Turner & Townsend knows how to develop integrated project teams and then get the best out of them in groundbreaking projects – popular with its clients, it's also a favourite of the judges
1st - Turner & Townsend
It is a tribute to this firm, given the quality of the other firms on the shortlist, that it was the clear winner in the client questionnaires we sent out. This popularity with employers is probably the result of getting the basics of running a modern consultant spot-on – for example, by giving new staff a six-month induction programme, and then offering training days, mentoring and satisfaction surveys. On the project side, T&T has built up a speciality in creating integrated project teams for clients such as BAA and Siemens. Perhaps the best example of this was the £73m Glasgow Science Centre, which involved integrating the work of three geographically separate design teams and managing the requirements of a host of scientists, administrators and educationalists. All fairly impressive, but the project also involved erecting the first titanium clad structures in the UK and the world's first revolving structure.

'Good growth, good projects, good training – Turner & Townsend had it all'

2nd - Mace
Last year's winner of this category based its entry on the Peoplebuilding in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. It's easy to see why: this project, a 24-acre business park, reads like a rundown of the most advanced practices of 21st-century project management. Mace handed it over after only 34 weeks, at a cost of 10% less than similar projects. Perhaps it helped that the firm's chairman happens to be the head of the Movement for Innovation?

'Had a fantastic year – overseas turnover more than doubled, and UK profits were up 40%'

3rd - Arup Project Management
The Arup touch is shown in two statistics in its entry form for these awards: percentage of total UK construction turnover invested in research and development, and the total invested in training. These were, respectively, 5% and 4% – both more than twice that of any other firm on the shortlist. This investment has paid dividends, with profit up 40% in the UK and 300% in the rest of the world. One high-profile success was the Laban Dance Centre in south London.

'It had a great year, recorded considerable fee growth, and we were very taken by the considerable sums of money it invests each year in R&D'

4th - Bovis Lend Lease
How's this scheme for a test of a project manager's mettle? All you have to do is move all the materials you need through the windows, remove eight miles of walls, 60,000 tonnes of rubble, refurbish 650 rooms, install 500 miles of fibre-optic cabling and handle a labour force 850 strong for 14 months – all under the unwavering glare of the national press. Yes, we are talking about the refurbishment of HM Treasury, which was a complete success.

5th - Hornagold & Hills
The practice has grown from a tiny acorn in Stan Hornagold Essex garage 16 years ago to the spreading oak we see today: more than £10m is earned in fees by 160 staff. Not surprisingly, it is the fastest growing consultant in Building's consultants league table – fee income has grown 82% in the past three years. Its list of projects in the past year is as impressive as it is diverse, and includes the £150 Pharmaceutical Sciences Centre for Pfizer in Sandwich and the £1bn LIFT programme for the NHS.