Bill Robertson CBE has been given a lifetime achievement award by Homes for Scotland at the organisation’s Annual Lunch in Edinburgh.
The accolade from the housing trade body was presented by Scotland football manager Gordon Strachan in front of a record crowd of 900 senior industry representatives and guests.
Bill Robertson founded the Robertson Group in 1966 and remains at the helm as Executive Chairman. The business is now the largest privately owned infrastructure, construction and support services company in Scotland, with a 1450-strong workforce and a £1.7 billion forward order book.
Housebuilding has been an integral part of the Robertson business from the very early years. In 1969 the company built and sold its first private house. By 1973 it created its first significant development of 26 houses near Elgin. Then in 1975 Robertson undertook its first major design and build project – 50 local authority houses in Aberdeenshire.
Throughout his half century in the business, Bill Robertson has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to housebuilding – a commitment that is still ongoing, and that has translated into thousands of high-quality homes and secure jobs across the country. He was awarded a CBE for services to construction in 2007.
As well as private housing, Robertson provides a wide ranging housing portfolio including affordable/low cost housing for Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and energy efficient council housing for local authorities. To date, the company has built more than 4,500 affordable homes.
The company is also part of the joint venture company, Urban Union, which is currently building and regenerating large parts of Glasgow and Edinburgh with contemporary homes.
As a result of a series of strategic land acquisitions, new sites coming on stream after the recession and a growth in demand fuelled by improved mortgage availability, Robertson Homes has seen an increase of almost 80% in sales at its private developments in the last 12 months. Already this year, it has launched new sites at Chatelherault in Hamilton, Torrance in East Dunbartonshire, Auchterarder, Newton Mearns and St Andrews and recommenced work at Hamilton Gardens in Elgin.
Bill Robertson, Executive Chairman of Robertson, said, “When I started Robertson almost 50 years ago my goal was to develop a multi-trades company and from the outset that vision included house building. We started small, building one-off houses on sites provided by the council.
“Part of the success at Robertson is down to our business model: we create individual, autonomous businesses each with their own management teams. This autonomy allows each Robertson business, including Robertson Homes, to grow and develop.
“During the recent industry downturn, we prioritised keeping the Homes team strong and operational. As a result of this strategy, our housebuilding business was in good shape when the market started to recover.
“I am absolutely delighted and honoured to receive this lifetime achievement award. Homes for Scotland is an organisation that does tremendous work to advance the interests of our sector, which makes this accolade all the more meaningful.
“The provision of high-quality homes – not just in the private sphere, but increasingly in terms of affordable homes and urban regeneration – is a task of the highest importance to our industry, to Robertson as a business, and to me personally. There is still a power of work to be done, and I look forward to being part of that.”
At the event, Robertson Homes was awarded Best House Design award for its Azure Grand house type at Westercraigs in Inverness, which was complimented by judges on its versatility, contemporary style and the flexibility of the home layout that provides potential for a number of different lifestyles and family groupings. The home is spread across three floors and features four bedrooms, an integral garage, a sunny garden room and a versatile room-in-the-roof.
Robertson also received a commendation for Best Development (large) as part of the Urban Union joint venture partnership with McTaggart Construction at Laurieston in Glasgow.