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RLB APPOINTS HEAD OF PEOPLE AND CULTURE

Leading independent construction, property and management consultancy, Rider Levett Bucknall UK (RLB UK) announces the appointment of Sarah Draper as the firm’s new Head of People & Culture with immediate effect. Sarah joins RLB UK’s Senior Leadership Board to head up the firm’s people strategy and the delivery of its

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UK Shed space under offer tops 10 million sq ft

More than 10 million sq ft of warehouse space was under offer at the beginning of 2020 – a 233% increase since end of 2018, according to CBRE. In its latest trading update investor developer Tritax Symmetry chief executive, fund management, Colin Godfrey, said such figures looked promising for developers

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Proud Cumbrian Developer in the finals for prestigious 2020 Award

Design & Build Developer, Northern Developments (Cumbria) Limited, based in Carlisle, have been announced as a finalist in the National Building & Construction Awards 2020. They have been shortlisted in the £10M-£25M Category for the M-Sport Evaluation Centre (MEC) project at Dovenby near Cockermouth for M-Sport Limited. Northern Developments’ projects

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Resident Groups and Industry Call for Government Action on Cladding

New industry research suggests half a million people could be living in unsafe buildings With government support limited to one specific type of cladding, these residents could be left with excessive bills to make their homes safe Resident groups form an unprecedented coalition with managing agents and building owners to

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Mott MacDonald announces new strategic partnership with BIM innovators 3D Repo

Mott MacDonald Ventures, the investment arm of global management, engineering and development consultancy Mott MacDonald, has announced a new strategic partnership with 3D Repo, pioneers of cloud-based design collaboration for building information modelling (BIM). The partnership follows a recent £2.3m A-series investment round in 3D Repo led by The Ingenious

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Propertymark reaches out to Government for guidance on Coronavirus

On the back of ongoing concerns in the sector regarding the Coronavirus, David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive raises the concerns of Propertymark to the UK Government in hopes for guidelines. David Cox raised the question of whether the Government will issue guidance for the sector on how to deal

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Building the UK’s Largest Independent Builder’s Merchant

2020 marks the 25th Anniversary of MKM Building Supplies Ltd, the UK’s largest independent builder’s merchant.  Executive Chairman, David Kilburn looks back over the 25 years and shares some of the milestones and memories that have gone into constructing one of the building trade’s best-loved brands, and one of the

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Latest Issue

BDC 319 : Aug 2024

BDC

RLB APPOINTS HEAD OF PEOPLE AND CULTURE

Leading independent construction, property and management consultancy, Rider Levett Bucknall UK (RLB UK) announces the appointment of Sarah Draper as the firm’s new Head of People & Culture with immediate effect. Sarah joins RLB UK’s Senior Leadership Board to head up the firm’s people strategy and the delivery of its best in class approach to people and culture in the UK. Sarah takes over the role from Hilary Richardson who is retiring from RLB UK having been with the business for 30 years. Sarah’s appointment as Head of People & Culture completes the restructure which RLB UK outlined in November 2019. This announced Andrew Reynolds as Chief Executive and the intention to introduce two new senior roles to the Senior Leadership Board to lead work on people & culture and digital transformation. Sarah’s appointment follows Matt Sharp joining in January 2020 as the company’s first Chief Digital Officer.     With over 20 years of experience gained in senior HR roles across corporate and professional services, Sarah has extensive expertise leading successful people, diversity and inclusion and cultural change programmes in the built environment. Most recently she was HR Director at Gerald Eve LLP.  Sarah is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is currently shortlisted for HR Champion at the British Diversity Awards 2020.   Andrew Reynolds, Chief Executive at RLB UK said: “As an employee owned business, people and culture is at the very core of our success.  I am very pleased to welcome Sarah Draper who joins the team to lead in this fundamental area. Sarah’s breadth of knowledge and experience will be a truly valuable asset as we drive the business forward during these unprecedented times.  I would also like to thank Hilary Richardson who has been instrumental in embedding our people & culture ethos as we have grown our business.” Sarah Draper, Head of People & Culture, RLB UK added: “People and culture is so important in any organisation, but more so now than ever before. It’s great to be able to join a company that already fosters a best in class approach to their people and be part of their growth and success story.” 

