McNeil beat 80 fellow finalists to the prestigious trophy.
All 80 finalists were men and the CIOB said it will be looking at ways of attracting more women entrants for next year’s competition.
McNeil won the award for his leadership on complex refurbishment work at 120 Oxford Street, London which was his first role as a project manager.
He challenged the demolition methodology of diamond-saw cutting without percussive breaking and his successful proposal to use hydraulic crunching instead achieved substantial programme and cost benefits.
McNeil also overcame the substantial challenge of managing an incoming tenant’s requirements that conflicted with the specification for the screeding.
His proposal of a mix of repair works, levelling compounds and new screeds represented a significant saving on the tenant’s original request for the removal and replacement of all existing screeds.
It also accelerated the programme, allowing for an earlier unit completion and tenant occupation date.
By working closely with his supply chain McNeils was also able to offer improvements on the design team’s proposals.
The most significant was for the reconfiguration of the building’s main power supplies to feed the new retail units: by re-using some elements of the existing low-voltage infrastructure, he reduced the scope of the new works and saved costs.
On winning the award McNeil said: “It’s amazing. Now I’m going to be on the Wall of Fame in the corridor next year!
“I want to thank my team and I want to add that the ladies on my table were instrumental in the success of my project; certainly, three of the most influential people on my work are present and I want to thank them.”
Stephen Bradbury, one of the judges for the refurbishment category, said: “This was Joseph’s first project as the lead. He delivered with passion and took ownership from the start on a tricky scheme in a difficult location.
“Joseph demonstrated a maturity of thought and decision making beyond his age or experience.
“This project had many opportunities to go wrong, but the detailed and methodical approach taken by Joseph made sure this was a success – and he delivered to such a high standard that Joseph has subsequently negotiated another project with the same client.”
CIOB Chief Executive Caroline Gumble said: “The Construction Manager of the Year competition has always been about highlighting the best of leadership and talent in our sector.
“All of the CMYA medallists this year have been incredibly impressive but many congratulations to Joseph McNeil as he really stood out for the judges with a combination of professionalism, brilliant communication skills and dedication.
“He’s a shining example of a construction manager making a difference not just to a client but also to the local community and, by demonstrating the best of what we as an industry can do, to the wider construction community.”
For a full list of the finalists click here.