Its panache in rising to technical challenges – and the fact that its cladding graces the capital's latest two landmark buildings – put Schmidlin ahead in this Barbour Index-sponsored category
1st - Schmidlin
Schmidlin is a company that responds to a challenge. Widely regarded as one of the leading cladding manufacturers in the world, the Swiss company's products grace numerous landmark projects, including architect Foster and Partners' City Hall and the facade of the Swiss Re building, both in London. These buildings feature groundbreaking curved facades that posed extremely complex technical challenges. For instance, at City Hall, the facade plays a key role in the building's environmental control, and each of its 660 cladding panels had to be designed individually. But then, Schmidlin is a frontrunner in the use of state-of-the-art 3D modelling and CAD techniques. It's not just technical challenges that the company responds to, though; Schmidlin also focuses on the client's other interests: time, cost and quality.

'Schmidlin deserves the title of manufacturer of the year, considering its ongoing progress in its area of the industry'

2nd - Corus
Corus' leading product, Kalzip standing seam roofing, is highly versatile, which is probably why over 65 million m2 of it has been installed on buildings around the world, from warehouses to landmark projects such as the Imperial War Museum North.

Corus is happy to get involved in projects at the planning stage, and uses sophisticated manufacturing technology to produce bespoke curved sections for the most challenging projects.

'Consistently good product, well supported by the manufacturer and recognised as the benchmark for the standing seam roof industry'

3rd - Schüco
Schüco isn't Europe's leading manufacturer of curtain-walling, facades, windows and doors for nothing. To specifiers, the name is synonymous with top quality. The company is ever-active, taking out more than 1000 patents a year, developing new technologies such as photovoltaics, solar converters and centrally-controlled building systems. Schüco also believes in Egan principles, working closely with its supply chain partners.

'In-house engineering and support services and an appetite to develop products for more ambitious clients'

4th - Halfen Deha
Halfen Deha does more than just produce fixing and support systems for concrete, framing and facades. It work closely with designers and end users to offer practical advice and develop cost-effective solutions, whether products are off the shelf or custom made, and this support is followed up on site with advice on installation and progress checks. The recent merger of Deha and Halfen should mean double the range of products and expertise.

5th - Waterloo Air Management
This manufacturer of building services equipment holds the distinction of being the UK's first M4I demonstration organisation. The company has transformed itself from merely supplying products to becoming fully involved in managing the supply chain and partnering with customers to add value. Key factors in this evolution were the adoption of process-engineering techniques – removing processes that don't add value – and lean manufacturing initiatives.

6th - Crown House Engineering Manufacturing Centre
Building services specialist Crown House Engineering has gone one up on its competition by establishing a dedicated manufacturing centre to make components off site. The company creates all types of mechanical and electrical structures, including pre-wired lighting units, ducting, interior fittings and air-conditioning systems. In the spirit of the Egan agenda, the centre's prefabricated components enable higher productivity and higher quality – all at lower cost.