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Commercial upturn set to drive B38's rapid growth

B38 Group was founded less than three years ago but has already achieved turnover of £5m and co-founder Richard Phillips sees further growth coming from the commercial sector.


Founded 2011

Location Wakefield

Specialism Fit-out, facilities management and construction

Number of employees 39

Turnover £5m


Richard Phillips co-founded B38 Group with Tim Bailey just over two and a half years ago. Coming from architecture and chartered surveying backgrounds respectively, the two have quickly grown the company to a turnover of £5m.

“We set up in Wakefield to specialise in property, but we now also have an office in London and a depot in Swindon,” says Mr Phillips, director of the company.

“We’re treating the London office as a place for us to show our presence, as a lot of our clients are based in the West End,” he adds.

The firm is seeking new premises in Yorkshire as well to cope with growth. New staff are also being recruited, with eight engineers starting in the next three weeks.

B38 specialises in facilities management and maintenance for commercial clients such as Audi Volkswagen, Nationwide and Sixt Rent a Car. The group also carries out new-build construction and consultancy, but that currently makes up a smaller proportion of the business.

It was named for the address in Oxford at which the pair completed a job in their careers – 38 Bartlemas Road.

Leadership growth

B38 takes on a variety of contract values in a range of different sectors. “We are able to do anything from a 20-minute reactive maintenance job costing £40, right up to building a new commercial property,” Mr Phillips says.

“We’re treating our London office as a place for us to show our presence, as a lot of our clients are based in the West End”

Richard Phillips, B38 Group

A contract value of around £1m is currently the firm’s upper limit, but it is looking to grow. “We’re growing quite quickly and we have been since we started,” Mr Phillips says.

Part of that growth was supported by Growth Accelerator, a government-backed partnership between Grant Thornton, Oxford Innovation, Pera and Winning Pitch.

The service provided matched funding of £2,500 to improve leadership skills at B38, with leadership consultants joining the business for a four-month period.

Important projects

This rapid growth has seen the company take on some major contracts in recent months, including a maintenance contract for Dunelm Mill. “They have a big portfolio and our contract covers 74 properties,” Mr Phillips says.

“I think there’s a lot of good news in the marketplace at the moment. Funders are getting back on board, especially with speculative developments”

Richard Phillips, B38 Group

“We’ve just completed fit-outs for Fixt Rent a Car across the country as well. As we’re able to do everything from reactive maintenance upwards, we try to make sure we give these clients a cradle-to-grave approach.”

The company is partnering with another firm to construct a new-build supermarket in Sheffield and has recently finished building a 10,000 sq ft private residence in Leeds.

“This project was at the higher end and was a new US-style loft house in a luxury area of north Leeds,” Mr Phillips says.

Growth from retail

The co-founder sees an improving industry now, with more commercial developments potentially coming through.

“I think there’s a lot of good news in the marketplace at the moment,” he says. “Funders are getting back on board, especially with speculative developments.”

“End retailers are more confident in their growth strategies, which has a good knock-on effect for fit-outs and construction”

Richard Phillips, B38 Group

Retail is a sector with particular potential for strong growth in the near term. “End retailers are more confident in their growth strategies, which has a good knock-on effect for fit-outs and construction,” Mr Phillips says.

Although the aim is to grow all areas of the company, Mr Phillips expects the largest amount of business will continue to come in fit-out.

In addition, B38 is looking at other non-construction SMEs who will be looking to expand as the downturn ends.

“We’re going to target small, growing companies, like restaurant groups for example, and try to show that we can provide a way to help them expand their business through new premises or improved facilities,” he says.

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