The scope and spread of work currently being carried out by steel framed building experts Forma highlights the company’s skillset, experience and comprehensive range of services.

While overseeing the completion of a new grain store at Wybournes Farm, High Halstow in north Kent, managing director Keith Stoner listed the other projects currently on Forma’s books.

“We are finishing a classic car storage unit at Hindhead in Surrey, working on a general purpose farm building in the Ashdown Forest, delivering the groundworks and a new winery at Etchingham in East Sussex and putting up a second building for an elderflower producer in Robertsbridge, again in East Sussex,” he said.

It’s an impressive list and reflects the reputation that Forma has established for the quality of its work across a range of sectors.

“We erect fully galvanised, steel-framed buildings,” he stressed. “We don’t compromise on materials to save a few pounds, but we do aim to put up the best building for the best price.”

In the case of classic car storage buildings, something that Forma has developed a reputation for erecting, the frame can be overclad with a range of materials to produce a more traditional look while retaining the benefits of a steel-framed, clear span building.

It was creating a storage building for farmer Richard Whitebread’s vintage tractor collection at High Halstow that led to the order for the grain store currently being completed at Wybournes Farm.

Richard was so pleased with the building that when son Nick, who farms with his father as R A Whitebread, was looking for a new grain store, he turned to Forma. 

“Repeat business is very important to us,” Keith explained. “The building currently going up for the elderflower producer in Robertsbridge is also the second we have done for that particular company. Our attention to detail and customer focus is aimed at building up a good relationship with all our clients, and that is often reflected in second or third contracts.”

The grain store at Wybournes Farm is 30m by 18m and 6.5m to the eaves, with two roller shutter doors and a personnel door, four metre high reinforced concrete walling and a similar height dividing panel. It has a power floated floor for ease of cleaning and a generous concrete apron to the front.

Forma benefits from Keith’s wide-ranging experience in construction across a range of disciplines. After starting work alongside his father in 1984, he took time out to attend Crawley College, where he completed a City & Guilds qualification in constructional engineering.

After working for a time for the fire service and then the police, he set up a building company in 2001 and gained valuable experience in the residential sector before returning to larger scale building working as a project manager for a steel-framed building company. He spent time as a contracts manager with a groundworks company before setting up Forma in 2017, and has seen the company grow steadily ever since.

While the increasing demand for English wines has seen wineries form a relatively large part of Forma’s current order book, the company delivers the full range of agricultural buildings, including livestock housing, machinery sheds and general purpose buildings.

The Forma team is also skilled at renovating and repurposing agricultural buildings. A recent project in Burgess Hill saw Forma construct five new buildings and convert two other concrete-framed, asbestos-clad former farm buildings into smart, modern, offices as part of a diversification project.

There are five permanent staff plus a pool of tried and tested sub-contract staff that are brought on board as necessary. As South East Farmer went to press Keith was about to take on two more full-time staff in response to the company’s growing workload.

“We have a skilled workforce and we like to do turnkey projects,” he added. “From site clearance and groundworks through to fit out, electrical installations and final handover, Forma has the knowledge and experience to deliver.”

Keith Stoner