Federation of Master Builders - Apprentice of the Year 2023 North Master Builder Awards


A construction company based in Chester Le Street has beaten off competition across the North of England to win a total of three awards at a prestigious industry competition.

Radford Construction Services Ltd picked up the accolades at the Federation of Master Builders’ (FMB) 2023 North Master Builder Awards, sponsored by Isuzu and held at the Queens Hotel in Leeds on Friday 19 May.

The awards recognise excellence in the region’s small and medium-sized construction companies and are run by the FMB, the largest trade association in the UK construction sector.

Led by Andy Radford, the firm won the Heavenly Builder of the Year prize for a kitchen extension and renovation taken on at the start of the pandemic.

Andy’s team battled soaring prices and shortages to secure the right building materials, travelling to Yorkshire to obtain bricks that matched the home’s 1920s exterior. While working, they kept doors closed and the noise down to ensure their clients were comfortable, with one member of the couple waiting for a kidney transplant. Radford even acted to stop the house collapsing after a previous builder’s bodge job had left a rotting piece of wood supporting the entire upper level of the house.

The homeowners didn’t only nominate Andy’s firm for its building work. Radford Construction Services Ltd also supports a wealth of local causes, sponsoring junior football team Chester Le Street United girls U15s and working pro bono for local animal charities. Animal-lover Andy has even adopted pets from former clients to stop them being put down.

Their clients described the company as “the dream team” – and the judges clearly agreed. They handed a second award to Kaidan Radford, Andy’s son, who was named Apprentice of the Year.

Kaidan has a number of learning difficulties, including Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). They haven’t stopped him, now starting a second apprenticeship in brickwork and mentoring younger special needs children in his spare time.

His application, ambition and flexibility earned him a glowing review from his college tutor, Peter Behan, who described Kaidan as a “model student” and marvelled at his performance in brickwork competitions.

“Simple aspects the majority of us take for granted such as the reading of a specification or, the working out of mathematical equations like a tape measure are tasks Kaidan must endure on a daily basis”, his lecturer said. “To adapt to a heightened stress fuelled environment such as a competition would probably break the majority of us. However, Kaidan battled through with a smile on his face enjoying every minute of the experience and even completing the model to a graded standard.”

The Radfords scooped their third award – the prize for a Commercial or Public Sector Project, – after building several luxury “party houses” for a Stanley hotel complex. Originally, they were asked to build four new semi-detached houses. But after the pandemic caused delays, the clients changed their minds – and the builders found themselves installing hot tubs, copper bath tubs, mood lighting and sound systems instead.

According to the client, Radford surpassed all expectations. They said they’ve “always been blown away” by Andy’s “skill, craftsmanship and attention to detail”, adding: “He genuinely cares about our business as much as his own.”

Andrew Radford, Managing Director of Radford Construction Services Ltd, said: “We are again extremely proud to have received these awards on behalf of all our team. It’s humbling to have customers take the time to nominate us."

Caroline Meehan, North Director of the FMB, said: “Our Northern Master Builders have delivered an astounding level of quality craftsmanship, continuing to set an exceptionally high standard for future winners.” “Radford Construction Services Ltd. blew the judges away this year and took home three awards! Our awards are highly competitive, and to win three categories is a true example of a company that goes above and beyond to meet their clients’ needs.” “Our members continue to deliver unique and personalised renovations, and this year is no exception.”