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An increase in timber prices and the depreciation of the pound in the wake of the Brexit vote have affected profits.

For the year to the end of December 2017 the firm actually saw revenues increase 10% from £21.7 million to £23.7m, but after its cost of sales figure rose by 11% to £19.5m, pre-tax profits fell by 5% to £1.8m.
Writing in Oregon’s accounts, which were recently filed at Companies House, chairman Rod Lawson (pictured above) said: “Gross and net margins continue to be affected both by the depreciation of the pound as a result of the EU referendum vote and increased demand for raw materials. Material costs have been rising and it is expected that margins in the current year could be lower than last year.”

Earlier this year the firm’s management team completed a buy-out of its non-management shareholders, including the 15% stake in the business held by its largest external shareholder group, Archangel Investors.
Oregon said that timber prices rose by around 20% during 2017, in part because more and more firms are following its lead by using timber as a primary construction material, leading to a scarcity of supply.

While much of its focus is on the Scottish market, Mr Lawson said: “The business aims to increase the amount of work it does south of the Border. In view of the large potential housing market in England efforts are being made to diversify geographically and service clients in that market.”

Last month, we asked all Oregon employees to complete our 2nd annual people engagement survey. As a Company, it’s very important to us to understand how our people are feeling about the environment they work in, the opportunities we give them and the Company itself.

Out of the 25 questions we asked, we have improved in 17 of them from this time last year.

Standing out as a huge improvement for us is how people feel about Oregon itself. We have invested a lot in training and grown the number of our employees over recent months. Confidence has grown in terms of our people feeling more secure about our Company’s future, and feeling much more positivity towards our brand and benefit’s package.

One of our other top performing areas was a recognition that people here are always looking for ways to improve the business. Whether it be Technical changes to ensure we stay at the forefront of new innovation in timber frame structure, or smaller, ad hoc changes to make the processes we undertake more streamlined and effective, we are always striving to continually improve the way we do things.

The Modern Apprenticeship Programme offers the chance to be involved in many aspects of the business and ultimately develop a long term career working for one of the UK’s largest timber frame manufacturers.

Tammy Yourston, Human Resources Manager, (above left) said “We’re incredibly proud of the apprenticeship scheme we offer and the progression that our students have made”. “Two of our first apprentices, Kyle Boyd and Connor Kelly, are key success stories recently completing the Level 2 NVQ in Timber Frame Erection in June – Kyle and Connor are the FIRST students in the whole of the UK to successfully complete this nationally recognised qualification – fantastic achievement.”

Connor also picked up “Apprentice of the Year” in his first year at South Lanarkshire College Graduation event (above right). With this experience under his belt, Connor is now actively looking to further his career and is now signed up for the Advanced Craft course at SLC”.

Oregon continue to work closely with Developing the Young Workforce – Borders and have recently welcomed Jeff Beyers from Skills Development Scotland for his Career Advisor Industry Insight Placement and Factory Tour. Robin Dodyk, Technical Director, pictured below right said “Oregon’s aim is to offer closer links between Industry and Schools/Colleges to provide the best possible blend of learning for young people and to raise awareness of what potential career opportunities are available to them locally”.

#InvestinUs is an initiative being run by Developing the Young Workforce – Borders.

Oregon Timber Frame Limited has completed a buy-out of its non-management shareholders, including the 15% stake in the business held by its largest external shareholder group, Archangel Investors (“Archangels”).

The move brings to a close a near 20 year relationship between Oregon – one of the UK’s largest independent timber frame house manufacturers – and Archangels, the Edinburgh-based business angel investment syndicate.

Oregon, which was established in 1998, specialises in the design, manufacture and erection of structural timber frame packages to volume house builders and developers. The business is trading strongly and in its most recent accounts, for 2016, reported record turnover of £21.7m and pre-tax profit of £1.9m.

From its headquarters in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, and an additional manufacturing plant in Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire, Oregon employs 148 people and continues to benefit from strong demand from the UK house building sector for timber framed structures, due to timber’s value as a sustainable, renewable building material.

Rod Lawson, Chairman of Oregon, said:
“Archangels has been a part of Oregon since the early days of the company and we’re truly grateful for the support that they have provided to us.
“Archangels haven’t just been investors, they’ve been friends and mentors too. But the time is right for us to repay that investment and to continue the Oregon growth story with a fantastic team of people and excellent prospects as one of the UK’s largest independent timber frame manufacturers.”

