Strengthening construction sector sparks sister-company launch for Norwich firm

Andrew Clarke, Andrew Warman and Austen Williams at Griffin Green in Pottergate. Photo: Bill Smith Andrew Clarke, Andrew Warman and Austen Williams at Griffin Green in Pottergate. Photo: Bill Smith

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
6:00 AM

A Norwich-based development consultants is looking to build upon the increased buoyancy in the construction sector with the launch of a new sister company.

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Griffin Green has created the construction management and procurement firm Harrison Harris to compliment its architectural design and project management business.

The announcement follows the company’s decision to move into the former headquarters of Voluntary Norfolk, on Pottergate Street, after winning a £360,000 contract to refurbish the building.

Andrew Clarke, co-director of Griffin Green, said the workforce for the two companies would grow from 7 to 12 this year as it targets fresh contracts for commercial builds in the medical and education sector.

But while Harrison Harris is projected to hit £1m growth in its first year, Griffin Green’s two-year turnover growth – from £50,000 to £500,000 – is expected to fall slightly, after driving funds into the new business.

It comes as a surge in housebuilders helped construction activity grow at its fastest annual pace in four months in June, bucking expectations of a slowdown.

Mr Clarke said the combination of the two firms created a business model that was unique to Norwich, as it allowed customers to be guided through the design, planning and build phase with consultancy input from both businesses. 
“Bringing these two operations together matters because when we go out to market people are often confused and do not know where to go after the architectural design phase,” Mr Clarke said. “But because we have that initial involvement in the project, we can now guide them through the construction process.”

Austen Williams, contracts director for Harrison Harris, said: “We provide a transparent approach to procuring construction work that looks to get the best deal for client – which makes us different.”

The monthly Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) jumped to 62.6 in June from 60 in May, its highest level since February and well above analysts’ forecasts of a fall to 59.5. A reading above 50 represents growth.

Meanwhile, Griffin Green is currently on the cusp of finalising a deal to project manage a £5m care home in Norfolk – a further sign that the construction sector is strengthening across the eastern region.

Andrew Warman, co-director of Griffin Green, said the company’s wider ambition is to break into the development market for Norfolk’s research and innovation sector.

“We have got the experience to do it,” Mr Warman said. “But we have to make our reputation known and continue to invest our profits back into the business to expand.”

• Do you have a business story for the Eastern Daily Press? Contact business writer Ben Woods on 01603 772426 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk

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