Winner — Mivan

For housebuilder St James, Mivan is simply “consistently better than any other fit-out contractor”. The reason for this? Well, St James entrusted Mivan with the entire internal works on its luxury Wycombe Square development in Kensington, West London. This was worth £16.6m and at its peak resulted in Mivan managing 200 workers and 15 subcontractors on site. Despite this the project was completed on budget and before time. But it is not just for the bottom line that Mivan is our winner – its performance on health and safety is also impressive with both reportable and actual accidents halved in 2005 among its 516 staff. Mivan’s repeat business soared to 64% last year. It is unlikely to fall any time soon.

Elegant entrance: Mivan’s work on the £16.6m luxury Wycombe Square development in Kensington
Elegant entrance: Mivan’s work on the £16.6m luxury Wycombe Square development in Kensington


Dovehouse Interiors
Highly commended

It is more usually diamonds that are associated with London’s jewellery centre Hatton Garden, but for small business Dovehouse it was more like striking gold. Led by a £1m fit-out contract on the central London street, the company saw its turnover double to £8.5m in 2005 and its profit triple to £400,000. This performance is no one-off however, as at the start of every contract Dovehouse constructs a detailed mock-up of how a finished project should look and is committed to continuous training to ensure its staff can deliver its high standards.

Mann McGowan Installations

If any of this company’s 20 employees ever find themselves looking for a meal in central London, then it’s more than likely that they would be given the best table and complimentary drinks by Albannach on Trafalgar Square. The reason is that this contemporary Scottish restaurant would not have been able to expand into its basement without the two-year payment plan that Mann McGowan suggested for the fire-resistant screen that Westminster council demanded be installed. The fact that the timber was from a renewable source just makes the whole serving that bit more tasty.

MJM Group

Any subcontractors working for MJM know that they have earned it. Before agreeing to work with any of them, MJM subjects them all to a rigorous process of scrutiny where it examines its prospective partner’s record on quality, safety, timing and equal opportunities. It then demands that each subbie pledges to fulfil these commitments in writing and signs them to prove it. All these hoops are worth it though as the Northern Irish firm pays promptly and even awards extra work if its subbies are really well behaved.