Despite the challenges of recent weeks, we are pleased to report that our modular building factory in East Yorkshire has remained open and at capacity throughout the current pandemic.
This is thanks to the resilience and flexibility of our teams across the business who have risen to the challenge and embraced the new ways of working.
Our priority remains to keep our colleagues safe, particularly on site and in the factory – and to continue to serve our customers.
We were already in a positive position to weather this storm. Our financial performance is one of the strongest in the offsite sector, having grown the Premier business year-on-year for both permanent bespoke offsite solutions and interim buildings for hire.
In the past month, we have recruited an additional 30 staff in our factory to help us meet the rising demand for our modular building solutions. This is helpful for the local economy too.
Work has continued on all our sites during the pandemic, with the exception of just two projects which are now re-opening.
We installed a new £2.2m school building in Nottingham during the lockdown and the project is currently ahead of programme. Work on a £9m MOD scheme in Lincolnshire is nearing completion and we have just handed over a new Immigration Hall at East Midlands Airport. This has doubled the size of the existing facility and will significantly enhance the arrivals experience for passengers.
New orders secured include two residential projects. We have been awarded a £9m contract to provide accommodation for short-term emergency housing in High Wycombe, and a £1.5m apartments scheme in Dagenham to be used as temporary accommodation for homeless people on the council’s housing waiting list. These projects are in line with the Government’s policy to provide more accommodation to address homelessness.
Our Hire Division has met all its obligations for every customer, which is an exceptional performance in the current climate. Over this period, the team has manufactured and delivered an average of 60 modules for hire per week.
The hire team has been very fast to react to customer needs. Where sites had to close, the deliveries were re-scheduled and buildings stored to ensure a quick response when those sites re-open. Some projects have been accelerated to allow the programme implications of social distancing to be mitigated.
A number of our buildings already on hire have either been reconfigured or expanded to help our clients accommodate the new social distancing measures.
Whilst the economic outlook remains very uncertain, we continue to receive a healthy level of enquiries across multiple sectors for permanent buildings – such as schools, residential and MOD, and particularly in education, construction and Covid-19 related healthcare for hire projects.
Our project pipeline for both businesses is positive and encouraging.
A Renewed Focus on Offsite
Our view is there will be renewed focus and interest in offsite construction following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our approach to constructing and fitting out buildings in a factory significantly increases the certainty of delivery on time and budget.
We can improve the resilience of the industry by reducing the dependence on site labour. Productivity levels can be maintained safely in a controlled factory environment where we can more easily meet the vital requirement for safe social distancing than with in-situ construction, particularly on constrained city centre sites.
Our productivity levels have remained almost constant throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, despite the new ways of working and reductions in staffing levels in some areas.
Enhanced Measures for Safe Working
We have employed robust social distancing measures on site, in the factory and in our offices, responding at the earliest possible stage to all Covid-19 guidance.
These measures include daily toolbox talks for our manufacturing and site teams, the opening of additional lanes in the factory, and expanding our team of cleaners to clean touchpoints more regularly in each working day. We have also encouraged working from home where possible.
Working together, we will continue to ensure our colleagues are safe and the business remains strong to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations, now and in the future.
Eugenio de Sa