Richmond Shire Council has received a high commendation at this year’s Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, Queensland (IPWEAQ) Excellence Awards.

The awards recognise councils and individuals who have demonstrated best practice and innovation in public works projects across Queensland.

Richmond Shire Council collected the high commendation for the design and construction of its new Administration Centre for projects valued between $5 million to $10 million.

The construction of Richmond’s new Council building has injected over $1 million directly into the local economy and provided a much-needed boost to a town suffering from drought. Consideration had been given to fixing up Council’s old administration centre but the costs to repair the damaged roof, floorboards, stumps and walls made it clear a new building would be a more suitable option. The new building provides for all council staff under one roof and has 200MB fibre Internet, VOIP phones systems, wireless access points, touchscreen interactive whiteboards, Cel-Fi boosters, new servers, computers, laptops and audio-visual equipment. The building is also equipped with a centralized UPS and automatic start generator.

A total of 20 awards were presented at the gala dinner and awards ceremony held at the Ville Resort, Townsville where 350 of the state’s leading authorities on engineering gathered for the annual state conference.

IPWEAQ Chief Executive Officer Leigh Cunningham said the 2017 awards had attracted a record number of nominations, with 55 projects and 11 individual nominations submitted from councils both large and small across Queensland.

“Introduced in 2002 the awards aim to recognise excellence, innovation, forward thinking and sustainability in the delivery of projects that benefit Queensland communities,” Ms Cunningham said.

“Winners in each category are selected by a judging panel of experienced public works professionals based on the project submission.

“The criteria addresses innovation but also stakeholder engagement and the contribution to the community and local economy.

“There are considerable benefits for winners including industry acknowledgement and recognition from their local mayor, councillors and community.

“The respect and exposure the awards bring enables Queenslanders to see the value of the projects delivered for their community that they might not otherwise appreciate in terms of innovation and excellence.

“It also creates awareness for the engineers delivering these projects as they are specialists in their field dedicated to public service and making a difference to our communities across the state.”

The winners of each award will be featured in IPWEAQ’s quarterly e-journal, Engineering for Public Works and in the annual awards commemorative book and have the honour of applying the highly regarded winners’ seal to promote their projects and council.

“The awards ceremony is always a highlight and there is an enormous amount of respect given to the award nominees as well as the winners,” Ms Cunningham said.