Lancashire building firm back in business after rescue deal

A Lancaster-based modular construction company has been saved along with the jobs of all 88 staff by a pre-pack deal out of administration.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 9:30 am

OEP Building Services, which makes pre-fabricated bathrooms and utility pods, had suffered cashflow problems due to the impact of Covid and a series of other challenges including the administration of key customers and suppliers.

Following the appointment of administrators from Dow Schofield Watts on November 3, staff and contracts have now been transferred to a sister company.

OEP Building Services was founded in 2011 and originally offered project management and installation services at construction sites, under the stewardship of Iain Crabtree and Jan Zawadzki, using pods from a supplier in Poland.

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OEP Building Services is back in business after being brought out of administration

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Following the announcement of Britain’s exit from the EU, in 2017 they were joined by David Cowperthwaite and the company launched its own manufacturing operation, initially employing 30 staff in Lancaster and also working in partnership with a manufacturer in Bradford.

However, amid Covid the company suffered a series of challenges, including the collapse of a key customer, a dispute with its insurance company over a pay-out, a five-week closure of its factory and the cancellation of a £4m contract.

It also suffered the loss of a major loan facility following the collapse of its peer-to-peer lender and the administration of two suppliers including its sub-contract manufacturing partner.

While the company was able to step up production in Lancaster, it was further hit by sharp rises in materials costs on its fixed-price projects.

Lisa Moxon of Dow Schofield Watts said: “In the space of a few years, the OEP team have developed market-leading products, built up a UK manufacturing facility from scratch and become a major employer.

"The pre-pack is a fresh start for the business, enabling it to continue to meet growing demand.”

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