Reputation is key
Rochford Construction Ltd (RCL) has excelled over the last three-and-a-half decades in creating an industry-leading reputation for itself built upon successful project completion, on-time delivery, and adding a personal touch to all that it embarks upon
Regular readers of Construction & Civil Engineering are likely to be familiar with the name Rochford Construction Ltd (RCL), with this family-run business having previously graced the pages of this publication. Established in 1986, RCL has excelled in creating a first-class reputation for itself within the groundworks and external works sector, built upon a proven ability to succeed in completing projects within budget, within programme and to specification. It has also ensured that health and safety remains at the heart of every action it takes, believing that taking extra care in the planning of each project positively correlates with minimising risks as much as physically possible.
During the course of its 35-year history, the business has expanded to provide services including reinforced concrete frames, civil engineering, hard landscaping, and plant hire, and has shown time and time again how much it values repeat business and long-term relationships with its clients, many of whom are considered tier one companies in their own right. Today, London and the Home Counties are the locations of around 80 percent of the work that RCL undertakes, however such is the company’s range of services and scope of its activities that it is more than happy to travel around the country for the right clients.
“Whether it is Basingstoke or Birmingham, London or the south coast of England, we have shown ourselves to be more than expert at delivering the results that our clients demand,” states RCL Director, Gerard Rochford. “We are recognized for being a hardworking, hands-on and caring company, and one which possesses a great deal of experience in different fields. With our industry-leading management team, excellent project and contracts managers, and incredibly honest, trustworthy engineers, we have built a level of trust with our clients that sets us apart from other contractors in the industry.”
At the time of our conversation with Gerard – in late September 2021 – RCL had numerous projects underway and at various stages of completion. These included a student accommodation project in the centre of Birmingham, projects in Hampshire, a high-profile project at Sky Studios in Isleworth, and several contracts being delivered on behalf of the Department of Education across London. “In the last few years in particular, we have seen a considerable upturn in demand from the education sector,” Gerard notes. “We have successfully worked with a number of tier one contractors on numerous new-build schools in that time, resulting in the education sector now representing a large percentage of RCL’s annual turnover.”
RCL’s continued success is all the more impressive as it comes at a time when the UK is in the process of slowly recovering from the damaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. As Gerard goes on to detail, while the period since March 2020 has at times been worrying – and often complicated – he could not be prouder of what the company and its people have accomplished. “Right the way through the pandemic, RCL has remained operational, and our people can take great pride in making that possible,” he declares. “Of course, we had to change and adopt several different procedures from the get-go, investing a lot of money into things like PPE and ensuring that our people could operate in a safe, socially distanced environment. Admittedly, we were fortunate in that we already had plenty of work secured at the time that Covid-19 swept across the country, but it has still required an immense amount of effort to get through the last 18 months or so.”
As is also well documented, the UK currently finds itself in the midst of challenges relating to rising material costs and a shortage of labour in a number of important sectors. “In spite of this, we continue to work extremely hard to secure new contracts, and we have a good pipeline ahead of us, despite the volatile environment that we find ourselves in,” Gerard adds. “What has also been vital to maintaining our levels of activity is the supply chain that we have surrounding us, made up of dedicated businesses in their own right who are committed to coming along for the ride with us as we look towards the years ahead.”
With 2021 heading towards its final few months, it seems as good of a time as any to ask Gerard what his priorities are going forward and what the outlook for 2022 looks like for RCL. “We obviously have a great team here at RCL, and our top priority is to keep everyone as busy as possible by securing new contracts and delivering fantastic results for our clients. As you will know, during the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020, a number of projects were shelved, and with those now mostly back on, we have benefitted from being able to take on a significant amount of work. Nevertheless, the short-to-medium-term outlook for the industry and the wider economy is still very uncertain – due to the various challenges mentioned before – so that is something that we have to remain wary of.”
This hasn’t stopped RCL from investing in its own future, however, as Gerard points out. “In order to comply with and work within ultra-low emissions zones (ULEZ) we have spent a considerable amount in upgrading our fleet of excavators to comply with Euro6 engine regulations. We have also invested in a number of electric hybrid vehicles for our people, and we will continue with this trend in the months to come, adding more electric hybrid and low emission vehicles and plant to our portfolio.”
So, what of the strategy that is leading Gerard and RCL in the future? “The strategy – as it were – is really to achieve more of the same, by which I mean winning and delivering those projects that we have shown ourselves to be more than capable of taking on,” he adds. “Yes, we have grown in recent years – and we continue to do so – but that has never truly been our primary focus as a business. For us, reputation is everything and we want to go on being recognised for our ability to deliver quality work within budget. At the same time, we will go on investing money back into new, greener equipment and other capabilities that we believe will keep our clients with us for the long-term. We know from experience that if we achieve all of that, growth will naturally follow!”
Rochford Construction Ltd
Services: Specialist groundworks, external works and landscaping