Wokingham Borough Council has been named as a finalist for two awards that recognise the authority’s innovative and modern approach to building projects.
The council has been selected in the Client of the Year and the Modern Methods of Construction categories of the Constructing Excellence Awards.
The awards celebrate the best companies and projects from London and the South East and this year’s winners will be revealed at a ceremony in the capital on Thursday 30 June.
The nomination for Client of the Year was submitted by Reds10, which worked with the council on the expansion of Addington School in Woodley and the new Dinton Activity Centre. The firm, which specialises in modular construction, described the council as ‘true pioneers’ and commended its commitment to modern methods of construction.
Work on Addington School, which is for children and young people with special educational needs, was completed in 2020. A single-storey block was added to increase capacity by about 50 students, taking the total to around 250 places.
Construction of the £4.4 million unit was completed by Reds10 alongside HLM Architects and most of the building work was completed off site. As well as reducing disruption to the school, this method cut down the number of vehicle trips needed. The building includes four classrooms, a café and social/breakout areas.
A 'truly exemplar' approach
Dinton Activity Centre opened at Dinton Pastures Country Park in Hurst last year and this project has been recognised in the Modern Methods of Construction category. It was submitted for consideration by project partner HLM Architects.
The state-of-the-art facility was Wokingham Borough’s first net zero building and it houses leisure and education facilities. The £2.4 million activity centre has many eco-friendly materials and features, including solar panels and windcatchers on the roof for natural ventilation, low-energy LED lighting and air source heat pumps, all of which reduce the overall energy demand.
Commitment to carbon reduction
Cllr Clive Jones, leader of the council, said: “The council has received high praise by being named as a finalist in these awards and we hope to go all the way and win both categories. We take a sustainable and collaborative approach to all of our projects and we are particularly proud of what we have achieved by working with Reds10 and HLM Architects.
“We’re so pleased that Dinton Activity Centre has been recognised in this way. To be the first building in Wokingham Borough to achieve net zero carbon was a triumph and an important first step in a bigger journey.
“It is a sign of where we want to take things and shows that we are committed to playing as full a role as possible in reducing our carbon footprint to be net carbon zero by 2030. This reflects our desire to deliver services that allow residents to lead happy and healthy lives, while allowing them to connect with our beautiful open spaces.”
Dinton Activity Centre has a Siberian larch exterior, which will weather over time to blend with the natural surroundings of the country park. Carbon emissions were also reduced during the construction phase, with the majority of the build completed off site by Reds10.
There are two other finalists in the Client of the Year category, while the work done on Dinton Activity Centre is one of six in the running for the Modern Methods of Construction award.
High praise from council's partners
In nominating the council for Client of the Year, Reds10 said: “The council and its representatives have taken a keen interest in not only the top level, but the day-to-day detail, striving for real understanding in order to push themselves – and in turn other councils – to do better. Their commitment to sustainability, innovation and modern methods of construction is truly exemplar.”
The nomination for Modern Methods of Construction adds: “We [HLM] have worked closely with the centre’s leadership team and other key community stakeholders to provide a design that celebrates the nearby natural surroundings while creating a sense of place and having a positive impact on future users.”
In addition, all finalists are eligible for the People’s Choice Award, which is decided by public voting. Scroll to the bottom of the nomination page and click on the ‘Vote: People’s Choice’ button to have your say.
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