CONTRACTING THROUGH A PANDEMIC
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
After Build have often said that our business model really lives and dies on it’s relationships with contractors. Ultimately, we need to ensure that there’s a steady churn of jobs and the very best way to do that is to have a great working relationship with the people affecting the repairs.
Of the circa 2,000 contractors that After Build work with, some of them cross our paths on an almost daily basis and one such firm is Leighway Maintenance who we’ve been working with for almost half a decade.
Leighway have their roots firmly in construction. Originally a bricklaying contractor set up in the late nineties by Alison and Kevin Molyneaux, they saw a gap in the market for alternative contracting works. In 2013 they split their company and now have the maintenance side of things up and running. Good relationships carry well in our industry and when one of Leighways’ contacts moved to work with one of our oldest developer clients, they were introduced to us and we’ve been helping each other out ever since.
Alison told us “It’s a great arrangement for Leighway because of how organised After Build are. All of the team in the office are really helpful”. We push a lot of the work we have towards Leighway for a few reasons. Firstly, their coverage is great, they go wherever we need them to. And After Build trust their judgement when it comes to their subcontracted staff. Alison and Kevin only work with people they know will deliver excellence as standard.
We asked Alison how it’s been working through the pandemic. She told us that some of her answers might not be safe for print! We know the feeling, Alison.
The landscape of their business has changed and flexed, just like everyone else’s. Because of the reduction in maintenance work that we’ve all seen, Leighway have scaled back their admin team in the office for now. Just like After Build, the infrastructure is in place and the trades are willing and able to attend but many of the barriers come from occupants refusing access. It’s all very understandable but nonetheless frustrating.
“We used to do a lot of work in care facilities or retirement-age homes,” Alison explained, “but because of everything that’s happened, it’s not necessarily safe or practical to go into those people’s homes now.”
Although, they’re still working flat out we were surprised to learn that there’s a lot of external works going on. A combination of occupants being concerned about the access requirements and spending more time outdoors this summer has meant they’ve seen an increase in jobs for roofs, patios and brickwork, which is bread and butter for Leighway.
Like all contractors, they’ve borne the brunt of making sure it’s safe for their operatives to work in other people’s homes as well as being mindful of any occupants who may be there at the same time. There’s a lot more communication before they enter a plot than there was, because they have to make sure that guidelines are being followed. This means more personal contact with the occupant which has it’s challenges, but Alison feels it’s brought them closer to the customer as a business.
One of After Build’s big selling points is being able to ensure that work is completed, even if it means utilising an alternative contractor. The whole process is overseen by us and we feel confident in the quality delivered because of our close ties with companies like Leighway and their sub-contractors. They’ve made the most of the situation we’re all working through and we’re proud to continue to do business with them in 2021.