In this award, sponsored by British Gypsum, Suffolk-based Hopkins proved that getting involved with the local community and building on brownfield score points with the judges

This Suffolk-based housebuilder won its category for a whole host of reasons – not least an impressive accounts book showing a 58% jump in operating profit over the last financial year, and a 34% increase in turnover. Staff numbers have grown from five to 76 in four years, suggesting that Hopkins' strategy of sponsoring community events to raise its profile is working. The firm's approach to green issues also made it stand out: it builds at least 70% of its developments on brownfield sites – despite being based in a rural community. The firm's Dyers Yard and Unicorn Yard scheme in Norwich sums up its ethos: the development is on a reclaimed site in the heart of the town, and has created not only a sustainable community but also a riverside walk into the city centre.


The Essex-based division of Countryside – the group's self-styled "avant-garde arm" – is a firm on the way up. Its turnover grew 142% last year, and profit was up 71%. But it was Copthorn's case study that caught the judges' eye – an innovative mixed-use development on Mile End Road in the middle of east London. Squeezed between existing buildings on a former brewery depot site, the Chronos Buildings comprise apartments, townhouses, retail units and a restaurant, all of a high design and build quality.

Manor Kingdom

This Scottish housebuilder's figures speak for themselves: profit, turnover and output have all gone up a massive 700% over the past three years. However, the judges were more impressed with the firm's supply-chain management system, whereby preferred suppliers are maintained with regular monitoring. Manor Kingdom also manufactures 35% of its own components, including timber kits, doorsets and windows. And on top of all this, it claims has never had a reportable accident on any of its sites.

Well designed buildings that fit well into their setting, and an impressive set of financial results