David Ovens, Chief Operating Officer at Archangels, said:
“Oregon has been part of the Archangels portfolio for almost 20 years and we are thrilled to see the business performing so well and making such a strong contribution to the local economy in the Borders. Archangels is proud of the contribution we have made to Oregon’s successful journey and we look forward to seeing Oregon continue to thrive under Rod Lawson and the rest of the management team.

Many thanks to all who took the time to complete our Customer Survey. We really appreciate the feedback and the winner of the draw is Francis Cassidy from CALA homes. A prize will be on its way to you shortly.

At Oregon we pride ourselves on the service we provide to our customers. The results of the survey have told us we are doing well in many different aspects of our service.

• Just over 90% of you think we have a very high, or high, quality product
• 70% of you think we are either extremely or very flexible in changing delivery dates.
• 80% of you are satisfied with the kit erection process on site.
• 100% of you think we are great at maintaining high health and safety standards.
• Nearly 90% are satisfied with the service you have received from Oregon Timber Frame.
• In fact, our average score is 4.17 out of 5 for your overall customer service experience.

We continue to constantly try to improve the way we do things and the service that we offer. The survey has been helpful in pointing out some areas for us to focus on this year.

Although the survey is now closed, we continually welcome feedback, so please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to a member of the team at any time.

With over 20 year’s timber frame experience, Kevin Thomson, design manager has led the design team for the past 2 years.

Kevin told us, `We have a mixture of home grown talent with various backgrounds which enhances our construction knowledge, and our investment into trainee roles contributes to our ongoing success. We are very proud of the long standing relationships we have with our clients which we have achieved by working closely with their design and technical teams and we look forward to establishing new relationships as our clients base grows’.

Exciting times ahead, as well as accommodating our existing client base expansion plans, we have new clients with new house types and we very much looking forward to the challenges 2018 will bring”

Client Testimonial

“Oregon Timber Frame have ‘partnered’ with the CALA East business for many years. In particular a very interconnected working relationship has grown with their design and technical staff. This has allowed us to develop and fine tune the timber frame elements of our home, making small but significant improvements to the final built product. We find that this approach of working hand-in-hand is a great benefit in tapping into the wealth of knowledge and resource of the Oregon design team. The quality and speed of service they provide has steadily evolved as they have grown in knowledge of our particular demands and needs, to a point where they are now an integral, very successful part of the procurement process, delivering the necessary design information to be shared with other parties in a timely manner”. Phil McCulloch, CALA Homes

 

At Oregon we pride ourselves on the service we provide to our customers. We are constantly talking to our customers to understand their needs. However, this year we have also decided to launch an on-line customer satisfaction survey.

We will be asking questions about a variety of topics such as:

  • Our Timber Frame product
  • Sales and service support
  • Our Technical Backup
  • Our performance and experience onsite

It is really important to us to get some valuable feedback about how satisfied our customers are, so that we can understand not only what you think we are doing well in, but also whether there are any areas which we need to address in order to improve further.

We are using Survey Monkey which means that you can enter your responses on-line, and completely anonymously. The survey is open from now until Friday 1st December.

If you are a site manager or contracts manager and have utilised Oregon for your timber frame construction needs, please make your opinions known at:
https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Oregoncustomersurvey

Oregon Timber Frame Ltd has released its trading results for the year to 31st December 2016.
Turnover for the year at £21.7m was up 7% on the record turnover in 2015 and pretax profit was maintained at £1.9m despite the adverse effect of Sterling’s depreciation following the Brexit referendum.
The current year’s profit is being affected by significant material price increases, but sales continue to be strong.
Joint Managing Director, Kenny Dunkley commented:
“The Company has increased its orderbook and has also expanded its client base during the current year. Housing demand remains positive but resources on site are increasingly scarce. This is an industry-wide issue and in order to help address this, we have been the first Company in the UK to recruit and train timber frame erector apprentices in conjunction with CITB and South Lanarkshire College. There are currently 7 apprentices out of a total workforce of 138.”
The recent appointment of Neil Fitzsimmons is expected to strengthen the strategic development of the Company as it plans controlled growth while seeking to maintain dependable service levels to clients.

The Company is pleased to announce the appointment of Neil Fitzsimmons as a non-executive director to help the Board develop its growth strategy, particularly in England, and to provide a high-level appreciation of its housing developer customers and the market they operate in. Neil was formerly CEO of Avant plc, where he carried out a major restructuring, and before that was CEO of Redrow plc. He is a non-executive director of the Home Builders Federation, the leading industry trade representative body in England and Wales.