Building excellence celebrated at FMB Scotland Awards
High-quality building work, fantastic craftsmanship, exceptional customer service and building excellence were recognised last night the Federation of Master Builders’ Scotland Awards.
Organised by the FMB since 1999, the awards programme is unique in that any project entered by the builder must be backed up by the customer – giving clients the opportunity to support those building companies that have delivered exceptional results.
With categories including the best New Home, best Heritage project and the best Apprentice, the event recognises the hard work and contribution that small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms make to the UK construction industry.
The awards were presented at the FMB Scotland Master Builder Awards Reception at The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh. The winning firms will now go through to compete in the national finals for the chance to win the UK category title. The national ceremony will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane, London on September 20.
Gordon Nelson, FMB Scotland director, said: “The Master Builder Awards give the FMB the opportunity to celebrate a job well done and for clients to say thank you to their builders. For the construction industry, it is an opportunity to celebrate all that is good about small local building firms and their contribution to the UK economy.
“Time and time again, we have been impressed with just how far these builders will go to ensure their client is happy. It is this dedication that we want to celebrate. The award recipients should feel justly proud of their achievements in winning and we wish the firms every success in the national competition.”
The winner of the overall national Master Builder Awards title, selected from all national category winners, will drive away with a new Isuzu D-Max Utah Pick Up truck worth more than £30,000. The company’s client will also receive a cheque for £1,000 for their efforts.
Edinburgh-based building firm Thistle Trade Group Ltd scooped the prize for best Small Renovation for the company’s stunning extension work for an architect client.
The owner of the property wanted an extension to his property, but one that involved more than just bricks and mortar. He wanted a multi-functional, stress-free space in which to work and relax. The resulting design effectively brings the outside inside, creating a light-filled glass and steel construction surrounded on three sides by the garden. Technically challenging, the build called for bespoke trip-glazed windows to be brought in from Europe and required all of the expertise of the build team to integrate into the build.
This was far from a standard project, and the team needed to reassure the client at every stage that they were on top of the engineering challenges. The result is a delightful space, filling all the clients’ requirements and providing a wonderful addition to the home.
Shetland-based building firm DITT Construction Ltd won the best Local Authority / Public Sector project award for its work on the Shetland Support Centre.
The project was a new build development to provide a modern, practical building to provide specialist support for adults with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders and complex needs. The project was completed to budget and the variety of material and construction methods required evidences the high quality construction management and technical skills of the DITT Construction Ltd workforce. The exposed site location, its unique features and the clear pride of the contractor in this project were noted by the judges.
Martin & Son Builders from Kilwinning was awarded the best Medium Renovation prize for the work the company carried out on the enhancing of a family home.
The project called for the redesign of the kitchen using the existing units, which entailed careful dismantling of the kitchen, stone worktops and appliances, setting them aside to be reused and repurposed. The team also extended the dining room and living room while giving the garden a makeover reusing sandstone flag. The judges noted the excellent working relationship with the client, the team’s patience and their ability to problem solve and recycle units and materials.
Kingussie-based building firm Spey Building and Joinery collected the prize for best New Home after the team’s work on Lochside House, a property that was named House of the Year 2018 by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
This remote property incorporates a workplace and home that blend in with the stunning waterside location. Designed to be off-grid and built of local materials, this dwelling supports the artistic and creative character of the owner and complements rather than detracting from the raw beauty of a remote and isolated piece of Scottish landscape.
The build was both technically and logistically challenging. Spey Building and Joinery used sustainable and local materials with low impact construction techniques to ensure the integrity of the site was held together with minimum disturbance to the nearby peaty and rocky landscape or the 1.6 mile-long rough access track down which all construction materials were painstakingly brought. The location of the site is to become one of the building team’s best kept secrets not only because it is the client’s wish but because there are few spots this beautiful and this peaceful left to enjoy; and they too wish it to remain so.
Montrose-based building firm MCK Construction scooped two prestigious prizes on the night.
MCK picked up the award for Large Renovation for the team’s work on restoring and renovating the Usan coastguard tower into a stylish family home. Around 60 years ago, the tower was abandoned and by the end of the 20th century, it was in a poor state of repair – the former lookout balcony had largely rotted away. The current owner, a local fisherman who had grown up in the village and was dismayed by the state of what had been a focal point of the community, bought the building to convert into a family home.
So far from being a standard building project, this involved a complete renovation of the tower, combined with a sympathetic extension to provide a modern home with huge windows to make the most of the stunning location. The judges praised the quality of both the building work and the finishes, remarking that the overall design provides ‘wow factor’ in spades.
