Earlier this month, Building obtained a draft of Accelerating Change, Sir John Egan's critique of construction's progress since Rethinking Construction. Although he was impressed by the general reaction, he admits to being "frustrated that the rate of take-up has not been as rapid as it should have been".

Well, perhaps Sir John might feel a little more cheerful if he reads this profile of the 2002 Building Awards winners and finalists. Not only are all in fairly rude health, but the service they offer clients is first-class and they are engaged in increasingly effective supply chains. More, it's true, must be done. Safety must be more overtly prioritised and too many environmental policies just emit hot air. But casting an eye back over the eight years of the Building Awards, the progress made by the top firms has been staggering. Many entrants that came fourth this year would have walked away with the top prize in the late-1990s.

One of the most consistent winners since 1995 has been Bovis Lend Lease. Sir Frank Lampl would be too modest to admit it but the company's accolades are, to a large degree, due to his personal genius. In 2001, he relinquished his executive role after 30 years with the firm to become life president. We could not let such a moment pass; so we've made him the first recipient of our new Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sir Frank's achievements really do stretch back over a lifetime. Only he will know the Herculean courage needed to survive, first, a string of Nazi concentration camps, then, three years labour in the Jachymov uranium mines and, finally, political exile from Czechoslovakia in 1968. But everyone can appreciate his rise in Britain from a humble general foreman to make Bovis one of the world's top 10 construction companies.

Against all odds, Sir Frank became a winner, and an inspiration to a whole generation. Congratulations to him and to all the other winners celebrated in this supplement. In an industry that's getting a whole lot better, you're the best of the lot.

How the winners were chosen

More than 200 firms entered the 2002 Building Awards, so choosing the winners was a tough job. All the entrants were required to fill in a questionnaire covering everything from their financial performance, attitude to sustainability and approach to partnering to their investment in IT and training. They also provided details of a model project – a scheme completed in the past year that demonstrated their skills. Three panels of judges, made up of senior figures from the industry, joined Building editor Adrian Barrick in drawing up the shortlist for each of the categories. To help the judges assess the firms, we carried out a random survey of the shortlisted companies’ clients early this year. The results of this were used to back up the firms’ own submissions. All the shortlisted firms were put forward for a special Best Practice Award, sponsored by the Construction Best Practice Programme and judged by CBPP director Brian Moone. Chairmen
Consultant categories
Nigel Keen, John Lewis Partnership
Housebuilder categories
Sir Frank Lampl, Bovis Lend Lease
Contractor and specialist subcontractor categories
Mike Roberts, BAA Other judges
Amanda Baillieu, RIBA Journal
Adrian Barrick, Building
Tom Bloxham, Urban Splash
Keith Clarke, Skanska
Andrew Gay
Helen Gordon, Railtrack
Imtiaz Farookhi, National House Building Council
Roger Humber John Morgan, Morgan Sindall
Steve Morgan
Dickon Robinson, Peabody Trust
Chris Strickland, Greycoat
Richard Smee, Ernst & Young