This supreme award, sponsored by Trus Joist, was hotly debated by the judging panel, but Countryside Properties emerged as the winning name

Winner: Countryside Properties

The 1850-unit a year housebuilder impressed the judges for its achievements and its principles. The company is the winner of the training/people development category and earned third place in the health and safety and sustainability categories. Its strong performance in these categories shows just how seriously the company takes its responsibilities to people, whether they are subcontractors, staff or customers. Its commitment produces diverse schemes that promote housebuilding innovation and offers buyers a very different product, such as London’s eco-conscious Greenwich Millennium Village and the boldly designed Accordia in Cambridge.

Joint second: St George

St George wins recognition for its efforts to help the capital thrive, by pushing the agenda for sustainable development. Whether it’s transport or affordable housing provision for key workers, St George tackles the issue head-on, coming up with creative solutions. The company has ridden to the rescue of derelict London sites that have been neglected for years because others could not make them work, and created landmarks for the capital into the bargain.

Joint second: Miller Homes

For most of the housebuilding industry, understanding the customer is something of a black art, but Miller has brought science and technology to the task with its research into the homebuying experience, its website and its application of IT. The expertise being assembled gives the buyers of the 2290 homes it builds each year a better service, and an improved end product, and could influence the industry’s approach to marketing.

Fourth: Southdale Homes

While most of the housebuilding interest is focused on the South-east, northern regions face problems of low demand. Southdale Homes’ efforts across a range of markets in the North, in particular its category-winning enterprise at Deighton and Brackenhall, earned it special mention.