It has been 82 years since the FMB was established in London and the FMB’s member base has spread a long way since then. Over 600 miles. Back in 2002 a cluster of building contractors based in and around Shetland Islands capital, Lerwick joined the FMB. Since then FMB staff and other members have visited the archipelago to listen to and learn from members who deliver construction services 150 miles away from Norway.

FMB's Scotland hub Director, Gordon Nelson with members D.I.T.T Construction Ltd
The FMB's Scotland Director, Gordon Nelson, meets Peter Tait and Steven Farquhar of member company D.I.T.T. Construction Ltd onsite on Shetland.

It's been five years since I visited members in Shetland. Yes, the pandemic disrupted plans but a trip to catch up in person with the dozen FMB member companies on Shetland was well overdue. FMB Scotland Board member Peter Tait of D.I.T.T Construction and his colleague James Johnston got me a speaking slot at the Shetland Construction Training Group’s AGM. Here I was able to update everyone with news on the FMB’s work, our business support services as well as meet contractors who aren’t (yet I hope!) FMB members. I was impressed by the volume of training undertaken by the training group and the participation of our members on the group.

Building 60 Degrees North

The weather was fair and very calm (the formidable winds which frequent the isles were absent) as I toured some of the construction and house building projects our members are delivering. I was impressed by the size and high-quality finish to the houses constructed by FMB member E & H Building Contractors Ltd for Hjaltland Housing Association. One feature about building on Shetland is the presence and abundance of rock, so members including Hunter & Morrisons Limited and Garriock Brothers Ltd deliver civil engineering services as well as building and construction.

E & H Building Contractors Ltd with Gordon Nelson, the FMB's Scotland Director

Drewie Manson, Gordon Nelson, John Robert Manson of E&H Building Contractors Ltd.

Whilst Shetland’s economy means there is often an abundance of work, the employers face huge competition for labour from the oil and aquaculture industries. Planning delays were another matter cited during my visit. It is clear that our Shetland members are eager for me to continue to provide a voice for them when I lobby Scottish Government Ministers. It’s also clear that our members on Shetland really value FMB’s influence and ability to speak out on their behalf.

Housing association dwellings built by FMB member E&H Building Contractors Ltd
E&H Building Contractors Ltd put the finishing touches to homes built for Hjaltland Housing Association.

The challenges of building on a landscape that at no point, is more than three miles from the sea may be different to where the vast majority of FMB members work but our most northerly members are proud to be part of the FMB community.


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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