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Structural Engineering Firm Finds New Home To Lay Foundations For Its Future


A Structural engineering company has invested £350,000 in the freehold of new premises in Ilkeston.

Derby firm First Foundations is relocating to Hallam Fields Road, having outgrown its Ockbrook base.

Its niche market is in specialist piling and foundation work for a range of construction projects ranging from conservatory bases and small extensions, to canal bridge abutments and test beds for the aerospace sector.

The deal, put together by chartered surveyors Milner Commercial, was for the purchase of a surfaced yard of 1.6 acres and industrial buildings totalling 5,000 sq ft.

The move to Ilkeston allows the company to consolidate its operations on one site and will enable it to grow its equipment-hire business, which has helped it survive the recession.

Anthony Fitzhugh is the managing director of First Foundations. He said: ' It is a big investment for us but it was time to move somewhere that will accommodate the growth of the business. Things have improved since the end of last year and during January, we have already had a good number of general inquires.'

The economic downturn had a dramatic effect on First Foundations and the company evolved.

'Large hire companies have been affected by the recession and have been off-loading equipment to cute storage and maintenance costs, so there was an opportunity to diversify,' said Mr Fitzhugh.

'A lot of people know who to pile but there are relatively few people who have the equipment to do it.'

The firm employs 13 people and has planed to recruit as its workload increases.

It was founded in 2004 as the specialist civil and structural engineering company and now has an annual turnover of more than £1 million. The search for a new base began three years ago but was interrupted by the recession in the construction sector.

Offered for sale by official receivers Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the deal to acquire th Hallam Fields Road Site was negotiated by Peter Milner, of Milner Commercial.

He said: ' This was a case of deja vu as i advised and acted for the original developer of this industrial development on Hallam Fields Road in the early 80s and had been instrumental in selling the site at that time.

'Ironically, it was developed and sold against the background of the severe 1980s manufacturing recession and in order to create interest in the development, I had advertised the site as Ilkeston's potential Europort, as it had frontage to the Erewash Canal, from which it is possible to travel via Hull to Rotterdam and beyond by barge.

'Such was the impact of that marketing campaign, a national newspaper picked up the story and ran an amusing article on Ilkeston becoming the centre of European water-borne distribution.' said Peter Milner.

Funding for the deal came through Pride Park-based Handelsbanken with Shaun Hill and Lewis Rose of Flint Bishop, providing legal advice.