Construction's biggest names nominate the small businesses they most admire

Contractors Galliford Try and John Doyle are among the up-and-coming companies most admired by eight of construction's leading figures.

Benny Kelly, a director of Sir Robert McAlpine, and Sir Stuart Lipton, one of the UK's leading developers, were among the luminaries asked by Building to nominate the firm they felt could match the successes of supercontractors such as Skanska and Laing O'Rourke over the next 10 years, or that they particularly admired.

Most of the firms chosen have a turnover of less than £200m, but have showed impressive growth over the past few years. For example, Hampshire-based contractor Dean & Dyball has a turnover of £185m, but grew 10% last year, a rate which it hopes to continue over the next five years.

However, some are already nearing construction's big league and could well be acknowledged industry giants within the 10 year timeframe.

I like Stef Stefanou’s chaps. John Doyle is very solid, very knowledgeable. They have a particular interest in the technical sides of a project and their attitude is great. It’s a smaller version of Laing O’Rourke

Stuart Lipton, founder of developers Stanhope and Chelsfield Partners

Galliford Try is the obvious example. Its latest annual results showed turnover at £718m. Its recent acquisition of Morrison Construction for £42m could bump this up to £1.2bn, which would move it into the top 20 contractors and housebuilders in the UK, ahead of the likes of Amey and Alfred McAlpine.

The selections also reflect the range of new disciplines emerging in the industry, such as facilities management, as well as those following some of the industry's more successful business models, such as Laing O'Rourke mini-conglomerate approach.

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