Actavo plans to double business with Yorkshire factory growth

Matthew Goff, director of UK operations at Actavo Building Solutions at Tickton, nr Beverley.  Picture Tony Johnson.
Matthew Goff, director of UK operations at Actavo Building Solutions at Tickton, nr Beverley. Picture Tony Johnson.
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An offsite construction firm which makes buildings for the education and commercial sectors has ambitious plans to double the size of its business over the next three years after ramping up manufacturing at its new Yorkshire factory.

Actavo, which is part of an international group with a £500m turnover and UK head office in Wakefield, employs 64 people at the Beverley site, which opened in May.

Plans are already afoot to expand the factory with the purchase of a 322,917 sq ft building, which sits in between Actavo’s offices and production line and is currently used by another firm for storage.

If successful in its acquisition, Actavo would use the building to house a steel fabrication bay and also move its door workshop into a bigger space.

It would double the size of its existing premises.

UK operations director Matthew Goff said: “It’s fantastic that we opened in May and now here we are talking about how we can be more efficient and get more product through. We don’t want to say no to customers.”

Mr Goff plans to grow the business across the education and healthcare sectors as well as specialist areas including the petrochemical and student accommodation sectors.

His ultimate ambition is for Actavo, which is currently the eighth largest off-site construction firm in the UK, to be number one.

Actavo’s modular buildings, which have a 60-year warranty on their structure, are made in fairly complete sections that can be shipped by truck to a building site. By the time they leave the Beverley factory, they are 85-90 per cent fully-fitted.

Its products range from a temporary classroom to bespoke permanent buildings worth up to £6m. Eighty per cent of its work is in the south of England but it works all over the UK and it recently took on a business development manager for Yorkshire.

Actavo has built offices for Devonport Royal Dockyard in Plymouth, and a shop for Sainsbury’s. It is also building an extension to Harrogate Grammar School.

Mr Goff said: “The market is buoyant. There is some uncertainty surrounding Brexit which initially caused the market to react slightly cautiously. But we are now starting to see some buoyancy out of that and some decisions being made in relation to government-funded schemes.

“The private sector is a tough market and has been for a few years. But certainly government-funded projects is where the growth is at right now.”

Speed is one advantage to offsite construction. “We can build something here while the groundworks are taking place so it cuts down the amount of time we’re on site,” said Margaret Tunstall, Actavo’s UK estimating manager.

Quality and safety are also benefits, according to Mr Goff. “Cutting down the activities on site allows us to focus in a controlled environment on those quality and safety aspects,” he said.

Looking ahead, he added: “We have a full order book to April next year and there are good opportunities for growth.”