Whitfire Shavings, Leyland

Client: Whitfire Shavings & Sawdust Supplies
Location: Heatherfield Works, Leyland
Project size: 31,904 sq ft
Project value: £1.24million
Sector: Commercial, Industrial, Office

Companies affected by events as tragic as fire can take years to recover. For others, it is an opportunity to work with the best in the business to revive, improve and make themselves stronger than before.

This was the case for Whitfire Shavings & Sawdust Supplies, which in 2016 saw its fourth-generation family business ripped apart by a devastating blaze. For more than 80 years, the company has sold wood shavings and sawdust for animal bedding, and today produces enough materials for one million chickens a day.

Its previous premise was made up of four smaller buildings that had been erected and connected as the business’ footprint and demand for its service grew. Wareing Buildings had built each of these four original units, becoming an integral partner and contributor to the success of Whitfire. As a result, there was no discussion as to who would help the company recover and lead on the rebuild of its new HQ.

Andrew Warbrick from Wareing Buildings said: “We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the Whitfire family so to see their treasured business be so badly damaged was devastating. But when work began to bring it back to life, we promised to do everything we could to ensure the business would be stronger in the long run, benefitting from a facility that would streamline their processes and make the team more efficient.”

We erected the steel frame for the 97.5m by 30.4m industrial building, insulating it with Kingspan cladding and concrete panelled walls to add an extra layer of fire security and soundproofing.

In the middle of the building, which is used as a bespoke drying plant and sawdust and shavings store, is an 18m-high tipping platform used to transfer chipping and sawdust products as well as a 13.6m-high baling plant, both of which we facilitated.

Alan Bond, MD at Whitfire, said: “Wareing Buildings have provided us with a purpose-built facility which caters to what we need today and for the future. It’s increased our levels of production and made our whole team more efficient. The look of the building is more in keeping with our local surroundings and we know that, should another fire ever happen, the unit won’t be as badly damaged due to the protective measures that the team incorporated into the build.”

The development has enabled Whitfire to restart its business, and it is now looking ahead to the future, having already appointed us to construct a second unit which will be used as a log production and storage facility.

Alan said: “What Wareing Buildings has done is show us how a building can improve our business. Now we’ve realised the benefits of our larger unit, we want to continue building on that and their second project with us will make our entire headquarters truly market leading.

“The beauty of working with Wareing Buildings, and why we’ve never looked anywhere else for steel structures and building design in our 80 years of business, is that you can just trust them to do the job right. When you tell them what you want, they go ahead and do it. We weren’t just physically affected by the fire with the loss of our building; we were emotionally heartbroken, but Wareing Buildings reassured us throughout that what they would deliver would make us look ahead, rather than into the past.”

“Above all else, they are decent, down to earth, hard working people. Like us, they have strong family values and their team have the mentality to drive forward this industry.”