joined by industry leaders from GB and ROI, CEF President Martin O’Kane reflected on the resilience of the sector and the importance of government engagement.

This year’s gala ceremony, hosted by BBC’s Claire McCollum and Homes Under the Hammer’s Martin Roberts, was our largest event yet and a fantastic showcase for the incredible work carried out by CEF members and their teams. The exceptionally high standard of entries made deciding the winners a difficult job for our judging panel and proved a real testament to the ability of NI construction firms to deliver world-beating projects with the potential to benefit the wider community for generations to come. 

In the Housing categories, contractors such as, EHA Group, BW Affordable Social Housing and Alskea Ltd won over the judges with developments that delivered homes to be proud of, while in the Quality Performance awards, Woodvale Construction scooped Social Value Project of the Year and Adman Civil Projects, Heron Brothers and GRAHAM/BAM Healthcare Partnership picked up trophies for displaying excellence in their approach to training, health & safety and sustainability respectively. 

The ability to deliver for the client was a recurring theme among this year’s winners, and so was the case with Gilbert-Ash who impressed the judges to win Fit-Out Project of the Year for the PwC Headquarters in Belfast. Similarly, P&K McKaigue won Restoration Project of the Year for their work on St Comgall’s Community Centre which the judges called a credit to them and their client, Falls Community Council.

The Health Project of the Year award went to HJ O’Boyle for the Macmillan Cancer Unit at the Ulster Hospital, while the award for Education Project of the Year went to Tracey Brothers for delivering the world’s first Passivhaus Premium and BREEAM Outstanding educational facility at SWC Erne Campus in Enniskillen. 

Other innovative projects included BSG Civil Engineering who won Infrastructure Project of the Year for the Ballykelly Waste Water Treatment upgrade and Henry Brothers who picked up a GB & ROI Construction award for delivering Staffordshire University’s first carbon neutral building at Woodlands Day Nursey & Forest School 

The 2022 awards also showcased individual and emerging talent through the Outstanding Contributor, Rising Star and Apprentice of the Year awards. The winners of these awards, Donal McGloin (Tracey Brothers), Fergal McAliskey (Lotus Homes) and Shannon Doherty (Mascott Construction) should be rightly proud of the recognition they have achieved. 

In a new category, established to recognise the individual who best exemplifies dedication to the pursuit of excellence and leadership in construction, Desmond Scott from Woodvale Construction was awarded with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Rounding off this year’s ceremony, we were delighted to present the 2022 Overall Winner Award to Felix O’Hare for Merchant Square, Belfast. The judges agreed that the firm’s skills, expertise and teamworking led to the delivery of a landmark project in the heart of the city centre.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone who entered this year’s CEF Excellence Awards and congratulate you on your many achievements. Over the coming weeks and months, I look forward to visiting many more world-class projects that will no doubt feature in the awards of 2023!

For our full review of the awards, see NI Builder issue 33-5 here.