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Contractor of the Year: Finalists

This shortlist showcases the seven main contractors that have set the standard for the rest of the industry to follow over the past 12 months.

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Canary Wharf Contractors

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Canary Wharf Contractors

Canary Wharf Contractors

Canary Wharf Contractors has focused on collaboration and leadership while ensuring high standards of health and safety. The contractor’s New District project clocked up more than three million worker-hours without a single lost-time accident. The firm says the team’s ability to foresee and manage risks associated with this mega-project has made for a safer working environment.

CWC says it is working hard to demonstrate industry-wide leadership on energy and carbon management, purchasing all its electricity on a green tariff and appointing specialists to devise data-based targets to help the business towards achieving zero-carbon targets.

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Gilbert Ash

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Gilbert Ash


Since 2014, Gilbert-Ash has implemented a three-year growth strategy to increase the firm’s turnover from £76m, successfully hitting its target of £175m in 2017. The year saw the contractor work on notable projects such as the National Army Museum and the Royal College of Music.

The firm is aiming to be an industry leader in diversity: its managing director is on a Women in Business committee, female employees make up 21 per cent of its workforce, and initiatives have been set up to help women return to work after starting families. Gilbert-Ash also launched its Don’t Walk By health and safety initiative and focused on occupation wellbeing as well as behaviours.

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Graham

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Graham


Graham scooped a number of high-profile contracts during the past year, including Barnet council’s £150m framework, £100m of work under the Schools for the Future programme in Scotland, and three projects via the Highways England Collaborative Delivery Framework.

The contractor aims to be an industry leader in BIM, and is said to be the first UK contractor to have achieved the British Standards Institute Kitemark certification for both BIM Design and Construction and Asset Management.

Graham increased its turnover to £565m for the year to April 2017 and increased its workforce by 14 per cent. Diversity has also been a focus, with 35 per cent of current Graham Academy trainees being female.

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CN Awards 2018 Contractor Metnor Construction

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Metnor Construction

Metnor Construction

North-east contractor Metnor is working to establish a strong brand across its UK-wide portfolio. The company’s managing director is actively engaged with work on the ground, visiting the group’s construction sites regularly. As an SME, the firm has taken significant steps to build supply chain relationships in order to deliver projects efficiently and collaboratively.

Nurturing young talent is a focus for the business, as around 15 per cent of the workforce is currently being supported through education programmes such as apprenticeships, college courses and degrees. Turnover increased 72 per cent in its most recent results, and the contractor is now exploring fresh approaches to maintain sustainable growth.

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Robertson Group

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Robertson Group

Robertson Group

Last year marked a record period for Robertson, with profit before tax rising to £26.1m – up 22 per cent from the previous year – and turnover increasing 29 per cent to £565m.

The firm places great importance on its family business values, with health and safety a critical part of this. Robertson has recently launched a behavioural safety campaign as part of its wider, long-term commitment to high standards.

Several of the contractor’s projects completed in 2017 having recorded zero RIDDORs, including North Uist Primary School, Perth Theatre and the Orsted Operations & Maintenance Base. The contractor is also investing significantly in modern methods of construction, with its timber factories offering offsite manufacturing capabilities.

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Wates Group

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Wates Group

Wates Group

Wates has recorded further improvements in four key areas of the business: growth, sustainability, safety and innovation. The business turned over £1.6m last year and is on target to hit £2bn by 2020. High-profile completions in 2017 included the Victoria & Albert Museum extension and the refurbishment of Marylebone Town Hall for London Business School.

Wates secured a place on Scape’s flagship £4bn major works framework and the Education Skills Funding Agency’s £8bn framework over the past year. The contractor’s Zero Harm campaign meanwhile has improved safety performance across the business, with its accident frequency rate reduced by 22 per cent  and lost-time injuries by 41 per cent.

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Willmott Dixon

CN Awards 2018 Contractor Willmott Dixon

Willmott Dixon

In 2017 Willmott Dixon won work on several major projects, including the refurbishments of The Old Admiralty Building and the Colston Hall concert venue. The contractor also scooped more than £250m of university work.

Willmott aims to constantly develop and improve its business performance, setting up what it claims to be the industry’s first customer feedback portal. Feedback from clients has helped the contractor hand over 30 defect-free projects in the past year.

The contractor has also increased its focus on diversity, announcing a target to achieve gender parity in the company’s workforce by 2030 and setting up gender steering groups to achieve this.

CN Awards 2018 sponsors_SAS logo

CN Awards 2018 sponsors_SAS logo

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Established in 1991, Senior Architectural Systems has grown to become one of the largest aluminium fenestration manufacturers in the UK.

Senior delivers a full range of innovative architectural façade solutions, including the slimline SF52 aluminium curtain walling system and the patented PURe aluminium window and doors that offer high thermal efficiency and low U-values.

Senior’s product range is supported by a dedicated technical advisory team, an in-house powder coating facility, a fleet of eco-friendly delivery vehicles and an established supply chain of fabricators and installers.

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