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Scant recognition for Nightingale hospital heroes

Despite sterling efforts from across the construction industry to provide essential services throughout the spring 2020 lockdown, and to turn conference centres into hospitals, there seems to be remarkably little recognition in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2020.

Despite sterling efforts from across the construction industry to provide essential services throughout the spring 2020 lockdown, and to turn conference centres into hospitals, there seems to be remarkably little recognition in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2020.

The honours list was postponed from June until October specifically to include Covid heroes. While many from across the spectrum of health and care are honoured, along with fund raisers for the cause, the achievements of the field hospital builders appears largely unrecognised. Perhaps this is because most have barely been used.

Only in Scotland has this achievement been noticed at all, it seems. Balfour Beatty Scotland managing director Hector MacAulay and operations director Duncan Mackay receive MBEs “for services to construction and the NHS during Covid-19”. Balfour Beatty was one of four contractors, along with Graham, Kier, Robertson, that turned the Scottish Events Campus into the NHS Scotland Louisa Jordan Hospital.

Among the Covid heroes being recognised is Catherine Noakes, Leeds University professor of environmental engineering for buildings. She gets an OBE for advising the government and the NHS on the role of ventilation systems in the transmission of Covid-19

Throughout the pandemic, Prof Noakes has convened and chaired the environment and modelling group (EMG), a sub group of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) comprising engineers, architects, clinicians, modellers, microbiologists, behavioural scientists and public health specialists.

Away from the Covid-specific citations, the lone construction industry figure being summoned to Buckingham Palace for a gong this time around is Simon Carr, managing director of Henry Boot Construction, who becomes a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Simon Carr is a private sector board member of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, the Sheffield City Region housing executive board and Sheffield City Region transport executive board. He is also past national chair of the National Federation of Builders (NFB).

Simon Carr said:  “I am, humbled to receive such an award, but in an unprecedented year, I extremely pleased to see that many of our NHS heroes are also being recognised. Having recovered from several serious illnesses, I have first-hand experience of the amazing work that they do and would like to extend my thanks, gratitude and appreciation to them.”

Also recognised was Nasir Khan, director in the London office of quantity surveyor Currie & Brown. He has been awarded an MBE for services to Muslim representation in the rail industry, having co-founded Muslims in Rail, a not-for-profit enterprise that seeks to connect and inspire Muslims working, or seeking a career, in the rail industry. Launched in 2017, Muslims in Rail organises networking events, outreach programmes and STEM education support to inspire the next generation. 

Nasir Khan said: “I am very honoured to receive this award. Having been a champion of inter-faith relations for many years, promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) awareness has always been very personal to me.”

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