Utilities contractor, Falco Construction, is celebrating 15 years in the business. The company was established in 2005 by its incumbent Managing Director, Brendan Griffin, who continues to be a very hands-on presence and driving force behind its impressive growth.
In fifteen years Brendan has overseen the development of an established tier-one contractor in the utilities groundworks sector employing over 150 in-house staff with a turnover in excess of £15million.
Brendan worked as a Contracts Manager for Subterra, a division of Enterprise, for several years, primarily on groundworks projects for Thames Water before deciding to set-up his own company.
There is some confusion about the name. He recalls trying to register as Falcon Construction with Companies House but that name was already taken. Apparently, his wife Jana then persuaded him to drop the ‘n’ in reference to the mythical Ancient Greek wizard Falco Aesalon who could transfer into a Falcon at will! Just to further confuse the situation, ex-Spurs footballer, Mark Falco, who has previously been mistakenly linked with the firm, recently became a brand representative for the company that bears his name.
Falco Construction started life undertaking smaller site investigation works for Thames Water’s Southern Region at the start of AMP4 – the fourth of Thames Water’s 5-year cycles. “The completion of AMP3 and start of AMP4 in 2005 was a natural juncture in the Thames Water business lifecycle that provided an opportunity for us to bid for new and existing works,” explains Brendan who, working out of small office in Hawley, Kent, initially relied upon a handful of trusted freelancers and sub-contractors.
As the workflow increased Brendan tapped into the industry contacts he had built-up over 11 years in the water industry to start to build a permanent team. His first major ‘signing’ in 2006 was ex- David Coughlin from Enterprise, who became Falco’s first Contracts Manager in 2006.
In 2007 Falco secured its first major contract, a 2-year package delivering a programme of flood alleviation schemes for Southern Water which provided the platform and stability for the company’s consolidation. Rick Blythe (Commercial Manager), Frank O’Donohue (Foreman) and Alan Seyfi (Procurement) joined to form the core of Falco’s in-house management team that oversaw its initial development.
In 2008 the company successfully diversified outside the water sector when winning an electrical groundworks contract for Laing O’Rourke. Perhaps the signature crossroads moment in the company’s development arrived four years later when it was awarded tier-1 contractor status by Thames Water – enabling it to bid directly for development services packages up to £2million in value. This elevated Falco’s status into an established player in the utilities sector and gave it more control over the process of facilitating the installation, repair and maintenance of underground clean water and waste water infrastructure.
A year later its promotion into the big-league was complete when it was awarded tier-1 contractor status by UK Power Networks (UKPN):
“These appointments were a reward for our track record in providing a professional and reliable service but also our investment in the development of our human resources and management, systems,” explains Falco Director, Alan Seyfi, who was instrumental in the brand development and new dissection for the company’s support network.
Falco’s status as an established player in its sector gained traction with accreditation against the utilities sector standard UVBD Verify, quality, safety and environmental certifications ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS 18001, Exor Gold and FORS. In September 2014 the company moved its Headquarters from Caterham, Surrey to its current offices, a purpose-built facility in Prospect House, Canning Town which offers seamless access to Central London and the M25 and reflected the increasingly capital-centric, responsive service the company now offers. This coincided with a corporate re-branding programme.
The last few years have seen the business build on these foundations and continue to deliver works to facilitate the maintenance of the water industry for Thames Water, the national grid for UKPN and other utilities sectors for providers such as Galliford Try, Clancy Group, Laing O’Rourke, Skanska, Costain and Barhale. Continued investment in its resources through targeted recruitment, training and management systems confirms Brendan’s original vision to develop a credible, reliable and sustainable business built for the future.
Brendan puts Falco’s success down to its founding principles of conscientiousness and added value: “Our approach has always been to offer that little bit extra which tends to get the job done successfully rather than niggle over the contract terms or clauses in the specification,” he says, “In practice that means being prepared to offer some innovative practices and value-engineering which tends not to go unnoticed and helps create a collaborative working relationship which ultimately generates repeat business. If we continue to do that Falco should still be around to celebrate the next 15 years.”