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Big firms defy downturn on shortlist for Contractor of the Year

The companies nominated for Contractor of the Year all bucked the trend during difficult economic conditions.

While the downturn continued, these firms found ways to survive and thrive, with many posting record numbers in different areas.

Work on the London 2012 Olympic Games was a common theme among many contractors, with a wide range of other prestigious projects being completed throughout the year.

The judges were looking for evidence of business success and development, along with the quality of work that had been completed. Particularly outstanding projects were also noted, along with evidence of sustainability, strong safety records and innovation.

Finalists

Clugston Construction
In the group’s 75th anniversary year, Clugston achieved its best financial results in a decade, increased both turnover and operating profit, won three health and safety awards and strengthened its forward order book. The firm managed to achieve a share of the emerging renewables and recycling sectors last year after a number of long-term investments.

Galliford Try
Last year was an exceptional one for Galliford Try, which recorded record profits of £63m in a challenging market. Numerous prestigious projects were completed, including the refurbishment of the Bristol Old Vic theatre, six sites at the London 2012 Olympics and the Halley VI Research Station in Antarctica.

Mace
Mace delivered The Shard in 2012, with the huge building incorporating a range of innovative construction techniques, including the UK’s largest concrete pour. Turnover increased massively in 2012 from £353m to £804m and the firm put its success down to refocusing the business into customer-facing sections, along with consistency of service and product delivery.

McLaren Construction Group
McLaren has developed a targeted business strategy to remain competitive in the current climate. It has positioned itself strongly in London’s commercial office sector, signing a contract with Derwent London to construct a new office building in September 2012. Regional growth is strong, too, with a 77 per cent increase in turnover in the Midlands and the North.

MWH
MWH is a design-and-build contractor working primarily in the UK water industry. The company has aimed to diversify into new markets that are not as cyclical in nature as water; this strategy was successful last year, with MWH winning preferred bidder status on three anaerobic digestion plants.

Sir Robert McAlpine
The major project for Sir Robert McAlpine in 2012 was one of the country’s most prominent structures: the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. It was delivered early and under budget, and was the first Olympic stadium to be delivered without a fatality. The company’s commitment to continuous improvement delivered business-wide benefits, with a strong focus on sustainability and safety.

Skanska UK
Profit targets were exceeded for the fourth year running by Skanska, which secured £1bn of new work in December alone for clients including National Grid, the Highways Agency and the London Legacy Development Corporation. London 2012 was a major project for the firm, with more than £500m of construction delivered.

Willmott Dixon
It was a year of firsts for Willmott Dixon, as it built the first zero-carbon school, the first health facility to achieve BREEAM Excellent and the first Code 6 housing scheme in London. It was also selected by Tesco for Woolwich Central, a large project that was finished on time and on budget. In addition, a record £3.5m was invested in staff training.

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