Steely values

Frank H. Dale is fitting out its new facility that will help the structural steelwork fabricator become the market’s go-to company

For years on end, it has been the family atmosphere reigning at Frank H. Dale which has created the continued success achieved by the Leominster-based structural steelwork fabricator. In the view of Paul Read, Managing Director of the company, the sense of togetherness permeates the entire structure of the business. “All team members work very closely together and, more importantly, they truly care about what they do and take pride in their job. Unsurprisingly, our staff turnover has always been very low and the fact that retirement has recently taken away three highly-valued members of staff with a combined service record of 99 years, is testament to that.”

The family ethos at Frank H. Dale has its genesis from the family ownership model that has been present at the company during the 87 years of its existence. As such, the business upholds the values of trust, honesty, understanding, quality, and being a good neighbour. It was through working to these characteristics that Frank H. Dale has won hundreds of contracts over the course of its history and the works it carried out for buildings on the Balmoral Estates led to it being granted a Royal Warrant by the Queen in 1971. The warrant boosted the company’s reputation immensely and, to this day, it remains one of the significant milestones which has pushed the organisation forward.

“Our core specialism is our attention to client needs,” Paul continues. “In conjunction with a high level of service throughout the project, a keen eye for value engineering and an excellent safety record, meeting clients’ expectations is of primary importance to us. Ninety per cent of our customers have worked with us before and we are extremely proud of this exceptional repeat business statistic, which hopefully demonstrates our commitment to quality and customer service.”

Frank H. Dale’s complete in-house steel design, detailing, fabrication, painting and erection services are available on a diverse range of structures – from single/multi-span portal frames to high bay warehousing and multi-storey post and beam-type structures. Having gained a broad experience, the company can operate successfully in a number of sectors, including commercial, industrial, storage and distribution, education, health, leisure, and more recently, data storage. “Our presence across many areas reflects the specialities of our clients and the markets they target, all of which vary greatly,” Paul adds. “As a result of that, our turnover has grown over the last few years to more than £22 million and it is our intension to steadily grow the company over the next five years.”

Expanding capacity
In order to meet this objective, Frank H. Dale has invested in a brand-new, state-of-the-art factory that spans 140,000 square feet and will operate alongside the company’s existing facility. Paul comments: “The multi-million pound investment establishes our intention to continually grow the business and cements our position as one of the UK’s leading steelwork fabricator. As a large and well-respected employer within our local area, it will not only secure our existing workforce, but will enable us to expand our team. We are currently in Phase Two of the new factory development with the latest models of various machines. The first phase involved the installation of a new automated process line, which has decimated the processing time of the existing facility. Upon the completion of the second phase, which is projected to happen by the end of the year, we will have the capacity to more than double our output.”

The new purpose-built workshop is 224 metres long and once the second phase has come to an end, Frank H. Dale will have a combined potential capacity of up to 500 tonnes per week between the two facilities, which will allow the organisation to meet even the most demanding programmes. “The fit-out of the machinery will be done in four phases, so we are planning to grow this capacity further in 2020 when Phase Three is completed,” Paul points out.

He moves on to discuss the types of machinery that are being installed across the shop floor: “The facility boasts a brand-new Voortman automated cutting, drilling, robotic coping, and shot-blast line. Integral to this is an automated layout marking system for all the components that are to be welded to the main sections – this will not only speed the various processes along, but will also reduce errors. Along with the most efficient and economical welding equipment available to date and also having installed full motion controlled LED lighting in the entire factory, offices and welfare areas which highlights our commitment to operating efficiently and in a sustainable manner.”

High-profile schemes
The performance of Frank H. Dale’s second facility will be instrumental in reaching the growth levels the company aspires for, with the greater production capacity promising to allow the business to fabricate and deliver larger and more prestigious programmes. “We have already been involved in a number of projects where we were required to demonstrate our capabilities to their full extent and that are true sources of pride for the company,” Paul claims. “Among the most high-profile schemes we have worked on, are a 19-storey student accommodation in Southampton, a distribution unit in Banbury comprising of a seven-span portal frame, 14-storey offices in Birmingham city centre for HMRC, and a six-storey cinema extension inside the O2 Arena in London, to name but a few.”

Owing to the exceptional customer service and efficiency demonstrated by Frank H. Dale, the company has remained firmly in the top flight of the UK’s steel fabricators for a number of years. “However, to remain in that ‘top flight’, you have to continually invest in both your people and your infrastructure to stay ahead of the game and ensure the business remains competitive. We have all the necessary prerequisites and if we stick to our values, I am sure we will remain the preferred steelwork fabricator in the country,” he wraps up.

Frank H. Dale
Services: Structural steelwork fabrication