What the building trade lacks in sporting finesse, it makes up for in cookie-munching abilities. To celebrate this gastronomic talent, we invited 16 firms to submit their entries for the Biscuit World Cup 2003 … It's crunch time
Inspired by the white-knuckle excitement of the Rugby World Cup, Building asked the industry's finest firms one simple question: what were their favourite office biscuits? An easy one, you might think. But no. A tidal wave of PR panic was unleashed, with much controversy about whether said biscuits were for entertaining guests, for guiltily chomping under the desk, or to accompany a cuppa on site.

Finally, though, we nailed down 16 contenders who either got biscuits sent from master bakers, always went for the same brand or vaguely mentioned one type when pressed. The eight heats were based around industry derbies: EC Harris took on rival QS Gardiner & Theobald, Bovis challenged Willmott Dixon in the clash of the contractors, and leading developers Stanhope and Argent locked horns over whether Jaffa Cakes were, indeed, better than McVitie's Victoria Selection.

Eight starving Building hacks were invited to judge the proceedings, with strict guidelines about how to test the delicacies before them. Marks out of five were awarded for three categories: taste, dunkability (how long does it keep its shape and general consistency: of vital importance on site) and artistic impression. The final score was an average out of 5.

The heats saw some big names crash out: EC Harris' Bourbons, Bovis' digestives and – a real shock this – Argent's Jaffa Cakes all fell at the first. At least HLM had a smart riposte to the unpopularity of their fig rolls: "We don't like them either," a friendly receptionist revealed. "But they're low in fat …"

As the quarters and semis progressed, it became clear there were two shortbreads head and shoulders above the rest. HOK's personalised logo-embossed beauties and Watkins Gray's Border glacé cherry efforts easily saw off rivals such as Heery's Fox's Classics, Moat's KitKats and the intriguingly named Gardiner & Theobald option, Arnott's Gaiety.

And so it came to pass. Two biscuits, Building's three most senior editorial staff. Features guru Andy Pearson proclaimed HOK's masterpieces, from the Ashers Bakery in Scotland, to be "very pretentious – ideal for architects" and was impressed by Watkins Gray's "handy finger holes". Fellow deputy editor Phil Clark, however, thought the cherry shortbread was "missing the X factor".

So it came down to editor Adrian Barrick to deliver the final verdict. While noting HOK's smart looks, our esteemed helmsman solemnly dunked both and proclaimed Watkins Gray's glacé cherry shortbread to keep its shape better, thus being a better bet for our "no-nonsense, unpretentious industry", and a worthy winner.

Which only leaves us to thank you for your entries and wish you all a very merry Christmas, while we retire to ponder two important questions: Will the Biscuit World Cup be returning next year? Possibly. Do we have too much time on our hands? Probably …