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SSDA shortlist shows strength of constructional steelwork

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Another outstanding group of steel construction projects has been selected for the 2023 Structural Steel Design Awards shortlist, as you can read in News. The 21 that have made it to the shortlist are the pick of what was an outstanding crop in another bumper year for entries to the 55th annual awards, sponsored by the BCSA and Steel for Life, one of the longest established construction design-related award schemes and the only one for which judges actually visit the shortlisted projects.

If evidence is ever needed about the strength of the UK’s steelwork design and construction skills, the SSDA shortlists are the place to start. The projects have been successfully completed throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland, including London, Dublin, Glasgow, Birmingham, Swansea and Edinburgh. The variety of project is, as usual, striking, including the Battersea Power Station redevelopment, a stand at Fulham FC, a National Robotarium in Edinburgh, the Tropical Fruit Warehouse office development in Dublin and several bridges up and down the country.

What the respective construction teams will all have in common is an appreciation of the flexibility of steel to provide such a wide range of structural solutions to satisfy clients’ needs, as well as of steel’s cost-effectiveness despite recent inflation driven price rises affecting all construction materials. Increasingly of course, as BCSA Chief Executive Officer David Moore says in News, sustainability and the drive for net zero is still the focus of the industry, and we can be confident that all of the shortlisted structures have been designed and built with that in mind.

SSDA judges in recent years have been impressed by the efforts being made at all stages of the construction process by project teams keen to play their part in supporting the government’s net-zero ambitions, and this year has seen the same drive towards ever improving sustainability of projects.

Delivering efficient, practical and flexible spaces and structures that are both aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective is not achieved by accident. It comes from increasingly collaborative efforts throughout the process, from project conception stage – with the best results being achieved by early engagement with steelwork contractors – and continues through detailed design into the steelwork contractors’ workshops and on to site where the speedy erection process never fails to impress.

As David Moore says, credit has to be given to the constructional steelwork sector for the resilience and tenacity it has shown in what have been exceptionally challenging times, against the background of world raw materials price rises and soaring energy prices, in continuing to provide low carbon and high-quality structures. Credit also has to be given to the clients who have had the foresight and courage to shrug off short-term issues and press on with projects that will be needed for the future of the UK.

Since the launch of the SSDA in 1969, SSDA projects have demonstrated flexibility, sustainability, innovation, and excellent value for money against whatever challenging background has emerged. That can confidently be expected to continue.

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