The high level of client satisfaction impressed judges in this award, but a strong commitment to the Egan agenda clinched the top spot for Shepherd
Shepherd Engineering
Shepherd has thrown itself into the Egan revolution – but unlike many others, it is going beyond the talk. Turnover increased 42% last year, but without a decline in quality. Simple innovations such as prefabrication and partnering are getting real results: prefabricating pipework modules off site saved 75% on installation time at the Natural History Museum. At the new chemical engineering block for Bath University, project partnering ensured flexibility and facilitated the installation of an air-handling unit in a confined space, via an arrangement that enabled the manufacturer to deliver the unit in parts so that it could be assembled on site. Does this mean a more satisfied customer? Certainly: Shepherd's client product satisfaction rating is 84%, compared with a sector average of 70%.

Hills Electrical & Mechanical
Hills' aim is to create "a 100% client-focused organisation". For client Global Switch, it was hired to build the Switch London "hotel" for internet servers. In such a high-tech industry, being first matters and Hills completed the facility two months early, netting the client £1.5m extra profit. This is anything but dangerous haste. Hills has also scooped a British Safety Council Award and an award from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Drake & Scull EngineeringBNot many companies can boast a large project that has achieved 100% client satisfaction and is 99.9% defect-free. Drake & Scull can, for the £1.8m naturally ventilated, low-energy library and learning resource centre at Coventry University. "Just in time" delivery to a razor-sharp schedule minimised site storage and kept the project moving so that the project was completed on time, on budget and with no snagging. The client couldn't have been happier.

Kelsey Roofing Industries
From the Jaguar plant at Castle Bromwich to the ongoing restoration of the Royal Albert Hall, Kelsey has had a busy year. It has become one of only two preferred subcontractors for the new tranche of Asda stores in the UK, living up to its aim to enter into "a partnering arrangement where the company's non-adversarial approach will not be compromised". Kelsey's high level of repeat business from major clients is a tribute to its service.