A steel and glass contractor bagged this award, with a little help from its celebrity friends.

Winner: Waagner-biro

Now that world-famous architects such as Lord Foster, IM Pei and Zaha Hadid are bringing their unique design minds to the UAE, it is just as well the region has also attracted a specialist like Waagner-Biro. A steel and glass contractor famous for its work with Foster + Partners on the British Museum in London and the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin, Waagner-Biro has now lent its expertise and professionalism to projects such as Dubai Festival City (pictured) and the Capital Gate building in Abu Dhabi, helping the Gulf region become as noted for architectural sophistication and design excellence as it is for the scale of its construction programme. Waagner-Biro’s forward-thinking approach and dedication to innovation should be an inspiration to others in the field.

Runners up

BRM Construction

Slipform construction requires a trusted and reputable contractor, and after just five years in the Gulf, BRM has already become synonymous with these terms. Headed by New Zealander Bruce Munro, the company saw a gap in the UAE market and is now the leading supplier of slipforms to the sector, building more than 150 cores in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. The company has also pioneered sustainable and safe working conditions on its sites. Its repeat orders and the successful completion of projects such as the Qipco Tower in Qatar prove it has become one of the Gulf's leading specialists.

Depa Limited

Depa is the largest fit-out contractor in the emirates and, possibly, the world. With 8,000 employees, a presence in 16 countries and a 25% market share of all interior contract work in Dubai, Depa is quite often larger than the contractors it works for. Its scale has allowed it to work quickly and effectively on some of the region's most prestigious projects - from 899 apartments in the Burj Dubai to the Red Line stations on the Dubai Metro. Depa completed its work on the InterContinental Dubai Festival City in less than a year.

Emirates Trading Agency (M&E Division)

The measure of a successful M&E contractor is not just in the quality of the work it does, but in its range. ETA has a huge variety of projects under its belt, from work on the Burj Dubai and the Etihad Terminal at Abu Dhabi airport, to less glamorous but no less challenging projects such as the hangars at Dubai Airport. The largest such hangars in the world, these had to be fitted out with complex engineering equipment. A specially-designed pre-conditioned air system keeps the working environment temperate and safe.

Eversendai Engineering

Eversendai has had a busy couple of years. It completed 28,000 tonnes of structural steel works in 2007, and expects to almost double that in 2008. Among projects on its books are the Burj Dubai, Doha airport and the Trump Tower Dubai. Through its work it has gained a reputation as a professional and speedy contractor, and to sustain its position, it has built a structural fabrication facility in Sharjah capable of producing up to 50,000 tonnes of steel a year. It has also made attempts to improve health and safety with daily toolbox talks, and by taking on new safety managers.

Mivan Depa Contracting

The ambition of clients in the Middle East sees some of the world's most unique structures being built here. Fit-out contractor Mivan Depa has capitalised on the vogue for “themed” construction, offering to build your hotel, museum or visitor attraction to the highest standards of authenticism. For example, for the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, Mivan Depa sourced furniture, materials and lighting that ensured the building's minimalist design was translated into its exhibits and facilities. It has completed work of a similar standard on the Atlantis Hotel and Dubai Magic Planet.