Winner: Cementation Skanska
The judges applauded Cementation Skanska for strong performance across the board, making note of its 2016 Investors in People Gold accreditation that positions it in the top 3 per cent of UK businesses.
The panel was also struck by an impressive array of projects that included the installation of the deepest interlocked shaft built in UK.
The geotechnical firm explained it had re-specified the works and come up with a stressed hoop solution that had eliminated temporary works and meant significant cost and programme savings.
Cementation Skanska had to convince its client of the merits of this solution despite initial concerns over whether the new approach could succeed in the ground conditions at the site.
The judges applauded the firm’s commitment to early contractor involvement that had allowed it to redesign the ground engineering for the ESS research centre project in Lund, Sweden, resulting in an eight-week saving on the programme.
The panel enjoyed the enthusiastic input of Maria Scott, who completed her apprenticeship last year and is now a technician.
Ms Scott explained how those wishing to progress at the company are quickly enabled to do so. “At my professional development review I asked for a college course and one month later I was enrolled on it.”
This saw her study for a fortnight at the University of Cambridge on the use of fibre optics that are attached to reinforcement cages for pile integrity testing. Her course allowed Ms Scott to use the techniques and technology on schemes like the Northern Line extension.
“This firm just confidently ticks all the boxes, clearly showing its strong brand values working in practice and being driven by a very genuine and caring managing director”
Having previously faced instances of low client satisfaction, the judges noted how the business had taken stock of its situation and raised its game.
“Customer feedback was not where we needed it to be,” said managing director Cameron Foley. “So we focused on it.” The firm’s efforts have paid off with a stream of clients ranging from consultants, main contractors and subcontractors offering glowing testimonials, with professionalism, attention to detail and “first-class” standards of service being prominent themes.
On top of all this, the panel was pleased to hear that operating profit rose by 75 per cent in 2016 on the back of an increasing workload that has seen the firm forming JVs to share resource and risk for its expanding order book.
Highly commended: Severfield
The judges listened avidly to an account of Severfield’s impressive 2016 that saw revenue increasing by 19 per cent and pre-tax profit rising by 59 per cent.
The firm puts this down to capital investment in equipment, safety, health and the environment, as well as improved processes.
Last year also saw it work on a string of high-profile projects, including the new Main Stand at Anfield for Liverpool FC, 3 & 4 Pancras Square (its ninth project on the King’s Cross development for Argent), South Bank Tower, and iPort Doncaster for Verdion.
Meanwhile, it secured projects at Tottenham Hotspur, No.1 Court at Wimbledon, and the BBC’s Cardiff site, contributing to its highest order book for six years at £270m, up 46 per cent on 2015.
- Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering
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- Van Elle