Industry pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Voices from the world of construction have paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who died yesterday (8 September) at the age of 96.

Buckingham Palace confirmed that the monarch “died peacefully” at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She had been joined by close family members earlier in the day.

As Britain’s longest-serving monarch, reigning for more than 70 years, Her Majesty visited hundreds of construction projects in her time as head of state.

In May, she officially opened London’s Elizabeth line – named in her honour – after work on the Crossrail project finished.

Contractors and trade bodies have paid tribute to the late monarch, who will be succeeded by 73-year-old King Charles III, her son.

Wates chairman Sir James Wates, who received his knighthood at Buckingham Palace in 2019, said the company was “deeply saddened” by the monarch’s passing.

“Having celebrated her Platinum Jubilee this year, Her Majesty has dedicated her entire life to serving the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and its people.

“She has seen us through some of our most challenging times, providing us with a voice of calm and reason, and filling us with hope, as well as our most joyous moments, helping us to celebrate national achievements.

“This year’s Jubilee celebrations saw millions up and down the country paying tribute to her 70 years on the throne and are testament to the incredible impact that she has had.”

He added: “At Wates, we are proud to have welcomed Her Majesty to a number of projects over the years, not least when she opened the new Queen Elizabeth Unit at the Royal London Hospital this April.

“Our thoughts are with the royal family at this sad time. On behalf of the Wates family and the Wates Group, I would like to pay tribute to Her Majesty for her unparalleled service to this country. We mourn her loss alongside the rest of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.”

Former CEO of Crossrail, Mark Wild, posted his respects on LinkedIn. He said: “The Queen has become a much-loved and respected figure across the world, known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service.

“For me personally, it was an honour to have the Queen open the Elizabeth line a few short weeks ago. She is without doubt the greatest leader of my lifetime and was a truly remarkable woman.”

Industry bodies, such as the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), also issued messages of condolence. Its chair, Peter Lauener, and CEO, Tim Balcon, said in a joint statement: “Everyone at CITB is deeply saddened about the passing of HM the Queen. The Queen was an extraordinary figure, one of the greatest Britons of all time and an inspiration to many across the world.”

Costain also paid tribute to the Queen on social media, posting a picture of its staff meeting the monarch.

We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty the Queen. She sought to improve lives wherever she could during her remarkable life of public service. We send our sincere condolences to the Royal Family, and everyone else who is grieving on this very sad day.

— Costain Group (@CostainGroup) September 8, 2022

Reacting to the news, Balfour Beatty’s chief executive Leo Quinn, said: “The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is a deeply sad moment. She dedicated her life to serving the British people and Commonwealth, and in her 70 years of service, when our world has changed beyond recognition, she has been a constant.

“Throughout her reign she served with dedication, dignity, and duty. On behalf of us all at Balfour Beatty, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to the Royal family as we mourn her passing.”

Paul Gandy, managing director of Tilbury Douglas, said the passing of the Queen came at a time when the UK already faced many “changes” – referring to the appointment of Liz Truss as prime minister earlier this week.

“[We share our] condolences to the [Royal] family. It’s a massive event for the country that hasn’t fully hit home,” he said.

A spokesperson for Galliford Try said: “[The group] mourns with the country following the sad news of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth’s passing. We pay tribute to Her Majesty for the life of service she gave to the nation and the Commonwealth, and for being a model of dignity, grace and integrity.”

Sally O’Brien, joint chief executive of Downing, said: “Britain has rebuilt and reinvented itself many times during her long reign. Her Majesty visited countless development and infrastructure projects, proud to open scores of new buildings and see places come back to life.

“Above all, it’s clear that she was not a vainglorious individual and let’s hope that the example she set, where duty and public service came before anything else, is a lasting legacy.”

Mark Connor, chief executive of Liverpool-based contractor and developer Vermont, said: “She was no stranger to our region, making the first of scores of visits to Liverpool in 1951. The city was a very different place then and over the following years she opened or visited most of our cultural attractions,  major events, new destinations, commercial buildings and new facilities at places like the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital that serve our community so well.

“It’s certainly a moment in history and we’d all do well to reflect on how proud she was of the country she served selflessly and with such a sense of duty for so long.”

President and CEO of Skanska UK, Gregor Craig, called the Queen the “ultimate role model”. He said: “I have huge admiration for the way in which she always put her role and duty to this country first. Her 70-year reign has seen great change in the world, to which she has adapted and remained relevant, while at the same time preserving the links to our nation’s history.

“As the only monarch many of us have known, the Queen has been a reassuring presence throughout our lives – providing consistency, reassurance and hope. Her death is a great loss to us all.”

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