Kingston Joinery enters 10th year of business on back of great 2016 which brought seven-figure contracts and work on £1bn development Tuesday, January 24th, 2017
Major contractors working in the private and public sectors are increasingly turning to the expertise of East Yorkshire-based Kingston Joinery when seeking specialists to deliver projects on time, in budget, and to the highest of standards.
2016 brought many milestone achievements for the ambitious and growing firm, from working on a huge £1bn project to securing the biggest single contract in its history.
Kingston Joinery’s expertise and ability has been firmly underlined through its performance in recent years, and now, as it enters its 10th year in business, it has its sights firmly set on further success and growth.
Having launched the business in 2007 – just as the UK plunged into a recession – and with just one contract to its name at the time, Managing Director Craig O’Leary now proudly sees the Kingston Joinery name linked to many high-profile projects across the country, working for some of the biggest names in construction.
“Since day one the continual development, progress and growth of the business has always been paramount in my mind, but how you go about achieving that changes as you become more established,” said Mr O’Leary, who was aged just 24 when he quit his job as a joiner and went it alone.
“In the early days it’s all about winning work and contracts, and in one sense that will always be the main thing, but in the past few years it has certainly been increasingly about winning the right contracts, the work with the big contractors and the specialised jobs which take us out of our comfort zone. These are the jobs we can point to and say we’ve done with pride.”
Involvement in one particular project certainly did plenty to enhance the reputation of Kingston Joinery’s standard of work, as it was called upon to provide the full glazing package for the £11.6m Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia, a development which has now been recognised as the UK's greenest commercial building.
Kingston Joinery committed to meeting the rigorous requirements of Passivhaus, as well as BREEAM 'outstanding' ratings of energy efficiency when selected by contractor Morgan Sindall. Working on site for around 6 months, the firm supplied and installed high performance timber and aluminium composite windows, manufactured by ProTec windows of Denmark.
That work came as the firm secured various industry accreditations, with a Level 4 rating in the Achilles Building Confidence audit soon followed by accreditation from Constructionline, which is recognised as the leading procurement and supply chain management service to the construction sector in the UK.
“Our work in East Anglia and our commitment to continually improving our standards laid the platform for what became a really successful 12 months in 2016,” added Mr O’Leary.
“We were in a position at that point where we were ticking all of the boxes when tendering for major projects. Contractors knew of us, and the high standard of our work, but now we were meeting all the requirements to be considered and the standard of our work was getting us over the line. Certainly, the latter half of 2016 has been the best period we have known in terms of securing orders for the future. It’s great to enter a new year with so much work lined up ahead.”
The biggest contract in 2016 came when it was selected to provide windows for new apartments as part of a prestigious new £400m development in London’s Islington Square.
Situated behind Islington’s Upper Street, the 4.5 acre development includes 263 residential apartments, 108 serviced apartments and 170,000 sq ft of retail and leisure, including luxury lifestyle brand stores, restaurants, a health club and cinema.
The £1.4m deal with Galliard Construction delighted Mr O’Leary, who said it demonstrated the firm’s enhanced reputation nationally.
“We were delighted to be been given such a great opportunity by Galliard Constriction, as they recognised our emergence as a leading UK joinery contractor and showed great confidence in us to give us a contract of that scale,” he said.
“The development is not only of the highest standard in terms of luxury accommodation, but the apartments were amongst some of the most highly-sought after in London.
“It was important for us to secure a major contract in London. It’s a breakthrough moment for a growing business like ours. These are the sort of developments that every business in the construction industry wants to be working on, and for us to be involved in such a prestigious project was another big milestone for us.
“It’s certainly not easy to win jobs like that. The competition is high and you have to be able to demonstrate a track record of working on high-end developments and producing work to the very best standard.”
With the firm progressing and developing an ever-improving port-folio, so too it improved its own processes and procedures.
Six months of work saw it add the ISO 9001 standard to its name, recognising its commitment to establishing quality management processes and working with a strong customer focus – another key indicator to customers of quality workmanship and value for money.
A major contract to install 2,000 square metres of windows on the prestigious £1bn North West Cambridge Development - effectively a huge extension to the city - came though Bam Construct, securing around 30 weeks on site for the Kingston Joinery team, installing Idealcombi composite windows on the first phase residential element.
Added to this, the firm has also played a major role in regeneration projects close to home, in the 2017 UK City of Culture Hull.
Here, its expertise was called upon on a number of key projects, including work at the new Siemens manufacturing site on Alexandra Dock, and on the refurbishment of the Ferens Art Gallery, which is undergoing a £4.5m refit ahead of hosting the Turner Prize exhibition from September.
The company also secured work through contractors Interserve at The University of Hull’s new £25m, five-storey Allam Medical Building, which is currently being built and will become the home of Hull York Medical School in the 2017/18 academic year, and will include a mock hospital ward operating theatre and intensive care facilities, as well as dedicated research space. The firm is also providing the full joinery package on the £16m refurbishment of Hull New Theatre, again due to be completed in September 2017.
These projects have been particularly pleasing for Mr O’Leary, giving his firm the chance to make a lasting impact locally at a very important time for the region.
“It may sound funny, but contracts close to home have not always been the easiest to secure,” he said.
“We’ve seen competition for work from outside the region who, in years gone by, have undercut on prices and have been selected by developers working in our own back yard, which has been somewhat disappointing.
“Now though, we are benefitting from being a few more years established, with some very impressive work behind us, and as always we are very competitive on price, as developers down south and beyond Yorkshire have started to recognise.
“It is this which gives us great confidence that our 10th year in business will be our best yet.”
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