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UK Shed space under offer tops 10 million sq ft

More than 10 million sq ft of warehouse space was under offer at the beginning of 2020 – a 233% increase since end of 2018, according to CBRE. In its latest trading update investor developer Tritax Symmetry chief executive, fund management, Colin Godfrey, said such figures looked promising for developers and investors in the logistics property sector. “Occupier take-up looks promising for 2020 with over 10 million sq ft of lettings reported to be under offer and carried over from 2019,” said Godfrey. “Speculative supply has slightly decreased from 2018, but importantly reduced by circa 50% for buildings over 500,000 sq ft, where demand continues to outstrip supply. Attractive levels of rental growth are therefore expected to continue. “The market for very large Big Box logistics assets continues to display strong fundamentals for 2020 and the longer term. Structural tailwinds are supportive as occupiers upscale the size of their logistics assets to further increase efficiency, reduce costs and rationalise their supply chains, in the face of the rapid transition to omni-channel purchasing by consumers.” Big box availability decreases However, according to CBRE, the UK’s Big Box logistics availability slightly decreased through 2019 to just over 27 million sq ft. Take up in 2019 topped 25 million sq ft means that on last years’ take up figures there is approximately just over one years’ supply going forward. There were 92 deals were signed throughout 2019.  Of that 43.4% of the space taken related to units between 100,000 and 300,000 sq ft, resulting in an average deal size of 275,858 sq ft. 3PLs providers took the most space during 2019 (accounting for 22.7% of take- up), with online retailers on second position (22.1%) and the motor industry completing the podium (18.3%). Spec shed development increases Meanwhile, over the course of 2019, available supply – including speculative space under construction – rose by 15% according to the latest research from JLL. Jon Sleeman, director of UK research at JLL, said: “We saw more speculative starts take place in 2019 and at the end of the year there was 5.1 million sq ft speculatively under construction.  We expect to see further speculative development take place this year but overall, against a backdrop of good levels of demand in the market, we are not anticipating an increase in our national vacancy rate this year.” Quiet Q4 for warehouse property market Finally Gerald Eve’s latest Prime Logistics report states that the last quarter of the year was hit by ‘economic and political uncertainty in the UK’. Take up was 24% lower than Q3, with 10.5 million sq ft taken-up in Q4, the overall volume was 11% below the 5-year quarterly average but in line with the 10-year average. Overall take-up during 2019 totalled 47 million sq ft, which was 7% down on 2018, but comfortably above the 10-year annual average.

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Proud Cumbrian Developer in the finals for prestigious 2020 Award

Design & Build Developer, Northern Developments (Cumbria) Limited, based in Carlisle, have been announced as a finalist in the National Building & Construction Awards 2020. They have been shortlisted in the £10M-£25M Category for the M-Sport Evaluation Centre (MEC) project at Dovenby near Cockermouth for M-Sport Limited. Northern Developments’ projects are primarily their own developments across industrial, commercial, residential and purpose built student accommodation (PBSA); the only exception being their long term relationship with M-Sport for whom they have carried out all developments for on their Dovenby Hall Estate site, since it was procured in 1998. Whilst many major national companies are amongst the finalists, Northern Developments are a regional and very professional team, initially established in 1985 then working throughout the UK as Main Contractor; around the start of the new millennium becoming Developer / Contractor. Proud of their Cumbria roots they have, over those 35 years, completed several high-profile projects including multiple PBSA schemes exceeding £50million. They normally design “in-house” architecturally and usually only use external consultants for engineering, M&E, acoustics and specialist services. The MEC project combines large civils & external works alongside high-quality high-tech design and build all within the setting of a Grade II listed building, delivered to the highest standards in a relatively short time frame. The MEC will provide M Sport with the ability to further expand into the wider automotive R&D sector. Northern Developments managed the construction of the existing site facility back in 1999, and it was not long before M Sport were looking to expand further. The new building is more than twice the size of their existing production facilities, providing significant expansion and creating over 100 new jobs in the process. The first phase of the project, now complete, comprised the design and construction of a 2.5km test track. The civils works to facilitate this involved moving 200,000 Tonnes of earth, whilst ensuring a cut and fill balance to ensure that no materials needed to be removed from site. Ground stabilisation techniques were employed to mitigate import of excessive quarried materials. 6.5km of drainage to the track links to several balancing ponds to ensure no negative impact on the local watercourse. An approved scheme of woodland management was deployed at the outset, protecting certain areas of historic interest, with planting of trees and grassland to enhance the habitat across the site. Eddie Ward, Commercial Manager said, “We have worked in deep collaboration with the client for ten years now, to ensure that we deliver a solution to meet their business needs. At the early stages this involved the building element of the project evolving in numerous forms and growing significantly. Drawing on our experience and knowledge combined with our supply chain we were able to deliver significant value engineering solutions, whilst still meeting the business needs.” The groundworks for the 111,000ft2 production facility commenced in May 2019, and construction is now well underway, within six months of commencement over 550T of structural steelwork had been manufactured and erected, roofing complete, all external precast concrete walls installed, and a significant amount of high level M&E works commenced. The next significant milestone being in the installation of the specialist concrete slab. Malcolm Wilson OBE, Managing Director at M-Sport, said “It’s always been important for me to keep the business in Cumbria, and with the help of Cumbria LEP we’re seeing the growth of more and more businesses in our region. The M-Sport Evaluation Centre will provide a unique centre of engineering excellence – allowing world leaders in automotive technology to follow their concepts from design and development, right through to production. Our region is fast becoming a great place for business, and we’re proud to be a part of that.”

