It was Alumet’s investment in innovation, in particular its blastproof cladding system, that allowed it to stand out from a crowded field this year
In this fiercely fought category, Alumet Systems stood out for the judges because of its approach to innovation; it completed its first contract using its Able facade, the UK’s only prefabricated walling system capable of withstanding the effects of a bomb explosion. The £268,155 it invested in researching and developing the product has certainly paid off, because its use on a recent Ministry of Defence projects has already provided a 787% return. Furthermore, it has constructed a £500,000 innovation centre, which houses state-of-the-art equipment and will allow Alumet to conduct in-house research into other new facades. Money and technology aside, Alumet is particularly proud of the fact it has invented a product that can save lives – a caring attitude that is reflected in its approach to its staff and the environment. For example, it bought all its employees a bike, and it has a dedicated health and safety manager who visits every site at least once a fortnight to ensure employees are fully compliant with site regulations and risk assessments. Clearly this is working, as the company’s accident frequency rate fell 76% in 2009 and it has been given no fewer than 11 health and safety awards by main contractors. So, it just goes to show that innovation does not have to come at the expense of safety.
Balfour beatty engineering services
This firm was only launched in July last year, but it is already one of the country’s largest specialist contractors – which is what won it the highly commended accolade. The judges felt that its approach to integrating the two businesses that formed it – Balfour Kilpatrick and Haden Young – made it an outstanding all-rounder, which is something that the company itself is conscious of. It says its aim now is to show clients it offers “business as usual but with added benefits”.
Scaffolding is a major part of any project, which is why it’s so important that a firm that supplies it knows what it’s doing and can guarantee the highest standards of quality and safety. Brogan fits this bill, which is why it is the supplier of choice for many of the UK’s main contractors, including Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Laing O’Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine. It has worked with them on complex projects, including the Cabinet Office in Whitehall and the Royal Opera House.
CJ Haughey construction
Celebrating 10 successful years, this company has gone from strength to strength, as demonstrated by its turnover growth of 40% to £25m. Having established itself as a leading groundworks and civil engineering services provider, the company’s hard work, dedication and can-do attitude should mean it remains a force in the industry for many decades to come.
Colt has a uniquely broad spectrum of expertise, dealing with climate, smoke and daylight control – services that are traditionally offered by separate specialists. It does this by drawing on products developed around the world, such as in Holland, Switzerland and Germany. Its work this year has included a specialist smoke control system for the UK’s tallest residential project in London’s Docklands, the lighting for a 103,000ft2 Marks & Spencer store and an energy-efficient heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system for Middlesex University.
Engineering services firm Emcor drove its business forward last year regardless of the recession. It opened an academy to deliver training on its latest techniques, achieved International Organisation for Standardisation environmental accreditation and won an award for its constantly improving health and safety record. It was also involved in 74 projects, ranging from prisons, schools and hospitals, to offices, hotels and luxury apartments.
Since it was formed in 1993, Lakesmere has grown to become one of the UK’s largest roofing, cladding and envelope specialists. And now it looks like it’s about to make a name for itself further afield, with the launch of its Middle Eastern operation. The firm grew its profit 10% last year and its repeat business increased from 75% to almost 90% – which bodes well for its move to foreign climes.
Cladding contractor Prater stayed out of trouble this year by working in a range of sectors, which included education, retail, healthcare, commercial and infrastructure. This strategy certainly worked, as it was able to increased profit by 37%. It secured 38 projects over the 12 months, and the fact that 79% of them were bagged through negotiation proves it has the charm to match its business acumen.