It was ‘hat’s off’ to a successful handover by Exeter-based Devon Contractors of a £5.8m new-build factory for expanding Devon-based natural pet food makers, Forthglade. First established in 1971, Forthglade now with over a 100-strong team, is relocating their manufacturing operation from their former site in Winkleigh, to the newly developed Okehampton East Business Park.
Devon Contractors established in 1946, has built on its long-standing reputation for delivering high-quality buildings. They carry out minor and major works, including new-build across a range of sectors up to a value of c.£12million, working primarily across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.
With a gross floor area of c.70,000 sqft., including a manufacturing facility, spacious warehouse and modern offices, the Forthglade scheme took 11 months to build. The project consisted of an extensive cut and fill exercise to fit the building and external works onto the existing sloping site.
The building is a steel-clad propped portal frame with two-storey office area to one end, factory production and warehousing - including mezzanine storage - with a lean-to ancillary section to the side for plant room, boiler room and maintenance. Externally there is a large area for planting, a service yard and visitor / staff car park along with access road. Fencing and soft landscaping with wild flowers will complete the embankments areas.
Daryn Hunt Director – Devon Contractors said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been the main contractor for Forthglade on this new and unique project which was completed on time and on budget. The JCT Design and Build 2016 contract was for an exciting new purpose-built factory, significantly larger than their former manufacturing unit in Winkleigh in order to keep up with their growing business, and has been future-proofed to allow for further expansion and to accommodate more staff. He adds: “Forthglade was a challenging but fantastic project to work on throughout the construction period and this was made possible through great teamwork from all parties involved.”
The Forthglade project was headed up by Devon Contractor’s Project Manager Jason Willicombe.
Jason said: “Internally the design provided several challenges to integrate all of Forthglade’s requirements. This included a freezer of approximately 5000 ft2 and cold storage. High-care, Retort and other production room floors were designed to falls with specialist linear drainage systems and polyester resin finished to provide Hygienic Finish plus ease of maintenance and dealing with waste water from the processes and cleaning effectively. All walls were constructed with white Kingspan Quadcore walls to provide the necessary hygiene requirements.” He adds: “M&E installation also included careful co-ordination of various element to allow for Forthglade to progress from our completion of the works to a seamless fit out of their own equipment and services to prepare the site for full production.”
Okehampton-based Hosken Parks acted as Employer's Agent for Forthglade as well as offering quantity surveying and CDM principal designer services. Treve Hosken – Director comments: “We were delighted to work for Forthglade Natural Pet Food's excellent new facilities here in our own town. It was a pleasure to work with joint managing Directors Gerard and Chris and their team, from the very early stages of the design right through to completion, and Devon Contractors worked professionally and effectively to deliver their vision. The team's hard work, assisted by, amongst others, Grainge Architects, Airey and Coles consulting engineers and Hulley and Kirkwood, has resulted in a facility which will enable the continued growth and future success of Forthglade, who's presence is a credit to the local economy.”
Gerard Lovell, Joint MD of Forthglade, said: “It’s been incredible to watch the new factory taking shape over the last 14 months. We’re grateful to both Devon Contractors and also the support received from Devon County Council throughout the project’s development. This is an extremely exciting time for the progression of the Forthglade business which has been manufacturing in Devon since 1971. Everyone at Forthglade is really looking forward to officially opening the factory in a few months’ time”.
Councillor Kevin Ball, Devon County Councillor for Okehampton Rural Electoral Division, concludes: “I’m really pleased to have Forthglade in my division in Okehampton, and they are the first tenant to be moving into the new business park. As a large employer in relation to many others in the local area, and the fact they are expanding, will give the opportunity for the creation of new jobs which is great news. Forthglade provides a local product of high quality and they’re going from strength to strength.”