Few will realise the impact a local steel fabrication firm is having on the Wear region’s skyline.
But using locally fabricated steel, and supporting local jobs, award-winning Finley Structures has helped to build a surprisingly large number of well-known structures across the North-East region.
Notable recent contracts include the 550-tonne contract at the IAMP in Washington for GMI Construction, a 600-tonne project on the Vaux site in Sunderland and an 1,100-tonne job for Sir Robert McAlpine at the much-celebrated Riverwalk development in Durham city.
The family-run firm has also previously worked on a number of high-profile contracts across the region, including Nissan’s 1,400-tonne Leaf factory and a 750-tonne press shop for the car manufacturer, an 800-tonne factory for Unipres in Washington followed by an 800-tonne extension and a 530-tonne project for BAM Construction at Sunderland College, while they also built the steel frame for Sunderland Software Centre.
Further afield, Finley Structures is well-known for constructing Hitachi’s train-assembling facility in Newton Aycliffe, the Victoria Gate shopping centre in Leeds and the Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield. They’ve also built schools on the Isle of Wight.
The list goes on.
Formed by John Finley in 2000, Finley Structures prides itself on safety, quality and attention to detail.
Employing 60 people – although the Finley group of companies employs about 150 in total – it’s now run by John’s daughter, Julie Raistrick.
As the firm approaches its 20th anniversary, Finley Structures recorded a record turnover of £17.6m in 2019.
“We’ve come a very long way over the years,” says Julie.
“The company was formed nearly 20 years ago, and for a number of years we’ve been competing nationally and working with all major main contractors.
“Winning high-profile projects like Hitachi and Nissan are great, but they’re just a small part of what we do, year in, year out. So many of our projects don’t get all the headlines.”
It’s Finley’s education contracts, in particular, that go largely under the radar.
But the firm has worked on 90 in the last decade – ranging from Walker Technology College back in 2009 to Bradford College, to other schools and colleges in the Wear region, Newcastle, Gateshead, London, Lincoln, Hull, York, Scarborough, Cumbria, Doncaster and Leeds, among others.
The firm’s success, says Julie, is down to solid foundations and traditional family values.
And they head into 2020 with a healthy order book involving more than 8,000 tonnes of steel for clients BAM, Bowmer & Kirkland, Galliford Try, Kier, Tolent Construction and Sir Robert McAlpine.
“We’re very much looking forward to what will be a very exciting 2020 for Finley Structures,” adds Julie.
“It’s also a special time for the company, as we go into our 20th year. The business was formed by my father in 2000. Perhaps even he might not have envisaged at the time – when he acquired our site from British Steel by a chance encounter when driving past one day – that we’d grow into the company we’re so very proud of today.
“The fact we’ve not only survived but thrived in such a volatile industry is testament to John, the family and our hardworking, dedicated staff.
“Our 20th anniversary is a milestone we can all be incredibly proud of, and should be celebrated.”
Find out more about Finley Structures at finleystructures.co.uk