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Specialists Awards finalists: Ground Engineering Specialist

These finalists have expanded overseas, worked on some of the UK and Europe’smost complex projects and developed new technologies and processes. Judges were looking for business acumen, safety records, workforce cultures and evidence of business growth.

Cuddy Group

Cuddy Group was awarded its largest ever project last year: the £16m Plymstock Quarry scheme.

This is being delivered by Cuddy Remediation, the newest part of the Cuddy Group, and involves more than 1m cu m of rock being blasted, moved and placed to stringent specifications, as well as the construction of more than 1 km of retaining structures and 30,000 sq m of stabilisation works.

The firm had no reportable incidents in 2013 and also invested almost £2m in new plant and equipment.

Deep Soil Mixing

Launched in 2012 amid the backdrop of the recession, Deep Soil Mixing has grown steadily in its first 18 months of trading. From a standing start with two directors, the company has grown to a turnover of £750,000 with projects from the UK to Nigeria.

A close working relationship with Coventry University saw collaboration on research and development, and the company’s first member of staff was a PhD geotechnical student from the university.

DNS (Midlands)

DNS used a new soil stabilisation technology called RoadCem for its work on the £39m upgrade of Clay Mills Waste Water Treatment Works. 

Rather than using traditional methods to construct a stone-based piling mat, DNS used RoadCem treatment to quickly increase the tensile strength of the soils, providing a quick, safe and stable piling mat within seven days.

A first for the UK water industry, this prevented 2,000 heavy vehicle movements to site, reduced the programme by three weeks and saved £70,000 in costs.

Ground Construction

Last year saw a surge in production for Ground Construction, with new client enquiries increasing beyond expectations to grow the company’s business base significantly.

It completed one its most challenging projects to date in 2013 – 7/8 St James Square, London – which included the design and installation of a complex temporary works system, façade retention, propping and top-down construction during the excavation of a double-basement in London’s city centre.

The firm also allied with Middlesex University to provide staff training.


Keller has been working extensively on parts of Europe’s largest construction project, Crossrail.

A particularly challenging project was the £3m C310 Thames Tunnel contract to undertake a combination of ground treatment and settlement mitigation measures for the Hochtief/Murphy Joint Venture.

A crucial Network Rail electricity substation lay directly above the proposed route of the Crossrail tunnels, and Keller successfully protected it as the tunnel boring machine passed underneath.

O’Keefe Construction (Greenwich)

O’Keefe Construction (Greenwich) was involved in a number of challenging projects in 2013, including the new Crossrail box at Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, and 5-7 St Helens Place in Bishopsgate, London.

The firm opened a new office in Seal near Sevenoaks in Kent, which led to the creation of 75 new jobs and increased group turnover by £10m. Overall turnover is expected to exceed £50m in 2014 – up by £20m from 2010/11.

Van Elle

Turnover increased by 20 per cent to £42m and operating profits increased by 40 per cent to £2.2m for Van Elle in 2013.

This allowed staff numbers to rise by 25 per cent to 300, accompanied by more than £250,000 of investment in training and development.

The firm opened new offices in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand, with plans to grow this division to a turnover of £5m within three years. Van Elle also invested in its rail division and its turnover grew from £2m to £5m last year.

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