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Construction News Awards finalists: Specialist Contractor

Finalists in Specialist Contractor of the Year have demonstrated significant innovation as well as exceptional growth and ambitious expansion.

A1 Flue Systems

A1 Flue Systems has installed bespoke flue systems in some of the UK’s most high-profile projects, including the Leadenhall Building in London, as well as the London Olympic Park and the Shard.

Profits from the Olympics and Shard jobs were reinvested to expand A1’s workshop, while a new subsidiary was launched specialising in cleaning and maintaining commercial chimneys and flues. The firm also hired its first two graduate engineers.

B & K Structures

B&K works in optimised hybrid structures and aims to share its knowledge wherever possible. It has delivered CPD sessions to 200 people in 23 architects’ and engineers’ offices since January 2013.

All of its projects delivered or ordered in 2013 used timber as the core structural component, including Center Parcs Woburn Forest. The firm delivered a total of 14 hybrid and 10 CLT structural solutions, helping boost turnover by 26 per cent.


2013 was a year of growth for Masterton that saw it expand into international demolition. It pioneered new techniques for the decommissioning of liquefied natural gas tanks - a European first - and completed a number of challenging projects.

Turnover increased by 40 per cent and repeat business is at 70 per cent. The firm also invested £400,000 in health and safety training, resulting in 269,000 safe working hours last year.

Metek UK

In 2013 Metek successfully delivered a light steel frame project using BIM at Oval Quarter, a PFI contract for Higgins Construction that encompassed almost 1,000 properties.

The firm has fully embraced BIM on its projects, improving the transport and logistics at Oval Quarter, and is able to model and interface with hot-rolled steel elements, prefabricated balconies and concrete stairways, among other elements.

O’Brien Contractors

O’Brien Contractors posted the highest profits in its history in 2013 and also boosted turnover to £14m.

It increased its client base while securing 84 per cent repeat business, with a focus on the public sector - which formed 40 per cent of the firm’s workload (up from 12 per cent).

Substantial funds have been allocated to training each year, with increases in the past two years, while staff satisfaction is very high.


Oktra’s positive approach has seen turnover increase by 733 per cent to £32m following a management buy-out six years ago.

The firm won 65 projects in 2013, with 70 per cent repeat business.

Staff retention sits at 98.2 per cent and Oktra’s CSR policy has seen it involved in a number of local community initiatives and charities. Around £1,000 is invested per employee each year and the company had zero RIDDOR accidents in 2013.

The Stonemasonry Company

This stonemasonry specialist has doubled its turnover every year since 2009, creating everything from chimneys and walls to staircases and baths.

The directors have grown the business by reinvesting profits, investing 8 to 10 per cent of the company’s turnover each year.

Turnover is expected to exceed £1m for the first time in 2014, with a move to Clipsham Quarry planned for Q3 that will position the business for the future.


This multi-functional specialist focuses on waterproofing, repair and strengthening to concrete, steel and brick structures, as well as insulation.

In 2013, VolkerLaser grew turnover by 27 per cent, boosted employee numbers by 30 per cent and diversified into external wall insulation - a new market for the company.

The firm took on its first project as principal contract last year, too, and is now taking on jobs valued at over £10m.

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