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Resident Groups and Industry Call for Government Action on Cladding

New industry research suggests half a million people could be living in unsafe buildings With government support limited to one specific type of cladding, these residents could be left with excessive bills to make their homes safe Resident groups form an unprecedented coalition with managing agents and building owners to call on the new Chancellor to establish a fund to make these homes safe Following new evidence that the scale of the cladding crisis may affect up to half a million people, cladding campaigners, residents, property managers and the UK’s largest freeholders have formed an unprecedented coalition to request a multibillion-pound fund to remediate unsafe buildings. In an open letter to the new Chancellor, the group has called on the Government to step in following failures in the building safety regime that have dated back decades. Without support, leaseholders may be left having to pay the price, which is likely to run into the billions. The Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA), which represents the largest property managers in the country, has conducted an analysis of apartment buildings in the UK and found that over half a million people may be living in unsafe buildings that passed building control when they were built. Materials now deemed to be unsafe include High Pressure Laminate (HPL) – which has been found to be at least as flammable as the ACM cladding that was used on Grenfell Tower – but the Government’s existing fund is limited to ACM cladding. The freeholder signatories are coordinating remediation work on buildings with ACM cladding in every major city in the UK, but the process has revealed numerous additional safety issues and there are concerns that the cost of fixing these problems will fall on to residents unless the Government steps in. Given the scale of the task, the group is calling for a multibillion-pound, government-backed fund to be established so that these buildings can be made safe as soon as possible. Nigel Glen, Chief Executive Officer, The Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) said: “The Grenfell tragedy highlighted the dangers of ACM cladding, but it has also revealed a much wider building safety crisis which could affect over half a million people. These buildings are being fixed by building owners and managing agents as quickly as possible but, without Government support, the process could take decades and leave leaseholders with life-changing bills on top of the anxiety that has already been caused.” Martin Boyd, Leasehold Knowledge Partnership said: “Nearly 1,000 days after the Grenfell tragedy there is a huge amount of worry among leaseholders that the problems are getting worse, not better. The government must help find solutions rather than just telling everyone these are complex problems.”

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Mott MacDonald announces new strategic partnership with BIM innovators 3D Repo

