A building is only as good as the stuff it’s made from, so the industry relies entirely on the firms that make it. This year’s winner has helped everybody out with the quality and innovation of its designs

Winner - Kingspan Insulated Panels

Despite being in the industry for 35 years, the judges felt Kingspan was still producing highly innovative products to solve the challenges of prefabrication, and improving health and safety and sustainability without sacrificing aesthetic appeal. Kingspan are leading the way in environmental performance – three of its plants have ISO 14001 certification, it has commissioned an independent study of the cradle-to-grave impact of all of its products, and put action plans into place at all its sites to reduce power usage and waste. Its clients feel that Kingspan’s products make it easy to produce attractive, flexible and sustainable buildings.


Highly commended: Corus Bi-Steel

The judges wanted to recommend Corus for its remarkable Bi-Steel product that saves time and money, and improves health and safety on multistorey structures. Corefast modules are fabricated off site and craned into position over pre-prepared foundations, before being bolted or welded together and attached to the steel frame. This method reduces hours of working at height and means internal stairs can be quickly installed to provide safe access to subsequent floors.

Alumet Systems (UK)

Alumet has devised a lightweight facade that can withstand a bomb-blast, as an alternative to heavy reinforced concrete or blockwork construction. Offsite prefabrication means programmes aren’t delayed by weather conditions or labour shortages, and overall build times and annual running costs can be halved. The company has already secured a £6.8m contract with the Ministry of Defence and it anticipates doubling its turnover in 2007. It’s also taking on 20 more staff to meet demand for this ingenious product.

Billington Structures

A no-nonsense approach to quality, safety and design has kept Billington in business for 60 years while other suppliers have fallen by the wayside. It has a long line of satisfied customers, most recently at Aintree racecourse, and it fosters long-term relationships with large contractors. It is stamping out waste in the construction process, by ordering materials of exact length and insisting on the use of 25-30% recycled metal in steel.

Ibstock Brick

Over the past five years, Ibstock has invested more than £55m in projects that have yielded direct energy efficiency gains. In October it launched Ecoterre, a range of unfired natural clay bricks developed as a sustainable option for non-load bearing interior walls. They are manufactured from waste clays, dried by recovered heat from kilns, and can be made at most of Ibstock’s factories, thereby reducing mileage to site. Best of all, they are comparable in cost to traditional brick, so accessible for all housing.

Paroc Panel System

Paroc developed its Total Wall panel system to help designers achieve more visually interesting finishes and to improve the efficiency of the construction process. It is designed to be extremely strong, and can span in more than 8m without additional structural support. It also has advanced rainscreening and fireproof capabilities. Offsite manufacture gives consistent quality, and the system can support a number of materials, including timber, in a variety of shapes and configurations.