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Frank Connolly’s delight at landing construction’s top award

4 January 2021

Frank Connolly receives his award at the virtual CMYA ceremony from host TV presenter George Clarke (centre) and CIOB president Mark Beard (left)

Mace operations director Frank Connolly was “shocked and delighted” to be named Construction Manager of the Year 2020 for his work on Centre Building for the London School of Economics.

Connolly beat 60 other finalists in nine categories to win the award, also taking the gold medal in Higher Education, as the awards were presented at a virtual ceremony, organised by the CIOB.

Connolly said: “I was over the moon to get a gold medal and to then win the overall was a bit surreal. It was a shock but I was amazed and delighted.”

He praised his team plus the client and consultants he worked with on the project. “From start to finish there was a real camaraderie, teamwork and a focus on driving it to be the best we possibly could do,” he explained. “We did lots of mock-ups for [architect] Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. We knew exactly the standards that they wanted and we aimed maybe even to surpass those standards.”

Connolly said it had always been “in the back of his mind” to enter the CMYAs, having worked with 2003 winner Malcolm Nelson at Laing O’Rourke, as well as with CIOB past president and 1983 winner Alan Crane, and 2014 winner Lee Hutchinson.

He added that he saw it as crucial to uphold values such as quality and professionalism in his work, and that on the Centre Building project he had a team that shared those values. 

“You treat people the way you want to be treated, no matter who they are, and it all stems from there,” he said. “I do like to lead by example and that means you get into the detail, which is important. When I was a young man, an old boss used to say to us ‘always read the packet’. 

“If you have the right knowledge about what you are doing and you apply it, you get it right first time and it breeds respect.” 

Finally, Connolly praised the CIOB’s efforts for staging the awards virtually. 

He said: “The CIOB did a fantastic job of it. There were no glitches and it was seamless and planned really well. The host George Clarke did a fantastic job too.”

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