A Statement from Steve Fareham
A Statement from Steve Fareham
I have had the privilege of being employed by Billington for over 49 years of its 70 years existence, with 25 years as its Managing Director. I have seen the ups and downs of the industry, met and worked alongside some great people, many who are still with the business after 30 years, or more, and have experienced many laughs, and a number of tears, when tragedy struck.
In 1968 I was employed as a trainee, when the Billington brothers of Arnold (who founded the business) and Rex recruited a chartered structural engineer, Dave Morris to guide them into structural steelwork, from their welding and jobbing world.
The 1970s was marked by steady growth, intermingled with national strikes and disputes that led to three-day weeks and power cuts. Perhaps the most notable project undertaken in this period was the Harrogate International Centre and a number of design and build contracts, with the then Shepherd Design Group of York, were undertaken and Shepherd remained a key customer. Additionally, a series of full, turnkey, contracts were undertaken in Iraq, the first being in the Kurdish city of Erbil. However, recessions came and went until the family sold the structural steelwork business in 1982 to the then AMCO Corporation Plc, which eventually became the current Billington Holdings Plc.
Rapid growth followed and Billington became early adopters of technology, including involvement in the European Eureka project, which in the late 1980s, was even then talking about modelling and what is now known as BIM. Sustained growth from 1991 to the financial crash of 2008 allowed investment in machinery and CAD, together with factory extensions and new offices. Billington began to become a major player in the steelwork sector and indeed remains one of the top three steelwork contractors in the UK.
Many projects have been undertaken nationally and internationally and, outlined below, are a number of projects that I believe became key tipping points in the development of the business.
- Cameron Ironworks Leeds with Clugston Construction, Billington’s first 1000 tonne of steel contract.
- Serpentine Green, Peterborough with Kier a very major project that allowed the purchase of Billington’s first CNC plate machine.
- Major office block on Clarendon Road Watford.
- Many projects with Manchester Airport, and with their contractors, including pier C, domestic arrivals and the link bridges between terminal 1 and 2.
- IKEA warehouses at Doncaster and Peterborough, with Shepherd Construction, in total over 6000 tonnes of steel.
- Xscape indoor ski at Castleford once again with Shepherd Construction.
- For over 10 years the dozens of projects with the then Bovis (Lendlease) on project SLAM providing single living accommodation modules for the military.
- At Heathrow airport, numerous projects with a variety of contractors which included the Domestic arrivals area and terminal 2 baggage handling facility.
- The rebuilding of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford upon Avon with MACE.
70 years is a lifetime and Billington is now, once again, in good shape and growing, most notably with the developments at the Shafton site. I remain honored to continue my involvement with this great business as a Non-Executive Director of Billington Holdings Plc.
Here’s to the next 70 years!