Mott MacDonald Ventures, the investment arm of global management, engineering and development consultancy Mott MacDonald, has announced a new strategic partnership with 3D Repo, pioneers of cloud-based design collaboration for building information modelling (BIM). The partnership follows a recent £2.3m A-series investment round in 3D Repo led by The Ingenious Group’s infrastructure ventures EIS service, and brings more positive momentum for the innovative start-up. Mott MacDonald currently utilises BIM across the building, oil and gas, transport, water, and power industry sectors, and plans to use 3D Repo’s online collaborative platform to enhance collaboration and to drive better results on construction projects across the UK. Darren Russell, chief digital officer at Mott MacDonald Digital Ventures, said: “BIM brings a long list of tangible benefits that ultimately save time and money through reduced risk, minimising waste, faster delivery, and enhanced sustainability. Through our partnership with 3D Repo we’ll be able to connect people with the information they need to drive better decisions and deliver more of the UK’s most ambitious construction projects.” Mott MacDonald is a US$2bn organisation, employing over 16,000 people and delivering projects all over the world. Notable developments include Heathrow Terminal 5, the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, and the US$13bn redevelopment of JFK Airport. Dr Jozef Dobos, founder and CEO of 3D Repo, said: “3D Repo is already partnered with a growing list of forward-thinking tech companies including Opentext, BrydenWood, and Mission Room, among others. Our new partnership with Mott MacDonald will open new doors for 3D Repo and allow us to deploy our digital construction platform on more of the most challenging infrastructure projects in the UK.” London-based 3D Repo has deployed its collaborative BIM platform on projects such as Wood Wharf district, the remodelling of King’s Cross railway station and Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Its multi-award-winning digital platform for BIM provides access to data to anyone with a web browser whenever and wherever they need it. The service democratises the data, mitigates risk and reduces complexity for everyone involved including architects, engineers, and contractors. 3D Repo allows users to manage 3D model revisions and highlight potential clashes and safety issues using live collaboration tools which enable the whole project team to work from a single source of truth, anywhere and at any time. www.3drepo.com

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Propertymark reaches out to Government for guidance on Coronavirus

On the back of ongoing concerns in the sector regarding the Coronavirus, David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive raises the concerns of Propertymark to the UK Government in hopes for guidelines. David Cox raised the question of whether the Government will issue guidance for the sector on how to deal with the Coronavirus situation or whether it will at least step in should local authorities start prosecuting landlords when landlords are powerless to act. David used the following example to explain his point: “If a tenant were to have the virus or be in a period of self-isolation, what happens if something goes wrong in the property (for example the boiler stops working). The landlord/ agent /contractor will not go in to avoid contracting the disease and spreading the pandemic. “However, that means there is a tenant with no hot water or heating for two weeks (or longer if the Government extends the period of self-isolation). This puts the landlord / agent in breach of Section 11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (duty to maintain property etc.), any selective/ additional /mandatory licensing conditions, Homes Act 2019, Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) under Housing Act 2004 and open them up to unlimited liability and/ or a Banning Order.” David also raised Propertymark’s concerns regarding the consequential impact the virus will have on agents and landlords when getting themselves ready for the electrical regulations which comes into force in July. He flagged that Government may want to consider relaxing the deadlines to give both the industry and supply chain longer to become compliant. Propertymark hopes to receive a response on the issues raised soon and will keep the sector informed on any further progress.

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West Country house builder welcomes new Joint Acting Managing Directors

Award-winning West Country house builder Devonshire Homes has appointed two new Joint Acting Managing Directors. Jane Pearce and Cris Neale, who have both held senior positions at the Tiverton-based house builder, have now taken the reins at the firm, which has been building homes across the South West since 1992. With over 25 years’ experience in property development, Jane joined Devonshire Homes in 2009 as Head of Sales and Marketing, becoming a Director in 2015. As the Sales and Marketing Director, Jane led the Sales team to ensure that sales targets were met and oversaw the operations of the Marketing Suites located across the region. Jane was instrumental in leading the re-branding and marketing campaigns for Devonshire Homes, establishing the house builder’s position in the region as a high-quality, trustworthy developer. Cris also has over 25 years of housing development experience. After previously being Senior Surveyor at Devonshire Homes from 2004 to 2010, Cris re-joined the company in 2013 as Development Manager and was made a Director in 2015. As the Commercial and Technical Director, Cris was, and remains, responsible for the procurement, quantity surveying and technical aspects of the business which was key to the successful delivery of their recent outstanding developments. Jane and Cris will lead on identifying land opportunities and be responsible for overseeing operations from land purchase through to customer service. Cris commented: “Jane and I have been appointed Joint Acting Managing Directors at a time when the business is focused on growth with a strong desire to become one of the larger players in the region. We are both dedicated to facilitating Devonshire Homes’ growth ambitions to deliver over 250 homes per annum by 2022.” Jane added: “Devonshire Homes has two new sites launching in 2020. We will be releasing homes for sale at Longston Cross, Bovey Tracey, at the beginning of March, and we have recently been granted planning permission for our new Kingsbridge site, Applegate Park. These sites are poised to deliver much needed new homes in South Devon and we’re particularly looking forward to working with the team to make effective starts on these sites and deliver high quality homes and developments.”    Independent house builder, Devonshire Homes, has been creating new homes and communities in towns and rural areas across Devon since 1992. The house builder specialises in providing homes which reflect the traditional characteristics and building styles of the region combined with high specification, contemporary interiors. Current developments include: Ladywell Meadows, Chulmleigh; Tarka View, Crediton; Longston Cross, Bovey Tracey and Gwallon Keas, St. Austell. For more information, visit www.devonshirehomes.co.uk.

