This is the 15th anniversary of the Building Awards and never have they been so hard won.

Not only have we received a record number of entries but in many of the categories the standards were so high that we could have awarded the first prize several times over. As you flick through these pages showcasing the ones that did get the nod, what stands out is the sheer excellence of the work that the construction industry is capable of. These awards are all about celebrating spectacular feats of design, construction and engineering, not to mention the highest standards of sustainability and best practice, which are still in great evidence despite the economic climate we find ourselves in.

Take the specialists category for example, in which Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering eventually triumphed thanks to its impressive business performance and the wealth of innovations it has contributed to this most unsung and

high-risk of specialisms. But the engineering expertise of Keltbray and B&K Timber Structures also delighted the judges. The major contractor category was also a tough one: but in the end it was the remarkable transformation at Wates that scooped the first prize, and its chief executive Paul Drechsler complemented that by winning Chief Executive of the Year. Outstanding quality of work was on show in the three project categories. After much judicial debate, Liverpool One took the prize in Building’s Project of the Year category for the sheer audacity of its scale and complexity, and the way it embraced public–private partnership. It is, say the judges “a triumph”. Equally high praise was forthcoming in the public project category – a new one for this year. Allford Hall Monaghan Morris’ Westminster academy took the prize, and indeed the London architect went on to scoop Housing Project of the Year and Architect of the Year. So well done to AHMM. And, in fact, to all our winners and finalists.

Finally, I’d like to thank all our judges for giving their time and expertise so generously, our sponsors who have made these awards possible and to all of you who entered. There is a great deal here of which we can all be proud.

Denise Chevin, editor, Building