Transformation Of Iconic Manchester Buildings Receives Major National Awards


Manchester City Council and Laing O’Rourke’s transformation of Manchester Town Hall Complex has received two national Construction News awards (30 June) – beating all entries to take the Judges Supreme Award, after being named Project of the Year over £50m earlier in the evening at the ceremony in London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

  • The transformation of Manchester’s Grade II*-listed Central Library and Town Hall Extension received the awards ahead of other major schemes including the construction of Heathrow’s new Queen’s Terminal and a major London Tunnelling project for Crossrail.
  • It was described by judges as a project that “has it all” and “the most outstanding example of industry excellence over the past 12 months”.
  • The complex project, which started in 2011 and completed in 2014, was delivered on time and to budget and led by international construction and engineering company Laing O’Rourke, which is based regionally in Hulme.
    The delivery of tangible public value through the project and the collaborative approach of the organisations responsible were key factors in the project’s success.

Almost 80 apprenticeships were created on the job, with 82 per cent of procurement spending retained within Greater Manchester; 98 per cent of project waste recycled; more than 100 volunteering days delivered; and a 41 per cent reduction in carbon emissions achieved.

The judges also highlighted the use of “sophisticated engineering alongside delicate historic restorations, with the overall aim of creating a more sustainable and accessible facility that met the modern needs of both employees and visitors”; exceptional communication, particularly with regard to health and safety; and industry-leading application of digital engineering technology.

Tom Higgins, who leads Laing O’Rourke Construction in the North of England, said: “In 2011, we were given the responsibility of transforming two jewels in Manchester’s crown for the benefit of future generations – making them more environmentally-friendly, technologically sustainable, accessible and adaptable. With the expertise and care of our exceptional team – which includes Manchester City Council and all our project partners – we met the challenge and delivered something special. These awards are a reflection of this and a genuine testament to everyone’s determination of to deliver real value for the people of Manchester through the transformation.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The Town Hall Extension and Central Library are both magnificent buildings with a rich heritage. The project to transform them was about preserving them for future generations, while making council services easier to access for Manchester people. With 1.4m visitors to the Central Library in the first year alone, we think that has been achieved magnificently.”

The project team who delivered the Town Hall Complex Transformation included Manchester City Council, Laing O’Rourke, Simpson Haugh Architects, Ryder Architecture, WSP, URS, BDP, NG Bailey, Davis Langdon and Heritage Project Management.

About the Construction News Awards

The Construction News Awards brought together over 1300 industry leaders from across the UK for a glittering evening of celebration, recognition and networking.

Denise Chevin, consultant editor of Construction News said:

“The calibre of entries seems to rise each year demonstrating the fantastic work going on in the sector – technical ingenuity, great business acumen and world class projects. Winning a Construction News Awards is something for companies and individuals to be immensely proud of and is an excellent way of showing clients that you really are at the top of your game.”

For more information on the Awards go to