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There are two annual awards – The Murdoch Award and The Murdoch Sponsors Award

The Murdoch Award – the ultimate accolade in leadwork.

How meaningful can a “competition” be? Does winning an “Award” actually reflect any more than just a populist majority among those perhaps seduced into voting by the promise of potential personal reward (“free weekend in paradise for one lucky voter!”)?

The bigger, bolder competitions demand huge fields of entry and rely on generating mass public interest in order to both attract attention and convey status to the eventual winner – biggest is best!

However, it is actually those smaller affairs, where the winner is determined not by mass appeal but by the minute dissection of technical scrutiny by experts, where the real status of winning – of being the best – is achieved.

To drill down to the smaller, more specialised areas of the construction industry, is to find a level of expertise among building crafts that are rarely appreciated outside the industry and it is when such talents are recognised and rewarded from within a sector, that it becomes so significant to those from outside.

When the Association of specialist leadwork contractors announces the name of the best leadwork project completed that year, it is not the entry that received the most votes from the general public. It is not the entry that used the most lead sheet on one site. It is not the entry from a name-dropping public building / royal palace / London landmark. It is not the entry submitted by the largest member of the Lead Contractors Association.

The Winner of the LCA Murdoch Award is quite simply the best technical design and installation of leadwork that has been viewed by the panel of experts appointed to scrutinise the entries put forward by specialist leadwork contractors throughout the UK – the best of the best.

For those working at the very pinnacle of the craft skills sector of the construction industry, there is no higher accolade than to have one’s work formally recognised and appreciated by one’s peers. Such recognition is always accompanied by the supreme satisfaction of having been judged by those who are exposed on a daily basis to the skills of the craft at the highest level.

The Murdoch Sponsors Award

For the first time in 2006 the smaller specialised project was specifically recognised by the judging panel considering the entries for the Murdoch Award. At the request of the sponsors, Associated Lead Mills, the judges were required to give particular consideration to the many smaller projects that were submitted and to select the best, to be presented with the Murdoch Sponsors Award.

“I wanted the little guy to be recognised” said Associated Lead’s Managing Director, Graham Hudson. “It’s quite right that the Murdoch Award must go to what the judges consider to be the best job, but invariably this means the large, eye-catching projects that require expert attention to detail over a large area”

“Often these projects involve teams of people, trusted with the responsibility of showing off leadwork at its very best and to achieve consistent excellence in every aspect of a large roof demands skills and supervision at the highest level. So, quite rightly it has been these types of project which so far have been recognised by the judges” he continued.

“However, these tend to overshadow the smaller projects, which although perhaps less eye-catching, can involve just as much detail and demand just as much skill, knowledge and expertise but perhaps only involve one or two people in the design and installation.”

In creating the Murdoch Sponsors Award, Associated Lead Mills hope to encourage more LCA craftsmen to submit the smaller special project in future Murdoch Award competitions.

The Murdoch Award competition is only open to members of the Lead Contractors Association. Photographic entries can be submitted to the LCA Secretariat from October to July for consideration by the judging panel who will then draw up a shortlist of sites to be visited, from which the four finalists in the competition will be determined.

The four finalists are invited to attend the LCA Annual Conference in early October as guests of Associated Lead Mills and the overall winners of the Murdoch Award, plus the winners of the Murdoch Sponsors Award are announced at the closing Gala Dinner.