Contractor enjoys run of success

Housing contractor Wates has enjoyed a successful start to the year with a series of positive outcomes across its repair and maintenance, regeneration and new build business areas.

Wates Group’s results for 2017 showed a 5.9 per cent increase in turnover to £1.62bn and profit before tax at £35.7m. The company saw its order book hit a record £5.1bn heading into 2018. James Wates, chair of the company, said its performance had been rising steadily over recent years despite challenges arising from the Government imposed rent cuts and a changed climate after the Grenfell Tower fire with social landlords moving planned spending towards safety work.

He said: “We are seeing a change in the way budgets are allocated – a lot of local authorities and housing associations are redirecting spend from what has been bathroom and kitchen improvements into fire safety. As they have made that switch there has been a slight delay in orders coming through, but not a material one. We are helping in a number of areas to take cladding off buildings – we think we are trusted as part of the solution.” Wates has been chosen as a joint venture partner for a giant £1bn regeneration programme covering 12 estates in the east London borough of Havering. This will see 3,000 new homes built in the borough over the next 12 to 15years, with the programme in line to receive £33m in grant from the Mayor of London.

Plans include the creation of a construction academy through a partnership with Havering College and the Construction Industry Training Board. It is intended that around 165 apprenticeships will be delivered over the scheme.

Roger Ramsey, leader of Havering Council, said: “This is the most exciting and ambitious council home building programme in London. Forming this joint venture will allow us to provide high-quality new homes for existing residents and young people who want to stay in the borough.” Midlands-based housing association Longhurst Group has appointed Wates Living Space to a maintenance contract worth close to £100m. The 10-year contract includes repairs, void refurbishments and planned maintenance work to 16,000 of Longhurst’s 19,000 homes. In February, Southern Housing Group and The Guinness Partnership both appointed Wates Living Space to repairs contracts worth a total of £13m. David Morgan, managing director of Wates Living Space, said: “Being appointed by Longhurst Group to deliver this contract is further evidence of our status as a trusted provider of large-scale maintenance services of exceptional quality to housing associations and councils throughout the country.”

Sharon Guest, executive director of housing services at Longhurst, added: “We are delighted to be working with Wates Living Space to provide a new and improved repairs service to our customers. Having a single contractor to manage repairs across our member companies and the many communities we serve will ensure that we can provide a more efficient and consistent service to our customers.”

By Patrick Mooney, editor