Concrete Society celebrates excellence

Leading companies and individuals recognised at annual event

The Concrete Society Northern Ireland Region Awards 2018 have recognised excellence within every level of the concrete industry. Held on October 25, at the Europa Hotel, Belfast and hosted by TV personality, Paul Clarke, the night also raised £2,444 for AWARE – a charity that delivers mental health and well-being programmes into communities, schools, colleges, universities and workplaces in Northern Ireland.

The event was neatly bookended by first recognising the best of the next generation and the dedication of Ken Smartt, retired director at Creagh Concrete, who received the inaugural Contribution to the Concrete Industry Award, sponsored by Taranto. The Concrete Society Student Awards – sponsored by Irish Cement – are designed to recognise dedication and hard work, but perhaps more importantly, serve to recognise those individuals who will play a key role in advancing the industry in the future.

From Ulster University, Eilis Logue won the Construction Engineering & Management Award while Philip McCullough won the Civil Engineering Award while from Queen’s University, Belfast, David Allport won the Architecture Award while Oyindasola Idowu won the Civil Engineering Award.

For more information on the Concrete Society, visit and follow the link to the Northern Ireland Region


Creagh Concrete has collected another Concrete Society Award – this time for the Arena Central in Birmingham.

This project saw Creagh working with client, Dandara Living, and main contractor, Galliford Try, to deliver this £40million, 324-apartment, build-to- rent scheme comprising two blocks of 17 and 22-storeys linked by bridges at each level.

The versatility of concrete is at the very heart of the building, with Creagh using precast cladding panels that resulted in on-site programme savings. Creagh Concrete utilised the company’s offsite, fastrack build system ‘Rapidres’ for the build. Creagh is championing the use of precast concrete through the application of this innovative system which is ideally suited to multi-storey projects where the layout is replicated consistently across each floor.

The frame consists of exposed aggregate external sandwich panels, crosswalls, staircores and hollowcore flooring. Creagh delivered its products to site in approximately 12 months, with each level being completed in 7-9 days. The judges were particularly impressed by the efficient construction technique, the high-quality surface finishes and associated Health & Safety benefits.

Precast supplier: Creagh Concrete
Client: Dandara Living
Main contractor: Galliford Try

Creagh Concrete Products Ltd Blackpark Road, Toomebridge, BT41 3SL
T: 028 7965 0500

There is no doubt that Ian Black Consulting was the clear winner in the Excellence in Building Processes category with the company taking both the overall title for Catherine House in Portsmouth and the highly commended award for a 9-storey office block in Belfast.

Catherine House Student Accommodation involved the restoration and conversion of an existing, derelict 15-storey office building from 1973, and the construction of a new adjoining 12 storey building, to provide 1,000 student accommodation bedrooms. The existing building had been left unmanaged and vacant for almost 7 years, leading to significant water ingress, structural damage and pigeon infestation.

The process of restoration followed by Ian Black Consulting comprised initial conceptual designs; structural assessments; concrete condition monitoring and testing; and delivery of remediation works – the latter comprising application of carbonation inhibitors and cathodic protection. The judges were impressed by the complementary re-use of the existing building and construction of the adjoining in-situ concrete framed building.

Consultant Engineer: Ian Black Consulting
Client: GSA, London
Architect: Urban Innovations
Main Contractor: McAleer & Rushe
Concrete testing and repair: McFarland Associates / Larsen

Ian Black Consulting, Wallace Buildings, 1 Market Place, Lisburn, BT28 1AN
T: 028 9267 6500

William & Henry Alexander (Civil Engineering) Ltd has won the Best Civils Project Award category for a Northern Ireland project for their work on the new Visitor Centre at Hillsborough Castle.

This late 18th Century country house is the official residence in Northern Ireland of the Queen and Secretary of State. The Grade B+ Listed Building is of significant historical, royal, political and cultural importance in Northern Ireland and Ireland. The project demanded a high-quality resurfacing solution to meet the client’s demand for durability and aesthetics. The project completed for Historic Royal Palaces also needed to provide a modern hard-wearing surface to deal with increased visitor numbers which are expected to increase  from 5 up to 200 thousand per year.

