2022 CN Awards | Carbon Reduction Champion

Akerlof, Forterra and PCE were recognised as Carbon Reduction Champions at the 2022 Construction News Awards

The inspirational winners of the 2022 Construction News Awards were crowned in front of the industry on 14 July at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

The Construction News Awards, celebrating its 26th year in 2022, brought together more than 1,200 of the UK’s leading clients and contractors for a glittering evening of celebration, recognition and networking.

After face-to-face review by a panel of 80 experts, the judges commented:

This construction sector founded innovation programme has delivered a 40% reduction in carbon emissions associated with precast concrete. Adopting this saves nearly 22 million tonnes of carbon in the prisons programme alone.

The judges appreciated the systematic supply chain wide approach to analysis and the focus on solutions that can be delivered by the supply chain today, without requiring changes to the client’s specification. This entry won because of its collaborative nature, its pragmatic approach, and its single minded approach to carbon reduction at scale. This approach should be adopted more widely by the industry.

John Handscomb, Founding Partner, Akerlof, commented:

We urgently need to find ways to decarbonise the delivery of the UK’s future infrastructure and buildings, with solutions that are commercially competitive. This pilot brought together innovators from each stage of the process to tackle this challenge directly through a real-life project. We are extremely hopeful that, in demonstrating significant carbon reductions, others across the industry will apply this model to their development pipelines, to deliver better outcomes.

Stephen Harrison, Forterra CEO, commented:

This is a UK team backed by UK innovation money trialling a way to help UK construction lower its carbon emissions – a vital focus to keep our climate goals within reach as recovery measures stimulate the sector to increase building.

Simon Harold, Business Development Director, PCE, commented:

By looking in the round at one important aspect of delivering today’s buildings, we are confident we have found a relatively simple, cost-effective and eminently scalable way to reduce carbon emissions, benefitting our clients’ communities as well as contributing to the UK’s efforts to hit its net zero carbon target.

Jonny Voon, Head of the Sustainable Innovation Fund at Innovate UK, commented:

Decarbonisation of concrete manufacturing is fundamental to helping the UK government achieve its Net Zero ambition of slashing emissions by 78% by 2035. Innovate UK is proud to have supported the project and this exciting consortium with their world-leading efforts.

Gareth Jones, Head of MMC & Technical Services, MoJ, commented:

This study demonstrates how collaboration through the supply chain can bring subject matter experts together to develop innovative solutions for decarbonising. We look forward to utilising and embedding such solutions in the MoJ’s New Prison Programme.

Colin Marrs, editor of Construction News, commented:

In a year of new, severe and constantly evolving challenges for the construction industry, the 2022 CN Awards winners are renewed proof of the determination, resilience and inventiveness of those working in the sector. The entries highlight continuing innovation as well as an ongoing appetite for change to meet new demands and worsening economic headwinds.

This year we were able to return to in-person judging, and the rigorous multi-stage process has identified a wealth of inspired leadership and dedication to high quality delivery. This not only applies to the winners but also to those who were highly commended in their categories. All of the firms and individuals highlighted have good reason to be proud of what they have achieved.

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) Standardisation Research project

Sign up to receive updates on the Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) Standardisation Research project, including information on the open call in January.

To understand more about how Akerlof collects, stores and processes data, please see our Privacy policy.

Jamie Hillier


With a penchant for tweed and jackets with leather arm patches, Jamie began his career as a quantity surveyor, before climbing the ladder to lead major projects for a Tier 1 contractor.

Eventually expanding his book collection beyond copies of SMM7, Jamie has interest in a broad range of subjects linked to delivering better outcomes for society and the environment.

His strategic insights on MMC and behavioural science have made their way into numerous government, industry and academic publications, including the Construction Playbook, Transforming Infrastructure Performance Roadmap to 2030, the Platform Rulebook and the RIBA DfMA Overlay.

John Handscomb


Construction is in John’s blood. Learning from his father who was a planner and project manager, John began his career by working on some iconic projects in both the public and private sector.

As a procurement expert and integrator of new ways of working, John has pioneered the integration of platform principles, DfMA processes and supply chain within over £5bn projects in the last 15 years, for some of the largest building programmes in the UK. Despite his considerable expertise, John keeps it simple, communicating complicated ideas with ease and helping to equip the industry with new knowledge and skills.

Outside of Akerlof, John enjoys his executive role with technology start-up ScanTech Digital, spending time with his family, taking trips down the football, playing a bit of golf with friends and the odd pint. 

Our name is shared with George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist.

His seminal paper, Market for Lemons, demonstrated the devastating consequences of making decisions under the conditions of quality uncertainty and unequal information between buyers and sellers, increasing the chance of buyers ending up with a ‘lemon’.

This 50-year-old concept continues to retain parallels within the construction industry.

Through our insight and experience, we can rebalance this information asymmetry on behalf of our clients, levelling the playing field to deliver better outcomes.