21st May 2019
The Federation of Master Builders Southern Region Annual Conference this year was held, conveniently, at the Oxford Belfry, giving the Barr Group management team the chance to attend the member's sessions. True to the FMB ethos, the content focused on the wider impact of the construction industry on all stakeholders and on taking the reputation of the small to medium sized builder to a higher level. As always, there was the opportunity to share best practice, through meeting and reuniting with peers in the industry who share similar our values and the drive to ‘build better’.
Every other year the FMB runs an awards event alongside its conference and AGM. The event recognises the hard work and dedication of its members, who have gone the extra mile to meet the needs of their clients. As such, the StuartBarr CDR team were honoured to be awarded Best Commercial Project (for The Byrnes Lab conversion) and Best Low Carbon Project (for the Mayfield Barn Conversion). In addition, Otterly Farmhouse received special commendation, in the Heritage Build Category, as did our apprentice entrant Lewis Gabbidon. Well done to all involved and a huge thank you to our wonderful clients, on each of these projects, for their continued support. We would also like to thank the FMB for their continued support and encouragement.
For the Barr Group, winning these awards means so much. The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is the largest trade association in the UK construction industry, representing thousands of firms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was established in 1941 to protect the interests of small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms. As an independent, non-profit organisation the FMB lobbies for its members' interests at both the national and local level. The organisation is committed to empowering its members with credibility, a voice in government and business support. It provides a means of identifying the credible building companies across the country and in doing so protecting the public from cowboy builders.
Success in the Low Carbon category is becoming something of a tradition for the Barr Group, with a win in 2017 (the awards are bi-annual) for the Long Crendon ‘Underground House’. Eco-build is by no means a new endeavour for the Barr Group. Founder and director Stuart Barr became engaged with the vital importance of sustainable building back in 2006 when he studied eco-build at the infamous CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology) and the company embarked on their first eco-build projects for, amongst others, the National Trust.
“Even when fulfilling a very basic build brief, corners should never be cut where insulation and structural joints are concerned. The basic concept of deep insulation and absolutely no gaps goes a long way to impact on the energy efficiency of even the simplest build” says Stuart. “Of course, that is just the tip of the iceberg; ever-improving technology means that achieving Passive House standard on a new build is a totally achievable goal”. Stuart goes on to say “Winning the Low Carbon award for Mayfield Barn was a particularly special achievement as we started with the disadvantage of a steel and concrete frame, meaning inherent cold bridges. Given the constraints, the team achieved an incredible level of airtightness”.