Directline Structures nominated for three prestigious awards

Directline Structures has reached the finals of the prestigious London and South East Constructing Excellence Awards for the second year running, winning a hat-trick of nominations.

Directline Structures beat a record number of entries to make the short list in the SME Award, The Legacy Award-Sustainability and the Value Award categories for its outstanding sports hall project at Seaford Head Community College in East  Sussex.

The College, which faced spiralling costs after struggling to find a contractor that could meet its needs within budget, was on the brink of cancelling the project last year until Directline Structures stepped in to save it.

Directline Structures’ Managing Director, Duncan Murray, said: “We’ve had years of experience with this kind of project so we knew we could save the hall by redesigning it and making it more efficient.  We usually provide the whole package to clients, including design and planning, but in this case we were happy to take over at a critical stage.”

Thanks to lean and sustainable design and construction methods, the team exceeded the client’s original specifications and at the same time saved the college £300,000 of unnecessary costs and an extimated 30 tonnes of CO2.

Switching to a more flexible steel portal frame instead of a fabric building saved the college £50,000 alone and enabled Directline Structures to reduce the building height by 2m and improve the internal layout.

Carbon savings were spread throughout the building, from earthworks, piling and foundtions through to the steel structure and fit-out.  Around 300 tonnes of concrete were harvested from beneath the existing playground, crushed and used as sub-base material.  Every scrap of spoil was used, so no surplus earth went to landfill.

The addition of rooflights means the hall needs no artificial lighting in the daytime for most of the year, saving thousands of pounds in annual energy bills.  The hall heating has been designed to warm only the people in the building, rather than the whole space, and will cost just a few hundred pounds a year to run.  Airtight construction helps reduce heat loss, while a new generation of lighting technology is also keeping running and maintenance costs down.

Seaford Head’s Business Manager, David Greaves, said Directline Structures had given them ‘a high-end sports facility for a low-end price’, providing a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly building that would benefit students and the wider community for years to come.

This is only the second time that Directline Structures has entered the Constructing Excellence Awards.  Last year the family-run company which has been developing commercial steel builidings since 1988, won the SME category for the design and construction of its own showpiece headquarters, Orbital House, on Ashford’s Orbital Business Park.

Directline Structures will join other finalists at the awards ceremony at the Grange Tower Hotel, Tower Hill, London on 16 September.

The Constructing Excellence Awards, now in their fith year, have become one of the leading, built environment awards in the UK and attract hundreds of entries, including some of the biggest names in the construction industry.  Nine regions will be hosting regional awards ceremonies to celebrate the best of construction from their local industries.  The winners will go forward to a national final on 24 November.