A Bradford-on-Avon man has been shortlisted for the construction industry’s most prestigious prize – for his work on a major new building in Wiltshire.

Tony Richards, 54, who lives with his family in Holt village, has been shortlisted for the Construction Manager of the Year Awards (CMYA), for his work leading the construction of Bradford-on-Avon’s AB Dynamics facilities. Their new two-storey engineering and workshop building is helping the British high-tech specialists deliver cutting-edge driverless car technology across the world.

Tony led the scheme on behalf of UK contractor BAM Construction and his team – which engaged 80 local companies with the construction process - delivered it last year.

Designed by architects SRA of Bath, the £8.4 million building has already proven highly successful winning the best large commercial project award from the Wiltshire LABC (Local Authority Building Control) and the Constructing Excellence South West project of the year. The building was officially opened by HRH the Duke of Gloucester.

But it is the CMYA awards, known as the industry’s ‘Oscars,’ that stand out because they are about individuals, and not the team. It poses an unusual challenge, says Tony.

“We all work within a challenging industry and our ability to work collaboratively and effectively is critical.

“We established an outstanding client relationship and we had an excellent team on the project, which I am proud to say was a success.”

The scheme was delivered without a single hour of time lost to accidents.

Unusually for the construction industry, Tony lives just two miles down the road. “Normally”, he says, “we’d work miles away from where we live, so it was lovely to be within walking distance, even if the local roads are not ones you’d choose to walk on. That gives you some additional quality of life.”

The irony is that it was hard to extract him from a job he absolutely loved doing.

“I could not have had a more interesting client to work for. Like many people, I’m passionate about cars.  Tony Best is a British success story, an industrial pioneer who started in his own garage, and I was fascinated by his processes. The job had its challenges – working with sensitively calibrated equipment and analysing the design to control frequencies and vibrations for example – but I loved every moment.”

BAM used a highly sophisticated collaborative technology called BIM to create the new facilities, and, says Tony; “We now manage the facilities in the building for AB Dynamics, using the data model we set up during its construction, which is very valuable for its efficient performance.”

The AB Dynamics scheme is not Tony’s only contribution to Wiltshire’s built environment.

He worked on Bath’s Empire Hotel twenty years ago, a job which brought him up from his native Cornwall, initially in Melksham, but then to Holt, and that saw him remain ever since.

“After the hotel, I found BAM, and built the Bath Tramshed building and settled in the county.”

Tony has delivered major schemes across the South West including for Bath University and the Simply Health headquarters in Bristol. Hospital facilities that he built in Treliske, Truro, yielded another personal milestone when his wife gave birth to two of his daughters there. As he adds; “Not many people can pop across from where they are working to see their wives in the maternity wing!”

His company, BAM, is 150 years old this year. It opened its regional headquarters in Bristol in 1965, but can date its work in the West Country back to 1897 when it built the Britannia Royal Naval College. Recently it has built several new schools in Swindon.

Tony is one of 12 finalists shortlisted across the UK in the public and infrastructure category.  

One of them – Dermot Parkinson from Somerset – is a BAM colleague who led work on the UK Hydrographic Office.

“The awards are run by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and are hugely popular, and many hundreds enter. Everybody wants a medal but it is out of your hands, and in the end all that matters is the quality of the work you do.”

Tony will find out if he has won a silver or gold medal on the night of the awards, which are hosted at the Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Wednesday 18th September.

Click here to view Tony's entry.