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A trend towards the whole 'building envelope' approach emerged from the three finalists this year


CLADDING AND GLAZING SPECIALIST OF THE YEAR ? sponsored by Ash & Lacy Building Systems

WINNER: LAKESMERE WORKING from three regional offices, Lakesmere offers an integrated design and installation service for the complete building envelope throughout the UK. Its reputation for quality and service has fuelled rapid growth in the 18 years since its formation, and today more than half its tu rnover is generated th rough negotiated contracts undertaken on a partnering basis.

Health and safety is paramount for Lakesmere and appropriate training is mandatory. The company estimates that 98 per cent of its staff and contractors are CSCS certified; it also has a full complement of CPCS card-holding plant operators.

Lakesmere holds an annual health and safety conference for staff, suppliers and clients to discuss changes in legislation, performance levels and training provision.

Lakesmere says its driving principle is a pursuit of continuous improvement in all areas of its business.

What the judges said: 'Health and safety performance is excellent.

There is also a focus on customer satisfaction.'

HIGHLY COMMENDED: ALUMET SYSTEMS Founded only 12 years ago, Alumet Systems has grown rapidly to become one of the UK's few specialist contractors capable of providing cladding systems encompassing the complete building envelope.

The company is an active innovator, developing award-winning facade products including its Avon Dry Wall Beam and, most recently, its Avon Solar Control system.

In recent years, Alumet has concentrated on building strategic alliances with its clients and today it has partnering agreements with Taylor Woodrow, Kier Group, Miller Construction and HBG Construction. About 95 per cent of the company's work is repeat business.

Similarly, Alumet has developed its relationships with key suppliers in order to improve quality of service and cut costs and build times.

What the judges said:'They scored highly in innovat ion and their recycling record is excellent.'

FINALIST: OAG Optima Architectural Glass, the specialist glass arm of HL Smith, has earned a reputation for its ability to tackle innovative and complicated architectural glazing projects.

Its in-house design team has enabled some of the most adventurous glass structures in the UK make the transformation from concept design to practical reality. In the past couple of years, OAG has invested heavily in recruiting new skills to tackle a wider range of projects and adapt to major changes in the sector. This amounts to a significant change in direction, effected without loss of staff or turnover.