Specialist Contractor of the Year (turnover over $25m): winner

Specialist Contractor of the Year (turnover over $25m): winner

Winner: HE Simm

Family owned mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) specialist HE Simm says it takes pride in building trusted relationships with customers. Its an approach that impressed our judges, with the company able to provide some highly persuasive customer testimonials to back up its claimed 90 per cent customer retention rate.

Recent projects for HE Simm include a $34.2m contract – the firm’s largest ever – for the Canada Gardens scheme in Wembley, comprising 743 build-to-rent apartments across seven buildings. It has also delivered MEP services for a 1,400-bed project at the University of Hull, its largest outside of London, with a value of £14.2m.

The company has also employed modern offsite manufacturing methods in its contribution to the Media City Tower 2 project in Manchester. Under this £4.2m contract, it put in 46,800 hours of work installing 106km of cable and 3,000 light fittings in the second of four mixed-use towers.

“A clear winner with a strong company ethos, built around people and their personal development”

Judges’ comment

Annual revenue reached almost £100m in 2019, up by a third year on year, with operating profit hitting £2.5m. HE Simm says it spends £750 per employee per year on training and is a member of The 5% Club – a scheme for firms aiming to have at least one in 20 employees in ‘earn and learn’ roles, such as apprenticeships and sponsored study. The firm sits well above the target level, with 28 apprentices among its 286 employees, 16 of whom are aiming for degree and master’s-level qualifications.

This commitment to training no doubt contributes to an annual employee attrition rate of just 7 per cent, with almost a quarter of the firm’s employees having racked up a decade or more with the company. Our panel of judges saw this level of workforce retention as a clear mark of management quality.

Our experts backed HE Simm unanimously and said: “It’s a clear winner in the category with a strong company ethos, built around people and their personal development.” The judges also praised HE Simm’s “well-thought-through strategic direction” along with its “genuine passion and commitment to the sustainable development of the business”.

Highly Commended: Land & Water Services

As its name suggests, Land & Water Services (L&W) focuses on projects relating to the water’s edge. In 2019, its 25th year, the company delivered Campbell Wharf Marina, a £6m project to create a 111-berth boating facility near Milton Keynes. It also won contracts from the Canal and River Trust to keep more than 2,000 miles of canal networks navigable, plus three framework contracts with the Environment Agency to deliver coastal and flood defences. L&W employs 107 people, with annual turnover of between £26m and £28m, and lists its use of biodegradable hydraulic oils, mental health first-aider training and a 50:50 gender split on its management team among its notable achievements.

Our panel of judges said L&W was on course to become a winner of this category in the near future, applauding its sustainability innovations and praising its “unique early involvement with clients, and great people-development initiatives”.