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The UK' s premier building and civil engineering awards, the British Construction Industry Awards 2005, attracted a record entry of 230 projects, some five more than the previous record entry in 2004.

The object of the awards is to recognise excellence in the overall design, construction and delivery of buildings and civil engineering works.

Overall excellence is at the heart of the rigorous judging process, which each year sees a judging panel of leading clients, designers, contractors and industry commentators assembled to choose the winning projects.

Members of the judging panel make site visits and interview project teams for every shortlisted scheme.

Construction has been enjoying a continuously large and healthy market for its services for a decade. These awards demonstrate what is being achieved in response to the demands of that market: achievements in high quality and variety of output that are aptly reflected in the four schemes that were chosen as finalists for the Prime Minister' s Better Public Building Award.

This year, when assessing the Best Practice Award, the judging team - chaired by John Roberts, chief executive of United Utilities - commented that: 'It was difficult to choose a shortlist and winner because, overall, the standard of entries was very good and much higher than in previous years.

Improved safety performance, time and cost achievement were particularly noteworthy. Also, a larger than usual number of schemes had strong sustainability credentials.'

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