This award for smaller housebuilders, supported by Wavin, went to a company that has scored a hat-trick of Building Awards for its brownfield innovations - with an eco-friendly Kent firm coming in a close second
It's three in a row for Linden Homes. After victories in 2004 and 2005, the brownfield redevelopment specialist has added another Building Award to its trophy cabinet for a series of projects that impressed for their variety and quality of build and design. Judges loved the firm's mixture of small schemes that showed great sensitivity to their surroundings and larger mixed-use developments that handled tricky conditions to create successful and vibrant communities. Pick of the bunch was Linden's project for client Network Rail
to transform St Albans station into the UK's first mixed-use scheme built on a major transport hub. The company's continued innovation in construction methods - including the increasing use of timber frames and prefabricated units to cut build times - also made Linden a deserving winner.
Kent-based Millwood Designer Homes earned its stripes this year thanks to its focus on building energy-efficient and environmentally friendly homes that, through the use of reclaimed materials, have a mature and established look. The firm's easy shift from building exclusively luxury houses to a mixture of large detached homes, townhouses and smaller apartments won the judge's plaudits. Its Henley Park waterside scheme in Eastbourne, the developer's largest ever, exemplified this new approach, with a fine balance of modern apartment living and more traditional family homes.
Another brownfield specialist, Morris's mastery of sustainable developments ensured its position in this year's top housebuilders. The north-west regional firm's response to the government's PPG3 and major schemes including Fulwood Park, near Preston, won over the panel by demonstrating real insight into what creates a strong community and comfortable homes. Morris also showed great attention to architectural detail and use of traditional materials, such as the stone edging and window surrounds on many of the houses at the Fulwood Park development.
Try Homes' customer references speak for themselves. One resident praised their home for its "character and style", adding: "I would not hesitate to buy a Try home again". Our judges agreed, placing the Galliford Try subsidiary in the finalists for the quality of architecture in its range of developments across the South-east. Space-age designs such as Try's Innova scheme in Croydon and more classical houses such as The Grange in Abbotswood all attested to the firm's flexibility - and its conversion schemes were among the best in the competition.
Ben Bailey Homes
An outstanding range of sympathetic conversions and new standard designs for homes have cemented Ben Bailey's reputation in the north-eastern housebuilding market and earned it a place among this year's finalists. A growing use of timber-framed homes, along with a revamp of a series of barns in Rotherham and the upcoming renovation of a nursing home in Mansfield demonstrate the firm's commitment to sustainability, and residents of the firm's developments have praised its long-term service levels.
Weston Homes came of age this year, and celebrated 18 years in the housebuilding business with a shift towards prefabricated houses under the enigmatically named "Project Genesis". A series of planning permissions won in the past 12 months across the Thames Gateway has set the developer up to cash in on the growth of the region, and completed developments in Docklands and further afield have proven Weston's ability to provide homes of the highest order.
Building Awards 2006
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Housebuilder of the year (fewer than 2000 homes)