Wates to focus on housing and offsite manufacturing

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Wates has unveiled a series of organisational changes, including a major commitment to housing and an intensified focus on design and offsite manufacturing

Wates has revealed the organisational changes which will intensify its focus on the opportunities that lie ahead in its key sectors.

The announcement also incorporates revisions to its structure along with a series of new executive appointments.

Chief executive of Wates, David Allen, said: “The last four months have challenged all of us in new ways.  Working together, the team here at Wates has met those challenges with great ingenuity, determination and success.

“Our business and our strategy have been tested and have proved to be robust. We are now adjusting our structure to focus on the great opportunities that we believe lie ahead in our key sectors.

“These changes give us the best possible prospects of thriving in the current environment and once the coronavirus crisis has passed and we’re confident that our future direction is clear.”

Major commitment to housing

Wates is making a major commitment to the growth of the Wates Residential business, establishing it as a stand-alone business and appointing Helen Bunch as its executive managing director.

Bunch, who is moving from her current position as MD of fit-out and refurbishment division, Wates Smartspace, said: “I am really delighted to be joining the award-winning Wates Residential team who are making such a positive impact on local communities, providing people with great places to live.

“With the Wates Group’s renewed commitment to invest in the business and a great market opportunity ahead of us, it’s going to be an exciting time for us, our partners and our customers.”

Property services expansion

From 1 August, Wates Smartspace will become a division of Wates Property Services, joining Wates Living Space and Wates FM under the leadership of David Morgan, executive MD, Wates Property Services.

The move reflects the Smartspace business strategy to have a more balanced public/private sector portfolio and should allow it to benefit from the group’s existing public sector relationships, as well as the opportunities to share skills and create cost efficiencies.

A new Smartspace MD will be appointed in the coming weeks.

Integrated construction services

As part of the organisational changes, Wates’ construction business will intensify its focus on design and offsite manufacturing, and strengthen its capabilities in complex sectors, such as healthcare.

Following its successful collaboration during lockdown on a project to build a new intensive care unit for the Royal London Hospital in only five weeks, SES Engineering Services, Wates Building Services and Prism – Wates’ specialist offsite manufacturing facility – will be brought together under the umbrella of Wates Integrated Construction Services (WICS).

Rob Clifford, currently MD, Wates Building Services, has been appointed Managing Director, WICS, reporting to Paul Chandler, Executive Director, Construction.

Following the recent resignation of MD Jason Knights, Steve Joyce has been appointed managing director of SES.

Together with Prism Design and Manufacturing Services, WICS will lead the group’s digital transition and adoption of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC).

Public sector director

From 2021, approximately 70% of the group’s turnover will be from public sector customers.

Wates has appointed Steve Beechey as strategy director to the newly-created position of public sector director.  Beechey will ensure that Wates plays its part in helping the government achieve its ambition to ‘build back better, build back greener, build back faster’.

Expanded development services

Also part of the organisational changes, David Brocklebank, executive MD of developments, will oversee the continuing evolution of the division through the Wates’ Development Agency Service offer and the creation of a new Wates partnerships business to generate ‘turnkey’ opportunities.

Investment director, Natalie Flint will continue to lead the growth of the Development Agency Service offer.

Helen Rieman, former head of business development and partnerships at United Living, joins Wates Developments as partnerships director to help identify, develop and fund housing, key worker, build to rent and senior living schemes.

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