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Specialist Contractor of the Year (turnover under £100m): Winner

Winner: Lucas

Ever since a management buyout in 2010, Lucas’ turnover has grown steadily from £7.6m then to £29m in 2016.

Yet this fit-out and finishing specialist has remained true to its values of delivering excellent service while focusing on quality, reliability and innovation.

Project highlights from 2016 included a mixed fit-out and residential decorations package worth £6m on the South Bank Tower in central London, which managing director Danny Lucas described to our judges as a “super fit-out project” due to the wide scope of works.

The contractor also undertook a year-long painting programme for the Sky Central building on BSkyB’s Osterley Campus, which required the application of specialist protective resin coatings in plant rooms and back-of-house areas. Work was carried out through the night to allow other trades to complete their packages and ensure the project finished on time.

Innovation is at the heart of the business, with the company developing an app to streamline onsite processes, as well as developing numerous innovative product innovations around painting, both in terms of the paints themselves and the popular Lucas ProFinish paintbrush.

“Lucas has taken an impressive approach to training, spearheaded by an inspirational managing director, and shows a progressive approach to business – not just within its specialist sector but across the industry as a whole”

Judges’ comment

The firm has even opened its own Innovation Centre, designed as a hub for clients, architects and specifiers to plan new finishing solutions using techniques they might not have previously considered.

And not one to rest on its laurels, Lucas has become a technology partner of the McLaren Technology Group, with then chairman Ron Dennis praising the work the company has done at McLaren HQ.

Training, too, is of vital importance. Lucas has partnered with Dulux Trade, Go Construct, Knauf and Constructing Excellence (Kent) to launch the Lucas College Programme. This allows students to complete a NVQ Level 3 in painting and decorating, particularly targeted at those students who do not have a sponsor, work placement or employer and who are in danger of leaving the industry.

Lucas’ health and safety performance is also impressive. Its AFR is currently 0.00 and has been for some time, with more than 1.5m worker-hours without a reportable incident.

The judging panel was especially impressed with MD Danny Lucas, who they described as “inspirational”, adding that this specialist contractor shows “a progressive approach to business not just within its specialist sector, but across the industry as a whole”.

The average length of service among Lucas employees is 12 years, amply demonstrating the positive workplace culture Mr Lucas has fostered – and why his business has been named Specialist Contractor of the Year (turnover under £100m).

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Well done to the winners. Good to also see Bourne get a mention, though the CN Index listing biggest 10 steelwork contractors by turnover appears to be incorrect as it shows Reid with about £19m turnover at 10th - what about J&D Pierce who's turnover is well above that.

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