Sunderland-based NCBF Member, Brims Construction, working hand in hand with the former chairman of Tolent, John Wood, have come to the rescue of Tolent’s Teesside employees/operations, hoping to save 150 jobs after the building contractor went into administration on Monday 13th February.
The move will see Tolent’s previous Teesside management team re-employed by Brims, along with staff, operatives and members of the supply chain, whose aim will be to ensure minimum disruption to clients, with some sites having already returned to work on Monday 20th February.
Brims will not be taking on responsibility for reimbursing any of Tolent’s creditors.
Brims, who were already forecasting a turnover of £38m this year to the end of March (excluding any additional Teesside revenue) and employs 90 site and office staff, was established 16 years ago by Ian Clift, Jason Wood and Richard Wood. All were previously employed by Tolent, which was founded by John Wood – Jason and Richard’s father. Consequently, they know the Teesside staff and business operation particularly well.
Despite the obstacles thrown in their way by Tolent’s current legal and financial situation, the Brims team have worked around the clock, visiting all the current projects and talking to the clients involved to reassure them that their projects will be in safe hands with Brims.
Commenting on the ongoing business plan Brims director, Richard Wood, said that Brims had been looking to expand further south and open an office in Teesside but had not envisaged it happening this way: He said:
“Following the announcement on the 13th February that Tolent had gone into administration with the loss of 350 jobs, we took action immediately as it is a company very close to our hearts. My father set Tolent up, but Ian, Jason and I all trained and worked there, with John only retiring three years ago as chairman.
“Its unfortunate demise has provided an opportunity for the future expansion of Brims and at the same time, we are hopeful of providing secure employment for up to 150 employees moving forward.
“The former Tolent sites will be re-badged as Brims Construction and our sole aim is to save jobs with the minimum of disruption to clients. We have spent the last few days talking to clients and reassuring them that their projects will proceed as normal, with the people they have previously been dealing with. We are confident we can minimise any job losses by quickly stepping in this way.”
Tolent’s Teesside office was working on a mix of commercial projects including a rolling programme of petro-chem maintenance works. In total the value of the ongoing work is estimated to be around £15-£20 million.
Mr Wood continued: “Several clients have already recognised our new proposal is simply to provide them with the same group skillset of people but with a stronger company behind them. We have already received new orders for work, which helps save the previous workforce, for which we are all extremely grateful. We are currently dealing with the administrator, in order to buy the Tolent Teesside office building at Thornaby and it is very much our intention to put firm roots down in Teesside.”
Adding his thoughts, John Wood said: “It gives me great pleasure to be able to offer my help with these proposals, especially with Brims being central to it. It keeps the construction heritage alive under the Brims name and it will hopefully salvage some of the work that Tolent was previously involved with. We are confident that we will save as many site and supply chain jobs as we can and I would encourage all existing management and site staff to feel encouraged at what we are doing.
“It is great news for the region. We just want to save the jobs and get work back on track.”
Tolent was founded in 1983 by John Wood. By the time he retired in 2019, turnover was around £180m with a strong balance sheet and the firm was viewed as one of the region’s success stories.
BRIMS steps up:(L to R) Jason Wood, Director, Brims; Rick Halton, Regional Director, Brims Teesside, Richard Wood, Director, Brims and John Wood, former Chairman and Founder of Tolent
NCBF Members share their thoughts on the positive news for the industry:
Mike Moody, MD, Classic Masonry:
"Hats off to the Brims Board for a truly uplifting gesture to safeguard 150 jobs after the demise of Tolent Construction. The Wood family, and the wider board members at Brims Construction have been a leading force in Construction over many years and champions of local investment and local jobs. We are blessed in this region to have such people caring so much for our economy and our people. At Classic Masonry we have been privileged and proud, as a local specialist subcontractor, to have worked with this local family and their board of Directors for the past 32 years. This is fantastic and wonderful news."