Digital Construction Awards 2024 shortlist: Digital Rising Star of the Year

The Digital Construction Awards attracted 165 entries this year, 84 of which have been shortlisted. Here, we detail the shortlisted entries for the Digital Rising Star of the Year award, sponsored by CIOB.

Digital Rising Star of the Year recognises an individual who has been in the construction industry for five years or less and has used technologies to advance digital transformation on a project or within an organisation. Six entrants – including those from Laing O’Rourke, EDF and VolkerLaser – made the shortlist.

Savannagh Armstrong, business architect at EDF UK

Savannagh Armstrong, business architect at EDF UK

Savannagh Armstrong joined Hinkley Point C (HPC) as a cleaning contractor. Although she had studied IT and technology for four years at college, a motorcycle injury led her to find a job as soon as possible after she recovered.

However, she had an eye on a career where she could employ the technical skills that she had learnt in college. She quickly joined HPC’s freights and logistics team and was soon given responsibility as the primary subject matter expert (SME) stakeholder for HPC’s delivery management system (DMS) project – a digital tool which ensures compliance with HPC’s development consent order, using industry-recognised digital tracking devices.

Her role in the first phase of the DMS project resulted in her being talent-spotted, with the offer of a secondment to HPC digital and IT for phase two of DMS.

Since formally joining the business architecture team five years ago, she has progressed from business architect to her current role as a lead business architect. Her commitment to quality deliveries has been met with increasing responsibilities in terms of scale and complexity of her projects.

She is currently working in the Office of Nuclear Regulation Asset Tracking Final Mile Project – a core digital tool which is being used to close the golden thread tracking of equipment and asset management at HPC.

David Caughey, digital construction lead at Mivan

Digital Risng Star - David Caughey, digital construction lead at Mivan

As digital construction lead at Mivan, David Caughey has exemplified exceptional leadership and innovation by driving digital transformation and spearheading the implementation of 3D design in manufacture, contributing to significant advancements within the organisation.

Recognising the limitations of traditional 2D design methodologies, Caughey championed the adoption of 3D digital workflows to streamline bespoke joinery manufacturing processes at Mivan. His goal was to enhance collaboration, accuracy, and efficiency throughout the project lifecycle, from design to manufacture and installation.

Under his leadership, Mivan successfully transitioned from 2D to 3D design for manufacturing, resulting in tangible benefits and achievements. By leveraging software including Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Revit, Caughey and his team optimised manufacturing processes, minimised errors and accelerated production cycles. The adoption of 3D digital workflows has enabled Mivan to deliver projects faster, with enhanced precision and quality, leading to increased client satisfaction and loyalty.

Caughey’s digital initiatives have also yielded significant cost savings for the company, as streamlined processes have reduced waste and improved resource utilisation. In addition, the implementation of 3D design for manufacturing has resulted in Mivan taking on larger and more complex projects, driving business growth and expansion.

Caughey has embraced a holistic approach to digital transformation, from applications such as Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Revit to emerging technologies such as drones and AI. By integrating these tools into Mivan’s workflows, he has enhanced collaboration, efficiency, and decision-making processes, helping position Mivan as a leader in 3D design for bespoke joinery.

Ehsan Ghasemi, BIM information manager at VolkerLaser

Ehsan Ghasemi, BIM information manager at VolkerLaser

Ehsan Ghasemi’s journey as a BIM digital engineer within VolkerLaser over the past four years reflects his unwavering dedication to innovation, problem-solving and driving technological advances in BIM digital engineering.

Before Ghasemi joined VolkerLaser, BIM implementation within the company relied heavily on third parties. Once at VolkerLaser, he focused his efforts on implementing BIM digital solutions for the East West Rail Alliance Project, which involved the dismantling of the Bletchley flyover placed on railway tracks. He played a central role in adopting BIM workflows throughout the project, providing essential 3D images, 4D work sequence videos and 4D animation videos for clash detection reports and lift plans.

Ghasemi’s contributions to the project significantly improved communication among team members, leading to notable time and cost savings. His efforts were recognised when the project won the VolkerWessels Project of the Year award.

Throughout his tenure at VolkerLaser, Ghasemi has consistently used BIM digital tools to enhance project delivery and ensure quality submissions. For instance, on the Tamar Bridge project he provided 3D visuals and 4D BIM videos during the tender stage to illustrate proposed work sequences and traffic management scenarios. On the Saltend Jetty project, Ghasemi employed BIM 3D models to streamline clash detection and collaborated with the project planner to create animation videos for the installation and removal of temporary works.

