These contractors are delivering some of the biggest and most important schemes in the UK, showing how the industry is progressing thanks to advances in methodology and technology.
Specialists 2017 Specialist over 25 Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering
Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering
Balfour Beatty’s ground engineering arm recorded another strong year of growth in 2016, delivering a 20 per cent increase in profit. This built on the 175 per cent increase seen the previous year.
Safety remains Balfour’s number one priority and it claims to be the first piling business to install 360-degree cameras on all of its rigs. It is also committed to sustainable working by using only certified, responsibly sourced concrete, timber and 99 per cent recycled steel.
Specialists 2017 Specialist over 25 Cementation Skanska
While physical safety is of the utmost importance in construction, Skanska is also committed to good mental health and currently has 110 ambassadors in the company focused on this.
The ground engineering specialist is also working to incorporate the latest technology, and claims it is the first BIM Level 2 piling contractor in the UK. It is also using a new fibre optic system to measure the integrity of its work, which it says is safer and more efficient than existing techniques.
Specialists 2017 Specialist over 25 Imtech
Imtech has embraced offsite prefabrication, with its use in delivering service cupboards on one project leading to labour cost saving in excess of £200,000. Another project saw a heating plant room manufactured off site, reducing installation from 12 to three weeks.
The company describes itself as “a large company with a small company feel” and places a strong emphasis on training and promoting people within the business into management positions.
Specialists 2017 Specialist over 25 Lee Marley Brickwork
Lee Marley Brickwork
Last year saw Lee Marley carry out its biggest scaffolding job (£3.5m in Elephant and Castle) and largest natural stone package (£1.8m at Exeter College, Oxford) yet, with turnover increasing to an estimated £41m from £27.5m in 2015.
The firm has invested in its estimating and preconstruction team so it can offer advice on how to deliver masonry packages at an early stage on projects. Lee Marley credits this service as being the key to expanding its work with blue-chip clients.
Specialists 2017 Specialist over 25 NG Bailey London Bridge
NG Bailey prides itself on its robust performance, with operating profit tripling in 2016 to £6m and sales rising 12 per cent, while the company remained debt free. Its outlook appears positive too, with a secured order book of £673m – 14 per cent higher than in 2015.
Last year also saw the completion of two landmark projects for NG Bailey: the Centre for Medicine Building at the University of Leicester and the company’s largest MEP project to date, phase one of London Bridge station.
Specialists 2017 Specialist over 25 O Brien Contractors
O’Brien Contractors aim is to become the leading civils contractor in the Midlands, driven by its investment in people and sustainability.
The company aims to maintain a skilled workforce through employees undertaking more than five days of training on average last year. It has also made improvements in terms of sustainability after having its carbon footprint independently verified.
The fruits of O’Brien’s approach can be seen in its profits: up 15 per cent in 2016.
Specialists 2017 Specialist over 25 Prater
The building envelope specialist undertook a large and complex job in the redevelopment of London Bridge for Network Rail last year. Prater used 4D modelling and built a full-size prototype to test the building process before delivering the scheme at the busy station.
Other examples of its innovative working include using moveable screens rather than scaffolding to operate at higher levels on a residential tower in Stratford.
Prater has also worked with Newham Council to get local people into construction.
Specialists 2017 Specialist over 25 Severfield
Severfield’s project list for 2016 features some of the highest-profile schemes in the UK, including Liverpool FC’s stadium expansion, the King’s Cross redevelopment and the Manchester Ordsall Chord rail link.
The company prides itself on working with other contractors to deliver complex projects. On the Ordsall Chord scheme its use of BIM and collaborative working allowed it to present a modified specification to the client, which the firm says provided a 20 per cent cost saving.
Specialists 2017 Specialist over 25 Van Elle
Ground engineering specialist Van Elle was ranked 19th on the Sunday Times’ Profit Track 100 list after posting a 51 per cent increase, while its workforce expanded by almost a quarter in 2016.
Van Elle believes it can ensure this success continues by investing in the future. To this end it has rolled out a number of initiatives to train its workforce and encourage the next generation to come into the industry by partnering with schools and further education establishments.