JCB and Wates are among the familiar construction industry names represented in the 243 UK businesses earning a 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise on the occasion of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday.

Excalibur Screwbolt PLUS
Above: Excalibur Screwbolt PLUS

JCB picked up three awards: JCB Power Systems won for both Innovation and International Trade, while JCB Compact Products also won for International Trade. The three accolades mean that JCB cements its position as the UK record holder of Queen’s Awards – winning a total of 30 since its first in 1969.

However, there are also some less well-known businesses recognised by the scheme.


Below we list construction-related winners in each category, with their citation reproduced in full





Excalibur Screwbolts Ltd receives a second Queen’s Award for Innovation for their product the Excalibur Screwbolt PLUS. Excalibur operates in the engineering and construction industries and has developed the Excalibur Screwbolt PLUS to be highly corrosion resistant anchor and have a design life of 120 years. To achieve this exceptional longevity the company has used their patented bolt surface hardening and high corrosion protection technologies. The Excalibur PLUS product is their second to win a Queen’s Award for Innovation with the original Excalibur Screwbolt being recognised in 2009. The Excalibur Screwbolt PLUS is currently being used in challenging applications on the UK’s highest profile engineering project, Crossrail.


A Queens Award for Innovation has been made to Ground Control Ltd for its Winter Maintenance ICT System, a live reporting services that allows the company to respond to adverse weather conditions in their gritting operations. The aim of this project was to create a system to facilitate the delivery of weather dependent, triggered, gritting services across national and regional contracts and report service updates to customers in real time. The problem revolved around the need to maximise efficiency by allocating work to the most appropriate of hundreds of teams nationally, depending on proximity and equipment availability. Ground Control Ltd (established 1984) developed a Winter Maintenance System that gives the company’s clients full visibility into the works the company carries out, both in real-time and historically. The company has integrated the Met Office forecasting service into their live reporting application, which allows it to organise immediate response to weather variation when certain conditions (temperature, snow, etc.) are met.


JCB Power Systems wins an Innovation Award for the development of its Ecomax engine family. JCB Power Systems (a division of the construction vehicle manufacturer JCB) was established in 2004 and specialises in the development and manufacture of engines and power units. New regulations reduced the acceptable levels of engine emissions for many construction, industrial and agricultural machines. JCB Power Systems responded to this by developing a novel combustion system using new technology and sophisticated computer control which is today rewarded with the Queen’s Award for Innovation. The Ecomax family of engines is unique amongst its competitors in that the new and innovative combustion process prevents the creation of emissions in the first place, rather than eliminating them later using after treatment such as a catalyst or a filter. The engines meet the regulatory standards and are ten percent more fuel efficient than their predecessors. Since 2010 JCB has saved customers more than one billion litres of fuel through the introduction of more efficient machine operating.



Aqua Fabrications Ltd receives an innovation award for its innovation in rail drainage systems. The Derby glass reinforced plastic product replaces a previous product manufactured in concrete. The product is a modular ring construction to line a catch pit, which is part of the drainage system on the railway. The new material and design reduce the weight of the component from 74kg to 16kg. This weight reduction has a significant effect on reducing the risk of injuries due to manual handling when the product is being installed. There is also the benefit of reducing the time and staffing requirement for installation. Additional benefits have been the increased efficiencies in manufacture, improved performance and reduced damage in transit and handling. The company was established in 1988 and the innovation has contributed to its growth over the last two years.


Blok N Mesh UK Ltd wins an Innovation Award for their work with on-ground fencing systems. The company manufactures, delivers, installs, dismantles and relocates a complete range of steel hoarding, temporary fencing and pedestrian barriers. Their POLMILA security fencing system has been designed to accept a variety of ballasts, incorporates vehicle gates and pedestrian doors, and has installation and take down advantages. POLMILA can be used flexibly with the ability to be deployed on uneven and sloping ground, and being adaptable to customer needs with differing ballast weights. There is also consideration of the public with safer edges and an aesthetic finish that is less antagonistic than other security fences. 25 kilometres of POLMILA was used on 28 different sites for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The applicant started trading in 2002. This is its first Queen’s Award.


International Trade


AJ Power Ltd manufactures diesel generating sets and associated equipment in Craigavon, Co. Armagh. To compete with established players it offers its customers increased responsiveness supported by engineering innovation to create globally competitive products. It has also aligned itself with major brands enabling it to combine product skill-sets with distribution strength including Massey Ferguson and Scania. Its generating sets are operating in a wide variety of applications including villages in the Andes, airports in Scandinavia, construction sites in the Middle East, mines in Myanmar, and a hospital in New Zealand. It has sold products to 67 countries across five continents and over the last three years overseas sales have grown by 66%. The company wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for this outstanding performance. It has taken a tactical approach to growing in a market dominated by established players and has successfully built a rapidly growing business through innovation, service and focus.