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ENGIE awarded 10-year maintenance and repairs contract with Tamworth Borough Council

Leading energy and regeneration specialist ENGIE has been appointed to provide a £67million repairs and maintenance service on behalf of Tamworth Borough Council. As part of the council’s ongoing commitment to provide high standards of affordable housing for local residents, the contract – which begins on 1st April 2020 – will see ENGIE provide responsive repairs, adaptations and estate management services to more than 4,200 homes across the borough over a ten-year period. In addition, ENGIE will also provide gas maintenance work, day-to-day and out of hours emergency repairs and the servicing of void properties. Martin Smithurst, Divisional Chief Operating Officer at ENGIE, said: “We are extremely pleased to be working once again with Tamworth Council – a partner that so closely shares our core values. “ENGIE has a proven track record of providing an excellent repairs and maintenance service, as well as helping our partners across the UK address their housing, social value and climate emergency-related priorities, and we’re looking forward to demonstrating that in Tamworth.“ Cllr Michelle Cook, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing Services and Communities, said: “ENGIE was selected after a robust, two-stage procurement process which included external legal and consultative support, interviews involving tenants and detailed assessments of all elements of the bids submitted. “All submissions were of a high standard and the winning contractors demonstrated an understanding of our needs and instilled confidence in their ability to deliver the service.”  As part of the contract, ENGIE has commited to a number of social value measures which will benefit the wider community. These include training opportunities and the creation of apprenticeships for local people, as well as improvements to council-owned facilities such as play areas and community buildings.

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St Francis Group announces the sale of residential development site in Suffolk to Taylor Wimpey.

The development ready site which was fully remediated by St Francis Group sister company DSM Demolition has planning permission for up to 474,000 sq ft of commercial floorspace and up to 320 new residential dwellings. St Francis Group, a leading UK-based property development and investment group and an expert in brownfield development and regeneration has today announced that it has completed the sale of a development ready residential site in the village of Brantham, Suffolk to Taylor Wimpey UK Limited. The site which adjoins an historical commercial site and was used since the late 1800’s, as a plastics manufacturing base for British Xylonite and more recently by Wardle Storeys.  Those uses ceased in 1999. St Francis Group promoted the site through the Local Plan as part of the Councils Regeneration aims following the loss of the existing occupiers in the downturn with the support of Babergh Mid Suffolk District Council and later secured planning permission for new commercial uses totalling approximately 474,000 sq ft and up to 320 residential dwellings .  As part of the Regeneration project, St Francis Group through its sister company DSM Demolition has already completed the decontamination and remediation of the existing commercial land, installed new commercial and residential highway infrastructure and introduced a new sustainable drainage solution.  In addition, the local community will benefit from the provision of circa 29 acres of public open space and new Sports and Community land. Speaking about the sale, St Francis Group CEO Rob Braid said: “The work we have undertaken on this development serves to not only reinforce our strong credentials in brownfield site regeneration and restoration but to also highlight that in addition to commercial development we are very active in the residential land market and actively bringing sites forward. We are uniquely positioned through our specialist in-house team and sister business to secure planning permissions for schemes throughout the UK and across various disciplines but most notably residential, employment and mixed use.” Taylor Wimpey have secured reserved matters consent for 288 high quality new homes and plan to start on site in February this year.

