As I look back on 2019 I am filled with feelings of satisfaction and fulfilment. It has been a year in which we have been privileged to work on some exciting projects and with some excellent clients, as well as continue to grow the business with the addition of new personnel, plant, machinery and our joinery workshop.
All this being said the beginning of 2019 was filled with feelings of uncertainty as the Brexit circus continued and we were all heading for an exit from Europe on March 31st……or so we thought! This uncertainty was raising questions around how Brexit would affect our industry? Will it cause our clients to hold back? Will we see material price rises? Will we see materials shortages? All these unanswered questions led us to insist on clauses being added to any new contracts to allow for prices and programme to be reviewed and adjusted if our European exit should have an impact that could not have realistically been predicted, especially as many of our contracts can span for 6 to 12 months or more. With the benefit of hindsight I can now say that to date we have not seen any tangible negative impact to our operations and have instead had one of our most successful years increasing our turnover and subsequently our resources.
One of the most exciting projects we have undertaken this year has been dramatically increasing our in-house joinery capabilities. The development of our purpose built joinery workshop has enabled us to offer our clients an in-house bespoke joinery service, manufacturing and fitting bespoke kitchens, wardrobes and cabinetry as well as windows, doors, skirtings, architraves, staircases and timber-framed structures such as Orangeries, porches and garden rooms. Bringing this service in-house has given us much greater control over quality and programming. As we only supply our Leckhampton Builders clients we have complete control over the manufacturing process and are therefore not beholden to any external suppliers that may cause project delays.
2019 has also been a big year for Leckhampton Builders in terms of looking at our Carbon Footprint and impact on the environment. In an attempt to reduce our impact and make our day to day operations more sustainable, we have invested in a Woodwaste Burner and Briquetting Machine to turn the sawdust byproducts produced in our joinery workshop into briquettes that can be burnt as Bio-Mass fuel which in turn provides the energy to heat our workshop and offices, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels used for more traditional heating systems run off a mains supply.
Our Woodwaste Burner also allows us to burn any wood waste from our construction sites as fuel significantly reducing the amount of waste we are sending to Landfill. This is one of the first steps in becoming ‘Carbon Neutral’ which some may argue is an impossibility in the construction industry? But given the potentially grave state of our planet we must all look to do what we can and not make excuses to continue with the status quo and expect others to pickup the slack. These may be baby steps but all these small actions combined with the small actions of other likeminded individuals and organisations can add up to make a huge impact!
2019 was also a monumental year for me on a personal level as it saw the arrival of my first born child a beautiful baby boy, Kit James Thorne! As a family business it is an immensely satisfying feeling to know that the next generation is being nurtured to one day take the reins? Kit and his cousins would represent the third generation of Thorne’s involved in the business if they choose to take that path.
As we look forward to 2020 a year in which we celebrate our 30th anniversary we hope to build on the solid foundations in place and continue to grow the business and go from strength to strength!