More than £200m turnover
1st - Taylor Woodrow
After many years wondering just what to do with its construction division, Taylor Woodrow seems to have decided to make it immensely more profitable. UK operating profit has risen almost 4000% in the past year or so. Clients surveyed for the award picked out for praise the quality of Taywood’s work and its ability to add value to the client’s business. Both of these are supported by the firm’s “Heartbeat” surveys, a mandatory part of its projects. These are based on interviews with the client, and are used to upgrade the skill base of the whole company. Taylor Woodrow manages its supply chain by partnering with top firms in the 19 key trades that make up 80% of its spending on subcontractors. It has also put in place strategic alliances with NG Bailey, Rotary Group and Staveley, with whom it shares knowledge, skills and technology.

‘We were impressed by its commitment to performance measurements, its good safety record and its investment in research’

2nd - Sir Robert McAlpine
Sir Robert McAlpine came top of Building’s client questionnaires for delivering on time and to cost, its management skills, the quality of its subcontractors and its commitment to health and safety. It’s not surprising that this firm doesn’t appear on too many tender lists – in fact, 80% of work is directly negotiated. Notable projects this year included the Birmingham Bull Ring, Manchester’s Imperial War Museum North and London’s Esso Glen office development.

‘It says its UK profits doubled, and it completed a string of landmark buildings, not least the wonderful Imperial War Museum of the North in Manchester’

3rd - Mansell

In 2000, Mansell had virtually no partnering or framework agreements. It now has more than 60 of them, generating a workload of £1.2bn. Mansell has risen to the challenges of partnering, with cost reductions as high as 18% in areas such as defence and higher education; it has pioneered off-site assembly; and it is more than 20% higher than the industry average for customer satisfaction, as measured by key performance indicators.

‘Mansell caught our eye with its new office and workspace concept building, which it is delivering using state-of-the-art supply-chain solutions’

4th - Carillion Building
Carillion has a large fan base among those who pay for the erection of buildings: about three-quarters of all its work is undertaken for repeat clients. The staff are fans too: the average length of time an employee stays at the company is 11 years. The pay-off is in Carillion’s enviable increase in profit over the past three years, and in buildings such as the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, which show that green construction, architectural presence and the PFI can mix.

5th - Interserve Project Services
Since Tilbury Douglas rebranded itself as Interserve in 2001, the firm has avoided the pitfalls that have hit other firms with similar business strategies. The raw economic data is impressive – profit, turnover and employee numbers have all been rising steeply – but the best accolade comes from the NHS. Out of more than 200 companies that applied for the Procure 21 initiative, Interserve was one of only five to be selected as a principal supply chain partner.

6th - Wates Group
One of the qualities that makes Wates stand out from its competitors is commitment to its people. The firm has a personal development plan in place for every single member of staff, including MBA and personal coaches. As a concrete example of how investing in quality staff pays off, consider the Whitefriears Housing Group refurbishment in Coventry: the project was delivered 5% under budget, 15% faster than expected and with 17% fewer defects.