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GE Awards shortlist: Contractor of the Year

Read profiles of the companies shortlisted in the Contractor of the Year category for the 2016 GE Awards

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The Contractor of the year category provides an opportunity for geotechnical contractors or general contractors to present their dedication to delivering innovation, quality and value in geotechnics over the last 12 months. Candidates were asked to demonstrate successful project delivery; partnering capabilities; solid relationships with clients, project partners, stakeholders and the wider community; and clear delivery of growth.

Bachy Soletanche

Bachy Soletanche said that it maintained its position as the UK’s largest specialist geotechnical contractor last year with a turnover of £87M against a backdrop of the sector still suffering from challenging trading conditions and uncertainty of project start dates. The company worked on a number of high profiles schemes during the year including Mersey Gateway, the Shieldhall Tunnel and London Bridge Station and has secured work on Thames Tideway.

The company placed a focus on improving productivity in 2015 by monitoring non-productive time, downtime, and delay time. By measuring these figures Bachy says it has managed to improve processes to ensure greater efficiencies on its projects.

Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering

BBGE reports that 2015 was a year of substantial change and development that has seen it grow in size, profitability and ambition with a 15% rise in sales and 74% increase in profits.

The company has also said that staff numbers rose last year from 340 to 380 with a record low of 2% churn. BBGE has also said that it is investing in future talent, having welcomed five graduates and two apprentices in the past 12 months, plus a record 16 engineers and surveyors on graduate training schemes.

Orders last year were up 62% and it has a strong orderbook going into 2016, which has been supported by investment in new equipment reaching an all-time high.

Bam Ritchies

Bam Ricthies reported a record turnover of £62M in 2015, marking the company’s 16th success year of revenue growth since 1999 when sales were £9M. The company has reported that profits have also increased over the same period.

Employee numbers have risen from 360 in 2013 to 435 last year, which the company has said is less than the proportion of turnover increase, indicating continued business efficiency improvements. In addition, Ritchies has said that the turnover per person also reflects the 10% growth in the average size of its contracts during the same period.

The company undertakes a wide range of projects and prides itself on providing client satisfaction to win repeat work while upholding high health and safety standards.

Cementation Skanska

Cementation Skanska has said that revenue in 2015 increased by over 60% as a result of focusing on its pre-construction activities and engaging with customers provided us with better feedback on our performance right across the business from tendering, project execution and handover. The company also invested heavily in its staff with the number of training events last year rising to 1,810 from 1,096 in 2014.

Cementation has said that it is focused on delivering sustainability and innovation for its customer and believes that this approach differentiates it from others in the market. It has also embedded BIM within its business and believes it is the first piling contractor to achieve BIM level 2 compliance.

FK Lowry Piling

FK Lowry Piling has reported significant growth across its business with a 66% increase in turnover in the last 12 months. During this period, the company’s staff numbers have grown from 30 to 50 and it has pushed into new regions including Scotland, the north east, north west, London and the south east as well as working for a number of big name new clients.

To support this growth, FK Lowry has invested over £3M in new equipment to meet the growing demand for its services and to deliver a broader range of techniques.

Keltbray Piling

Keltbray has described 2015 as another exceptional year with 70% growth in turnover and gross profit, which it credits to its reputation for safe and successful delivery of projects. The company has said that it believes its performance is exceptional given that it was only established in 2008 and since January 2014 it has grown by 250%. Keltbray adds that it has delivered these financial results through collaborative working and technical excellence while delivering its largest ever piling contract of £10M at Chelsea Barracks, on time and on budget.

Despite the volume of work Keltbray has said that it continued its investment in people, delivering 2,600 hours of training, which is an average of six weeks per employee.

Van Elle

Van Elle is expecting to match its rise in turnover of £46.6M in 2014 to £73.6M in 2015 with similar or greater success when it announces its latest results this year. The company has said that to cope with the growth, the increased complexity, diversity and number of projects being secured across all divisions, employee numbers have increased from 404 to 476 in the past year.

The company has said all six of its divisions grew in 2015 but its rail operation surpassed expectations and is expected to continue growing following its award of a Network Rail principal contractor’s licence.

Ward and Burke Construction

Ward and Burke reports that its revenue rose to €145M (£112M) last year compared to €102M (£80M) in the previous year as a result of expansion in the UK, Ireland and Canada. The business has undertaken design and construction on a wide variety of schemes in the last year including construction of in situ caissons, microtunnelling and reinforced concrete structures.

The company has continued with its workforce day initiative where all employees come together to discuss the company performance which it says creates inclusive thinking and pride in the its work. The business has also sponsored research at the University of Oxford, National University of Ireland in Galway, as well as at Canadian and US universities to ensure techniques are continuously developed.

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