Ex-Building student wins Construction Manager of the Year Award 2011

Issue date: 15 December 2011


Roger Frost

Congratulations to Roger Frost for winning The Chartered Institute of Building's Construction Manager of the Year Award 2011. Roger, now 50, studied for an HND in Building followed by a Diploma in Building Technology and Management, (1979-1983, Bristol Polytechnic, now UWE) and went on to obtain a distinction in the CIOB part two examinations.

Roger, who left school with CSEs, first worked in construction as part of his three-year HND sandwich course. In an interview with Construction Manager magazine, he said, “I fell in love with the industry and wanted to be a project manager. I returned to college with renewed vigour and decided then that I was going to be chartered.”

This is the second time alumni have won this award - Philip Rowley, who also graduated with an HND in Building, was named Construction Manager of the Year after project managing the restoration of Windsor Castle after the fire.

Roger's award is in recognition of his outstanding achievement as Project Director for the building of a programme of work totalling £588m. The programme of work included three Mental Health buildings and the massive Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham which opened in 2010. He was responsible for leading a team of more than 200 staff and 1500 site operatives on this prestigious project.

He won the overall award after receiving the Gold Medal in the PFI category for the project. He'd never entered before, because he sees running a project as very much a team effort. “I don't want to get too big headed about this award,” he continued. “There were hundreds of people involved in this on site, clients and designers, and engineers. All I did was stand at the front and steer a bit.”

Queen Elizabeth is Birmingham's first new hospital in 70 years. It includes a 100-bed critical care unit, the largest in Europe, and the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, with a separate ward for military casualties, and the UK's only National Institute of Health Research Centre for Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology - the sole research centre to focus on both military and civilian care and treatment. The project was a joint venture between Balfour Beatty Northern and Balfour Beatty Engineering Services and had its own board, to which Roger reported.

A teaching hospital with 1,213 beds, it is also probably one of the last of its kind. As CIOB chief executive Chris Blythe described it on the night of the awards, “It's a real juggernaut of a project.”

Roger has spent the last seven years of his life steering this juggernaut home, having built up a formidable record in health projects over 15 years at Trafalgar House (the forerunner to Skanska), Bovis and Carillion. During this time he has been involved in either winning work, or construction of a number of high-profile schemes, including the first phase of Worcester Royal Infirmary, the Children's Head and Neck Unit at Radcliffe in Oxford, as well as major PFI hospitals in Dartford, Southampton and Swindon. He even built the last publicly procured district hospital in Dorchester.

“I love building hospitals,” he said. “They simply take on a life of their own. You give birth to this great building, which then goes on to look after people. Five thousand people a day go through my hospital in Birmingham, and the facilities are second to none.”

Professor David Proverbs, head of UWE's Department of Construction and Property, said, “I am delighted about this award for Roger Frost, one of our alumni. As a long standing member of the Chartered Institute of Building, I am well aware of the highly competitive nature of this award and the high esteem with which it is held within the construction industry, both in this country and around the world.

“Roger has maintained close links with UWE since graduating all those years ago and has helped to arrange site visits to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital project and delivered guest lectures to our students which have been very well received.

“It is very reassuring that Roger becomes the second of our alumni to be recognised in this way and is testimony to the quality and rigour of our provision at UWE in developing graduates able to grow and become highly successful and effective leaders of the industry.

“I warmly congratulate Roger on this outstanding achievement!”

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