Kingspan got the nod this year thanks to the range of its innovations, and the benefits they are bringing to the environment

Winner: Kingspan

Kingspan is continuously developing products to meet the changing needs of the industry. For example, its Thermabrick cladding system combines insulated panel technology with a mortarless brick system, and Thermastone combines the appearance of naturally hewn stone with the benefits of composite, pre-engineered panelling. In 2007 it became the first metal roof and wall cladding maker to achieve environmental profile certification from BRE. It was also the first UK manufacturer to sign up for membership of Dcarbon8, a carbon solutions company that provides products and services that are carbon neutral or positive. Not surprisingly, it has grown steadily over the past three years, with sales hitting £225m in 2007.


Alumet Systems

At a time when security is a daily concern, Alumet saw a gap in the market for a facade that could withstand the effects of a bomb explosion. It therefore developed the ABLE Facade. This light, pre-glazed system covers large areas and, unlike traditional heavyweight reinforced concrete and blockwork, is not affected by rain or frost and does not require skilled operatives to install. The AFS is constructed entirely off-site and simply hooks on to pre-fixed brackets on the building’s structure.

The initial designs were set out in 2005 and the facades for the first project were manufactured in 2006. Its turnover is predicted to have trebled since then. Alumet is currently running through a £6.2m order to design, fabricate and install the AFS system on a large Ministry of Defence building in the Home Counties.

Barker MCT

Barker’s patented modular component technology (MCT) system involves fitting out rooms completely off site and delivering them as sophisticated flatpack panels. Once in place they can be put together in a hurry to form high-quality, fully functioning hotel rooms, classrooms, washrooms and so on. Not only does this mean rapid and efficient installation, but it also reduces health and safety risks and means the materials can be ordered from renewable sources. Its projects include the Lucky Voice Karaoke pods, which have been rolled out across the UK, lounges at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and the Yotel at Gatwick.


Geberit is a pioneer of environmental management technology. Listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes since 2002, it has developed a code of conduct that has reduced waste and the release of hazardous substances, and sensitised employees to environmental concerns. One of its latest innovations is its HDPE soil manifold, which is a solution for above and below ground drainage and chemical waste. It can be prefabricated, which helps reduce installation time, and can be fitted in the tightest of spaces.

Lime Technology

Lime Technology’s ethos is to blend proven building materials with modern manufacturing methods to produce commercially viable products. It believes that many traditional materials hold the key to cost-effective sustainable construction. Its first product was Limetec, a range of hydraulic lime mortar, render and plaster; it has since developed a range of hemp and compressed earth materials, including Tradical Hemcrete and Sumatec. Its products have been used in a range of great projects such as the National Trust HQ and Adnams’ distribution centre in Suffolk.

Swift Horsman

Swift Horsman was set up in 1971 and has since developed into one of the most innovative fit-out specialists in the UK. Since embracing off-site manufacture five years ago, the company has enjoyed a steady increase in repeat business for very grateful clients. One of its earliest products was Podwall, a walling system that was designed to arrive on site pre-plumbed and fitted with all the necessary components. After it was launched the product quickly became hugely successful, and has dramatically reduced the amount of labour required on site, and therefore the likelihood of accidents.