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Ground Engineering Specialist of the Year: Winner

Winner: Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering

The past 12 months have seen the culmination of a two-year turnaround for Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering.

In 2013, the firm was operating at a loss of just under £1m. Yet in 2015 BBGE posted a profit of £6m, up 76 per cent compared with 2014, as well as sales of £81m (up 34 per cent).

The judges said that, given where the business was three years ago, the turnaround showcased in BBGE’s entry was truly “phenomenal”.

This revival has been underscored by a number of complex and high-profile jobs, largely in the capital. The firm’s £7m contract on the Newfoundland project in Canary Wharf saw workers install 53 piles 60 m in length. Of these, 15 piles had to be installed within the London Underground exclusion zone, including one just 2 m away from the Jubilee line tunnel.

This project ran alongside its £11m piling contract as part of the £400m 100 Bishopsgate development, which saw the company install piles up to 2.4 m in diameter and to depths of 65 m.

Commenting on the work carried out by BBGE, Brookfield Multiplex’s project manager on 100 Bishopsgate said BBGE “was exceeding our expectations” and “showing commitment and leadership” in all areas of its work.

“Balfour’s business growth is incredible. Turning around a business like they have done in the last two years is phenomenal”

Judges’ comments

Such levels of client satisfaction have been a consistent feature throughout the work BBGE had carried out in the past year. Out of 124 end-of-contract customer surveys, the average score given to the firm was 9/10.

The judges were also impressed by BBGE’s commitment to safety and the way it invested in training. Initiatives such as installing 360-degree cameras on all rigs and the rolling out of piling safety cages were praised by the judges as demonstrating particularly good practice and helping to keep workers safe.

The judging panel recognised a clear investment in young employees, reflected in the 23 engineers and surveyors on the BBGE graduate scheme.

The implementation of a bespoke training and development programme for all its young workers was similarly commended.

On diversity, while admitting that both its business and the industry still had a long way to go, BBGE demonstrated its commitment to tackling this through its support of Stonewall and membership of the 5% Club and Disability Confident, as well as its roll out of ‘Non Bias’ training to all senior managers.

Our judges were left in no doubt that BBGE stands out among its fellow ground engineers.

Highly commended: Hydrock

Judges were “very impressed” with Hydrock’s performance in 2015: not only has its order book more than doubled from £22.3m to £45.8m, the firm has matched this financial growth by opening new offices in Cardiff, Edinburgh and London.

This has been underpinned by strong performance on several diverse projects, including £40m of remediation work on Hinkley Point C.

The firm has also completed more than 1.8m hours on site without an incident and its 99.5 per cent recycle rate eliminated more than 50,000 lorry journeys last year.

Hydrock was also praised for its commitment to encouraging diversity in its workforce, exemplified by the number of women holding high-level management and operational roles in the business.

Finalists

  • Bachy Soletanche
  • Erith Contractors 
  • Keller
  • PP O’Connor
  • Van Elle

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