The first-ever gathering of specialists took place in London last week to recognise the construction industry's crack firms. Here's some of the highlights
An audience of more than 500 people gathered in the ballroom of London's Grosvenor House Hotel last Wednesday for the first-ever Specialist Contractor Awards, organised by Building in association with the DTI.

The event was designed to celebrate the accomplishments of UK's leading specialists, which have emerged as a major force in the industry. Guests included Mowlem chief executive Sir John Gains and Costain boss Stuart Doughty, as well as Welsh rugby legend Gareth Edwards (below), a consultant to sponsor Euroclad.

Edwards was ribbed mercilessly by the presenter, comedian Dominic Holland, about Wales' chances in the World Cup Quarter Final on Sunday.

The 17 award winners – including "best of the best" Interior Services Group – were chosen by an academy of 150 industry luminaries, including clients such as Andrew Wolstenholme of BAA and Geoff Wright of Hammerson, as well as consultants such as Arup's Sir Duncan Michael and architect John McAslan.

A charity casino sponsored by Mivan raised £11000 for CITY, the construction industry's youth training charity. This was supported by a foreword to the evening's programme by Tony Blair.

Blair said: "Learning and skills are the cornerstone of the government's efforts to achieve full employment, strengthen communities and spread prosperity."