Rethinking Construction chief Alan Crane headed the list of construction professionals rewarded in the New Year's Honours List
Crane, former chair of the Movement for Innovation and a member of several government taskforces, said he was "delighted" with his CBE. His career also includes a stint as chief executive of contractor Christiani & Nielsen, which went into administration in November 2000.

Rethinking Construction was formed last year to bring together government construction initiatives such as the Movement for Innovation and the Local Government Construction Task Force.

Crane said Rethinking Construction would continue its regional drive this year. He said: "Our main aim for next year is to build on our development of regional networks and take forward the exhortation to keep looking at new things."

Rab Bennetts received an OBE in the list. His firm, Bennetts Associates, made its name with high-profile green buildings, such as the award-winning Wessex Water building in Bath, which received the highest ever BREEAM rating for an office building.

Bennetts played down the award, saying: "It's always slightly embarrassing when one person is singled out, so I'm accepting this on behalf of our whole firm."

Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester council, was knighted for his contribution to rebuilding the city centre after it was bombed by the IRA in 1996. He also played a key role in the success of last year's Commonwealth Games in the city and set up urban regeneration body New East Manchester, which is creating the third Millennium Village.

Brian Coulter, chief executive of Fold Housing Association in Northern Ireland, and John Gillvray, managing director of building and civil engineering firm Farrans, were awarded OBEs. A knighthood was conferred on David Garrard, chief executive at developer Minerva.

Others honoured in the sector included Robin Broadhurst, European chairman of property agent Jones Lang La Salle, and Philip Venning, secretary of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.