Lakehouse’s record-breaking year in 2012 and launch of a new sustainability division have led it to edge ahead of the field in this hotly-contested category

WINNER Lakehouse

Lakehouse

Contractor Lakehouse has had a record year in 2012, with a 45% growth in revenue and 92% growth in operating profit. The firm has also doubled its headcount to 610. Turnover now stands at £154m, with an operating profit of £5.6m. This growth is partly due to the acquisition of a heating and ventilation business, as well as a fire safety firm. However, Lakehouse has also launched and grown a sustainability division. Key projects in the last year include the creation of a new employment academy from a disused grade II-listed Victorian building and the phase two extension of the award winning Lowther school in London. The company says that it has continued to invest in its staff, supply chain partners, health and safety and the communities in which the firm works.

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Contractor of the Year (up to £300m)

RUNNERS UP

8Build

8Build reports that it has grown from a standing start to become a business with a turnover of over £50m in
seven-and-a-half years, most of which has been during the economic crisis. It says that £30m of its 2013/14 turnover has already been secured and that its 2012/13 target turnover of £55m was surpassed. The firm currently employs 91 people, more than double the number last year. 8Build also has a tiny staff churn rate of 3% and reports that it has an accident frequency rate on its sites of 0%. Its volume of repeat business is also growing steadily, from 75% in 2011 to 78% last year.

Ardmore

With a turnover last year of £237m, Ardmore has established itself as one of the largest privately-owned construction firms in the country. In the last three years, the company has seen turnover increase by 35% and operating profit grow by 150%. In the last year, the number of people employed directly by Ardmore has risen from 270 to 290. Specialising in design-and-build services, the company says that it offers clients a fixed price on projects of a value of over £150m. The firm works on a wide range of projects, from high-end hotels to large-scale regeneration projects.

Dawnus Construction

With turnover having increased by 28% to £175m in the last year, Dawnus put in a solid performance in 2012. In the last three years, turnover increased by 123%, with operating profit up 423%. The company also reports that it is on course to deliver further growth in 2013, with £160m worth of workload already secured and a turnover of £207m anticipated. Headcount at the firm has increased by 19% over the last 12 months, from 1,645 to 1,950, and the company has completed a new two-storey extension to its Swansea head office to accommodate its growing team. Highlights of 2012 include the completion of the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff and the completion of 11 BREEAM rated projects, including the BREEAM “outstanding”-rated visitor centre at Port Talbot steelworks.

Simons

Simons’ construction turnover fell 10% in the last year to £85m, although overall the group increased its turnover marginally, and the firm reported a construction operating loss of £1.8m. However, the firm can claim greater success on its environmental achievements, with the delivery of retailer M&S’ flagship green store at Cheshire Oaks. Notable achievements on the project included using 20% recycled content for the shell build, a high Considerate Construction score, zero waste sent to landfill and the use of 100% FSC certified timber. Simons says that the project demonstrates that commercial development can be sustainable and that value engineering at a time of recession does not need to compromise the aesthetics of a building.