Construction company buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 19:28 14 October 2020 | UPDATED: 19:29 14 October 2020

Construction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONE

Construction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONE

Archant

An East Cambridgeshire Construction company has “expanded considerably” by buying a new fleet of small trucks, excavators and lorries after seeing a smaller side of its business unexpectedly boom during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Construction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONEConstruction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONE

With all 25 members of staff still currently employed, the director of FDS (Cambridge) LTD - which is based at Quarterway Barns on Ely Road in Little Thetford - said that “adapting” to the pandemic meant that “no harm was done to the company”.

Franco De Simone said that when lockdown started “it didn’t effect us too badly because we were doing highways work overnight, which was considered as key work, so we were able to carry on.”

However, during the early stages of the pandemic, it was the sale of bags of aggregate such as sand and gravel, wood chip and topsoil - that unexpectedly took off.

Construction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONEConstruction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONE

In terms of the day-to-day running of the business, Franco says while “supplying to the usual house builders and general construction trade dropped off because everyone shut down, we sold thousands of bulk bags of aggregate to keep everyone who was at home in lock down busy in their gardens”

“Normally we sell around 400 bulk bags a month, but we ended up selling at 1,800 bags a month because everyone was home seemingly doing DIY in the garden during the good weather we experienced in the lock down”

The unexpected demand in light of the Covid-19 pandemic led Franco to rethink FDS’s short term business model.

Construction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONEConstruction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONE

“We adapted all our procedures, went cash and paperless less with over-the-phone payments and what-app work group messaging only.”

He added that because most FDS manual employees work alone anyway in their trucks or loading equipment, the new safety measures didn’t have too much of a negative impact on the manual staff.

The offices needed reconfiguring slightly to enable the clerical staff to work safely, but with our small team of carpenters and builders this was easily accomplished.

Construction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONEConstruction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONE

“We managed to keep everyone employed, we had two or three working from home and didn’t furlough anyone which we’re very proud of”

FDS first started in 2001 as a construction and plant hire company “under one roof” before splitting into two - FDS Cambridge and Quarterway Construction - in 2009.

FDS offers aggregate and construction supplies, on or off site recycling services as well as the hire of plant and machinery, Grab and Tipper lorries and small tools.

Construction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONEConstruction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONE

Their aggregate supply includes soft sand, sharp sand, ballast, gravel’s, limestone, MOT Type 1, topsoil and crushed bricks & concrete all from 1 tonne bulk bags to 30 tonne loose loads.

For more information visit www.fdscambridgeltd.co.uk or call 01353 779754.

Quarterway Construction specialises in new build and alterations, both domestic and commercial contracts are considered.

Construction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONEConstruction company FDS buys new fleet of trucks, excavators and lorries after unexpected success during lockdown. Picture: FRANCO DE SIMONE

Visit www.quarterwayconstruction.co.uk or call 01353 779754.


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