Master Builder celebrates a centenary in business

When I first joined the FMB in 2014, one of the first members I met with was Scone-based company Allan Robertson and Son. I remember Aileen from Allan Robertson and Son telling me that the company had been trading for 92 years. Time flies and last month the company celebrated 100 years in business. My congratulations to everyone at the team and it’s pleasing to note that the fourth generation of the Robertson family is at the helm of the business. Third-generation boss Allan (74), now retired, says he’s proud that his son Allan Jnr (52) and daughter Lynn (49) have followed in his footsteps, with a fifth generation also playing a role in the business. 

The Future of Jobs and Skills in the UK Construction Sector

The company will be looking to the future and on a similar note I and our Scotland President Alastair Raitt were interviewed as part of a CITB research project on The Future of Jobs and Skills in the UK Construction Sector in 2030 and beyond. A report is expected later this year, which I will share with members. As Scotland President Alastair was able to enjoy his first real event representing the FMB when he and I attended the Confederation of British Industries Scotland lunch in April. The consequences of the pandemic having led to a demise of in-person business networking events until very recently.

Late payments and retentions continue to impact FMB members

However virtual meetings and events will be here to stay and will have a role. A key virtual meeting I attended was with the UK’s newly appointed Small Business Commissioner Liz Barclay who sought a meeting with key representative bodies from Scotland’s construction sector in April. I spoke about the feedback I have received from FMB members on the impact of late payments and retentions on small construction firms. The unwelcome stresses placed on business owners and their mental health as a result of poor or non-existent payment practices being one.

Helping to shape housing policy and delivery in Scotland

At another online event, housing was the subject, and I was asked to present FMB’s insights on housing policy and delivery. In Scotland we have contractors and SME housing developers within our membership. I focused on the current material challenges afflicting members, skills shortages and how SME construction firms will be critical to retrofitting our housing stock. Brian Whittle MSP and the Cabinet Secretary for Housing Shona Robison MSP were in the same panel session as I was.

Future engagements

On Wednesday 18 May the next Scotland Board meeting took place. Look out for a summary of what was discussed which will be on the website soon. Finally, I am looking forward to meeting some members based in Fife on Friday 27 May when I will be in the Kingdom!


Gordon Nelson

Gordon Nelson

FMB Scotland Hub Director, Federation of Master Builders

Gordon has nearly twenty years’ experience of working in membership organisations in Scotland and joined the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in 2014. Prior to this, he worked at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and Unilever. As Director for FMB Scotland his responsibilities are public affairs, media relations, governance and representing member’s interests to Scottish policy makers and stakeholders. Gordon is the Secretary of the Cross-Party Group on Construction in the Scottish Parliament, a member of the Scottish Building Standards Futures Board and represents the FMB on Scotland’s Construction Industry Collective Voice. Gordon is actively involved with Site Safe Scotland, the principal committee for construction health and safety in Scotland.