Over 470 key figures from the UK builders' merchant industry met in London last week to celebrate excellence in the face of economic adversity.

The 12th Builders’ Merchants Awards for Excellence took place at London’s Lancaster hotel on Friday 22 November, highlighting some of the most innovative and successful merchant businesses in operation today.

This year, the Awards were brilliantly hosted by author, television presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle, who entertained the assembled guests with anecdotes from his expeditions around the globe.

Speaking at the event, Jennie Ward, chair of this year’s judging panel, said: “Despite the difficult times, merchants have been working hard to strengthen their relationships with their customers, in many cases turning struggling branches into remarkable success stories. As we celebrate some of the very best successes, every single person who submitted an entry has the right to be incredibly proud of what they’ve achieved.”

With 16 categories shining a spotlight on a wide range of industry sectors, from landscaping and plumbing to national and independent, a shortlist of 47 finalists were selected from over 200 nominations.

This year’s winners were:

The 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award winner was named as Dr Peter Hindle MBE. Dr Hindle has worked in the merchant industry for over 40 years and is now senior vice-president in charge of sustainable habitat and the general delegate for Saint-Gobain in the UK, Ireland and South Africa. During that time he has worked at both independent and national merchants, and has been heavily involved in establishing pioneering industry training programmes, as well as creating Saint-Gobain’s Together charity programme, which has raised more than £2m for a range of good causes.