A year ago, FormFive launched with the intention of ‘breaking the mould’ as a different and bold construction services firm. FormFive has a five core service model that takes the client from Concept to Completion. On its first anniversary, one of its founders Matthew Abraham looks back on the year just gone.
You set out to disrupt the market and break the mould. Did that happen?
We think it did. Clients got on board from the start with our Concept to Completion solution – we’ve found that it is attractive to a lot of clients who are happy to have a team who will take on everything from the initial design, planning and costings to final build and handover.
We’ve been very busy during our first year. We set targets and we hit them and importantly have some repeat business and have several projects already up and running or in the pipeline that should see our turnover double in the second year.
Why do you think your model is so attractive to clients?
Having one point of contact, one source of invoice, one channel of communication – that’s certainly paid off. Everything comes through FormFive, for the client, who doesn’t need to do things like chasing the architects so that they can apply for planning permission etc. that’s a major benefit. It all falls within our service, so they can just relax and leave us to it. They’re updated regularly, so they know exactly how things stand, but they’re not having to worry about anything.
FormFive can get involved as early as assisting with the purchase of land, right through to fit out of new-build commercial space. The model works because of the early engagement, if we’re asked to assist with land purchase or site surveys, there’s a good chance that the client will retain us for the rest of the project. One aspect feeds into another. We’re excited over the next year as we take on more staff to cater for the coming projects.
Is there any particular sector you’re focusing upon?
Commercial new-builds, refurbishments and the private residential sector are our main target areas, but not exclusively.
We are about to commence a project at Bedford Girls’ School where they require some changes made to communal space to create extra room for teaching staff and to enable the free flow of students into and out of the building. The benefit to the school of our Concept to Completion approach was that they could rest assured that we would make sure everything was in place for work to start immediately the school broke up for the summer holidays, and that it would be complete within their timescale for the new term in September. It is a turnkey solution that will not disrupt the school during the works. Our brand is “From Concept with Collaboration comes Completion”.
Within sectors like education, it’s often the case that every aspect of the work is from a separate provider – architect, planner, builder, fit out, etc – but this project proved the added value of what we do. We are looking forward to starting.
You do a lot of interior fit-outs, was that always part of the plan?
Not really, but we’ve partnered with some amazing furniture suppliers because we were finding the demand was growing. Much has changed since coronavirus and employers being aware of how they use their space, and so fit-out has become a major part of what we do. Working with specialists, we can collaborate on reconfiguring space and what the options are to make the best use of what we have, so that the client gets a fresh environment that works for them in the modern office.
How important have those relationships with partners been?
Massive. We literally couldn’t have done it without them, but then our approach works for everyone. So, for instance, we can get an initial masterplan drawn up quickly and cost-effectively because the architects we work with know that if they collaborate at that stage, they’ll benefit by winning that project in the longer term.
We wouldn’t be able to deliver the projects we do without that engagement with partners and we’ve worked very hard to build those and put together a proposition that benefits them, us and our clients.
After the birthday celebrations, how will you be approaching the coming year?
We are already very active in Northamptonshire and the surrounding counties, and we’re working hard to widen that client base into the likes of Milton Keynes and, where opportunity allows, into London. That’s mainly through networking and existing relationships, but we’d love to develop projects further afield.
We set ourselves goals in the first year, and were delighted with how well that turned out, and how healthy the future looks with current and prospective projects.