News story

Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award 2014

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Medmerry flood defence in Sussex is the winner of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award.

An innovative flood defence project in Sussex has won the prestigious Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award that celebrates all round excellence in construction.

Opened in November 2013, the Medmerry flood defence project includes 4 miles of new sea walls to reduce flood risk for hundreds of local properties. The lifesaving defences held firm during last year’s floods and is seen as a gold standard of flood defence in the UK.

The project was led by the Environment Agency. It created a new wetland for local wildlife with 183 hectares of intertidal habitat. Much of the site is now managed by the RSPB as a nature reserve. This new form of defence has helped to save £300,000 taxpayers’ money each year, the cost of repairing the shingle bank. It also supports local economic growth by allowing businesses to operate year round.

View a short film about Medmerry.

Haven for wildlife

Dr Paul Leinster, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency said:

This award recognises the excellent work of our dedicated staff and contractors in protecting people and property through delivering innovative and effective flood risk management schemes. The Medmerry managed realignment scheme protects 348 homes, important infrastructure that serves over 5,000 households and creates an intertidal habitat at the same time that will boost tourism in the area.

The award was presented at the British Construction Industry Awards ceremony in Park Lane, London. It recognises projects that are completed on time, on budget and bring real change to the community. Previous award winners include the Tate Modern and the Velodrome at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The shortlist

Find out more about the shortlisted nominees in our Buzzfeed article: 10 things you didn’t know about these amazing public building projects

The British Construction Industry Awards recognise all-round excellence in construction, including the overall design, and delivery of buildings and civil engineering projects. The Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award is the pinnacle of this awards ceremony. Nominees were assessed on a range of standards including economic and social value.

The shortlist includes a college building that is engineered to be one of the quietest buildings in the country, and a building that will almost entirely be powered by fish oil. Together, the 26 projects shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s award have employed nearly 100 apprentices.

Shortlisted projects

Read more about Ortus and other nominees on the #BuildingBritain website.

The 26 nominees demonstrated standards set out in the Government Construction Strategy, which commits the government to complete innovative efficient projects and make cost savings for the taxpayer of 15 to 20% by the end of this Parliament.

The government is on course to meet this target and has saved taxpayers £840 million from government construction last year alone, compared to a 2009 to 2010 baseline.

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General said:

The buildings shortlisted for the Better Public Building Award are exceptional examples of British construction projects. From the first spade in the ground, these buildings helped set new standards in construction but will also give something valuable back to their communities. As part of our long-term economic plan this government will support the construction industry to ensure these high standards are replicated nationwide so we have the schools, hospitals and other infrastructure Britain needs to compete internationally.