Additional features specified were skid- resistance, anti-slip and low maintenance with a high aesthetic appearance, along with the ability to handle vehicular loads, minimise trip hazards and accommodate new services by replacing old with minimal cover. The judges were impressed by the excellent combination of resilience and attention to detail achieved using carefully designed exposed aggregate finishes. The result – an excellent and high-profile exemplar of local concreting abilities.

Civil Engineers: William & Henry Alexander (Civil Engineering) Ltd
Client: Historic Royal Palaces
Construction Manager: F3G
Landscape Architect: The Paul Hogarth Company
Consulting Engineer: OCSC
Specialist sub-contractor: RTU

William & Henry Alexander (Civil Engineering) Ltd, 2 Waterworks Road, Omagh, Co Tyrone, BT79 7JS.
T: 028 8224 2348

Moore Concrete Grade A performance at Sevenoaks School Science & Technology and Sixth Form Centres secured a Highly Commended Award for Moore Concrete.

The ribbed precast concrete panels, part of the building’s north light roof structure, are the stand out feature of this BREEAM Excellent project in Kent. Although this relatively heavyweight approach to the roof is unusual, the concrete structure facilitates 7m wide pitched spans with a slender appearance, while maintaining the concrete aesthetic, integrating services and providing thermal mass to the upper floor.

The ribbed form increases the thermally massive surface area in these upper spaces, which are exposed to the sun. Concrete was used throughout as an integral part of the structural, architectural and MEP strategy, showcasing the versatility of concrete in a high-quality education context.

This combination of exposed concrete, glazing, timber and steel gives the building a solid, workshop feel.

Moore Concrete Products Ltd, Caherty House, 41 Woodside Road, Ballymena, Co Antrim
T: 0 28 2565 2566

Northstone Materials Division and FORRME have been Highly Commended for the company’s provision of a unique pigmented concrete solution at the transport hub for Belfast’s new Glider system.

The recognition was for the company’s work on the construction of the Colin Town Centre Transport Hub on the Stewartstown Road in Belfast.

The Colin Connect Transport Hub is a vital part of the Department for Infrastructure’s Belfast Rapid Transit (BRT) system which is operated by Translink under the Glider brand.

This project involved numerous challenges, such as the production process itself, ensuring consistency of colour, and proper placing and curing of the concrete by FORRME to guarantee the desired effect of coloured board-marked finishes.

In the Hub, a red pigmented concrete was used to great effect for the interior concourse of the building. Approximately 150m3 of red concrete was used in the Hub, with Northstone and FORRME going through a complicated process to ensure a consistent finish.

Northstone, 99 Kingsway, Dunmurry, Belfast, BT17 9NU
T: 028 9055 1200

Former Creagh Concrete Director, Ken Smartt, has been recognised for his dedication and expertise by being presented with the inaugural, Contribution to the Concrete Society Award.

Introduced by sponsor, Taranto, to reflect individuals who, by simply doing their job to the best of their ability, are promoting the concrete industry. Over the years, Ken has been at the forefront of precast innovation, helpingbusinesses to grow. As a respected leader and mentor, Ken has also helped many other people to develop successful careers in the industry.

The judging panel stated, “This year’s recipient is renowned in the industry for all the attributes we wish to have: hard working, integrity, helpful, committed. Even in retirement, Ken’s name continues to be synonymous with concrete products throughout Ireland and is still held in the highest regard by customers and colleagues alike.

“This award proves you don’t have to be a giant in stature to be a giant in the industry.”

Norman Emerson Group’s work on a new concrete floor for AJ Power in Portadown has been Highly Commended.

The company was contracted by Lowry Construction to supply and place a new floor and new concrete yard area at AJ Power’s new facility at Carn.

The delivery of this high quality, functional internal and external industrial concrete floor slabs was delivered within a tight deadline and demanded the use of pumped concrete throughout.

Facing a limited timescale, Emerson’s prepared the floor ahead of concrete pours by establishing diamonds around stanchions. The company also supplied and fitted isolation joints and polythene while steel mesh was placed on stools. All concrete was pumped on site, and floors were power-trowelled and sealed with Sika Proseal.

Norman Emerson Group, 116-118 Ardmore Road, Derryadd, Lurgan, Co Armagh, BT66 6QP
T: 028 3834 0222