Materials Testing Infrastructure

Solid Performance at the Concrete Society Awards

Wed 23/11/2016 - 17:31

Roger Rattue, regional director, Infrastructure & Energy Services, SOCOTEC, has worked in the concrete industry since 1972. 

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If you did not think it was possible to be passionate about concrete, then chances are that you have not spent time in the company of Roger. He is passionate about standards, quality and helping to support his clients’ project objectives. Here, he tells us why The Concrete Society Awards is the best night of the year for his team.

Wow, what a night? The Grosvenor Hotel looked amazing as it welcomed 400 of the concrete industry’s brightest and best including the team from SOCOTEC, formerly ESG.

Well connected

In The Concrete Society’s 50th year, it was gratifying to see how consistent my presence has been in the industry. This year we sponsored The Concrete Society Awards to show our continued support and, as such, were invited along to the VIP drinks and networking reception ahead of the main event.

While catching up with friends, old and new, in the VIP area, a colleague pointed out that I had worked with over 80 per cent of the room, either as colleagues or clients. Believe me, this was not an exaggeration and it just goes to show what a network can be built up in an industry as dedicated as ours.  

A team to be proud of

We are very proud of our Infrastructure team at SOCOTEC and The Concrete Society Awards is always an opportunity to tell them how much I admire their commitment, expertise and knowledge. We put in some hours during the year to ensure that we deliver the best service for our clients, but The Concrete Society Awards is our night to celebrate our achievements.

I recognise that project

Enough of the pleasantries, it’s time for the main event, which was eloquently presented by Kate Silverton, the accomplished BBC journalist, who peppered the delivery of the awards with interesting insight such as, “Concrete is the second most used substance by man, after water.” Thank you Kate, concrete is important stuff and it should not be ignored.

The Concrete Society Awards serves to do anything but ignore this amazing substance which has been such a huge part of my life and the awards were as distinguished as ever,  just as they should be.

First up was the Creativity in Concrete Award, which went to Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, for a building that the judges described as both “beautiful” and “enjoyable to use” and yes, it was made from concrete!

Hot on the heels of creativity was the Repair & Refurbishment Award, which was won by CCL (GB) Limited for the National Grid LNG Bund Walls. The company had been asked to “provide a design and operational solution to replace the existing entrainment system to outside the bund wall.” CCL delivered a solution which “included the safe detensioning of the existing wire from around the bund wall using a post-tensioned assisted strap restrainment system.” Clever stuff!

The final supporting award of the evening for Excellence in Customer Services was presented to Hanson for its work on the Walthamstow Blockade. This project necessitated concrete being placed “half a kilometre from the point of discharge with minimal compaction to flow easily around complicated rebates for new tracks.” No mean feat, but these structural engineers managed it.

And the winner is…

Now for the biggest award of the night, The Concrete Society Award... 17 shortlisted entries battled it out for the biggest prize in concrete. It’s always gratifying to recognise a project that the team has worked on and we totaled six from the shortlist. Our services for these projects have included workability and air content testing, as well as laboratory tests to determine compressive strength, density and cement content, at our UKAS accredited laboratory.

With so many impressive entries, the judges decided to highly commend five; Blavantik School of Government, Cockcroft Building, Motel One, Outhouse and Point Briwet Viaduct. But, deservedly, the Concrete Society Award for 2016 went to Lee Tunnel Project, which consists of five shafts with diaphragm walls, up to depths of 90m. The judges commented that, “the scheme will help to prevent 16m tonnes of sewage entering the system every year.” Now that is incredible engineering!

And all that jazz

I have been a huge fan of jazz for the last few years, so after the excitement of the awards, it was refreshing to relax to the melodic sounds of the jazz band hired for the occasion by The Concrete Society. This nice little touch topped off the evening with a unique sophistication that the industry deserves. But all good things must come to an end and we headed off at 11pm so that I didn’t turn into a pumpkin. Well, you can’t test the largest amount of concrete in the UK by getting up late in the morning. You can see more about our concrete testing team here. 

Did you attend this year’s Concrete Society Awards? What was your highlight?


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