BUILD September 2017

38 BUILD / September 2017 , tradesmen to be able to pass on both their experience and knowledge to the apprentices. We are very fortunate and grateful that we have an excellent group of senior tradesmen, who have worked with us for many years and they have all trained many apprentices in their time. “We need people who can work in both historic buildings and modern, hi-specification houses and the only way to achieve this is through experience of both areas of work. With the greatest of respect to many in the trade, banging up hundreds of meters of straight stud walling around huge housing estates may be a good way to earn a fast few pounds. Having said this, it will not help the industry in 20 years’ time, when there will be very few people with the skills and experience to work on the more complicated and traditional works that we undertake.” In terms of what has been the company’s most successful project to date, Tim tells us that while one cannot be singled out, each one has unique challenges. “Each project brings its own challenges and experiences, as no two projects that we work on are the same. Some can be similar in form, but the clients that we are working for can be completely different in terms of their personalities and as such, this brings a different sort of challenge for both us. “We recently completed the construction of a circular house, which has no central support for the roof. The whole structure is held in place by a tension ring at the base and a compression ring at the apex, which supports a 1.8m diameter circular roof light. Constructing the roof was a technical challenge, as we had to support the large steel ring beam, whilst we connected all the rafters. The ring beam was centralised over the centre of the circle, with an old-fashioned plumb-bob, as we found this to be the most accurate solution when lots of elements are hanging in the air. “During the construction phase of the house, we found out that at least four other local builders had been approached to build the house. Having said that, none of them had been willing to do so as they would not take on the technical challenges associated with it, let alone give a fixed price for it.” On how the company ensures they create innovative solutions to maintain their success, Tim is eager to explain this point further to us. “We feel that many of the new innovations coming into the industry, are being brought about by the need to use unskilled labour to perform tasks, that previously only experienced tradesmen could do. Screws are being replaced with glues, lead flashings are being replaced with tapes and no-one is sure how long these new methods will last as no one has tested them in-situ for 20 years. Where we find a new solution that does improve efficiency or reduce cost for clients, without compromising on quality, then we will happily take that on board and use it on future projects. “We can also develop ingenious ways of transporting large beams or windows to the rear gardens of people’s houses. However, we are firmly of the opinion that if something is going to be fixed, it will be done so in a way that it will last for the next 50 years and not the just the next year until the defects period has ended.” Bringing his insightful thoughts to a close, Tim tells us how he sees the market changing over the next 12 months and his ambitions for the company. “We think that the industry is going to go through some tough and changing times over the next few years. We are concerned that the current boom is being built of the back of too much debt again and as such, if we suffer a similar economic downturn to that which hit in 2008, then the recovery may not be so quick. “The disaster at Grenfell Tower will also have significant implications for fire safety and that responsibility around inspections will be made clearer. We expect that Building Control and other professionals, will be required to make many more visits to the site. The impact of Brexit has also yet to really be understood. If the eastern European labour force, which underpins so much of the work on large sites is lost, then the shortage that we mentioned earlier is only going to get worse. “We are a family company and as such, we are built on such an ethos. We have a great group of employees and we will continue to work with them to hopefully provide clients with buildings of which they are proud for many years to come. The final word must go to the people that nominated us. Thank you for the honour and we are glad that we continue to deliver projects that you consider to be worthy of such an award.”