Ringmer, East Sussex-based D&D Construction has joined forces with Scorpion Engineering Construction in a move which has brought together more than 90 years of steel-framed farm building experience.

New opportunities

“This is an exciting time for us,” said Matt Wickham, the son of the late Dennis Wickham, who set up D&D Construction in partnership with Doug Jeary in 1975. Doug retired from the business in 2014.

“The merger will open up new opportunities while allowing us to improve build times dramatically and become even more competitive because of our greater buying power,” he explained.

The merger follows the establishment of Core Steel Ltd, a new specialist fabrication operation in Hereford. As an in-house fabrication unit, Core Steel has added significant responsiveness to the business.

“Both companies have been using Core Steel for some time, and joining forces was a logical step,” said Matt. “Core Steel’s quality process management and CE marking accreditation was all based on the D&D blueprint so we know that our customers are getting the same high quality product they have been used to.

“At the same time, Core Steel is a bigger operation than we used to have in Seaford and that has made a huge difference to our efficiency. We can now deliver and erect 50 tonnes of fabricated steel per week, which is a big increase on our old maximum of 15 tonnes.

“It means a building that used to have a lead-time of eight weeks, for instance, can now be completed in six – or perhaps fewer. Our buying power has improved, lead times are shorter and we have the stability provided by being part of a bigger operation.”
D&D Construction offers a full range of farm, equestrian, commercial and light industrial buildings and specialises in designing bespoke buildings of whatever height, size or shape the customer requires.

Creating the right building

“We have always taken pride in creating the right building rather than in buying in pre-made components and giving the client the closest thing we have to what he or she really wants.” Matt explained. “The business was founded on that principle and that is still the most important aspect of our service.”

While Scorpion has a wider geographical presence, D&D Construction will continue to focus on Sussex, Kent and Hampshire, and it will continue to be Matt who meets customers, organises the drawings and supervises one of the company’s three experienced erection teams.

“We have built up a good reputation for giving 100% on all jobs, whether it’s a £10,000 extension, a leaky gutter or a new build worth a quarter of a million pounds,” said Matt. “We care about the quality of our buildings and our service because that’s what we have built our reputation on.”

The care extends to using quality products such as Briarwood Products’ EUROSIX fibre cement materials. “The quality of service I get from Briarwood is always excellent, and that’s important to me,” he commented.

From strength to strength

With an order book that is already looking impressive, Matt is confident that the new set up will help D&D Construction go from strength to strength – and the other side of the partnership is equally happy.

Scorpion Engineering Construction managing director Andre van Heerden described it as “the coming together of two of the longest-serving companies in the farm building construction sector”. He added that the link-up would “improve our responsiveness to the ever-increasing demands of the marketplace and increased regulation”.

Andre said the combined operation, including Core Steel, would be “better able to compete in this great market and provide excellence for our cherished customers”.

He added: “I would personally like to reassure all D&D customers that there will be no compromise on the great quality, service and support Doug Jeary, Dennis Wickham and their teams provided throughout the first 40-plus years of D&D Construction.
“We are proud of the long-standing history and reputation of the D&D name.”

Matt Wickham added: “This has taken D&D Construction up a gear, with better buying power, great backup and shorter fabrication times. We can also provide faster galvanising, as Core Steel is next door to the galvanising plant in Hereford.”

Recent projects carried out by Matt and his team include a large hay store at Rye, a range of business units for let on a farm near Ringmer and a refurbishment and extension to an industrial unit at Waldron.