Ashwood Scotland

Contracts boom promises bumper 2018 for Ashwood Scotland

Archie Meikle

Despite recent news of a reduction in construction output, Bathgate-based main contractor Ashwood Scotland is reporting a spike in its order book following a raft of project wins.

According to data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) earlier this month, construction output in the UK contracted by 1.7% in October when an uplift of 0.4% was expected by economists.

But Ashwood, which was founded in 1999 and employs over 50 people, is reporting a surge in its project pipeline having picked up contracts exceeding £5 million in both the public and private sectors.

The City of Edinburgh Council has appointed the contractor to carry out a £2.2m extension to the nursery and gymnasium block at Leith Primary School.

Projects totaling £1.8m will see Ashwood deliver a new build nursery and a library refurbishment for West Lothian Council at Boghall Primary School and the Armadale Partnership Centre respectively.

“The start of next year promises to be extremely active with a number of new projects coming on stream, all of which are due for completion in the first half of 2018,” said Ashwood Scotland’s managing director, Archie Meikle.

“There’s no doubt the industry is facing challenges driven by wider economic factors, so we are very pleased to pick up some strong local contracts,” he added.

In Edinburgh the business has secured a £1.2m contract from Clic Sargent to form a two-storey extension and carry out alterations to an existing building. The structure will create a home from home facility for the families and young people attending the Sick Kids Hospital.

And earlier this year, Ashwood completed a raft of renovation and refurbishment projects at several University of Edinburgh campuses including the School of Informatics at George Square.

Meanwhile, the company has also continued its fundraising efforts as part of the Ashwood Scotland Foundation with nearly £7,000 raised at its annual Foundation Charity Ball.

Over 150 guests attended the Hilcroft Hotel in Whitburn where Mr Meikle’s daughter, Ashley, gave an emotional speech to the audience before receiving a cheque on behalf of Friends of Chernobyl Children West Lothian. The remaining balance will be shared between Simpsons Babies and Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.

“It was a special night for everyone who attended and we are delighted to have raised substantial funds for some very deserving charities,” added Mr Meikle.

Senior appointment made by Ashwood Scotland

Graeme Hadden

Graeme Hadden

Bathgate-based contractor Ashwood Scotland has announced the appointment of a new construction director.

Graeme Hadden will take over the role from Brian Mackay, 54, who has decided to take semi-retirement at the end of this year.

51-year-old Hadden, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Building and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, will bring a wealth of technical and contracting knowledge to the Ashwood team.

During his time as a senior technical manager at Land Engineering and previously as managing director of Watson Stonecraft, Hadden was involved in a range of high-profile projects including the Scottish Parliament, RBS Gogarburn HQ and Silverburn Shopping Centre.

“There is an exciting pipeline of projects at Ashwood and I can only see growth and opportunity going forward so I look forward to the period ahead with both anticipation and excitement,” explained Mr Hadden.

Ashwood Scotland’s managing director, Archie Meikle, added: “Graeme’s arrival will greatly assist our organic growth plans over the next few years.

“Despite Brian Mackay stepping back from the frontline, he will continue to play a pivotal role in our project planning and health & safety support both pre and post tenders, as well as remaining a shareholder in the business.

“Graeme and Brian have known each other for over thirty years and share a mutual understanding of the role so the transition will be seamless.”

Ashwood Scotland secures £4.6m of contracts

Liberton High School

Liberton High School

West Lothian contractor Ashwood Scotland is enjoying an upsurge in fortunes after securing new building contracts valued in excess of £4.5 million.

The Bathgate-based firm, which celebrated its 16th year in business in September, recently commenced work as the main contractor on the new Sports Hall extension at Liberton High School in Edinburgh.

The £2.25m project on behalf of City of Edinburgh Council includes the creation of an extended gymnasium/dance studio and new changing rooms alongside the existing facilities.

“We were extremely proud to be appointed by the Council to carry out this high profile project and will work closely with the local community and other key stakeholders in delivering a first class product,” said Ashwood Scotland’s managing director, Archie Meikle.

A number of other contract wins have been picked up including a £1.5m extension to a residential property in North Berwick and a £500,000 sports centre refurbishment in West Lothian.

In addition, the firm is involved in ward alterations for NHS Lothian at Livingston’s St John’s Hospital and will also carry out window replacement work at Gilmerton Community Centre.

“The construction sector in Scotland is steadily recovering and we have been pleased to see not only an increase in available work but contract values too,” added Meikle.

Meanwhile, The Ashwood Scotland Foundation, which topped £100,000 in donations last year, hosted its Annual Charity Ball in Whitburn on Friday night to raise funds for the Friends of Chernobyl Children West Lothian.

The charity aims to provide a months’ respite for the children of Belarus affected by the nuclear disaster of 1986. The Foundation is sponsoring 3 children at a cost of £1,200 per child and the target figure for the evening was £3,600.

Archie Meikle said: “The Foundation is into its 10th year now and the annual ball is always a great occasion. Last year we had 170 guests and raised £4,450 for ‘Small Change, Big Changes’; we are always stunned by people’s generosity.”

Ashwood Scotland smashes £70m contract barrier

Archie Meikle

Archie Meikle

West Lothian-based construction company Ashwood Scotland is celebrating 15-years in business this month shortly after the completion of its 313th project.

It takes the total contracts value of completed projects through the £70 million barrier.

The Bathgate business was founded in 1999 and has since gone onto grow to a staff 24-strong and establish itself as a well-regarded building contractor, with a turnover for the year to 2014 of £4-5m.

Ashwood Scotland’s managing director, Archie Meikle, said the company had to “change tack” during 2008’s economic downturn to emerge out the other end in a stronger position.

“Certainly the last five years has seen a contraction within the construction sector which has been quite severe,” he said.

“We managed to retain all the staff that we had pre-credit crunch and didn’t have to make any redundancies, which we’re quite proud of.

“When we saw there was going to be a downturn we went through an intense period of re-marketing in terms of identifying where our workload came from. We targeted the local authorities and public sector because we identified that would be where the main level of expenditure would come from.”

And to mark Ashwood’s fifteenth year in business it is fitting that the company is involved in one of its most challenging jobs to date – the £2-4m restoration of Edinburgh’s Panmure House. The grade-A listed building in the city’s Canongate area dates back to 1691.

The current phase of the works, which started in July, will involve the repairing and re-slating of the 17th century roof, conservation of the exterior stonework and replacement of the timber sash and casement windows.

“We are delighted to be able to bring our wealth of experience to such a fantastic project. We are very proud to be given the opportunity to rejuvenate such a prestigious, historical building for its unique 21st century purpose”, said Meikle.

The commencement of this job is the first in a pipeline of work the company expects to be starting as it enters the final quarter of the year. A recent survey of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) by Bibby Financial services indicated that two-thirds of those surveyed said they expected to invest in growing their business in the current quarter.

It’s a trend that Meikle has spotted and the company is now preparing to capitalise on the renewed confidence in the market: “We are now at a stage as we pick up this new volume of work we’re hoping to increase our compliment of staff. Our staff turnover is virtually nil and many of our staff have been with us a long time,” he added.