Real estate and construction

Shop-fitter Anthony Sherlock started out as a ?man with a van?, doing odd jobs for a handful of customers in the Midlands. Now he runs Probuild Birmingham (9th), a ?5m-turnover national building firm with 70 employees and a client list including Tesco and Sainsbury?s.

Building solid reputations in the construction industry are Letchworth-based family business Wheatley (19th) and London shop-fitters Delcon Construction (38th), which boasts clients such as Versace and Cartier.

Their Scottish counter-parts are looking good, too: Applecross Properties (32nd) has a turnover of ?47m, while luxury home builder Scotia Homes (42nd) is hitting sales of ?72m.

Bex Contracts (27th) is a seasoned player in this sector, set up by Robert Bickley back in the sixties. Today it?s one of the most successful construction and refurbishment contractors within the railway industry, with clients including Network Rail and Metronet. And it looks like it will be remaining in family hands: the company is now managed by Bickley?s daughter, Michelle King. ?I started working here when I was 16 in the accounts department so I?ve really seen the company grow ? and I?ve been able to grow with it,? she says.

Modus Properties (26th) has property development schemes across the UK, with tenants including Debenhams and M&S. The company ? with profits of ?7.2m ? was born in 1991 when founder Brendan Flood remortgaged his house to the tune of ?20,000.

Other entrepreneurs not afraid of remortgaging their homes are Gerard Abbott-Drake and John O?Leary, founders of building materials distributor Go Interiors (100th). A good move, considering turnover last year was ?16m.

Movewithus Conveyancing (29th) is now the UK?s largest independent property conveyancing company. ?The key to our success is that we haven?t just had one business model,? says CEO Sean King.

Riding the housing market wave is Hometrack Data Systems (68th), which provides risk analysis to the property market. Sales reached ?5.8m last year.

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