Tuesday 19 March 2013

Saltire Society Civil Engineering Awards

The Saltire Society Awards for Civil Engineering was established in 1981, so has been going for over 30 years. They were initiated when The Institution of Civil Engineers in Scotland was seeking advice on how to run an Award associated with the Construction Industry and contacted the Saltire Society who was known to have experience in such things. Thus the Partnership began. The objective set down at the outset was to recognise and encourage excellence in Civil Engineering in Scotland with special emphasis on innovation.

Each project submitted to the Awards is judged in a number of categories, from design and construction to conservation and sustainability and can be submitted by the Clients, Designers and Contractors involved.

At the end of the judging and adjudication process, which is undertaken by a selected panel made up from representatives across the Construction Industry and other associated sponsoring organisations, there is the Awards Ceremony which generally rotates between prestigious venues in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The presenter is Dr Heather “the weather” Reid OBE, who is a physicist, a meteorologist and an education consultant and over the past few years of her involvement has illustrated that she is absolutely ideal for the task.
A few years back I was fortunate enough to be asked to be an Awards Adjudicator and 4 years of stimulating, exciting and fulfilling involvement followed. After a gap of a few years, I have just graduated to become the convenor of the Awards and very much looking forward to the task in hand with great anticipation.

Over the years, many fine examples of Civil Engineering have been recognised by the Awards and to name a few notable examples, we have had the Kessock Bridge at Inverness, the Falkirk Wheel which was the British Waterways’ Millennium Link flagship and more recently the Air Traffic Control Tower at Edinburgh Airport and the Clyde Arc in Glasgow’s Finnieston, better known as the “Squinty Bridge”.

The latest 2012 Awards was a particularly vintage year with many excellent entries and two award winners; The M74 Completion Project (the “missing link” in the West of Scotland’s motorway network) and the project to protect the Forth Rail Bridge for posterity which had innovative access systems designed in. There were also a number of commendations awarded to projects of varying sizes and included Bonded Warehouses in Keith and the restoration of Scotland’s oldest Iron Bridge in Dundee.

What does the future hold for the Awards? I hope that it is a good one and if the Scottish Government maintains the essential infrastructure spend necessary for a buoyant economy, the Awards will continue to blossom and celebrate the excellence of Scottish Civil Engineering. As I said at the beginning of this article, the Saltire Awards are about illustrating the innovation and excellence in engineering and civil engineering in particular, but also has a the role of raising the profile of the Construction Industry and the ongoing infrastructure needs of the Country to ensure its bright economic future.

Gordon Pomphrey
Convenor, Civil Engineering Awards

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