The team also collected the prize for best Bathroom for a project that involved the creation of an elegant contemporary shower room to integrate comfortably into the design of a Victorian farmhouse situated on the Morphie estate. The home is on a wonderful site, giving the occupants stunning views out over the North Sea, which MCK Construction made the most of by installing a picture window. Judges praised the team for their customer service, technical, construction, planning and project management skills.
Both the best Kitchen and best Heritage awards were given to Haldane Construction Services Ltd from Falkirk.
Haldane collected the first award for the transformation of a rather tired and dated kitchen in a 1980s bungalow. It is the type of project that epitomises the work carried out by the best small building companies. Liaising closely with the client at all stages, the main works were completed within a week, including some complex negotiation to move the main electricity metre. The judges were impressed by the builder’s care and dedication to delivering this project for the client and also noted excellent project management skills and supplier and client liaison.
The company also won the Heritage category for a technically challenging circular extension to an 18th century original tower building, which was a former grain mill. Creative problem-solving was required for every aspect of this project from access issues through to the engineering expertise required to make the seemingly unbuildable project possible within an acceptable budget.
Kevin Wilson Joiners and Building Contractors picked up the best Commercial Project prize for the firm’s work on Stirling Café.
The café, sitting on the site of a 1920s tennis pavilion, pays homage to the original space by keeping and restoring some of the original features. The team exceeded the client’s expectations restoring windows, doors, shutters and even adapting original lockers into seats. The judges were very impressed by the completed project: bringing in a touch of nostalgia with a derelict building being brought back into use as a commercial operation.
The Heavenly Builder category is one in which the winner really epitomises what the awards are all about as it looks for evidence of professionalism, courtesy and exceptional customer service.
David MacGillivray collected the prize for work carried out on a new build home for his client, Lieselotte Franke.
Mrs Franke said: “David has exceptional ‘people skills’. His calm, soothing nature soon smoothed any of our anxieties. He was always available and very generous with his time – not once did we feel he was in a hurry to get somewhere else. He clearly loves his work and takes pride in it. We feel we have built a house with a friend rather than just a contractor who we employed.”
Judges were impressed by his client liaison skills, technical ability and the passion David shows for his work.
Gordon Nelson said: “The Heavenly Builder award gives clients the opportunity to thank their builder for going above and beyond the call of duty to complete the job and turn a potentially stressful experience into an enjoyable one.”
David’s company, MacGillivray Construction Ltd. collected the award for best Low Carbon Project for Lochaber Cottages, a highly energy efficient build.
This highly insulted, triple-glazed and very airtight building is technically advanced while the timber-clad structure sits comfortably in its environment. Judges were impressed by the team who surpassed the clients’ high expectations, recognising that they pushed the boundaries with what can be achieved in energy efficient building.
Glasgow builder Jim Gilmour received an Outstanding Contribution award for a career-long dedication to the industry, and to the FMB.
Jim Gilmour is a strong advocate for SME construction firms, apprentices, the FMB and the construction industry as a whole. He has worked tirelessly to support all of these during his 40+ years in business. He is enthusiastic and passionate about this industry and has given up many hours of his own time to travel far and wide to ensure that the voice of the construction industry is heard loud and clear. Jim is certainly dedicated and not afraid to stand up for what he believes in. This dedication and strong belief led to him becoming the first ever Scottish person to become the National President of the FMB, the UK’s largest construction trade association.
Gordon Nelson added: “Jim is an excellent advocate for the construction industry and without a shadow of a doubt has made an outstanding contribution to construction. Despite being held in such high esteem, he is extremely humble and approachable, with a great deal of integrity.”
Aberdeen apprentice Jemma Sykes was named Scotland’s best Apprentice as part of the FMB’s nationwide search to find the building industry’s best apprentices.
Jemma is in her third year of a carpentry and joinery apprenticeship and is currently attending the North East of Scotland College Altens Aberdeen. Her award was won in recognition of both her practical skills and also her commitment to her own career and the wider industry. As well as excelling in a demanding training programme, Jemma has also become involved in outreach programmes to local schools, attending career days and promoting the apprenticeship programme.
Attracting glowing references from both her college tutors and work colleagues, Jemma is regarded as future management potential and is being fully supported by Barratt North Scotland.
This win is not her first: Jemma also won the Union of Construction Allied Trades & Technicians Shield for the introduction to construction and finished in the top ten of the Screwfix Apprentice finals.
The best in Scotland will now go up against other winning apprentices from around the UK with a chance to claim the coveted national Apprentice 2019 crown, as well as a cash prize of £500 from the FMB.
Gordon Nelson said: “This is a great opportunity for the FMB to reward the talented apprentices on which the UK construction industry will rely in the years to come. This award is a testament to Jemma’s hard work and enthusiasm for carpentry and joinery. She is a shining example of how commitment, dedication and determination can achieve results and we wish her luck in the national final.”