There were three strong contenders for this category - including last year’s winner - but FM Conway’s consolidation of its reputation for delivering on time and on budget and the testimonials it gets from its clients won the day

FM Conway


FM Conway

Described as a “true specialist with excellent testimonials” by judges, FM Conway spent 2014 building on a strong reputation for delivering projects on time and on budget and establishing itself as a company that went beyond client expectations. The firm has long-term contracts with 17 of London’s 32 boroughs and sealed a £450m eight-year deal with Westminster council in 2014. The company also won plaudits from Wandsworth council for completing a £1.5m, 13-week refurbishment of Putney Bridge two weeks early. FM Conway’s willingness to invest has been reflected in testimonials by clients, including TfL describing the firm as “more than just a contractor”. In October the company opened a £10m asphalt plant capable of manufacturing over 700,000 tonnes of asphalt a year using over 90% recycled materials.

Runner up

O’Brien Contractors

As a firm that reinvented itself during the height of post-recession austerity, O’Brien was one of the stand-out success stories of 2013, picking up Best Contractor Under £300m at last year’s Building Awards. Since that triumph, the family firm has continued its repositioning as a principal contractor and finances have continued to improve in 2014, with a 78% increase in profit to a record-breaking £2.6m on the back of a 37% increase in revenue to £24m. O’Brien has also secured £11m of repeat business from clients, while the average project value increased from £874,000 to £1.2m. Last year it took on 20 new staff and doubled investment in new plant and equipment to £2m. It has also committed to 2,100 training hours in the current year, and supported 15 ex-offenders to return to the workplace by employing them on its construction sites and providing NVQ training.

SDC Builders

With revenue rising 24% in 2014 to £127m on the back of a number of repeat orders, Bedford-based contractor SDC has reaped the rewards for delivering reliable performances and investing in its employees during the recession. The introduction of a more comprehensive BIM programme has led to better customer engagement, and by appointing in-house BIM champions in 2015 SDC is now placed to start offering guidance to suppliers. Alongside new after-care measures to optimise post-occupancy, this has seen the contractor enhance its reputation as a collaborative and trusted partner. SDC also re-invested its earnings into an employee benefit trust - the first of its kind in the UK construction industry - to distribute profit to worthwhile causes, and raise its corporate responsibility standard. That trend is set to continue in 2015 with the establishment of a training company and community fund.