Billington has a reputation within the construction community as one of the most advanced subcontractors around.
This is well deserved, as wherever you look, Billington has been at the forefront of construction’s age of enlightenment. It has developed a futuristic IT system that takes a project from preliminary design to the as-built manual. It has adopted paperless transactions, 3D modelling, and is presently working on a single portal for all project information, to which every employee or supplier will be able to access through a single GPRS laptop portal. All personnel carry CSCS cards. Talent and loyalty are recognised and rewarded – Steve Fareham, the present managing director, started off as a drawing office apprentice. It has developed its own safety techniques, such as its “easy-edge” system for avoiding falls from height, and is offering it to the rest of the industry (see the innovation category for more on this). Unsurprisingly, 90% of its business is with repeat clients, and equally unsurprisingly,
it was voted the best steelwork subbie in Britain.
O’Keefe Construction Greenwich
O’Keefe pinned its entry on its performance at the Brooklands Heritage and Technology Centre in Weybridge, Surrey. The job was technically demanding because the central structure was made up of columns that were of unequal heights, raked in two dimensions, and had to be positioned with little room for error. O’Keefe decided to make things even tougher by casting the columns in situ using two L-shaped shutters and a small forest of temporary props. The actual work was just as tough as you might expect – it took about half a day to prepare a column for concreting – and it’s to the firm’s credit that the stunning finished product was completed with no defects.
The British structural steelwork industry is one of the glories of the country’s manufacturing base, and North Yorkshire’s Severfield-Rowen Group is up there with the best of them, just as it was last year. The roll call of projects that it has been involved with resembled the battle honours of the Grenadier Guards. In the recent past it has worked on the Welsh Millennium Centre in Cardiff, Gatwick airports new pier, Heathrow airport’s new control tower, the expansion of St Pancras, the Arsenal Emirates stadium, the new stand at the Oval and Foster and Partners’ Bishops Square office development on the site of the old Spitalfields market. The firm’s steadily expanding turnover is testament to its technical skills, and these are underpinned by a willingness to invest whatever it takes in improving the service to clients. In the past year, Severfield-Rowen has introduced a high-volume plate to beam welding line and two dedicated intumescent paint lines to increase its capacity and lower its cost. A class act in a class sector.
Specialist Contractor Awards 2005
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Structural specialist of the year