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Building the UK’s Largest Independent Builder’s Merchant

2020 marks the 25th Anniversary of MKM Building Supplies Ltd, the UK’s largest independent builder’s merchant.  Executive Chairman, David Kilburn looks back over the 25 years and shares some of the milestones and memories that have gone into constructing one of the building trade’s best-loved brands, and one of the UK’s fastest growing businesses. “In 1995, my favourite sound was the ring of the fire-bell going off in the warehouse. It meant there was an order!” said David.  “As for any fledging business, in the early days orders are everything. And, after closing our first month with a trading profit and haven taken a healthy £123,000 – I am delighted to say 25 years later, we have never been short of orders and never looked back.” In many ways, the MKM of 2020 is almost unrecognizable from the first branch that opened in Hull in 1995.  For a start the first branch sold caravan supplies rather than building supplies, which MKM is renowned for today. There was a small team of 5 people working from rental premises, which had been secured for 9 months to get the business off the ground. David recalls: “ Ironically, the premises belonged to an MKM competitor William Wilson. We signed up for 9 months but were still there 18 months later, at the time we were just glad not to be chucked out!” Today, MKM Building Supplies employs over 1650 people and last year recorded sales of over £460 million.  Already this year MKM has opened its 70th branch and has ambitious growth plans to be operating 100 branches by 2021/2022. Aside from the phenomenal success story and exponential growth, according to David many things haven’t changed at all over the 25 years. “Since day one, our company culture has always been very people focused, how we treat people has remained exactly the same. Every single person is important no matter what their role … our people are our biggest asset.” David added: “Technology and the digital age have of course altered things, but our teams still do the majority of business either over the trade counter or on the phone. That may change in years to come, but essentially people buy from people.” “Relationships are key, our customers trust us to deliver quality products with great service as their own businesses rely on it – our teams appreciate that and make customers the priority. More so than any other industry, this is a people business and good relationships are the absolute bedrock of that business.” MKM was built on the concept that skilled, local people who understand the needs of local customers should serve the local trade. MKM is differentiated through its unique business model, centered on branch directors owning an equity stake in their branch with opportunity to share in profits. David believes empowering people and supporting their entrepreneurial spirit has been a key driver of growth. By 2005, MKM had opened 15 branches, five years later in 2010 a further 17 branches had been opened and by 2018 MKM Building Supplies had 54 branches throughout England and Scotland – the brand new MKM Grantham marks their 70th branch. David recalls: “Our biggest challenges in the early years were always time and money. If we had more of both earlier we would have grown more quickly, but it is important to keep a level head and not get ahead of yourself. We always prided ourselves on paying suppliers and staff on time, even though both my business partner and myself often took a reduced salary.” Business wasn’t always plain sailing, in 2008 almost every industry in the UK fell victim to what the media dubbed a ‘double dip recession’. The building and construction industry were hit hard, their performance acted as a barometer for the economic downturn and went into meltdown. David commented: “In 2008, we were acutely aware that external factors, beyond or control can take a serious toll on business. It seemed the entire financial world collapsed, our own industry went into a desperate panic with many of our competitors laying off 30 to 40 percent of their people.” “We took the decision not to take action. We decided to back our people and ride out the storm and were confident that business would eventually pick up… which of course it did. While the majority of the industry seemed to lose up to 40 percent revenue, I’m glad to say we did fare better and suffered losses of up to 11 percent, relatively unscathed in comparison.” Looking forward, MKM has an ambitious growth programme to open a further 30 branches in the next two years. David said: “Today, we still face challenges. We have an expansive growth programme but finding good properties in good locations can be a challenge and planning applications can be very slow, which frustrates progress.” “However our mantra, which we instill in all of our teams is to have fun at work. Indeed, some of the most demanding times in business have also been the most enjoyable. Some of our best times were in the early days – negotiating manufacturing deals, securing credit with the banks and often coming up against brick walls, whilst driving a couple of old bangers to collect building materials and grafting to sell. Working hard, but having fun is very much the MKM culture.” While looking forward to the opening of their 100th branch, David also believes there are growth opportunities ahead for MKM with acquisitions, developing new product lines and developing the kitchen and bathroom offering. David concluded; “Our own recipe for success, now fine-tuned over 25 years has been giving customers what they want, employing and retaining the best staff, engaging people in profit generation activities and of course having fun at work – which we certainly do!”

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