Ghasemi’s ability to seamlessly integrate BIM solutions into various project stages has consistently contributed to the success of VolkerLaser’s work.

Ben Hardie, digital engineer at Laing O’Rourke

Ben Hardie, digital engineer at Laing O'Rourke

Ben Hardie joined Laing O’Rourke straight from sixth form as part of the organisation’s school and college leaver programme. Since then, he has earned the moniker ‘Swiss Army knife of digital engineering’ onsite, reflecting his versatility and largely self-taught expertise.

Hardie’s academic achievements include a first-class degree in architectural technology and winning the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists Outstanding Student award.

At Laing O’Rourke, Hardie is an evangelist for digital tools and technology in construction, learning coding and developing the Power BI dashboards for project data management on The Whiteley project in London, where he is based. On his first project, Soho Place, he created several 4D animations that were used to illustrate key build sequences to the project team, client and subcontractors.

He has also delivered numerous Navisworks training seminars, contributing to the digital literacy of his team.

Hardie’s ability as a mentor was recognised in his admission to Laing O’Rourke’s Digital Engineering buddy scheme. The mentoring programme helps new starters from the graduate programme by pairing them with more experienced digital engineers.

He is strongly committed to leveraging digital construction enhancements, such as migrating 2D drawings to data-driven 3D models, and creating accessible visual method statements.

Isabella Noble, project manager at EDF UK

Digital Risng Star - Isabella Noble, project manager at EDF

Isabella Noble joined HPC in 2019 through the EDF Business Administration Apprentice Programme. As part of this programme, she was given a project management placement with the digital delivery team, learning foundational project management skills while delivering IT capabilities to a welfare building on the HPC construction site.

After a successful start, she was tasked with delivering a mobile access controls system for the jetty at HPC, replacing the paper-based process for check-in and check-out of traffic to the jetty with a digital solution.

In 2021, aged 18, Noble secured a full-time role as an assistant project manager with the digital team. Since then, she has grown into the role and delivered various digital projects, some of which have been a ‘first of a kind’ for nuclear construction.

Examples of the projects she’s taken part in include smart vending to enable secure, badge-accessed storage of tablets and mobile devices; disaster recovery (a current project implementing disaster recovery for seven key applications and servers using Azure Site Recovery); and fluid mesh projects.

Today she is mentoring apprentices and inspiring them with her story.

Aron Owen, project lead at Mott MacDonald Bentley

Digital Risng Star - Aron Owen, project lead at Mott MacDonald Bentley

Aron Owen’s passion for digital delivery and dedication to implementing a new methodology on the Wark Sewage Treatment Works resulted in savings for both the design and site of the project.

He took it upon himself to work with the client and implement digital delivery within design and construction as far as possible. This meant challenging the way Mott MacDonald Bentley worked with the client and changing processes that had been in place for more than 15 years.

Owen developed a concept for design acceptance from the model, which was beta-tested on the Wark on Tyne sewage treatment works upgrade, implementing feedback and changes to optimise contractor and client needs. Although the client was reluctant at first, Owen’s collaboration skills contributed to greater stakeholder engagement.

He trained teams on site to use Leica Icon to reduce the use of 2D drawings. His methodology evolved to become a digital shadow, bringing the client greater efficiencies through a legacy of digitising O&M activities and bringing them closer to their vision of full digital twins.

Once the design acceptance model was completed, Owen instructed Mott MacDonald Bentley’s BIM team to complete a digital rehearsal using Synchro to enable a buildability review to take place. This was built on the initial programme and brought instant efficiencies during the site review, as the programme had to be changed due to a lack of buildability with the initial sequence.

Owen kept in regular communication with the site team and involved them in all aspects of the digital delivery, which has kept the site pushing on and kept the team onboard, rather than reverting to their previous processes, which at times would have been easier to do.

Celebrate with the best

The winners of Digital Rising Star of the Year, alongside the victors of the other 12 categories, will be revealed at the awards dinner on 2 July at the Brewery in London.

You can join them by booking your places at the awards.

The Digital Construction Awards celebrate best practice and reward innovation in the application of information management and digital technology in the built environment sector.

The awards are run by Digital Construction Week, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), and Construction Management and BIMplus.

Awards sponsors include Bluebeam, Procore, Revizto and the CIOB.

Don’t miss out on BIM and digital construction news: sign up to receive the BIMplus newsletter.

Story for BIM+? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest articles in News