With a fresh rebrand, James Frew is preparing for the next century of success 

James Frew Ltd (James Frew) is one of the largest privately-owned building service companies in Scotland, providing integrated property solutions in plumbing, gas maintenance, mechanical services, heating, electrical installations, and property upgrades for both public and private sector clients. With more than a century of experience, the business is well-equipped to deliver integrated property solutions for the social housing, new build construction, health care and education sectors, as well as a B2C offering, its award-winning Home Plans by GasSure product. Having gained a reputation for excellence, James Frew also delivers social housing modernisation projects, alterations to schools, and mechanical and plumbing work on new build housing.  

We last spoke with Roddy Frew, Managing Director at James Frew, in early 2023, where he explained the company’s latest projects and significant investments into technology. However, since our conversation just over one year ago, the business has a fresh look, driven by a redesigned logo that modernises the brand while embracing over 113 years of tradition, heritage and excellence.  

Roddy begins: “Last year, we successfully rebranded James Frew with a fresh new logo to reflect our longevity, tradition, and evolution as a provider of market leading services. We’ve incorporated ‘1911’, the year the business was founded, into the logo, so that stakeholders instantly recognise our longevity in the industry. We believe our mission and values reflect our 113-year trading history and rich heritage, and the rebrand emphasises our traditions and milestones we have reached along the way, including the reliability we provide our clients. There is something to be said for hanging in there!” 

He adds: “The rebranding has also given us the opportunity to review our sponsorship arrangements. We signed a contract in the summer of 2023 to be the main sponsor of Kilmarnock Football Club’s first team which was the highlight of the year for many of our employees, and we are incredibly proud to watch our local team play with the James Frew logo on their shirts.”  

Impressive portfolio James Frew workforce award winners

James Frew recently established a new office and depot in Greenock to serve current and future contracts. It will also help progress ECO4 funded projects, On Demand services like boiler installations and extensions, and of course, its flagship Home Plans by GasSure which cover homeowners in the event of central heating, plumbing and drainage, and electrical failure.  

Roddy explains: “We have a significant presence in Inverclyde and provide social housing gas service and maintenance support for Cloch HA, Larkfield HA, River Clyde Homes and Oaktree HA. In addition, we provide multi-trade reactive maintenance services for both Cloch and Oaktree. We are fully committed to providing a first-class service to our customers in Inverclyde and our new premises supports our plans.” 

Since our last conversation, there have also been further enhancements in terms of technological developments. Gordon Mack, Head of Operations at James Frew, elaborates: “We have now successfully launched simPRO into the business, which has given us access to data and analytics to help improve our internal workflows. simPRO has also provided us with a springboard to implement innovative technologies and integrate them with the new system.  

“We’ve implemented Square Pay, which enables our customers to pay online or through an easy online portal,” Gordon explains. “We have also added the ‘Find My Engineer’ feature to increase customer satisfaction and operational efficiencies across the business with customer communications that enable customers to access real-time transparency and controls. Lastly, we have integrated Hostcomm’s Remote Visual Assistance software (RVX) to enable collaborative working, as it allows two people to connect and work jointly on a project, from problem solving and surveying to training and compliance, including quality assurance inspections.” 

Turning to projects, Roddy details: “We recently completed a £2.7-million renovation project at Barnett Court, a sheltered housing complex in Saltcoats on behalf of North Ayrshire Council. Barnett Court is the first of a series of sheltered housing modernisation projects within the new framework, and we are delighted to have delivered the project back to North Ayrshire Council on time, within budget and to an exceptionally high-quality standard.”   

Specialist services 

On top of these projects, Paul Lynn, James Frew’s Head of Operations in Modernisation, is keen to tell us about the company’s new offerings. “We’re excited to announce our new ECO4 and On Demand services,” states Paul. “We recently signed an agreement with Octopus Energy to help us deliver our ECO4 service which will allow us to support both social tenants and private homeowners to access funding. Regulated by OFGEM, the funding aims to improve insulation levels within properties, reduces annual fuel bills by installing new, and more efficient clean energy systems, working towards eradicating fuel poverty. 

“Our On Demand services, on the other hand, will allow us to further support the needs of our existing customers, as well as reach out to new private sector customers. This service provides emergency repairs and upgrades like new build houses, existing property upgrades, commercial and residential extensions, and internal alterations. We know that private customers are looking for reliability, quality workmanship and an honest and transparent approach to pricing. These are our guiding principles, and we are well-equipped to serve current and new customers looking to upgrade, extend and alter their properties.”  

Growth strategy 

As our conversation draws to a close, Roddy turns to the future of the business. “2024 is set to be another busy year, both internally with continued investment and externally in terms of projects. We were immensely proud to win two prestigious awards at the Ayrshire Chamber Awards last year, which we believe highlight our commitment to workforce development and organisational growth. We firmly believe in providing our staff with the necessary tools and training to develop their technical and managerial competencies and we are not only fostering individual growth but contributing to the long-term success of the business. 

“Looking ahead, we are anticipating sustained growth, continued innovation, and a steadfast commitment to excellence,” Roddy concludes. “While financial stability inevitably remains a core priority which enables us to invest strategically, diversify our portfolio, and explore new markets, we’re also dedicated to growing the James Frew Academy, as well as embracing sustainability and social responsibility.”