Sandwell’s, Tipton RSA Academy wins Top RICS Award.

A Sandwell educational construction project has won a prestigious national award despite not being named the best in the West Midlands.

The Royal Society of Arts Academy, in Tipton, Sandwell has been crowned the top ‘community benefit’ project in the national Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Awards 2011.

In the RICS West Midlands finals held in May, the scheme in Sandwell was merely highly commended in the community benefit award, coming second to Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham.

MAC was also named the region’s top overall project by RICS West Midlands but failed to impress judges of the national prize.

The RSA was completed by London-based educational building developer John McAslan + Partners and beat 13 other finalists at the ceremony in London.

The academy can accommodate 1,100 pupils, including 200 sixth formers, and was first opened in 2008.

The last two years have seen the second phase of the project being completed.

Community benefit category judge Michael Wyldbore-Smith said: “The development of this school should be a model for any education authority endeavouring to use public money to great effect. The school has been revitalised and the results are spectacular.”

More than 350 building projects entered the RICS Awards nationwide.

The winners of the other national categories were: Town Hall Hotel and Apartments in Bethnal Green, building conservation; Granary Wharf in Leeds, regeneration; and new Graham Headquarters Building in County Down, sustainability.

The deadline for the 2012 RICS Awards is January 20.