Chartered Accountants and Professional Business Advisers

Churchill Contractors

Based in Woking, Churchill Contractors was founded in 2012 by Laurence Brown, primarily as a brickwork company working on small contracts. Commercial director Simon Lockyer explains that the company grew to include scaffolding and then roofing.

“By doing the brickwork, scaffolding and roofing, the ‘shell’ of the building stays entirely in our hands,” says Simon. “It enables us to build units quickly and retrieve our asset – our scaffolding.” Churchill Contractors works on major house-building sites across the south-east for major UK house-builders, including Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Linden Homes, Countryside and Bellway.

Simon explains that after working as a sub-contractor for a number of development companies, last year they decided to buy some land and set up their own development company – St Richard Homes. This is its first year of trading and they expect to sell around 20 units.

Labour challenges

Simon says the industry’s main challenge is finding enough competent labour. “We have around 700 operatives which we expect to grow to more than 1,000 this year. Good tradespeople are increasingly in high demand, less readily available and the rates of pay are rising exponentially.

“There’s little we can do to mitigate against this other than to be very careful not to win more work than can sensibly be serviced. We also recruit a lot of apprentices and aim to train as many young people as possible.”

Future plans

“In just six years we have grown from nothing to a projected turnover of more than £30m in 2018. We have a great relationship with most of the big players in the construction industry and pride ourselves on doing a really good job and offering a first-rate service on all contracts.”

“We believe Churchill’s growth will continue but expect it to be slower than what we’ve experienced to date. With St Richards we hope to build the brand and become a reasonable-sized developer, creating 200-300 units per year over the next couple of years.”

Support from Shipleys

For the last year, Shipleys has provided both companies with a range of services, ranging from day-to-day advice to full audited accounts.

“We outgrew our previous accountant and so looked to Shipleys to help get us on an even keel,” says Simon. “Steve Foster and Peter Conneely have worked tirelessly. It hasn’t been a straightforward transition but Shipleys has made it as pain-free as possible.

“We hope that Churchill and St Richards continue to grow together along with Shipleys and we look forward to what the future holds. We can’t speak highly enough of how much an asset Shipleys has been to us this last year or so.”