London Projects Ltd is a High-End Residential Refurbishment Company based in Central London with High Net-Worth Clients ranging from business owners to celebrities. PHPD recently caught up with the company to find out more about how it prides itself on taking a hands on approach.
Nicholas Stuttard and Steven Howat, Directors at London Projects Ltd, started the company in 2005 with their own vision on working in the industry.
The pair worked together at a leading residential developer and started on their first project with little more than a laptop and no office space. They wanted their work to do the talking, taking on jobs primarily through word of mouth rather than advertising. Steven explained: “We have now been involved in the prime central London residential market completing with over 350 projects in the last 16 years, so it’s become our specialty, our niche, and there are probably not too many companies around that have that same expertise.”
The type of projects the company work on range from a full refurbishment of a 15,000 sq. ft Grade 1 listed house to a 2,000 sq. ft. apartment refurbishment in Knightsbridge. Approximately 50% of the projects the company work on are listed buildings. The company is also fiercely secretive when it comes to the questions on who their past or present clients are.
London Projects Ltd now runs around ten projects at a time with over 40 staff based in the office and over 120 operatives on site including; Site Managers, plumbers, carpenters, labourers and electricians.
Hands on approach
The company is very keen to take a hands-on approach to every project. Both Nicholas and Steven are out on sites most days to monitor the progress and make sure the operation is running smoothly. All clients have their personal numbers to contact them throughout the refurbishment process in order to speak to them directly. “People are entrusting us with probably their biggest asset,” explained Nicholas “and to be able to gain their trust, they want to be able to speak to the person directly responsible.”
Despite having project and site managers there on a day-to-day basis, Nicholas says said that the types of clients they deal with a lot of the time are business owners and expect to get the answers they want straight away.
London Projects HQ is based in Westminster which, Steven argued gives them an advantage over other companies because of their central location. He said: “We are based in Westminster so we can be out on any of our sites in 20 minutes which is key for that hands on approach, we have seen contractors come in from further afield in London and further afield over the country and the actual logistics of running a project in Central London is a lot harder than people anticipate.” The pair believes that this hands-on approach and accessibility is part of the reason that the company has been able to form good relationships with clients and help the company grow organically.
“People are entrusting us with probably their biggest asset, and to be able to get their trust they want to be able to speak to the person directly responsible.”
Choosing the right type of people and companies to supply products is important to London Projects as it deals with high end products that require a lot of technical skill to manufacture and install. These include marble flooring, car stacking systems and all the latest audio visual gadgets.
The supply chain is kept local and largely within London, and again due to the nature of the work, the company is keen to work only with known reliable suppliers that can deliver the high quality products. Furthermore, due to the types of clients they work with they are very protective of their suppliers and discretion is key.
The company hire, what they call, “tradesmen for tradesmen jobs” in order to ensure that all tasks are carried out to the high standard they require. However, both directors list the lack of suitably qualified labour as the most limiting factor to their business.
Steven, who originates from New Zealand, explained that they often take on a lot of Australians and New Zealanders as he feels they have stronger apprenticeships. Nicholas noted how the company is trying to combat the skills shortage: “I think that’s one of the biggest problems within the construction industry within the last 20 years, but we have got apprentices that work for us and we like to encourage that and make sure they’ve all been trained up and given support and guidance to give the apprentices the best start in their chosen career.”
Investment is also put into keeping staff safe on site with health and safety of big importance. An external health and safety consultant visits all sites every fortnight, spending time with the site manager then producing a written report covering the good points and noting areas that need improving. Nicholas says this is to ensure nothing slips through the net, as there can be anywhere up to ten projects going on at a time and this makes it easier to monitor. They believe this safety-first approach combined with dealing with projects hands on is the key to their success and they plan on sticking to what they know by continuing to work in in the High-End Residential Sector.
To find out more visit www.londonprojects.co.uk