As the festive period looms, it is a time for reflection and to take a brief pause and reflect on what has been a hectic and successful 2013 for Condor Projects. A year in which ties has been strengthened with long term clients and a period in which new links have been formed which we hope to develop into 2014 and beyond.
The year has seen the Company engaged in all areas of the UK and with another pilgrimage into China. 2013 has seen many of the employees decamped in Ross on Wye and Cirencester for most of the year to the detriment of their native Yorkshire tongues and their marital commitments nearer to home. A presence has also been developed in Kent at the back end of this year and with projects undertaken in North and South Wales together with St Andrews in Scotland and a December trip to the Shetland Isles, Condor can truly claim to be a totally National (and international) Company.
Alongside this traditional ‘heartland works’ have been completed on the bridges throughout North Yorkshire and canals throughout the UK. Our infrastructure stabilisation works have developed beyond major roads and a successful new string has been added to the bow with the huge embankment stabilisation works in Kemble and Minety for Network Rail through Morgan Sindall. An area which Condor see as a growing area for 2014.
Whilst still viewed as a ‘family’ size operation, Condor’s success has been based on utilising existing resources together with investment in new plant and using skills in embracing innovation to move up a notch in terms of contract sizes that can be carried out. A range of services had been targeted to ensure Condor is successful in areas only available to the truly specialist contractor and flexibility together with an ability to work with contractors and designers to find solutions and cost savings enables Condor to maintain its niche position.
Ten Highlights of 2013 (in no particular order)
1. Integration into Rail work. Involvement in the Swindon to Kemble Redoubling works. Spanning from February to May and June to October, a large amount of resource has been tied up in this important Network Rail project. Working closely with Morgan Sindall has seen the development of a good relationship which we hope to expand. A variety of skills has been needed to overcome the client requirements including the use of rope access and investment in new drilling equipment to work within tight access. Management of such an extensive project has required adaptability and tenacity with Condor’s staff showing beyond the call of duty dedication to deliver a successful outcome.
2. Reintroduction of Pile cutting operations. It was extremely pleasing to witness that Condor is still a market leader in this area. Our ‘in house’ pile saws are still proving to be at the cutting edge of this area of work. With skilled operatives combining with innovative equipment Condor can still deliver up to 100 cut piles per day exceeding client expectations.
3. Road Infrastructure works. Condor, predominantly in conjuction with Volkerlaser completed a number of important projects in this area over the last 12 months. Weather provided the biggest obstacle in the early part of the year whilst working on the M50 and M6 simultaneously. Fighting the freezing conditions and keeping plant fully operational tested our operatives whilst on the M50 and dealing with snow covered banks and blizzard during night works on the M6 where conditions and lane closures made time the biggest enemy whilst soil nailing and meshing an embankment on one of the busiest sections of motorway (by Keele services). This was following by the installation of a Rockfall fence on the A40 that proved to be most aesthetically pleasing.
4. Water – work continued throughout the year in terms of servicing the nation’s waterways. Canals throughout the country have been repaired, drilled and grouted successfully and will continue into 2014. Flood defence work has also been an ongoing process in the North East of England and the River walls of the River Medway, Chatham are currently receiving our attention.
5. Weather had also proved to be the biggest enemy in even attending a project for Scotia Gas up at St Andrews, Scotland. After many months of monitoring rainfall patterns and predictive weather forecasts we finally attended to complete works. Working against the clock given that the river was prone to flooding and being unsafe to work in, the project was successfully completed before a break in the weather in July. With an imminent December trip to the Shetlands looming, it is fair to say that our work is not for the faint hearted.
6. North Yorkshire Bridges. Throughout the year, Condor has continued the longstanding ‘love affair’ with diversely located and usually historically significant bridges throughout the Dales and Moors. Ensuring that the bridges are appropriately repaired and secured combined with maintaining their natural presentation are always key objectives. It is an enjoyable area of work in that we recognise its importance to remote communities and villages.
7. China – As well as servicing the UK Blast Furnaces, condor has for many years provided drilling services to China via an American Client. September saw us in Taiyuan, 2 hours North of Beijing to drill tapholes for a new 5th furnace on this vast site. Logistically this brought challenges with importing equipment that were overcome. Also extensive language barriers (not to mention running a culinary gauntlet) combined with a unique cultural style of management made this a challenging but successful venture that was completed ahead of schedule.
8. New clients – Establishing new markets with key clients in both Kent and South Wales has been a pleasing aspect to our continued success. In a keenly competitive environment, Condor’s reputation for undertaking difficult projects and pro-active stance to challenging designs to effect cost savings has enabled us to attract important ‘big name’ clients.
9. New plant and technology – Following a conscious decision major investment has taken place to enable Condor to service bigger contracts with considerable success. Investment continues on our own site near Selby in addition to upgrades of our drilling and grouting equipment. Our variety of rigs and general plant will enable us to price competitively to assist our clients in securing work to our mutual benefit.
10. Expertise and experience – As an ongoing process Condor operatives and management develop to have a thorough understanding of ‘best case’ solutions and adaptability. This is coupled with extremely close relationships with our suppliers (experts in their own rights) from whom we encourage input and share knowledge. Access to independent Geotechnical design teams with who we work in tandem to explore the most appropriate solutions.
Thank you for taking the trouble to read this. It hopefully gives a flavour of the areas of work we touch upon. Please refer to our website www.condorprojects.co.uk for further information or contact us on 01482 32555.
We are extremely grateful to those who work with us and to those who instruct us and proud of the work we undertake. We look forward to being of service to you in the future and are happy to discuss any requirements and provide assistance. We wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2014.