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Timber specialist builds on sustainable growth

26 July, 2022

Fencehouse Truss

A TIMBER construction specialist rooted in the North East has doubled the size of its manufacturing facility and head office after a year of solid growth.

Fencehouse Timber Engineering, which manufactures sustainable roof trusses, timber frames and floor joists for the construction industry, has purchased additional premises adjacent to its head office and factory in Houghton-le-Spring as it looks to capitalise on the UK's construction boom.

Despite the pandemic, Fencehouse Timber Engineering saw its orderbooks swell for a third consecutive year in 2021, as the UK's construction industry continued to rise to the challenge of tackling the nation's housing crisis.

The investment has led to the creation of eight new full-time jobs and has seen the company invest heavily in its design and IT capabilities as it looks to increase its capacity to meet the growing demand for its products and services.

Established during the recession of 2008 by business partners Steve Harris and Steve Brown, Fencehouse Timber Engineering now employs a team of 54 and provides solutions to some of the biggest housebuilders in the country.

Steve Harris, co-founder and director, said: "We are delighted to have committed our future to the North East. This is where it all started when we built our first factory 16 years ago and we've continued to invest and expand our roots here ever since.

"As a leading designer, manufacturer, and supplier of roof trusses, timber frame, space joists and spandrel panels, the UK's construction boom and ambition to construct 300,000 housing units per year has really boosted us as a business.

"Over recent years, housebuilders across the globe have had their eyes opened to the need to embrace more sustainable building methods, leading to a surge in demand for sustainable products made using materials such as timber, which benefits from the lowest embodied C02 of any building material on the market.

"This has led to companies such as ours, which take pride in using only the most sustainably sourced timber, playing a key role in helping businesses reduce their carbon footprint while producing more thermal properties that are greener and safer, far exceeding traditional building standards."

The expansion of Fencehouse Timber Engineering's factory and head office follows the company's acquisition of the former Gentoo Housing office just off Blackthorn Way.

Steve added: "From simple self-build garages to large-scale commercial projects - we've seen our orderbooks fill up rapidly over recent years and the expansion of our factory and design team was key to ensuring we were able to continue rising to the increasing demand from our customers and scaling up our operation.

"It has been a bit of an upheaval, as such large-scale investments often are, however taking the risk is already paying off. It's really allowed us to continue innovating by bringing new products to market and increasing our design capabilities and we're confident about what the future has in store."

Fencehouse Timber Engineering has also expanded its off-site manufacturing capabilities which - when embraced by contractors - requires far fewer heavy machines and energy and offers better safety and working conditions.

"Offsite manufacturing is something we see as a huge growth opportunity," Steve added. "By manufacturing components in a controlled environment, it can massively reduce build times, improve safety and slash emissions.

"Investing heavily in our machinery has allowed us to not only increase capacity to take on more off-site projects but also ramp up productivity and improve the overall quality of our products.

"If the UK is to address the housing shortage and deliver its ambitious targets of creating 300,000 homes a year, embracing Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) such as off-site manufacturing will be key and we are proud of the role we play in driving innovation within the sector."

Fencehouse Truss has been supported throughout its journey by the business investment team at Sunderland City Council.

Cllr Claire Rowntree, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "All eyes in the construction world will be on Sunderland next year as the city hosts The Future Living Expo 2023 and this will really help us shine a light on the successes of companies such as Fencehouse Timber Engineering.

"Sunderland is leading the way in driving the green economy, be it through electric vehicles, plastic and rubber recycling or construction and Fencehouse is a prime example of that.

"It's been a pleasure working with them over the years and we'd like to wish them all the best for the future."

For more information on Sunderland as a place to do business, visit: https://www.mysunderland.co.uk/business-and-investment or follow @InvestSundUK on Twitter.

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