In 1962, Jack and Noreen Coleman started a tiny demolition and excavation company.
Coleman + Company
Forty-three years later it has been passed down to two more generations of their family, and in the process it has grown into a sophisticated multidisciplinary firm with 74 employees and a turnover somewhere north of £8m. It will now undertake just about everything that can possibly be done to prepare a site for building work, from removing asbestos to piling and explosive engineering. It has also developed into an ambassador for the subcontracting community: it has never had to take a dispute to arbitration, it uses open book accounting and low-carbon emitting plant and it will turn out to deal with an emergency any hour of the day or night. No wonder turnover has doubled in past three years, and no wonder that the project manager on a job to remove concrete balconies from Birmingham’s grade I-listed town hall praised Coleman’s innovation, flexibility and environmental responsibility.
Only three years old, this company was founded by an entrepreneurial management who realised there was a gap in the market for providing innovative logistics, planning and implementation services to main contractors. The aim is to relieve clients of all the daily headaches of running a large site, from logistics and security to waste management. The firm’s success at doing this is seen by its work at some prestigious sites, including the BBC’s Broadcasting House flagship in central London.
A 35% increase in pre-tax profit is the result of good management – and the people who actually do the work, of course. But there’s also the fact that 78% of the firm’s work came from repeat clients, that it is the first demolition contractor to win public funding to set up a plan to recycle waste materials, that it visits its rivals to share safety information. Clearly this is a company that has placed itself at the forefront of its industry.
The past 12 months have been the most successful in Speedy Hire’s history. The best reflection of the firm’s achievement is in its share price, which has risen 200% in the past two years. What’s its secret? It understood the market and stayed just ahead of it as it changed. It also increased its efficiency by forming long-term partnerships. For example, a three-year deal with Mowlem increased its volume of work 300%.
This outfit was the first demolition company to embrace partnering, and the rewards can be seen in its the work for Rhondda Cynon Taf council, where it managed to save £100,000, which was then split equally with the client. The firm’s environmental credentials are exemplary – it recycled 95% of its waste material – as are its safety procedures – it has formed a partnership with the HSE to assist with best practice safety protocols and set best benchmarks.
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Specialist Contractor Awards 2005
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Site services specialist of the year