Pellings was founded almost 40 years ago and has since grown into a multidisciplinary business employing more than 90 people. Chairman Richard Claxton explains what more needs to be done to secure the recovery.
Pellings was founded by John Pelling in 1977. The business has since grown into a multidisciplinary practice providing construction, property and architectural services, employing more than 90 people across two offices.
Over the past 15 years we have diversified from our building surveying base to specialise in delivering wider services including architecture, cost consultancy, town planning and health and safety.
We work across a number of sectors, but principally in housing, education and commercial with public sector and private clients, and we aim to deliver “tailored packages” to our clients.
We are involved in approximately £350m of construction work annually.
Experience gets repeat business
Repeat business stands at around 80 per cent, reflecting our philosophy that experienced, quality teams should serve all clients. This is coupled with extensive staff training and external events for our clients where knowledge can be shared.
“Appointing a good consultant over a cheap one is likely to save a client considerable costs in the long term”
Our business plan targets annual growth of more than 10 per cent. The strategy for achieving this involves reviewing the services clients require and developing our capabilities to offer them.
We have just made significant senior appointments to launch a facilities management advisory division and have developed specialist party wall, dilapidations and total asset management teams to meet demand.
Bidding must reflect upturn
It is pleasing to see the start of a real pick-up in the construction sector, although there are issues that must be resolved to cement the recovery.
The industry needs to move away from recessionary bidding to reflect the recovery, while clients must start focusing on quality rather than the lowest price.
In consultancy, projects are being tendered for at unrealistic prices, and firms claiming they can deliver at these levels often cannot and are almost certainly unable to provide a quality product.
Clearly this is detrimental to the client and we are regularly contacted by those who, after choosing the cheapest option, are now in serious need of a better service.
With public sector clients, some of the problem could be addressed by ensuring procurement people have a better knowledge of construction. But above all, clients must realise the benefit of appointing quality consultants.
When compared with the overall project cost, a consultant’s fee makes up a tiny proportion. However, appointing a good consultant over a cheap one is likely to save a client considerable costs in the long term.
Richard Claxton is chairman of Pellings