Established in 1999, JCB Compact Products Ltd designs and manufactures a range of compact construction equipment at its dedicated factory in Cheadle, Staffordshire. The line-up includes micro, mini and midi excavators from 0.8 to 10 tonnes, which sell in large volumes around the world. The mini digger sector is one of the most competitive areas of the global construction equipment market, with more than 30 manufacturers vying for a slice of a business worth more than £4 billion worldwide. In the face of this fierce competition, sales of JCB Compact Products’ machines grew by 25% from 2013 to 2015, when more than half of total production was exported, resulting in the Queen’s Award for International Trade. The company’s machines are sold in more than 100 countries. Helping drive the growth in exports was the introduction of a new generation of compact excavators. This year JCB celebrated a major milestone the production of its 100,000th mini digger.


Independent Cement Consultants Ltd began in 2006 and provides a range of consulting services to the cement and related heavy industries. The company wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade with over 80% of turnover overseas, which has grown four-fold in the previous three-year period. Working for multilateral institutions, banks and financial institutions, plant operators, equipment suppliers and government organisations, the company offers a tailored and flexible service that provides technically feasible solutions and value for money within a desired timeframe. It captures global growth opportunities and is expanding into new sectors including iron and steel, quarrying and building materials. Consultancy services include techno-economic, specialist technical, environment, safety and project engineering. Creating strategic partnerships with environmental specialists has enabled the company to offer environmental and social impact assessments that complement its core competencies. ICC has diversified the spread of its clients and markets in addition to the UK and Europe and is growing opportunities in North and Latin America.


GGR Group wins the Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Achievement Award by using the successful business model of purchasing products from Japan, adapting them for the European market and selling them on through a network of 27 dealers across Europe and the Middle East. Established in 1995, GGR Group is Europe’s leading supplier of vacuum handling equipment, compact pick and carry cranes, Unic mini-spider cranes and restricted access lifting machinery for sale or hire. The company has seen steady growth in overseas sales, which has almost doubled in the three year period of the Award and accounts for 25% of total turnover. There has been steady growth in staff numbers from 95 to 115, bringing gross value added to the UK economy and net profits almost doubling in the period. GGR Group is not standing still and has international growth ambitions by capitalising on the existing dealer network by expanding into Russia, South America and Africa.


Polypipe Ltd has won the Queen’s Award for International Trade for outstanding growth in overseas sales over three years. Originally established in 1980, the company was acquired by IMI plc in 1999 before a management buyout in 2005 led to flotation to the London Stock Exchange in 2014 and they have now entered the FTSE250. Manufacturers of five product areas including plastic pipe, drainage, plumbing and water supply systems, the company is the largest British manufacturer in its field and is in the top 10 in Europe with over 20,000 products. Operating from 13 manufacturing sites, nine of which are in the UK, its main export markets are in the Middle East and European markets using British standards. Over the last three years it has expanded into Africa and the Indian subcontinent with exports increasing by over 30%.



Sustainable development


Wates Group is one of the UK’s largest family-owned construction and development companies and began trading in 1897. The company has had a formal approach to managing sustainable development as outlined in ‘Reshaping tomorrow’, a programme that prioritises the health & safety, environmental, diversity & inclusion and community issues within the company’s influence. The company aims to strengthen relationships with customers, partners and the communities it works in. It demonstrates exemplary and innovative performance in a number of areas, particularly for supporting education in deprived areas, engagement with social enterprises through our supply chain and its approach to equalities and support for helping young people and long-term unemployed people into work. There is a continued commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 10% annually, and 98% of waste is currently diverted from landfill. Its work with the Supply Chain Sustainability Academy also demonstrates exemplary performance in procurement, improving the sustainability performance of suppliers. This award follows another award in the Sustainable Development category in 2011.


The British Land Company PLC is one of Europe’s leading real estate companies with a UK property portfolio, owned or managed of £19.7 billion. It provides retail and mixed use office and residential developments. A stated aim is to ‘create Places People Prefer, places where people want to work, shop and live’. The approach of continuous improvement, and in particular its focus on green building, transparent reporting, community and supply chain engagement demonstrate that it is a sustainability leader. Environmental activities include energy and waste reduction, use of recycled and sustainable materials and renewable energy generation. The company looks to leverage its influence and impact through its supply chain in order to deliver efficient designs, enhance biodiversity, address local community needs, develop skills and opportunities, and improve site management. It demonstrates strong internal and external sustainable development leadership, including a high level sustainability committee and senior staff have remuneration incentives linked to sustainability performance. This is the first time the company has received this award.


Further Images

This article was published on 21 Apr 2016 (last updated on 21 Apr 2016).

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