The Peter Mason Award for Engineering Excellence in Piers 2023

The Peter Mason Award is presented for ‘engineering excellence’ associated with work to a British pier. It is given in memory of the late Peter Mason, past president of the Institution of Structural Engineers and past Chair of the National Piers Society (NPS).

In ‘Year of the Pier’ 2023 the award has been presented to HOP Consulting Ltd, Civil and Structural Engineers of Hove, for restoration works carried out on Grade II listed Cromer Pier.

Access to work on the new steel deck beam at Cromer Pier was limited © HOP Consulting

The Peter Mason Award has been given four times since its inauguration in 1997. This year the award committee consisted of; Caroline Buttolph, daughter of the late Peter Mason and vice chair of the NPS; David Spooner, construction manager responsible for the reconstruction of Hastings Pier; Peter Wheeler, an engineer with extensive experience in a variety of projects; Michael Spooner, an architect responsible for a number of technically complex projects.

All piers were advised of the award and six expressed an interest; ultimately five submissions were received. After much deliberation, the committee unanimously decided that the award should be given to the engineers responsible for the restoration works carried out on Cromer Pier for North Norfolk District Council. In joint second place were the engineers for the works on Bangor Garth Pier and Southend Pier.

The HOP submission was comprehensive, detailed and clearly documented the Works, which included; the replacement of trusses, deck beams, rails, bracing and pile cap elements. In addition, nine concrete pile encasements had to be installed to damaged piles. Some of the trusses replaced were beneath the heavily loaded pavilion requiring extensive temporary support works. Replacing trusses had to be carried out from below the deck level, which was a complex process requiring many design changes as circumstances became apparent. The work to the pile bases was designed to be carried out underwater or on low spring tides, where this was possible.

David Spooner of the NPS said ‘The Cromer Pier project is a great example of a major refurbishment in difficult circumstances; the work had many design and installation challenges not least of which was the requirement for the Pier to remain open throughout and for proper consideration to be given to sustainability and environmental issues.’

In accepting the award Tristan Banks, Director of HOP Consulting Ltd said ‘We are extremely pleased to receive this award. We have worked on Cromer Pier for over two decades and the whole team, including the council and contractors, are a great bunch of people to work with. This was a really successful project and helped to maintain and refurbish several parts of the Pier.’

Cllr. Lucy Shires, North Norfolk’s District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance, Estates & Property Services said: ‘We’re delighted that the excellent work on Cromer Pier’s substructure is being recognised, as HOP Consulting Ltd are awarded the Peter Mason Award. The Pier requires significant technical work to maintain it as the facility we all love – we are pleased that it can be enjoyed by residents and visitors in the future.’

  • Tristan Banks of HOP accepts the Peter Mason Award from members of the judging panel (left to right) David Spooner. Peter Wheeler, Caroline Buttolph © National Piers Society