This award, sponsored by Construction industry solutions, appropriately goes to partners Willmott Dixon and Circle 33 Housing Group

Winner: Willmot Dixon/ circle 33 housing group

Strategic partnering has been taken to a new level in the arrangement between contractor Willmott Dixon and housing association Circle 33 Housing Group. In addition to working together on projects, the partnering arrangement includes staff exchanges, joint training and joint management meetings at an operational level. Willmott Dixon has established a subsidiary dedicated solely to Circle 33 projects and staff from the two organisations now share an office, enhancing efficiency and communications. The partnership has produced cost savings of nearly 10% and reports significant improvements in quality and time certainty.

Second: fusion 21

The Fusion 21 partnership was formed a year ago by seven Merseyside housing associations and local authorities to co-ordinate their repair and maintenance contracts. Their objectives were ambitious, ranging from saving costs to making the construction industry more attractive for potential workers. In its first year the partnership has already negotiated savings of £3.8m by central purchasing of products and materials, and some of these savings are being reinvested in construction skills training for unemployed people. It has let £20m worth of 7-10 year contracts, and has entered a partnership with contractor Mansell and cost consultant EC Harris.

Third: Higgins construction

Strategic partnering arrangements for such key building elements as timber frame, PVCu windows, building services and kitchen units are a feature of Higgins Construction’s approach. The affordable housing contractor has developed its own cost-value matrix, which it uses as the basis for appointing supply chain partners.

Fourth: Durkan

Durkan won praise for its supply chain strategy, which includes not only prompt payment but the kind of support that helps small businesses to grow. The contractor’s business support measures include offering advice on tax and VAT issues, and a steady flow of work for subcontractors.

Joint fifth: Denne group/H+H Celcon

Contractor Denne and manufacturer H+H Celcon have formed an alliance to look at an alternative approach to housebuilding, using H+H Celcon’s Thin Joint masonry and Jamera system. The alliance has also benefited new recruits to the industry, as it has included a training initiative with South Kent College of Technology.

Joint fifth: Southdale homes

One hundred per cent programme compliance, 30% works cost reduction and a 45% reduction in non-added value external fees are among the benefits reaped by contractor Southdale Homes and its strategic partner, affordable housing provider, Places for People Group. Southdale also has strategic partnering agreements with housing associations Home Group, Jephson and Tees Valley Housing Group.