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The Oscars of construction name Frank Connolly as the UK’s finest manager


25th November 2020

Frank Connolly MCIOB of Mace Construction has wowed the judges of the Construction Manager of the Year Awards (CMYA), run by the Chartered Institute of Building, for his successful delivery of the 13-storey Centre Building for the London School of Economics (LSE).

Beating 60 other finalists in nine categories Frank, who’s been Operations Director at Mace since 2012, blew the judging panel away with his ingenuity, problem solving and goodwill.

Taking just over two years, this world-class home for political sciences costing £82 million is the largest building commissioned in the LSE’s 125-year history, and the first building on the campus to achieve a BREAAM ‘outstanding’ sustainability rating.

Caroline Gumble, CIOB Chief Executive said:

“The Construction Manager of the Year competition seeks out the very best of leadership and talent in our sector and this year is no exception. Frank Connolly’s work was outstanding, with judges commending his “leadership, passion and commitment”. Construction managers are instinctively problem-solvers, who can juggle conflicting priorities and oversee a huge range of issues, including the maintenance of quality standards, the large investment from a client, the health and wellbeing of their co-workers and the interests of the local community. Frank’s efforts are a shining example for what the best of construction can offer. He’s both hugely talented and humble and an inspiration during this particularly challenging time. My heartfelt congratulations to Frank on winning this prestigious honour."

Maintaining a ‘business as usual’ campus with students forming their own paths through the site was one of the many challenges facing Frank. Add to that a healthy level of archaeology issues and a project that was almost at tender stage when Brexit happened, which sent product prices soaring.[i]

Frank remained steadfast, finding solutions that not only saved time but money too. He de-risked the archaeology that historically has dogged the client’s programme in construction projects by co-ordinating the digs with demolition activity. All archaeology was signed off before the construction phase began as scheduled.

Some 65 per cent of the project was prefabricated, including the steel frame and precast planks, the sprinklers (the UK’s first fully prefabricated system) and reception and cafe pods. This move by Frank reduced site deliveries, labour requirements and improved overall quality.

It also did not escape the press’ attention that two homeless men sleeping adjacent to the site’s entrance inspired Frank and his team to inquire as to their plight. It emerged that these were both skilled construction workers who had not managed to find work upon entry to the UK, and within a week the team had secured them temporary accommodation with CRISIS and employment on Mace construction sites.

Following the announcement at the virtual awards event, Frank said:

“What a fantastic honour to have received this prestigious award, something I had dreamt about for many years. Thank you CIOB for your perseverance and determination to ensure these awards took place. This was a special project delivered to exacting standards, and something I am very proud of.”

Read his full story at



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