This award honours the business brains who are willing to put their own money on the line to create the companies that the rest of us are happy to work in. And this year boasts one of our best ever line-ups

Winner - 8Build

The judges singled out contractor 8Build as the newcomer that has had the greatest impact on the industry in the shortest amount of time. They were impressed with the founders’ commitment to ethical business, leaving established companies to form their own in line with their personal values. The company places importance on its place in the local community, its minimal environmental impact, its transparency, its corporate governance, the fair treatment of the supply chain and the principles of innovative lean construction. Since it was started in September 2005, the firm has enjoyed considerable success, gaining work with a notable list of clients that includes British Land, Canary Wharf Contractors, Slaughter & May and Global Switch. The venture clearly has enormous potential.


Churchill Retirement Living

In 2000, Churchill founders Spencer and Clinton McCarthy made the bold but wise decision to move from developing luxury homes to specialising in retirement accommodation. It’s paid off handsomely. They set a five-year growth target of 1,000 sales a year by 2010 and they’re well on course to achieve it. Churchill currently has 13 sites under construction which will provide 559 units. In the past three years, turnover has risen 176%, profit has climbed 134% and staff numbers have tripled. In the past six months alone they’ve added two offices in Bristol and Manchester to take the total up to five. Most importantly, though, it created many satisfied customers and happy staff.

Dovehouse Interiors

This fit-out contractor has grown to employ 23 staff and achieved a turnover of £9m in just five years. The firm truly lives its most dearly held values – openness, communication, quality, health and safety and sustainability. Clients praise Dovehouse’s diligence, commitment to the finest details and attention to planning to meet timescales and budgets. The firm employs nobody below site manager level, and offers its customers a personal and professional service throughout a project. The judges have no doubt this will stand it in good stead to meet an ambitious turnover target of £30-40m.

Malcolm Reading and Associates

This consultant was the top financial performer in Building’s top 250 consultants in 2006, beating established names by quite a margin. Over the past 10 years the business has grown from a single consultant to a permanent team of seven bringing more than £1m in fees last year. Malcolm Reading says the firm sees the construction process the way a client does, from beginning to end, and its clients appreciate its ability to work closely with the in-house team to generate trust and think laterally to solve problems.

Villafont Homes

The four McGoff brothers have turned a passion for the construction and property industries into a successful business, growing their turnover to £10m in five years. Displaying grit and determination in the face of a difficult situation for developers in north-west England, and an undeniable flair for gaining planning permission, they have become one of the only housebuilders in the south Manchester area, when many larger firms were driven out by residential planning regulations. They are currently operating on seven different sites there, and were one of the only companies to win approval in Trafford in 2005, for a flagship development in Timperley. Key to their success is their skill at enlisting the support of local people, and an emphasis on design and quality.