Kingspan sponsored this hotly contested category, in which small and medium-sized contractors went head to head. Eventually, the firm that walked away with the award had the edge with its remarkable rescue story
Thomas Vale Construction
When car manufacturer Rover axed 5000 jobs last year, Thomas Vale stepped forward with a retraining scheme for the workers, giving them back their dignity with a fighting chance of converting their skills to construction. The move, which was applauded by West Midlands authorities, is a fitting example of Thomas Vale's deep commitment to the skills needs of the industry as a whole. The firm actively seeks to place local workers on local projects, and has developed a number of initiatives besides the Rover rescue to encourage workers into the industry. But don't make the mistake of thinking Building's contractor of the year is all heart and no head - over the past three years the firm has trebled its turnover to £122m.
Dean & Dyball Construction
One of the largest privately owned construction firms in the UK, Dean & Dyball has been described by one long-term client as "virtually faultless" in its work. The firm has a strong commitment to direct employment, and 90% of its staff are registered on the CSCS competency scheme. The company also doesn't shy away from difficult projects - recent work on the Tenby lifeboat station for the RNLI saw the company modify an ex-NATO amphibious vehicle in order to transport materials to site without falling foul of restrictions on heavy traffic in the town centre.
Parkinson Building Contractors
Blackpool-based Parkinson Building Contractors has increased its turnover 60% to £23m in the past three years, and can now claim to be one of the UK's most successful construction SMEs. Described as "an excellent partner and an excellent contractor" by Blackpool council, the firm is committed to client and community consultation at all stages of its projects. It has introduced a dedicated internet site, "Team Binder" to allow interested parties to access current information on a project without wading through reams of red tape. The company also has a safety record to shout about - it had no reported accidents between 2004 and 2005.
Almost all of Simons Construction's work - 84%, in fact - is repeat business, a fact which is testament to the efficiency and quality of its delivery. One of the firm's key clients is Asda: it has delivered every new Asda distribution centre constructed over the past eight years, and was recently described by Asda project manager Andy Walker as the supermarket chain's first choice for construction. The company is also a hit with its staff - it was included in the most recent Financial Times list of the top 50 best workplaces in the UK, and has held Investors in People accreditation for the past nine years.
Since Warings' current management bought the firm in 1998, the company has grown from a local Portsmouth contractor with a £40m turnover to a highly regarded regional contractor with a projected £130m turnover for 2006. The firm's explosion onto the industry's main stage has lead to framework agreements with Defence Estates and BAA, to name but a few. One of its clients recently described the firm as "without doubt the best contractor to work with, and one we could definitely work with again". With an 82% repeat business record over the past year, few seem to disagree.
Building Awards 2006
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Contractor of the year (less than £200m turnover)