From the establishment of Kenward Groundworks over 20 years ago, the Horsham-based company has grown into a major player in the construction sector throughout the South East.

While the groundworks division still makes up a major part of the company’s expanding operation, the recent addition of a steel frame buildings department means it can now provide a comprehensive, one stop service based around a highly qualified, 80 strong in-house team together with a well-respected plant hire business.

Kenward is able to offer steel-framed buildings for a variety of uses including general purpose barns, livestock, grain, fruit storage, light industrial, viticulture and equestrian facilities together with all the associated groundworks.

The business was established by Nick Kenward, whose farming background has been invaluable in advising customers on the most cost effective, practicable and future proof facility for their enterprise.

As well as Nick, the company has three experienced contracts managers Matt Gibbs, Frank Holman and Keith Stoner, three quantity surveyors and a full time health and safety advisor together with the large in-house workforce.

Kenward is in demand from house builders, civil engineering companies, land owners and light industrial unit providers and will shortly commence groundworks for 90 homes near Guildford and six apartment buildings at Walton-On-The-Hill.
This well established portfolio of work together with many years experience in the agricultural construction sector led to the realisation that the talented team had all the necessary skills to offer steel-framed buildings within the Kenward design and build package.

As Matt Gibbs explained, while Kenward is still happy to provide sub-contracting services to a range of companies there are times when keeping the job in house is the most cost-effective option for the client.

“We have the machinery and the manpower to do the whole job, so there is never any delay between the various stages and we can get the job done and hand over the keys quickly, efficiently, on time and in budget,“ he explained. “It’s always reassuring to know that everything you need is in your control.”

Nick has grown his company from one tractor to an impressive fleet of machinery that includes 42 excavators and four new eight-ton CAT excavators delivered just a few weeks ago. When the machinery, which also includes a grab lorry, telehandlers and cherry pickers, is not being used by the contracting company, it is available for hire, another successful part of the multi-faceted business.

“We hire the machinery with or without an operator and we tend to be relied on by a local customer base of smaller builders and landscapers,“ explained contracts manager Matt Gibbs.

“We pride ourselves on offering a complete service and while that’s particularly important when supervising larger projects, the focus on detail extends to our hire operation too. We have a close relationship with most of our clients, who tend to be local, repeat customers who know they can rely on us.”

While the impressive fleet of machinery adds to the efficiency of the operation, the agricultural background of the man at the helm allows Kenward to provide a valuable input into schemes.

“Because Nick has always been around farming and now runs his own operation at Moathouse Farm and on land nearby, he is able to talk to farmers about what they need and suggest ways of making sure any new building does the job it sets out to do “ explained Keith Stoner, who joined the team recently from another well-known steel-framed building company.

With a background rooted firmly in construction engineering, Keith joined Kenward because he was excited by the challenge of helping to grow the newest part of the well-established company. “There is a real buzz around Kenward and I want to help drive it forward,” he explained.

“We always like to visit the client on site, discuss the options – often taking advantage of Nick’s experience – and then use our in-house team of quantity surveyors to make sure the price is competitive. With our own machinery and 80 strong workforce we can then see the job through to completion and handover.”

Keith also has an unusual link to Moathouse Farm. “Before I went to Technical College back in the mid-80s, my father had an ongoing contract with a big landowner in the Horsham area. One of the projects involved the renovation of the estate manager’s house at Rusper. When I joined Kenward, some 30 years later, I discovered Nick and his family were living in the house I had worked on all those years ago.”

Working throughout the South East both on large and small projects, Kenward is currently involved in a variety of contracts. For example, the steel framing team is completing a three-bay, steel-framed building with concrete infill panels for light industrial use as part of the diversification plans of a Dorking farmer.

Also the specialist agricultural groundworks team has finished a very different project for a local farmer where Kenward has refurbished a 24m x 18m building and at the same time added a concrete floor and introduced a complex livestock handling system.

“The order book continues to grow overall and we are very pleased with the growth of our steel framed building division with several prestigious developments due to start this summer,” said Keith.

Kenward is also in demand for its skills in the equestrian sector, where it once again specialises in providing the whole package, with a dedicated team working on stables, riding areas and gallops.

“We have the plant, the workforce, the skills and the experience to deliver virtually any kind of project,” Matt continued, “the important thing for clients is that our in-house, team approach means we never need to wait for someone else to do something.”

“We are experienced at meeting all the planning requirements that come with building in more sensitive areas and we are registered installers for off-mains drainage with the right qualifications to connect to a main sewer and work on the public highway,” said Matt.

“The team has played a big part in helping me grow what started off as a groundworks operation into a broad-based operation dealing with most residential, commercial, civil and agricultural needs across the South East,” Nick concluded. “We’ve come a long way, but I’m determined that Kenward will continue to grow its customer base and continue to provide a professional, knowledgeable and first class service.”

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