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Landscaping is a fastgrowing area of contracting which, as these finalists demonstrate, is becoming more and more sophisticated

SPECIALIST AWARDS

LANDSCAPING & SPORTS CONTRACTING SPECIALIST OF THE YEAR ? sponsored by Lusit

WINNER: FROSTS LANDSCAPE

FROM its base in Milton Keynes, Frosts Landscape undertakes work for all the major main contractors throughout the UK. With a high proportion of directly employed labour, the company prides itself on the quality of its service.

The judges declared this to be one of the best entries this year and were especially impressed by the company's environmental performance.

Frosts was awarded ISO14001 environmental management standard certification last year and has introduced significant environmental mitigation measures. These include a partnership with a leading manufacturer of biodiesel reactors, which it is hoped will result in all the company's vehicles running on biodiesel by the end of 2006.

Frosts also has a fresh approach to training and safety, introducing well thought out initiatives such as individual permit-to-work 'passports' recording training in a wide range of disciplines.

Its proactive approach to these 'soft' issues is matched by a well-run commercial department which has delivered 23 per cent growth in turnover and 17 per cent improvement in net profit during the past 12 months.

What the judges said: '14001 certification is excellent, and rare for a landscaping contractor.' 'It's a well-run company ? and that shows on the bottom line.'

FINALIST: ASHKENT LANDSCAPING Ashkent believes the most important investment a company can make is in its people. With a highly trained, fully employed staff, the company is growing fast and undertaking increasingly demanding contracts.

A recent project demonstrating Ashkent's skills is the highways improvement contract carried out last year for contractor T E Beach for the London Borough of Greenwich. This entailed the complete remodelling and landscaping of the main Plumstead Road.

This £250,000 contract required Ashkent to plant more than 140 semi-mature trees and a great many more shrubs, working in close proximity to the main highway ? often on the central reserve. Traffic management and safety were handled with great skill, said the judges.

FINALIST: GAVIN JONES Set up in 1919 by a former Army colonel, Gavin Jones has grown steadily from a small horticultural business to one of today's leading contractors in the landscaping sector.

Now a thoroughly modern company, Jones sets great store by personnel development. It is IIP accredited and offers a full range of training oppor tunit ies for its employees, including NVQs, modern apprenticeships, student placement, management training and outward bound team-building courses.

Employing a full-time NEBOSH-qualified health, safety and training manager, Jones enjoys an excellent safety record and boasts a 100 per cent CSCS-qualified staff.