South Shields subcontracting specialist, Brickwork Direct, has tripled its floor space with a new move following its diversification setting the business on track for the best year yet.

Brickwork Direct has relocated from its original council managed premises in South Shields Business Works to a larger site on Finlay Court, in Jarrow, to accommodate six additional staff and its rapidly expanding scaffolding arm.

Ken Collins, company director of Brickwork Direct, said: “We had become too big for the premises we were in. Our new location means that we can have everything we need on the same site – including storage for scaffolding and wagons, as well as a bigger office space.”

With a turnover of £9 million for the last financial year (March 2018- March 2019) the ambitious South Tyneside business is looking forward to a 10-20% uplift in 2020.

The business’s forecasted upturn in profits is thanks to its recent diversification into related areas including scaffolding, structural maintenance, domestic extensions as well as housing development.

Ken said: “We needed to look at other avenues to increase our turnover and profits. Our scaffolding arm has been a particularly successful addition to our business. By controlling this element of the job, we can ensure fewer wasted hours on site while bricklayers wait for scaffolding to arrive, improving profitability for ourselves as well as our clients by keeping projects on track.

“We are also seeing a big increase in structural maintenance work, including bespoke repairs in housing blocks over several storeys high. Houses and brick-built blocks weren’t designed with a never-ending life in mind and there is a big call for structural maintenance to prolong the life of these assets.”

Brickwork Direct was established in 2003 by company director, Ken Collins, a then sole trader, following start-up support from South Tyneside Council. Within the same year it became a limited company and has since grown from strength to strength. 

Ken added: “We have come a long way moving into South Shields Business Works. The council run site provided us with the physical space the business needed at a reasonable price, giving us the best start possible. The support we have received from the council over the years in helping us make connections to grow has been second to none.”

The business, with over 100 years of bricklaying experience, currently employs 38 staff and 180 subcontractors, providing bricklaying and related services to major housebuilding and construction companies across the North East.

Cllr John Anglin, Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy at South Tyneside Council, said: “This is a real success story and I congratulate all the staff involved in helping this company to grow and flourish.

“It’s particularly satisfying when we see homegrown talent thrive in the Borough and we are always pleased to play our part, as we did in this case, in getting a business off the ground or allowing it to expand.”