Gordon Nelson, Passivhaus Trust event, Scottish Parliament
FMB Scotland Hub Director Gordon Nelson at the Passivhaus Trust event, Scottish Parliament, 2024.

For our housebuilder members across Scotland, 2024 is set to be a watershed. In January I explained what has changed, what will change and what might change within the Scottish Building Regulations this year. A Scottish Passivhaus Equivalent for new build housing in Scotland is coming. I know some members who as building contractors rather than developers, have built one-off Passivhaus homes for clients. So I attended a briefing hosted by the Passivhaus Trust at the Scottish Parliament to find out more about this low energy building standard.

No surprise that the case for Passivhaus was put forward by a range of presenters. The virtues of this standard were extolled: it is calculated that the Passivhaus standard reduces heat demand in homes by 79% compared with current Scottish building regulations. It was acknowledged how critical it is to get building contractors onboard early, both to minimise risk for the contractor and to ensure that the delivery meets the design. The Passivhaus Trust wanted to explore if they could link up with the FMB to deliver briefing or training sessions for members. So watch this space.

Sneak preview of the FMB App

FMB Scotland Board, March 2024
FMB Scotland Board, March 2024

On 6 March, your Scotland Board met in Edinburgh. As well as hearing an update from me and the FMB’s CEO Brian Berry, we all saw a demo of FMB’s App. This is to be launched to members later this month (once some final snagging is completed) and the views from members around the room about it were positive. As was the general feedback on current workloads and the pipeline of works. The payment behaviours of both private and public sector clients also came up and not in positive terms.

One suggestion put forward by Alastair Raitt (FMB Scotland President) was to run informal monthly drop-ins for members, over breakfast. Here members could share their business problems in private with like-minded people and hopefully leave with solutions. One for Alastair and I to follow up.

Man of Steel

Stephen O Neill, SJ O'Neill Construction
Stephen O'Neill of FMB member company SJ O'Neill Construction.

Before the Scotland Board meeting finished, Stephen O’Neill invited me to a renovation and extension project he is working on in Wishaw. As with your other Scotland Board members, Stephen takes precious time away from his business to help the FMB in Scotland. Once on site I learned a lot about how he manages the over specification of steel by structural engineers. As a sole trader and like a lot of members, his projects have restricted access, so he is constantly problem-solving to ensure a safe and smooth build - par for the course for FMB members though.

Finally and for members in Glasgow, I was interviewed by BE-ST about the potential of a Retrofit Hub in the Glasgow Region. One of my key points being that if FMB members are to deliver domestic retrofit projects, there needs to be a viable marketplace for it.


Gordon Nelson

Gordon Nelson

FMB Scotland Hub Director, Federation of Master Builders

Director, Federation of Master Builders Scotland

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 for Unilever in business development, membership management and business-to-business marketing roles. Amongst his responsibilities in his role as the Director for FMB Scotland are public affairs, media relations, governance and representing member’s interests to Scottish policy makers and stakeholders within the Scottish construction industry. Gordon is the Secretary of the Cross-Party Group on Construction in the Scottish Parliament, and he is a member of the Scottish Building Standards Futures Board. Gordon represents the FMB on Scotland’s Construction Industry Collective Voice: which is comprised of the leading construction trade and professional bodies. In spring 2023 Gordon was appointed as an industry co-chair of the Construction Leaderships Forum’s (CLF) Transformation Board.

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