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This category was notable for the high quality of workmanship shown by all three of the finalists

SPECIALIST AWARDS

STONE AND BRICKWORK SPECIALIST OF THE YEAR ? sponsored by H+H Celcon

WINNER: REUSSIR

WELSH firm Reussir took the brave step last year of reversing its expansion plans in order to safeguard its extremely high standard of service. The company, now in its sixth year of trading, is concentrating on consolidation in its home territory and has deferred its ambitious expansion plans.

In terms of quality of service, Reussir is undoubtedly one of the best and has the client endorsements to prove it. Its recent projects include the stone and brickwork supply and fix contract for main contractor Carillion on the buildings for client the National Assembly of Wales in Merthyr Tydfil.

Here, Reussir worked very closely with Carillion and the design team and was instrumental in sourcing the materials, including the Blue Pennant stone required for this building.

Reussir found a suitable quarry and arranged for the construction team to visit the site to see the stone being cut.

The natural stone had to be incorporated into a modern design and this included the installation of some very complicated damp-proofing details involving heat bonding around structural steelwork.

What the judges said: 'A great company with a good safety record and a consistently h igh standard of performance.'

HIGHLY COMMENDED: MARLBOROUGH BRICKWORK Managed growth, customer service and employee development underpin the success of this Leeds-based contractor. Site safety standards are above the industry average, and customer satisfaction is consistently high.

Marlborough has concentrated during the past year on developing long-term relationships with clients, increasing its propor tion of repeat business by 36 per cent to 71 per cent of all contracts.

Already running a successful apprenticeship scheme, Marlborough launched a new management training programme last year with the aim of taking new starter and current staff on an accelerated path through to management positions.

What the judges said: 'Excellent training strategy? 86 per cent CSCS-qualified workforce is most unusual in the brickwork sector.'

HIGHLY COMMENDED: MARS (SOUTH WEST) MARS is a leading specialist repair and refurbishment of highway structures. It enjoys great success from following its principle of 'preserving the past for the benefit of the future'.

The company has earned a reputation for extremely high-quality work and is a noted innovator as well as a purveyor of traditional skills.

One recent project involved the construction of a new road bridge to carry traffic over a river alongside the original 12th century masonry bridge which is now open only to pedestrians.

MARS used its own method of 'invisible' reinforcement to strengthen the bridge without altering the outer appearance of it. The concrete piers and abutments of the new bridge were faced with local ironstone, bedded in lime mortar to match the appearance of the ancient bridge alongside.

What the judges said: 'Very different to the other finalists, but a fascinating outfit. I admire their supply-chain set-up, which is very efficient.'