The Federation of Master Builders

The 75th Anniversary of the Federation of Master Builders (1941-2016)

As the Blitz intensified across Britain in 1940, fifteen builders met in Islington, not far from the site of the greatest damage in the east end of London. Small construction firms had little representation at the time, and urgently needed financial and legal advice on how to tackle emergency repairs to bomb-damaged property.

That meeting led to the formation of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in 1941, today the largest trade association in the UK construction industry.

On 12th July the FMB celebrated its 75th anniversary at a special reception in the House of Lords.

The event served as a celebration of the FMB’s proud history. We looked back at the origins of the FMB, set up in July 1941 following the devastation of the London Blitz and the urgent need for small builders to be given the opportunity to rebuild the city. We also looked ahead to the path which the FMB and its members will forge in the decades to come. The event was sponsored by B&CE.

Over 250 FMB members, industry friends, MPs and Lords attended. Guest speakers included:

  • Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
  • John McDonnell MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Brian Berry, Chief Executive, FMB
  • Patrick Heath-Lay, CEO, B&CE (event sponsor)

FMB Timeline


Extraordinary General Meeting - 1943

The council appointed when the Federation of Master Builders was established as a National body in 1943 (from left standing): G Fisher, H. A. Maxfield, P. Williams, L. B. Venning, National Secretary, N. Landau, A. C. Styles, E. W. Brownridge, R. N. Jolley. (Seated): H. F. Granby, A. S. Sperring, J. H. Heal, President, C.E. Carter and A. Solomon

  • The First General Meeting of the North London Master Builders Association was held. Mr A N Dove was elected as President. On the 17th July, the same year the Federation of Greater London Master Builders was registered.
  • In 1941, Leslie Venning was National Secretary.
  • An Extraordinary General Meeting was held on 4th May 1943 to widen the scope of activates to cover the whole country by the deletion of the words 'Greater London'. The Federation of Master Builders became a national organisation.
  • The FMB head office moved to 26 Great Ormond Street.



The Queen visiting the FMB stand at a building exhibition

FMB's 75th anniversary

First edition of Master Builder magazine

  • The FMB completed the establishment of the regions, making it a national organisation.
  • The FMB exhibited at the Building Exhibition throughout the 1950s and 1960s, where both the Queen and the Queen Mother visited the FMB stand.
  • The first edition of the Master Builders' Journal was published.
  • The FMB head office moved to 33 John Street.





  • The FMB introduced the first pension scheme for the building industry; the Construction Industry Pension Scheme.
  • In 1974, Bill Hilton took over as National Director.
  • The Building and Allied trades Joint Council (BATJIC) was formed in partnership with the Transport and General Workers Union in order to circulate changes in wages and conditions within the building industry on an annual basis.





First Master Builder of the Awards in the 1990s

E.G. Evans (FMB National President, 1992 - 1994) at the first Master Builder of the Year Awards (previously known as the Quality Awards Scheme)



  • A range of plain English contracts for domestic consumer and commercial work were introduced, including a specific contract for Scotland.
  • The FMB launched its first consumer awareness campaign, which included the production of the Essential Guide to Home Improvement.
  • In 2007 Richard Diment was appointed Director General.
  • The FMB joined the Government endorsed TrustMark scheme as one of its founding members.
  • FMB Cymru was formed. Previously South Wales was a region in its own right and North Wales was part of North West region.



Head office moves to David Croft House, Ely Place in 2013

Jim Gilmour (FMB National President, 2012 - 2014) and David Croft (FMB National President, 2004 - 2006) outside David Croft House

Brian Berry (FMB Chief Executive) and Richard Burr (FMB member and Great British Bake Off finalist)

Brian Berry (FMB Chief Executive) and Richard Burr (FMB member and Great British Bake Off finalist)

  • Inspections for all new members were introduced in 2011 with inspections for all existing members to follow, beginning in 2014.
  • Brian Berry was appointed FMB Chief Executive in 2012.
  • During 2013 there were Governance reforms which resulted in the creation of the FMB Board of Directors.
  • The FMB was awarded Trade Body of the Year at the Public Affairs News Awards in 2013.
  • FMB Insurances Services was created to give members even better access to discounted insurance products.
  • The FMB head office moved to David Croft House, 25 Ely Place in 2013.
  • The FMB was announced as Outstanding Strategic Partner at the CITB's 50th anniversary awards in 2014.
  • The FMB celebrates its 75th anniversary at a reception in the House of Lords on 12th July 2016.



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