Stepnell reports double digit growth in turnover for 2018/19

Stepnell has recently completed the first phase of a new 85,000 sq. ft. business park development in Rugby. Pictures Copyright Beth Walsh.

Construction specialist Stepnell has reported its 2018/19 results, which show a 12% increase in turnover from £146 million in 2017/18 to £164 million, showing a “solid and stable performance.” The firm has also seen a four per cent rise in gross profit.

The 151-year-old family-owned firm operates across central and southern England has attributed its robust performance to a range of successful projects during the year and a clear strategy of competing in diverse markets including healthcare, retirement and education and extending to commercial business, retail and leisure premises, and also civil engineering works.

Tom Wakeford, joint managing director of Stepnell Ltd said: “We welcome these results after a challenging year for the construction industry. The market remains mixed with a number of our competitors struggling, and as such a few projects had their challenges, particularly through terms and conditions that proved to be more onerous that expected and subcontractors going out of business.

“We remain cautiously optimistic that our revised business model, with a focus on lower risk terms and conditions, will hold us in good stead. Stepnell has a more diversified range of projects than ever before and this will position us to withstand market risks.

“Strategically, Stepnell is using 2019/20 as a year of consolidation and looking at our customer base very carefully. We will continue to refine project selectivity this year, being cautious and signing up to the right commercial terms.”

Stepnell continues to manage successful framework projects for National Grid (Civil Engineering), Oxford Brookes University, Reading University, Crown Construction and Procure Partnerships and Dorset County Council.

Stepnell Limited’s parent company Stepnell Holdings has also reported a steady set of results for the financial year ending 2018/19 with turnover up 7.41% from £156 to £168 million.

The balance sheets on both Stepnell Limited and Stepnell Holdings are strong and solid with £48.9 million worth of fixed assets within Stepnell Holdings and an additional £19.7 million worth of fixed assets in Stepnell Limited.

Tom Wakeford said: “Because of the stability of Stepnell and the parent company, we know we have a robust future, despite the difficult climate. Our underlying performance is improving. We have a strong order book going forward and an increased the level of due diligence that we apply to each project that we consider, to enable us to make more robust decisions when choosing whether to bid for or decline individual opportunities. This has led to our current projects having had a greater level of scrutiny during the bid stage and before they are signed into contract and therefore more successful now that they are on site.

“We have appointed a new commercial director, John Green from Bouygues, who has been bought in to spearhead the continued development of our commercial strategy of being selective about the projects that we undertake and ensuring that we continue to deliver great projects for our clients.”

Stepnell has worked on many high-profile schemes within its key sectors during 2018/19 including:

  • Stepnell Park, Rugby – circa £10 million business park development that is 85,000 sq. ft. in size and features ten new industrial, warehouse or trade-counter buildings. That site has been self-funded by Stepnell and as such is a corporate asset will be a future revenue stream for the business.
  • Stepnell delivered ‘Aspects’ the second phase of the National Memorial Arboretum’s development programme to create a high-quality permanent event venue. Designed to complement the Remembrance Centre, the £5.6m single storey steel framed building, was delivered in just 36 weeks.
  • West Walk Leicester Student accommodation – a RICS award-winning High-end, energy-efficient student residential scheme. This part refurbishment and part new build project has created high quality new student accommodation in Leicester City Centre. Former commercial buildings on the corner of West Walk and Princess Road East were transformed by Stepnell to provide 85 self-contained studio bedrooms with en-suites. The new development also provided a range of communal facilities including a gymnasium, cinema room, common room, study pods and onsite laundry facilities.
  • Wantage Care Home and Wantage Apartments – £16.4m high-end care home facility is being delivered by Stepnell for two different clients. The scheme includes 65 independent living apartments and 50 care beds spread across two separate three storey buildings. The development will also include a bistro, café, lounge, social spaces and communal breakout spaces alongside landscaped outdoor areas.
  • Gordon’s School, Woking- Stepnell has just begun work on a £6m sports hub for this prestigious, non-selective state boarding school which features a 1,223 sq. metre sports hall with supporting spaces and a new all-weather pitch.
  • St John’s College library & study centre, Oxford – This challenging project delivered by Stepnell included a new study centre and central archive in part of the President’s Garden at St John’s College in Oxford. The new four-storey building sits at the centre of the College’s extensive site and links to the northern end of the Canterbury Quadrangle on both the ground and first floors.
  • Lidl stores- As part of a framework agreement, Stepnell has delivered five new Lidl stores across the country, including stores in Bedford, Droitwich & Loughborough which are already complete. The new 2,206m2 retail stores will be delivered to BREEAM Very Good, featuring wide aisles, an on-site bakery, extensive storage and administrative areas as well, as 126 car parking spaces.
  • Shared Care at Otterbourne Hill, Winchester -Unique to the UK, this ground-breaking project will improve the lives of people with dementia and their families offering a full range of integrated, personalised and flexible dementia care and services. Stepnell constructed this BREEAM Excellent and Stirling Gold dementia standards project, which comprises a care home as well as one and two-bedroom assisted living apartments, enabling couples to live together in their own home, with care and respite available 24 hours a day. There is also a dementia friendly hub providing a creative, dynamic and friendly space at the heart of the centre which includes lounges, a restaurant and café and the 64- bed care home offering specialist person centred nursing care, including end of life care.