Industry award ceremonies are always cause for celebration but the next Master Builder Awards in 2021 will be especially poignant given the pressure and challenges the industry has faced during the coronavirus pandemic. The  awards celebrate the hard work, high-quality craftsmanship and building excellence of Master Builders across the UK.

They may be small to medium companies but they make a big contribution to the construction industry. Winning an  award feels good, of course, but there are other practical benefits too. Raki Rakovan, whose RMR Homes Limited – a third-generation family business – won the national Kitchen Project Award in 2019, says: “Our customers value the reassurance that an external award brings, giving another reason to choose RMR Homes.”

Having already won several industry awards and regularly receiving praise for high-quality work, Rakovan says: “As long-term members of the FMB the time seemed right to try and gain industry body recognition.” So RMR Homes submitted their winning entry – a project with a “unique wow element”. Rakovan attributes the win to the overall approach RMR Homes takes to its work. “Every project we undertake starts with a collaborative design process to tailor a home our clients truly love, reflects who they are and stands up to the rigours of daily life — in short tailored for life.”

RMR national Master Builder Awards winner 2019

The winning project by RMR Homes

The winning project involved a “complete redesign of the ground floor, maximising the entertainment potential by featuring an innovative and unique column-less pillar, opening the kitchen diner into the small Victorian terrace garden”.

Rakovan recalls the comments of judge Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of HomeOwners Alliance, who described it as a “wow kitchen” because of its innovative use of the small space to make the outdoor garden part of the kitchen. It’s worth noting that a win at the awards lasts a lot longer than one day of celebration. Rakovan praises the FMB marketing team for:

  • Producing a fantastic video of the project;
  • Running an effective PR campaign across a variety of press titles; and
  • Featuring RMR Homes in Master Builder, and the FMB’s website, newsletters, and social media channels.

“We generated local PR at the time,” Rakovan explains, “and now have a strong message to incorporate into our own marketing, giving another reason to choose RMR Homes.”

For those still deciding on entering the awards in 2021, Rakovan says:

“Don’t be afraid to go for it; you may end up a regional and even a national award winner!” His advice to others:  research the categories well in advance of the closing date, choose a project that “shines in terms of excellence and innovation”, be succinct in your response (he says this will take some time to get right), and include “stunning photos and a great customer testimonial”.

Top tips from judge Paula Higgins

2019 MBA judge Paula Higgins

Paula Higgins, Founder and CEO of the HomeOwners Alliance, was a judge at the previous Master Builder Awards. Her advice for those wanting to submit:

  1. Be thorough and complete every section of your application, failure to do so could result in lost points;
  2. Submit high-resolution, quality photographs of the project;
  3. Add testimonials from clients – these say a lot about the work you do and the relationships you build.

Higgins says: “I really enjoy being a judge and seeing the brilliant applicants — those builders that go the extra mile. It’s nice to see innovative projects delivered with the client at the centre. It shows builders are really listening to their clients.”

Reading through submissions gives deep insight into the challenges tight deadlines, demanding clients – building teams had to overcome to deliver the projects, she adds.

A sponsor's perspective

Headline sponsor of the 2019 Master Builder Awards and the upcoming awards in 2021, Isuzu is known for its tough commercial vehicles such as the D-Max pick-ups that “go the distance”, says George Wallis, Head of Marketing at  Isuzu.

The commercial vehicle manufacturer chose to sponsor the Master Builder Awards, Wallis says, because “the  Federation of Master Builders is a hugely respected professional organisation with a highly professional membership. The Master Builder Awards celebrate this and provide a great fit with Isuzu brand values of innovation, trust, strength, reliability and hard work.

“The FMB is a trusted source of knowledge and professional advice for its members and the FMB’s criteria gives  consumers confidence when they are looking to use a builder. Isuzu D-Max customers see their pick-up as a trusted workmate they can rely on and all our dealers are pick-up professionals who understand pick-ups; for example, Towing and Tachograph. The Master Builder Awards provides a platform that both celebrates and amplifies those synergies.”

Looking back at the 2019 awards, Wallis, who was also involved in the judging process, says: “I was blown away by the quality of entries, particularly all the category winners… [and] the passion and professionalism that defines FMB members really shone through. It was a real celebration of amazing building projects and a well organised professional event.” Wallis is excited about 2021 and “intrigued to see how members have created masterpieces in these difficult times”.

He adds: “I’m also looking forward to celebrating with everyone in 2021 and helping things get back on track. Like Isuzu, the FMB wants to be part of the solution, not the problem; we want to keep Britain working safely.” 

How to enter

With the exception of the Apprentice Award, the Master Builder Awards are only open to those who are members of the FMB at the time their nomination is submitted or are applying for membership and will have become members before 31 January 2021. 

To prepare your nomination, you should:

  • Gather details of any projects you would like to enter — you will need a description of the brief, the type of work undertaken, project value and location, as well as details of standout features, project highlights and challenges;
  • Compile high-quality images and video (if available) of the project; and
  • Ask permission from your client(s) to  enter the project and request a testimonial.

Members will be notified by email when the 2021 Master Builder Awards open for nominations.

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