A superb level of client satisfaction and a strong commitment to partnering secured Thomas Vale the top spot in this category, sponsored by Kingspan Building Products
Thomas Vale Construction

Runner-up in the regional contractor category last year, Thomas Vale has made it to the top this time thanks to a 36% increase in turnover – to £57.6m in 2000 – and to its superb showing in the customer survey – it scored 92% overall. The judges were also impressed by its commitment to partnering – 70% of its projects are partnered – and performance monitoring – it benchmarks everything from attitude of staff to cost and health and safety on all projects worth more than £200,000. These qualities came to the fore on the £2.3m renovation of the grade II*-listed roof of Stoke-on-Trent Station. The company's success on this project has led to further work for Railtrack and Virgin Trains.

Try Construction
Try's 28-year partnership with the All-England Lawn Tennis Club won it plaudits this year. Its latest project at Wimbledon was the Millennium facilities building, which was used to pilot its zero defects computer database, but the firm also played a part in running the 2000 championships. It also partners with clients such as Grosvenor Estate and John Laing Property. Another good financial year saw it raise turnover 30% to £126.6m, with profit up 25% to £2m.

Countryside in Partnership
Estate regeneration is Countryside in Partnership's forte – it makes up 66% of its workload and provides its example of best practice: the £36.5m revamp of the former Bluehouse Estate in Basildon, Essex. The 718-home project was completed ahead of schedule, with up to 35% local labour. The company also has strong green credentials, as proven by the energy consumption targets set on its highest-profile project, Greenwich Millennium Village.

YJL Construction
A whopping 89% increase in operating profit to £621,000 made 2000 a good year for YJL, formerly Lovell Construction. About three-quarters of the company's £85m turnover involves partnering, including the £1.8m Hall School project in north-west London. This had to be completed in the summer holiday and only close co-operation between client, contractor and subcontractor kept the project on course after major changes were introduced.