Market Leaders Pick Their Market Leader: Who's the builder most worthy of house room?

Andrew MacKenzie

Group Chief Executive

Bryant Homes

I HAVE been involved for more than 40 years in an industry I thoroughly enjoy. My principal responsibility is to produce good returns for the shareholders but I enjoy the contribution that creating good housing can make to the built environment.

We are not a one-man operation, and it is important to ensure that a good blend of key management skills is applied effectively within our strong team. Although competitive, this is a people industry with major housebuilders well-known to each other. On occasion, the best results can be achieved by sensible collaboration between competitors. I would highlight David Wilson, chairman of David Wilson Homes, as someone who continues to perform within the industry with a well respected product and consistently sound profit margins.

Malcolm Harris

Chief Executive

Bovis Homes

THE UK housebuilding industry is going through a period of rapid change. Today's major operators are all dedicated homebuilders and they are taking an increased share of the market through consolidation and large-scale land investment.

External product design, internal layout and the specification of the majority of new homes has improved over recent years and now offers far superior accommodation over second-hand properties. With this in mind, forward-thinking companies no longer have a rigid range of homes and readily alter elevations and external materials to blend with the environment. I see the industry moving forward by sharing resources in areas such as construction research and development, training, health, safety and environmental matters as well as in all areas of sustainability.

Fortunately, there are visionaries in the industry, such as Martin Donohue chief executive of Westbury plc, who share this view and have a desire to make it reality.

Peter Nesbitt

Berkeley Homes

Executive Chairman

(Eastern region)

IN THIS business it is vital to keep your head. You've got to be a decent negotiator, because we constantly come up against obstacles when we're purchasing land or negotiating terms with the vendor or when dealing with planners, architects and customers. Combine these skills with imagination, drive and enthusiasm and you have the qualities necessary to being able to do the job at the highest levels.

Obviously, I admire Tony Pidgley, managing director of Berkeley Group who I think is second to none, but I am also a great admirer of people who are adventurous in the development process. The person I admire the most for this is Harry Handelsman of the Manhattan Loft Corporation. In the early 90s, he saw how the US-style loft market took off and imported it into this country. In effect he pioneered the whole London loft development process. He also revolutionised the South Bank and Wardour Street.

His approach to converting lofts and retaining original features was a whole new concept. I also admire his use of avant-garde architects.

Greg Locke

Regional Chairman

Redrow Group

LIKE MANY professionals on the outside, I regarded housebuilding as the poor relation of the construction industry - it always seemed more interesting designing and building hospitals and schools than houses.

But when I started in this industry, it got under my skin very rapidly. One of the skills necessary to my particular role is being able to identify opportunities and to maximise the potential profitability of a project. I think the quality that contributed to my own personal success is a determination to set goals and achieve them. Single-mindedness probably best sums that up. I get a huge buzz from the whole process of clinching a land deal and seeing it through from start to completion.

Who do I admire within the industry? There are several individuals who have influenced me over the years, some closer than others, but I'd rather not name names.

David Wilson

Chairman

David Wilson Homes

THE BUOYANT housing market is not a repeat of the feared Eighties boom. Increased London house prices should not dominate perceptions countrywide. But the industry does need dynamic planning, major cash and new tax breaks to create places people want, leafyish, quietish - and safe.

I feel a huge responsibility to create value to support a lifetime's mortgage repayments. So flexibility to plan and replan to maximise land use is a crucial factor in our business. One person we all admire is Lawrie Barratt, now life president of Barratt Developments for his sheer energy in creating Barratt during his working life and coming out of retirement to rebuild it before retiring again.

Andrew Panter

Managing Director

Wimpey Homes

WIMPEY HOMES has around a million homes under its belt. That makes lots of people who have, or know someone who has, lived in a "Wimpey", a double- edged sword. People know our homes are well-constructed, but their image of us can often be rooted in the past, not today's reality.

The customer is leading us down the road of innovation and change as lifestyles change. Being at the forefront of that change provides the buzz. Two people I admire are our recently retired chairman Joe Dwyer who had the vision to see the future of the Wimpey Group was as a focused homebuilder, plus the bravery to make that vision a reality, and Lawrie Barratt who successfully introduced marketing to the industry in the Seventies.

John Low

Chief Executive

Beazer Group

THERE ARE always new and exciting challenges in my business and day-to- day problems are rarely the same. For this reason, entrepreneurial flair is helpful.

The manufacturing industry has changed tremendously over the years and there are further advances which make it a very exciting time for us. We must meet the challenges of advancement and implement the changes in the manufacturing process to our advantage.

To do this with some degree of success demands, again, flair and vision to keep ahead of the competition in terms of product design. There are many people who made specific contributions to the industry, one of whom is Lawrie Barratt, now life president of Barratt Developments.

Steve Lidgate

Chief Executive

Laing Homes

THE ASPECT of the industry that appeals most to me is the challenge of providing housing. It may sound simple but day by day you constantly come up against challenges: the needs of the client; negotiating the planning system; governmental regulations.

It is important we understand the desires of the purchasers and how they are changing. The most important factor affecting their home decisions is the way in which lifestyles have changed. People aren't necessarily having their 2.5 children and may even work from home so the home model isn't the same as it was even in the Eighties.

One man who has been a success is Tony Pidgley, the Berkeley Group managing director. He has taken the company from the start and built it up into one of the largest housebuilding companies in the UK. They are always half-a-step ahead of everyone else.

John Callcutt

Chief Executive

Crest Nicholson plc

HOUSEBUILDING IS a rollercoaster of a business, fast moving, in the public eye, controversial and relevant, touching the lives of us all. It's not a job choice for those who like a quiet life or who cannot accept criticism, for much of it is justified. In spite of all this, I love the business for its unpredictability and the opportunities it offers.

No one has a safe seat at the top; changes come so fast that tomorrow's winners will be those who adapt best to a new environmentally oriented marketplace. Those who succeed will have the rare privilege of achieving that success through improving the quality of life in our towns and cities and conserving the environment. Berkeley, Laing and Countryside are moving in the right direction.

John White

Group Chief Executive

Persimmon Homes

OUR BUSINESS depends on the placing of the right product in the right location. To excel, you need to be imaginative, forward thinking, and make entrepreneurial decisions. You need to see the opportunities in a site which at first looks as if it is just a plain piece of land. I'm from a construction background and thoroughly enjoy seeing a bare site transferred into a nice development for people.

One of those I admire in the industry, is Mike Robinson who was managing director of Wilcon when I knew him and I learnt a great deal from him. Another is the recently retired Joe Dwyer, the former chief executive of Wimpey. I admire him for being so brave in the orchestration of the merger of Wimpey with Tarmac. He had the balls to suggest that Wimpey move out of pure contracting. He is also still very much involved in the trade.

Interviews by

Sally Chatterton

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 5
film
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss