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GE Awards shortlist: Contractor of the Year

The Contractor of the year is awarded to the company that best demonstrates dedication to delivering innovation, quality and value in geotechnics over the last 12 months.

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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 maintained a high level of trading with 2014 turnover matching that of 2013, and much improved on the turnover of 2012. Responding to customer demand for smaller projects, often on confined sites, Bachy has established a specialist geotechnics division as a separate business unit. Bachy has also continued its focus on larger, more complex piling projects. The company has been working at London Bridge Station where piling work commenced in May 2012 and will continue until 2016. This challenging project has involved years of negotiation and planning with Costain, Network Rail and London Underground.

Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering

Despite challenging market conditions, Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering (BBGE) achieved 340% growth in profit in 2014. This achievement is particularly significant considering staff numbers and the number of projects carried out remained largely the same as the previous year. BBGE carried out the largest mini piling project in Europe in 2013 and 2014 when it provided the foundations for 164 of the 660 towers built for the 220km Overhead Line Replacement project in the Scottish Highlands. Through design modifications the company delivered savings of 50% in programme (11 months); 30-40% in costs; and 40% in CO2.


In terms of turnover and size, Keller has only increased slightly in 2014. However, the company says a number of improvement initiatives are ongoing and solid progress has been made. Keller has undertaken works on a number of high profile projects, including the monitoring contract for Crossrail. Internally, the company has established the Step Forward programme where employees are encouraged to put forward any changes they deem necessary, regardless of their position in the hierarchy.

Keltbray Piling

Keltbray Piling outlines 2014 as an “exceptional year” for the company. The contractor delivered 107% growth in turnover and net profit increased by 350% .The company’s growth was further demonstrated through the award of its largest ever piling contract at Chelsea Barracks. The high profile project presented a number of challenges and it was necessary for Keltbray to engage with neighbourhood liaison and contribute to monthly presentations to Westminster Council regarding the progress on site. Throughout 2014 the company also continued investment in its people by recruiting a further three graduate engineers and numerous site operatives.

Simplex Westpile

During 2014, Simplex Westpile significantly increased turnover by rebuilding and refocusing its estimating team following the retirement of the previous estimating manager in 2012 and other staff turnover in 2013. Simplex has recently worked on Project Bond, Chelsea which involves the extension of an 18th century townhouse. The company was awarded the works based on an architectural layout for the retaining wall which required design development. Following various propping arrangements and in-depth analysis of the wall, Simplex completed the works two weeks early and under budget.

Van Elle

2014 was a record year for Van Elle in terms of profit, projects won and project diversity. The company has already met its year five turnover and profits in year two of its current five-year plan due to success in specialist markets. In response to the increased complexity, diversity and number of projects secured across all divisions, employee numbers have increased from 301 to 404 over the past 12 months. As well as a focus on larger onshore projects, the company is also building a reputation in the oil, gas and offshore drilling markets, including successful completion of a flagship project in the Falkland Islands for American oil company Noble Energy.

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