This March, for the first time in its history, the Manchester Chamber of Commerce is holding a double Building of the Year award for 2020 and 2021. And Manchester-based construction consultancy Walker Sime is celebrating a place on both shortlists.
The Manchester Chamber of Commerce Building of the Year Awards are usually an annual event, celebrating the quality and diversity of projects across Greater Manchester and showcasing the skills and capabilities of the construction sector in the North West. Covid prevented the awards for 2020 and 2021 taking place, but now they’re finally set to go ahead in one double celebration on 3 March. Walker Sime is celebrating a unique achievement, as two projects in which it has played a pivotal role have made the final shortlist, one for each year.
Tameside Wellness Centre, Denton
The Tameside Wellness Centre in Denton is Walker Sime’s shortlisted entry in the 2020 awards. The £11.5 million project was the final piece in a large-scale mixed-use regeneration scheme which included an ambitious redevelopment of a long-term derelict former industrial site. Walker Sime was involved at every stage, from master planning to tendering and onsite construction for the client, Network Space Developments Limited.
Speaking about the site, which now houses a 25m swimming pool, a spa, fitness suite, ten-pin bowling alley and children’s soft play area, Walker Sime’s Director of Quantity Surveying, Gavin Garner said: “This was an important project for the people of Denton, taking an old battery manufacturing plant and transforming it into a community space that supports wellbeing and brings people together. We’re proud to have been part of its development.”
Manchester Civic Quarter Heat Network
For the 2021 award, the shortlisted entry is the Manchester Civic Quarter Heat Network (CQHN). Most Mancunians will associate the project with the iconic Tower of Light by Manchester Central. Yet this is only the most visible part of a project that connects the Town Hall Extension and Central Library, Manchester Central Convention Centre, Bridgewater Hall, Heron House and Manchester Art Gallery. The network, a major milestone in the city’s efforts to become carbon neutral by 2038, improves energy efficiency, cuts carbon, improves air quality and ensures that, as new technologies are developed, Manchester is able to take full advantage.
Senior Project Manager Benjamin Smith said: “Manchester really is leading the way with the CQHN. This is one of the first projects to receive funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and it has enormous potential to help shape the way other cities meet their energy needs.”
Speaking about the double shortlisting, Walker Sime’s Dez Walker said: “We’re thrilled that projects in which we’ve played a major role have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award. We’re doubly thrilled to appear on both shortlists, which is testament to the ambition, energy and capability of the people at Walker Sime. But as a Manchester business, perhaps the most rewarding element of all is to be shortlisted for projects on our ‘home patch’, projects that directly affect local people and the environment in which we live and work.”
The winners of the 2021 and 2020 awards will both be announced at the Property and Construction Awards Dinner, hosted by North West Tonight presenter Roger Johnson, on 3rd March at Victoria Warehouse.