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Medium firm: Volker Stevin

Volker Stevin’s 2007 was a good one – civils turnover went from £49M to £68M, profits from £800,000 to £1.3M and work on the Prescott Channel in East London progressed well.

"2007 proved to be an excellent year for the business, with many achievements,” says managing director Paul Roebuck.

“But perhaps our greatest [achievement] is our continued growth across a wide range of market sectors. Our flexible workforce and in-house expertise have ensured that we have a wide-ranging portfolio in the public and private sector and with a range of contractual arrangements.”

In contrast, Roebuck says: “Our biggest challenge has been the recruitment of high calibre staff that we felt fit with our position in the market and the culture of the company.

“I am pleased to say though that we have been extremely successful in overcoming this challenge, which can only be testament to the working conditions and culture within the company.

“We have a clear strategy for the continued growth of Volker Stevin. This will be achieved by staying at the front end of developments within the industry, which have recently included modern contractual relationships and sustainability. We will manage the spread of work in market sectors therefore minimising risk. And we will also improve our market penetration through continuing to develop close relationships with clients and exceeding their expectations in service delivery.”

Summing this up is the Prescott Channel project in east London. This £20M contract, commissioned by British Waterways, involves the construction of a large lock, five weirs and a fish-pass, which will ensure the Bow Back Rivers are navigable again. This will enable the delivery of construction materials to major construction sites in the east end of London and help to stimulate the regeneration of the area.

“This project highlights our technical expertise in a challenging working environment and shows we have the ability to work to tight deadlines. As a company as a whole it shows we are capable of delivering nationally and that prestige projects like this can be trusted in our hands,” says Roebuck.

“Volker Stevin is a continually growing company within an uncertain market and we believe the company epitomises good contracting practice. We have put ourselves through a process of continual improvement as we have grown. We have been able to not only improve profit and turnover but also improve resilience to market changes, responsiveness to the market place and improve our management systems, all whilst maintaining our culture, values and reputation.”

Civils turnover: £67.7M
Civils profit: £1.3M
Civils work in hand: £50M
Overall turnover: £3.9m
Overall profit: £156M
Engineers employed: 145
Head office: Gateshead
Flagship project: The Prescott Channel project in east London

Highly Commended

Dyer & Butler

A 40% increase in civils turnover, a 60% increase in civils profits and, importantly, an improved safety performance all point towards a high commendation for Dyer & Butler.

“In the last twelve months, Dyer & Butler has achieved over 23% growth whilst maintaining overall safety performance across the company. Our accident frequency rate has reduced to 0.2 and no reportable accidents have occurred on rail and airport works,” says managing director Paul Hobbs.

“This safety performance has been achieved against a backdrop of increasing workload, enlarged geographical coverage and 20% growth in new staff and operatives. Our achievement is due to the diligence of our personnel and is recognised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Gold awards for the company and our airport and rail divisions.”

At site level, Hobbs says the biggest challenge was the delivery of the Viking River Splash Ride at Legoland in eight months despite comments that construction would take one and a half years.
To ensure completion for the summer season, personnel worked around the clock for the last two months. “This success exhibits our ability to pull together to deliver complicated contracts under difficult conditions,” says Hobbs.

As a company, the greatest issue has been extending its operating area to the South West and South Wales in 2007 to deliver 10% of turnover.

“Our rail and civil engineering teams now provide project and maintenance services with a 24 hour on call capability. Development of new teams and operating facilities required re-location of existing personnel, recruitment and development of new staff and operatives,” says Hobbs.

“The contracts show that Dyer & Butler can deliver a range of complex civil engineering projects 24 hours a day extremely safely across a large geographical area in hazardous environments. Our personnel continue to deliver time and time again and we feel this is due to the quality of our staff and processes and the policy of maintaining and developing a directly employed labour force.”

The firm values relationships with its clients highly and aims to develop these further. Encouragingly, it also works hard with its supply chain.

“Our suppliers are working with us to support the growth and we hold regular communication events to co-ordinate resources. Increased outputs in safety critical markets such as rail and airports will be delivered using direct employees so that we retain training and skills within the company creating safer sites and a higher quality product,” says Hobbs.


Civils turnover: £63M
Civils profit: £3.5M
Civils work in hand: £45M
Overall turnover: £63m
Overall profit: £3.5M
Engineers employed: 83
Head office: Southampton
Flagship project: Rail structures maintenance contracts in Southern and Western


The engine room of the construction industry, medium firms are rarely in the news, other than when being snapped up by a bigger player looking for “bolt-on” special expertise or resources.

This year’s shortlist of Barhale Construction, Buckingham Group Contracting and RJ McLeod (Contractors) all put in good performances with increased turnover and increased profits. But our high commendation goes to Dyer & Butler and the overall title to Volker Stevin for demonstrating real innovation and efficiency.

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