Behind the scenes at the pioneering Lancashire construction firm with 111 years of rich history
Founded in 1909, Wareing Buildings is a fifth-generation, family-owned company which has been around longer than crosswords, public radio, and instant coffee. With over a century of history behind it, this Kirkham-based business has stood the test of time and then some.
A specialist manufacturer and supplier of steel-framed buildings for use across the agricultural, commercial, and - increasingly - industrial sectors, the company makes everything from livestock buildings for use by farmers in Cumbria to industrial buildings in the Falklands. From £600,000 retail units in Burnley to £3m residential units in Lytham, Wareing does it all.
"I used to be a joiner for a tiny family company and I fancied a change," says Richard Benson, 47, who's worked with the company for 13 years. "When I first came to Wareing, some people said it'd just be putting the same buildings up all the time, but I don't think I've ever done two buildings the same and it's very varied, especially on the industrial side of things.
"I run a gang of two to four workers and we do everything from putting the steel up to cladding; being on the front line is great," adds Richard, who's from nearby Wesham. "Coming from a smaller firm, some people said it might feel like I was just another number, but I love working at Wareing.
"Everybody knows each other's name, it's a family firm, and it's a good place to work with a good atmosphere."
As well as offering a comprehensive plan, design, and build package for more local, North West-based projects, Wareing is also one of the pioneers of 'kit-building', a concept which was sparked by an enquiry from a Cumbrian farmer. With it being too far to travel, Wareing decided to supply the building in kit form so that the farmer could find his own labourers to construct it, which is exactly what he did.
The building still stands to this day thanks in no small part to engineers like Jason Worledge.
"I work with a senior engineer to look after the design of the buildings," explains Jason, 27, who joined the company after completing his degree at Dundee University in 2016. "We not only look at the steelwork but the foundation design as well, so we're often involved start to finish on a project and we work closely with clients and architects to make sure we're all going in the right direction.
"I enjoy the varied nature of what we do because we tackle a lot of projects that not a lot of other people are necessarily interested in," adds Jason, who's from Pilling. "During Covid it's been as busy as ever and the work's kept coming in, so we've just adapted to government guidance and carried on. Those who can work from home have been doing so - I'm actually still based from home because my wife is a doctor."
As well as a long and storied history, Wareing also boasts an impressive list of clientele. It has supplied the likes of BAE Systems, Williams Grand Prix Engineering, Ribby Hall, and Huntapac with industrial units and businesses including Coulthurst Poultry, Flavourfresh Salads, and South Lakes Wild Animal Park with agricultural buildings.
But that kit has to get from A to B.
"I deliver the kit buildings and, when we put our own buildings up in Lancashire, I take the steel and the machines out to the gangs," explains David Leil, who's worked in transport for the company for three decades. "It's good that the kids who were around when I started are now virtually running the company, which is great to see.
"It's great that the company has lasted as long as it has because it's a really good firm to work for," adds David, 69, who lives just a couple of miles away from their HQ. "Because people quite often have a second or a third building from us, I like going back to places and seeing what the buildings which I transported out there in the first place look like now.
"All in all, I enjoy the work that I do."
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