Britain’s best builder is a tech-savvy woman

History was made this week when a woman won the UK’s prestigious Construction Manager of the Year award for the first time in the competition’s 39-year history.

Project manager Margaret Conway took the crown on 27 September in London for her work overseeing a £22m, nine-storey office tower in central Belfast, beating 84 other finalists judged on competence and professional flair.

Although new to construction management, Conway is described as a trailblazer at her company, McAleer & Rushe, leading the firm’s first project to be carried out with level two of the virtual design technique, Building Information Modelling, or BIM.

Tech-savvy Conway is also credited with introducing a new software system to streamline the detection and resolution of defects, a process known as "snagging". Her company liked it so much it is being rolled out across all its sites.

"Margaret is a true inspiration for anyone thinking of entering this exciting and challenging industry," said Rebecca Thompson, president of the Chartered Institute of Building, which organises the competition.

"As well as remaining in control of the immense technical and logistical challenges of her day job, her inclusive style has encouraged young people to get involved in construction. Our sector badly needs a more diverse workforce and Margaret shines out as a young leader who is making a genuine difference."

Conway was not the only female gold winner on the night. Karen Fairhurst MCIOB also took the top prize in the Secondary Schools category for her work on the £15.3m St Hilda’s High School in Liverpool.

Fairhurst, who works as a project manager at Morgan Sindall, delivered her project seven weeks early, 5% under budget and to an outstanding level of quality internally and externally, the judges said.

To read more about this year’s winners click here.

Photograph: Margaret Conway with her trophy for Construction Manager of the Year 2017 (CIOB)

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  1. Congratulations Margaret and Karen we need more girls like you to lead the industry and enhance our profile ; keep on promoting the young bloods careers. The very best of good luck.

  2. Congratulations onwards and upwards to your next Project no doubt on a larger scale. I know the difficulties woman face in the industry as my wife is a MD of her own Construction Company. Great to see recognition where recognition is due

  3. Congratulations Margaret! And thank you GCR for sharing the inspiring story.

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