The year in review: in conversation with David Harris, CEO

Premier Modular Group has experienced a wealth of successes in the past year, from multiple award wins to a new investor and everything in between. David Harris, CEO of Premier Modular Group, shared his thoughts on the business highs of 2023 and explored what is in store for the company in the new year.

How would you describe the past year for Premier Modular in three words? 

Resilient, successful and sustainable.

What key business objectives has Premier achieved or progressed toward in 2023? 

“This year has undoubtedly been a period of exponential growth for Premier Modular. We have secured significant new investment from MML Capital Partners, driven significant growth in our rental fleet, developed Net Zero Panels into an industry-leading, flexible panel provider and expanded our public sector client base across the group portfolio.

“On top of these achievements, we have also introduced multiple products and service offerings for our clients, delivered a number of truly net zero-in-operation buildings, along with the establishment of a strategy for longer-term, net zero-in-operation rental buildings to better support clients with constrained CapEx budgets. We have also added infrastructure into Premier Modular (BV) to ensure it is in best shape for the growth ahead across Europe.

“We are also incredibly proud to have kickstarted several initiatives in 2023 to accelerate toward our goal of becoming net zero by 2035. This includes a large-scale solar panel installation and progressing the electrification of our forklift truck fleet – both of which contributed to us winning the Environmental and Sustainability Award at Hull Live Business Awards in November. After a phenomenal year of successes, Premier is well-positioned to reach even greater heights in 2024.”

What does Premier’s 2023 portfolio say about the company’s achievements this year?

Our 2023 project portfolio exemplifies our company’s purpose: enabling a better tomorrow, every day, for generations to come. From life-changing medical facilities and welfare buildings supporting iconic construction projects, to best-in-class infrastructure and bespoke learning environments that facilitate flexible, high-quality education, we have delivered projects that will profoundly benefit the lives of many in the long term.

“We have been at the cutting-edge of UK innovation, manufacturing permanent and temporary life sciences laboratories for the ‘Golden Triangle’ to propel national research activity and cement the UK as a global leader in scientific discovery.

“At its core, the portfolio we have delivered illustrates the incredible speed, quality and versatility we achieve whilst remaining steadfast in our dedication to producing sustainable, net zero-in-operation solutions.”

What was your project highlight in 2023? 

“Numerous projects have been personal highlights for me in the past year. One that stands out in particular is our ongoing work for HS2, supporting the construction of the final 26km-line to the future Euston terminus. The sheer time and effort that our people continue to invest in managing a significant number of rental projects across multiple sites, alongside our implementation of a permanent construction skills centre, office and welfare facilities, is testament to the pride we take in our work.”

What challenges has Premier overcome in the past year?

Inflation, growth pains, product development, recruiting further technical expertise and the environmental stressors engendered in a post-Covid world, such as the cost-of-living crisis, have been massive challenges for us as a company to handle in the last year. It is no small feat that we have created effective solutions to deal with each one.

“Through constant collaboration with our clients, partners and suppliers, we have managed cost pressures fairly with the supply chain, devised divisional structure growth to maintain overall growth and developed our Transline Plus product in line with reducing the CapEx cost of new buildings. Internally, we have provided mental health support and mentoring and made investments in training for senior leadership, management, ESG, safety and technical skills to ensure our people are empowered to thrive.”

How has Premier supported its clients with the challenges they have faced in 2023?

Our speed of delivery and capacity has enabled us to respond to client needs efficiently and with cost certainty amid several, significant challenges this year. For instance, we have worked closely with a number of NHS trusts in 2023, providing rapid, flexible solutions that have relieved capacity pressures considerably and afforded the NHS more future flex with their budgets.

“Equally, Premier reacted immediately to support schools from across the UK in the midst of the RAAC crisis. Our team delivered decant facilities in incredible timeframes and supported a number of schemes to ensure schools could remain operational and continue providing a high standard of education.”

How has Premier accelerated its innovation in the past year?

We have been continuously innovative over the last decade, evident this year in our successful push to develop net zero-in-operation solutions and increased incorporation of green technology in our projects. Features such as rainwater harvesting systems and solar panels are now a frequent inclusion in our clients’ rental solutions.

“Sustainable innovation will be ramped up even further in the coming year as we look to introduce our longer-term, net zero-in-operation solutions to the market, offset all company journeys and drive down carbon emissions by using a carbon calculator for our rental products.

“Such innovation, coupled with our technical expertise, speed and agility, have contributed to our four award wins in 2023, including Project of the Year and Manufacturer of the Year at the MMC Awards.”

What are Premier’s ambitions for 2024?

“Cultivating a successful, engaged and rewarded workforce is a fundamental goal for 2024. Employee support mechanisms and a comprehensive training plan have been prepared to fulfil this alongside the continued nurturing of our fantastic apprentices who are critical to our growth roadmap.

“We are also gearing up to expand our UK presence, primarily in the public, health and education sectors, as well as the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice. This will be reinforced by our driving of organic growth through our BV business in the Benelux and DACH regions of Europe. Our units on rent are expected to continue rising in 2024 following an increase of more than 20 per cent in the last year and will be another critical growth goal for us in tandem with our thriving NZP business and net zero-in-operation, long-term rental solutions.

“The last 12 months have proven the immense success of our strategic pillars – customer centricity, operational excellence, leading on sustainability and investing in our people. As we enter 2024 from a position of strength, execution of these pillars will enable us to accelerate business growth with a real focus on our customers’ needs.”

To stay up to date with our latest announcements, insights and modular construction achievements, take a look at our news page.

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