Winner — McDermott Bros

Embracing the expansion of the European Union, posting monthly online client questionnaires and eliminating dangerous falling objects from a site are all in a year’s work for McDermott Bros. The concrete specialist realised that if it wanted to continue to grow at 50% a year then it would have to “take off the negative blinkers” and actively seek out staff from the central and eastern European countries such as Poland that have recently joined the EU. Being acutely safety-conscious McDermott didn’t then just abandon its new recruits to get on with the job, it gave them specialised training to ensure they were safely integrated into the team. Tony Blair would be very proud. And with profit over £1m Gordon Brown’s tax men will be pretty chuffed too.


Billington Structures

Billington’s decision to design and build a new edge protection fencing system to eliminate falling objects from buildings they were working on was a bit of masterstroke. The easi-edge product was so popular that it is now a separate company with its own manufacturing plant. Perhaps that is part of the secret behind steel contractor Billington’s 300% surge in profit to £3.1m in the past 12 months.

Conder Structures

At the 50,900 ft2 office and residential scheme at Rossetti Place in Manchester, Conder was able to shave six weeks from the project. How did the steel contractor do this? Well, the answer is quite simple: it was able to solve the problems of only three of the 14 floors having the same specification of steel much faster than was thought possible. Its new 3D CAD system which enables designers to “walk through” a scheme prior to any steel being cut may just have had something to do with this.


This former O’Rourke civil engineering division may only have been separated from its former parent for 15 months but it has already made its mark. Its designers helped to ensure that the air traffic control tower at Edinburgh Airport was a success by using its digital prototyping system that - like that used by Billington - effectively builds the project on screen first. Things are set to continue in this vein for the concrete frame specialist as it spends over £1m each year on staff training and development.