BUILDING firm Beard has unveiled a major hike in its fortunes at the same time as one of its projects won a prestigious international award.

The Bishop Edward King Chapel, at Ripon College in Cuddesdon, has won a Civic Trust Award and the Civic Trust’s National Panel Special Award for outstanding architecture and built environment projects.

The new chapel was selected by the Civic Trust’s judging panel as its favourite scheme from 79 national and international award-winning projects.

The Oxford Times:

Construction director John Youle, above, said: “We’re very proud to have built this iconic and inspirational ecclesiastical building. Winning two Civic Trust Awards is a significant collaborative achievement and every member of the project delivery team deserves to be congratulated on the chapel’s awards success.”

The elliptical chapel, which was completed last year, was commissioned by The Sisters of the Community of John the Baptist to provide a new place of worship for the nuns and 250 teaching and student clergy at the college. The brief was to create not just a building but a work of art which would ‘touch the spirit’.

It is the latest in a series of awards for the chapel.

Last year it was shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize for the UK’s building of the year. It also won Building Project of the Year at the British Construction Industry Awards and the Institution of Structural Engineers’ Structural Award for residential and community projects.

Other award winners include the Gateway Buildings at St Antony’s College on Woodstock Road, Oxford, and the Clocktower Square at Radley College.

Meanwhile, Beard, based at Cumnor Hill, Oxford, made a pre-tax profit of £1.7m for the year to December 31 2013, a rise of 21 per cent on the previous year’s £1.4m.

Major contracts included a £4.2m science centre for the School of St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon and a £1.7m extension of St Andrew’s Church in north Oxford.

Managing director Mark Beard said: “We’ve had another great year, beating the construction industry blues by winning high quality work.

“Our success has been driven by a strong focus on prompt and faultless delivery of all our buildings projects, good cost control and being selective about the clients we work with and the projects we take on. Our strong commercial results have also enabled us to invest in training and developing our people and improving our customer service.”

Beard employs 73 staff in Cumnor Hill and a total of 209 workers across the company which also has offices in Swindon and Guildford.

Mr Beard added: “Looking ahead, we’ve got a strong order book and we are well positioned to take advantage of improving market conditions.”