Having successfully navigated some challenging trading conditions during parts of 2019, award-winning AB Glass can report another successful year and many positives as it heads into 2020, including its biggest ever order book.
While its staff base has remained steady during this period, AB Glass has recruited for several key positions to help the company continue to grow and prosper in 2020. The most recent new employees are contracts manager Claire Bell; contracts assistant Sarah Hadley; assistant factory manager Jamie John; and stores professional Ryan Evans.
The company has also continued to demonstrate its commitment to recruiting and training a new generation of employees by partnering with local schools and apprenticeship programmes. Its work in this sphere was recognised when it received an award from Careers Wales for its commitment to helping students prepare for their future careers and its support of apprenticeship programmes.
The year has also been notable for some important strategic developments in the company. AB Access Control, its new access control division – launched in 2018 with a six-figure investment – completed its first full year of trading in 2019.
AB Access Control achieved an impressive turnover, rapid growth and the acquisition of high-profile clients including JCP Solicitors and Neath Port Talbot Council in 2019. It has also secured some notable housing associations as clients, including Coastal Housing, Pobl Group, Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association, Taff Housing Association and Wales and West Housing Association to name a few.
AB Access Control specialises in fully certified FD30S and FD60 adaptation doors funded by Disabled Facilities Grants for disabled tenants and homeowners. It is also now the only UK company able to offer customers a one-stop shop with regard the installation of the doors, the access control systems and the management of the automation settings. All systems are bespoke and designed around the recommendations of occupational therapists.
Meanwhile, AB Glass has also secured and completed many high-profile projects in 2019 for notable clients across Wales. Some of its highlights include continued work for Swansea University on its £35 million Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT); and working with construction company ISG to deliver the £39 million Fusion student high-rise accommodation block at Mariner Street, Swansea.
The company has also completed schools in Newport and Barry; worked on leisure facilities such as the Everyman Cinema in Mermaid Quay on Cardiff Bay; worked with Wilmott Dixon on the AIEC Building for Aberystwyth University; and partnered with Kier Construction on the construction of a new Pupil Referral Unit in Cockett, Swansea, for Swansea Council. This project is the first of many such units in the UK and will be the benchmark for the specification for the rest of them.
AB Glass was also delighted to take on a very prestigious project for construction company Morgan Sindall: an £8 million head office and training facility at HMS Cambria in Cardiff Bay for the Royal Navy. This was a flagship project for the client Morgan Sindall, and AB Glass was honoured to be the winning supplier and installer.
AB Glass was also very pleased to secure a number of new clients in the South West of England. The team was especially excited about working with Kier at St Sidwell’s Point Leisure centre in Exeter on what will be the first Passivhaus (an ultra-low energy standard for buildings) Leisure Centre in the UK. The company also worked with Kier on Glassfields Plot 2 and 4 in the centre of Bristol, Cineworld Cinema in Weston-super-Mare and Keynsham Leisure Centre. Finally, it is working on the Humanities Project with construction company ISG for the University of Bristol.
Other highlights from 2019 include the company being awarded a certificate for outstanding and commended safety performance by the South and West Wales Safety Group. It also secured smoke ventilation certification, making it one of only a few firms in Wales allowed to manufacture En12101-2 certified smoke vents. AB Glass also has a team of engineers who install the vents ready for the connection to the building management system.
With so many achievements during 2019, AB Glass is confident that its success is only set to continue throughout 2020. Its managing director Alan Brayley is aiming for further growth in the coming year and the company plans to invest more in plant and equipment to achieve this.
AB Glass will also continue with its community engagement efforts in 2020, particularly with local schools and universities. The company is dedicated to helping to enhance employability skills in the region and hosts educational visits at its premises to give key insights into the world of manufacturing.
Alan Brayley, managing director of AB Glass, said: “While the company did face some challenges in 2019, especially during the first half of the year, our profitability remained robust throughout and I am delighted with the team of people we have developed in the company in recent years.
“Sales then improved dramatically in the second half of the year and we approach 2020 in very good shape as a result. I would like to see the business grow significantly next year, which is very achievable based on the people and infrastructure we now have in place. Despite some of the wider uncertainties in the world and the economy, this is an exciting time for the business.
“Finally, I would like to thank all of our extremely valued customers, associates and members of staff for all of their support throughout 2019. We wish you all a wonderful Christmas and very happy New Year, and look forward to working with you in 2020.”