Lord Hanson, founder of building materials group Hanson, has died aged 82.

Hanson chairman Christopher Collins led the tributes to Hanson, describing him as “a great man”.

Collins said Hanson, who died of cancer, had built the Hanson industry conglomerate “virtually from a standing start to a £15bn international group”.

Collins said: “He set the highest standards. Those who worked for him learned an enormous amount from him. Everyone at Hanson will be deeply saddened by his loss.”

Hanson founded the group with close friend Sir Gordon White in 1964. He transformed it into one of the UK’s largest and most powerful companies during the 1970s and 1980s, before breaking it into four parts in 1996. The building material operation retained the founder’s name and employs a workforce of 30,000.