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Morgan Sindall wins at CIRIA's Big Challenge Awards

Morgan Sindall representatives collecting their award on Tuesday 14 October at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

Morgan Sindall is celebrating today after being recognised in a national competition, CIRIA’s Biodiversity Interest Group (BIG) Challenge Awards, for its efforts in enhancing biodiversity.

Despite stiff competition from 40 other entries, Morgan Sindall won the ‘Small Scale Permanent’ category for biodiversity enhancements at its Basingstoke Respite Centre site. When complete, the Centre will provide short term breaks for adults with physical and learning disabilities in order to support their families and carers.

On site, the team made two bird boxes as well as two bat boxes to house the local soprano pipistrelle species. They also constructed four bug boxes using timber offcuts from the building process, as well as an insect hotel from disused site materials including pallets, bricks and cardboard. Pictures of these boxes along with web links to instructions on how to make them were circulated in the site’s community engagement newsletter, encouraging others to get involved in a biodiversity project of their own. The site team also purchased a water butt and harvested rainwater which was used to control construction dust and wash down walkways. At £130, this was the only monetary outlay for the ecological work, and the water butt will be used on subsequent projects. In addition, the team preserved 20 to 30 cherry, lyme, beech and sycamore trees by cordoning them off with fencing.

Morgan Sindall’s biodiversity enhancements at its Energlyn and Churchill Park station project were also shortlisted in the ‘Small Scale Temporary’ category. This project featured a biodiversity area in the site compound, which comprised bird feeders, insect houses and flowering plants. A community planting event was also held with the local school where children planted seeds and bulbs in the surrounding area.

Charmaine Morrell, Senior Sustainability Advisor at Morgan Sindall, said: “We’re thrilled to have been recognised for our biodiversity enhancements on these projects. As a company, we’re aware of the impact our industry can have on nature, so we’re committed to providing additional habitats to encourage biodiversity to flourish wherever we can.

We’re determined for our projects to leave a positive legacy and wholeheartedly embrace schemes such as CIRIA’s BIG Challenge, which help us to achieve this. We’ve been a key player in the initiative from the start, having sponsored the ‘Most Innovative’ category of these awards and emphasised their importance throughout our business.”

Over the past few months, construction companies from across the UK have been adding their biodiversity case studies to the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) Big Challenge website. This is part of a CIRIA campaign called the ‘Do One Thing’ Challenge. There are 119 case studies in total, 26 of which are Morgan Sindall projects. They have been submitted across seven categories (Large Scale Permanent, Small Scale Permanent, Large Scale Temporary, Small Scale Temporary, Pollinator, Most Innovative and Community Engagement). A panel of judges assessed these biodiversity initiatives based on their ecological value, including creation of new habitats, the protection of existing habitats, effects on long term management of biodiversity as well as the ease of replication.

The BIG Do One Thing Challenge encourages construction companies to add just one new biodiversity enhancement on each site or development. It can be something simple, from adding hanging baskets with native wildflowers, to creating bug hotels. These measures can be permanent features of the development or temporary during the construction phase. It can range from creating biodiversity champions to engaging with the local community. Once one method has been completed, the enhancement can be transferred to the next site and built upon. The ultimate aim is the proliferation of biodiversity as a result of construction work.

To see the biodiversity enhancements big and small from across the industry, visit: http://www.bigchallenge.info/#!case-studies/cy8l