Ben Richmond really has ‘hit the ground running’ after taking over the helm of the construction company J D Richmond and Son Ltd less than 18 months ago.

Ben took over the business shortly before the company’s founder, his father John, died, and has continued delivering the high quality projects that the Richmond name has been known for across the South East since the early seventies.

In the past six months or so, he and his highly skilled team have installed four robotic milkers at a West Sussex dairy, built a bridge, erected a timber-framed building without instructions, built one industrial unit and extended another.

“It’s been a very busy six months, and it doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon,” said Ben, who is also continuing to work for an impressive customer base including many long-term clients.

“Margins are tight, with a lot of companies chasing the work, but we offer a competitive price and we have a well-earned reputation,” explained Ben, who also keeps Sussex cattle at the company’s base at Dalehurst Farm near Horsham, West Sussex.

One of J D Richmond and Son’s long-term customers is T and M Gue, at Huddlestone Farm, near Steyning in West Sussex, which has used the business since 1989 and contacted Ben in December when Keith Gue took on a new dairy business at the nearby Thakeham Place Farm.

Keith wanted to replace the herringbone parlour with robotic milkers and asked Ben’s team to install the high-tech kit. They had to do the job in stages, tackle some tricky layout issues with water pipes and work around existing farm and dairy operations, but finished the job on time and on budget.

“J D Richmond and Son Ltd have done a fantastic job of the robot rooms at Thakeham and Huddlestone,” commented Keith Gue. “It’s always great to work with these guys; they are reliable, professional throughout and complete works on time.”

Near neighbours of Ben’s, Andy and Amy Ilsted, of Amies Hill farm, Horsham, contacted J D Richmond and Son when they needed to access four acres of land they had bought on the other side of the River Arun. As well as fabricating and installing a steel girder bridge with a reinforced concrete slab strong enough to take a tractor and trailer, Ben carried out the necessary negotiations with another neighbour to allow him to access the site and carry out the work.

The same client had also bought a second hand timber-framed building which had been delivered to site but needed erecting. “It was just a pile of bits when we arrived, albeit neatly stacked,” Ben explained.

“There were obviously no instructions as it was second hand, but we figured it out, erected it and will be cladding it with feather-edged boarding. We also adapted the opening so it will take a roller shutter door.”

J D Richmond and Son also erects industrial buildings and created a new warehouse at Slimfold in West Sussex for an aviation business. The work involved digging back into a hillside and building retaining walls as well as doing the groundworks, erecting the steel frame, cladding the building and installing a power-floated floor.

At a site in Charlwood, West Sussex, the landlord had already rented out an industrial unit which involved extending an existing building, giving Ben and his team a tight deadline to finish the work so that the new tenant could move in. The work included installing four flues through the ceiling, along with a valley gutter, roller shutter door and two personnel doors, but was completed on time.

“It was a challenging project, but I have a great team which is driven by an overriding ambition to do the best possible job every time,” said Ben.