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The road bridge over the Firth of Forth: one of Briggs' more surprising projects
The road bridge over the Firth of Forth: one of Briggs' more surprising projects

Briggs roofing and cladding
The UK’s biggest roofing and cladding contractor continues to grow at a rate usually reached only by creatures in science fiction movies: its turnover rose by more than one-third in 2003/4 to £45m. The odds are that this will continue in the future, given the firm’s close association with plum clients such as the NHS, and its status as preferred supplier others, such as Asda and Waitrose.

The sheer size of the firm is perhaps its greatest strength. It has the capacity to carry out all types of flat and metal roofing systems and, with 12 regional offices, it is able to keep in close contact with its suppliers and clients. It is also able to keep two qualified safety advisers on its staff full time.

Runners up

CA building products
CA has had a busy year. Turnover climbed to £44m, and it spent more than £1m on state-of-the-art roll-forming equipment and a complete upgrade of its computer systems. It also led the way in challenging conventional thinking on the construction of commercial and industrial buildings. Last year it helped to launch Proshed, a collaborative initiative involving all the partners in the construction process, from the client and the steel fabricator to the M&E team. The result? A 15,000 m2 building was constructed and handed over in 55 days, a time saving of 25%.

This London-based company has been one of the stalwarts of the British construction industry for the past 55 years. Over that time, it has become an international business, and one that is rapidly expanding: sales increased more than 30% last year and are forecast to grow 35% this. Equally impressive is the company’s policy of directly employed its workforce, and its versatility in the range of jobs it undertakes, from £250 asphalt roofs to multimillion pound contracts such as the Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh and the Hotel Arts in Barcelona.

It’s not just the size of the projects that Prater handles – such as the £385m Eurostar terminal at St Pancras – that impresses. It is also the way it approaches them. Its dedication to health and safety has led to awards for Heathrow Terminal 3 project and the Gatwick Pier 6 development. The Gatwick job also illustrates the firm’s commitment to R&D, in this case a preweathered modular roof panel system that cuts down installation time on site and reduces safety risks. Elsewhere, the firm is engaging with the sustainability agenda by installing a series of green roofs with cedar soffits for the Wellcome Trust in Cambridge.

Striking designs are at the heart of Lakesmere’s approach to roofing, which is why it employs more than 40 AutoCAD designers to work with the project architect. The fruits of this design-led strategy can be seen on two recent projects: the six domes that rise out of the Welsh assembly building in Cardiff, and the 35,000 m2 doughnut-shaped steel roof of Rutherford Appleton Laboratories near Oxford. The latter, one of the largest roofs ever to be built in the UK, was erected in six-months.

Roofdec & roofdec single ply
Roofdec is clearly well respected by clients and staff. The firm has formal partnering/preferred status agreements with 10 major contractors, and in 2002/3 won 71% of its turnover on a partnered or negotiated basis.

It also has more than 50 staff who’ve been with the company in excess of 15 years. These two facts enable the firm to develop close ties by giving its repeat clients the same team job after job. And when those clients include blue-chip outfits such as BAA, Sainsbury’s and Ikea.