1st - Bellway Homes
This Tyneside company's consistent success has finally won it Building's major housebuilder award. But in spite of its record turnover in 2002 of £773m and an enviable profit margin of 17.2%, it was Bellway Homes' commitment to sustainable building and employee training that caught the judges' attention. The group ranks among the Construction Industry Training Board's top 10 builders for investment in training, putting back a laudable 2.5% of profit into employee development. What's more, Bellway builds 75% of its developments of brownfield land, and last year undertook 20 sustainability audits. Its flagship project, Victoria Docks in Hull, is a great example of such ecologically sensitive construction, having transformed a vast, derelict, riverfront site into a desirable estate of some 1300 homes.
'It stood out for its big investment in training – way ahead of the rest – and its all-round efforts to embrace the Rethinking Construction agenda'
2nd - Miller Homes
Miller Homes' success continues to amaze. The housebuilder saw its profit jump 116% in 2002, following the previous year's leap of 106%. This Edinburgh-based company says this is due to its recent strategy and image overhaul, and the firm estimates its average selling price for last year at £129,000. The judges felt that Miller's customer service policy was exceptional, and particularly praised the company's internet-based feedback and survey system.
'We liked the results of the independent customer survey we conducted, which scored them ahead of the others'
3rd - Redrow
Redrow's commitment to lean construction, training, sustainability and innovation made this Scottish firm a worthy finalist – not to mention an impressive profit margin of 17.6% and a jump in turnover by 36% on last year, to £573m. The judges applauded the company's "just in time" system for logistical productivity and its use of e-business, as well as its Schools Partnership Programme and its development of a recyclable steel-frame structural system.
'It was some of their innovative ideas that caught our eye, like the introduction of steel-framed homes, and its educational work with local schools'
4th - Barratt Developments
Perennial award-winner Barratt has just seen its most successful year to date. Pre-tax profits in 2002 were at a record high of £220m – up almost 100% on three years ago – and UK housing turnover was up to £1.66bn. Last year's winner in this category, the Newcastle-based group was praised by the judges for forward thinking in its urban renewal policy and for its completion of £70m of social housing last year, providing more than 850 low-cost homes.
5th - David Wilson Homes
A consistently sound financial performance brought Midlands firm David Wilson Homes to the attention of the panel. The group also continues to demonstrate commitment to environmental innovation, as it is funding two research projects with Nottingham University – the Millennium Eco House, which experiments with energy-saving systems, and a study on sustainable urban drainage systems – and has landed an array of ecological awards for its developments.
Building Awards 2003
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Major Housebuilder of the Year