Smoke Control Services

The smoke ventilation expert is a minnow compared with the other companies on the shortlist, but it has to be one of the best bosses in south Wales. Each of its 18 employees gets a personal development plan, job-specific and customer services training. On top of that, engineers get a personal coaching session every month. That'll be why the company has had no reportable accidents in its 12-year history. The only people who get treated better than the staff are the clients. Its partner clients, which include Bellway Homes, get unlimited free consultancy and a programme of technical seminars. Its solution on a project to convert a Cardiff office block into a hotel actually increased the space available for the hotel. All of which explains how repeat business has risen from 29% in 2001 to 70% last year.

Smoke Control Services won a £700,000 contract to install a system that extracts smoke in this newly refurbished shopping centre

Smoke Control Services won a £700,000 contract to install a system that extracts smoke in this newly refurbished shopping centre


Balfour Kilpatrick

With a turnover of £188.4m, Balfour Kilpatrick is one of the giants of the M&E game, but that doesn’t mean it can’t move nimbly to improve its service. Its latest innovation is an intranet-based knowledge forum, where its 753 employees, clients and preferred suppliers can pick each other’s brains. That focus on partnership helped it land three contracts to upgrade plant at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.

Haden Young

A runner-up last year, Haden Young is back wowing music fans with its cutting-edge building services for the Sage auditorium in Gateshead. It has wowed everyone else with its commitment to safety and training, developing safer platform ladders and introducing a system to measure and minimise vibration risk from hand power tools. And in its latest Investors in People inspection, the assessor described the firm as the best he had seen in the sector.


Hotchkiss’ name is synonymous with ductwork, but it should be as well known for its achievements in health and safety. A double winner of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ presidents award, it was also commended by Bovis Lend Lease for its contribution to the “incident and injury free” initiative on the redevelopment of the Treasury. Sounds like its repeat business rate of 75% is just going to keep rising.

Marconi Communications

If you’re spending £422m to build a state-of-the-art hospital, you’ll want the best advice on technology and communications systems. And that’s what University College London Hospital got from Marconi, which also designed a network that allows doctors to access every piece of data about a patient from a single electronic record, and completed its installation three weeks early.

Mitie Engineering

Mitie’s work on Kingsmead Primary School in Cheshire is teaching the industry that sustainable construction is viable in the public sector. Mitie is so good at imparting skills that it helps staff gain qualifications and offers clients health and safety training.