NEC delivered its first hybrid Users’ Group conference and awards ceremony on 16 June 2022, with a total of more than 250 delegates attending online and in person at One Great George Street in London, UK. The morning began with a welcome from NEC Users’ Group president, Rudi Klein. He offered his condolences to the family and friends of NEC founder Martin Barnes and first NEC Users’ Group chair David Williams, both of whom passed away earlier this year.
Digitalisation and innovation
Mark Thurston, chief executive officer of the NEC-procured HS2 high-speed rail project, offered his thoughts on how government and industry are working together and the importance of digitalisation and innovation.
Shy Jackson, partner of law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and NEC4 Contract Board member, then described how NEC is supporting the aims of the UK government’s Transforming Infrastructure Performance programme and The Construction Playbook, including risk allocation and use of frameworks.
New climate change option
Next NEC4 Contract Board member Ian Heaphy introduced the new NEC secondary option X29, which is designed to tackle climate change in construction. He described the background to the secondary option and guidance on how it is intended to operate. Other speakers in the morning sessions included Chris Jeffers, director and head of facility management advisory at Mott MacDonald, Emma- Jane Houghton, commercial director of the new hospital programme at the Cabinet Office, and Peter Higgins, NEC4 Contract Board chair. The afternoon sessions provided an opportunity for interactive workshops focusing on the new option X29 on climate change and option X22 on early contractor involvement.
Martin Barnes Awards 2022
The conference concluded with the annual NEC awards, which this year were renamed in honour of Martin Barnes. The awards celebrate great work carried out by individuals, teams, projects and in collaboration efforts, and this year the majority of the NEC awards went to international projects.
NEC Client of the Year was ARCC − the Peru Reconstruction with Changes Programme, which is delivering nearly £2.8 billion worth of infrastructure, while NEC Contractor of the Year was Kwan Lee–Chun Wo joint venture, for its work on construction of Shek Wu Hui sewage treatment works in Hong Kong.
NEC Transport Project of the Year went to the development of enhanced monitoring strategies for new railway projects, which was undertaken by the Hong Kong Highways Department. NEC Water Contract of the Year was the Tung Chung sewage rising main delivered by the Hong Kong Drainage Services Department, which also collected the NEC Contract Innovation of the Year for its upgrading of the Shek Wu Hui effluent polishing plant.
Airport Authority Hong Kong collected the NEC Building/FM Contract of the Year award for its new airport office building, and the NEC Sustainability and Climate Resilience award went to the UK’s Ministry of Justice for its new prison programme.
One of the judges, Shy Jackson, said, ‘All the entries were of a very high standard and there was a wide range of project types from all over the world, including some where the parties used NEC for the first time. There are more and more NEC projects happening everywhere, so well done to everyone who has taken part and has provided good examples of NEC in practice’.