Despite the untimely death of its Founder and Chairman, Vince Wetton in 2014 the fifth decade of the PCE Business witnessed a remarkable transformation in its operations and capabilities, meeting the needs of the ever-changing world of construction which saw an exponential rate of change in the adaption of digital technologies, with increased recognition by Government in Offsite Construction benefits, and continued diversification of project demands.
Continuing the strategic development established in the previous decade company strategic planning dictated that the business prioritized scaling its operations whilst ensuring flexibility in project delivery. By leveraging a combination of in-house expertise and strategic collaborations, PCE expanded their capabilities to take on projects of increasing size and complexity. The company quickly established a reputation for delivering projects on time and within budget, thus earning the trust of clients and industry stakeholders, for providing certainty.
Moreover, the company implemented agile project management methodologies, enabling projects to adapt swiftly to changing project requirements and the environment within which they were being carried out. Further proof of this occurred during the Covid pandemic period, where PCE were able to ensure that projects continued to be delivered to programme whilst working in full accord with all emergency Government legislation and ensuring the health of its employees and project partners.
By fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, PCE ensured their teams were equipped with the necessary skills to handle diverse projects efficiently. This investment in its own people and processes, positioned the company as a go-to choice for clients seeking a modern Methods of Construction (MMC), and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), resulting in tailored solutions, utilising a common kit of parts approach, that yields accuracy and predictability throughout all phases of project delivery.
The prison and secure custody market gave PCE the opportunity to participate and successfully deliver against the challenging programme of providing new prison builds such as HMP Fosse Way, Leicester and HMP Five Wells, Wellingborough. At the same time, the large upgrading required of Police Custody Facilities such as the Nottinghamshire Constabulary Custody Suite in Nottingham, together with the New prisons programme, resulted in PCE becoming a significant partner of choice by the appropriate Government bodies and their Main Contractors.
Running concurrently with the above PCE developed solutions for the provision of multi-storey construction of residential buildings to meet the needs of student accommodation and new homes for both the private purchase and rental markets. Examples of these include Mount Oswald Student Accommodation for Durham University, Manchester’s Chapel Wharf residential development, Commercial Road Aparthotel and East Village N06 in London. Meeting these high-rise construction needs of the industry led PCE to develop its hyTower® offering, which enables a proven systemised approach to be adopted for future work in this sector.
During this period, a wide range of other projects were also completed, from private office developments such as CEF’s Data, IT and Marketing Centre in Durham, and Assembly Building C in Bristol, through to meeting the needs of the Health Sector and delivering the surgical extension at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Glasgow, a market sector of increasing importance in the coming years. Within the education sector, projects such as the Kingston University Town House, Kingston upon Thames, which won the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize, and the Sir William Henry Bragg Building at Leeds University together with the the University of Warwick Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, also marked projects of note delivered during this period.
Continuous innovation and strategic partnerships saw the company demonstrate remarkable enhancements in complexity, performance, scalability, project flexibility, and an unwavering commitment to safety during this decade. Furthermore, the company embraced digital tracking capabilities, revolutionizing their approach to design, manufacture, and construction, with accuracy and transparency through all phases of project delivery.
Fully embracing the digital era, the PCE website underwent a transformational change, showcasing projects delivered, whilst engaging with visitors to educate and demonstrate a systemised MMC approach, and how this positively influences all the core values of PCE project delivery; scale, flexibility, certainty & safety.
Whilst there has been a major shift in the scale of what the company could offer its clients, the Board of Directors realised that management and ownership change was also required to ensure the strategic growth of the business in a way that would enable greater development opportunities for its employees whilst instilling even further commitment. The Managing Director, Nickie Brown, and his Board of Directors after careful consideration decided that changing the business ownership to an Employees Owner Trust, EOT, would be the best way forward, further instilling the family feel, hunger and ownership values throughout its employees partners, and enabling all employees to financially benefit more fairly from its continued success.
Towards the latter half of the decade, further recognising the need for project transparency, precision and efficiency, PCE embraced implementing digital tracking capabilities throughout the design, manufacture, and construction phases. By deploying cutting-edge software and technologies, the business optimised project workflows, minimised errors, and maximised productivity, whilst providing clients and stakeholders with information at their fingertips to understand the key project metrics.
In the design phase, the company adopted advanced Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools to harness the power of data control and design accuracy. This allowed the creation of detailed 3D models, enabling effective collaboration between architects, engineers, and construction teams. The seamless transfer of data across different companies and departments enhanced communication, minimized rework, and improved overall project accuracy.
During the manufacture phase, the company harnessed advanced mould strategies for precast concrete units to streamline the production processes. By integrating digital tracking capabilities, it was possible to provide real-time visibility into material inventory, production schedules, and quality control. This level of accuracy, enhanced PCE’s manufacturing quality tracking procedures, reduced waste, minimized delays, and has improved the overall efficiency of the manufacturing process, whilst reducing waste, carbon footprints and cost.
For the on-site assembly phase, the company has further utilised digital tracking to monitor and manage on-site activities. Real-time data on progress, resource allocation, and safety performance enabled swift decision-making and proactive problem-solving. Additionally, digital tracking systems facilitated effective communication with stakeholders, ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the construction process.
Rather than owning factories, PCE strategically collaborates with supply chain partners to have a wide range of superstructure and facade building products, be they concrete, steel, timber, etc, that can be smartly connected together to form a hybrid structural solution. This dynamic approach allows the business to focus on the most efficient structural solution, utilising the latest product technologies, expertise and knowledge, whilst forging strong partnerships. This has resulted in a product portfolio with clear manufacturing outputs to agreed quality and performance standards so that PCE can offer a more flexible approach with a set of design rules per product range, enabling clear project programmes from initial design through to construction finalisation.
During it’s fifth decade the company really embraced sustainable practices aimed at reducing carbon emissions through product advancements. By collaborating with their supply chain manufacturers, the PCE’s innovative employees have actively sought eco-friendly alternatives for project designs and construction materials adopting energy-efficient construction methodologies. Through continuous research and development, the business is at the fore front of the use of innovative materials with lower carbon footprints, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future for the industry, to a point where the company can now say it is carbon neutral and well on its way to its net carbon zero goals.
In summary, the business has seen major transitions in its 50 year history, but none more so than the shear dynamism demonstrated in evolving and meeting the needs of its projects and clients in the last 10 years. The construction industry is moving at a technological pace never experienced before, and will require businesses to embrace change if it is to succeed in harnessing all the potential possibilities that exist, or are yet to be developed in providing the sustainable future we all require – PCE prides itself on answering this call to date, and will continue to do so as the company navigates its way forward into a brighter a more prosperous 6th decade.
Dan joined PCE in 2014 as a member of the internal design team. After a brief period, he transitioned into Project Management, where he spent eight years managing various projects, including Durham Student Accommodation (Mount Oswald) and HMP Fosse Way.
In 2022, Dan moved to the front end of the business to support the Sales & Estimating function. After a successful transition period, he was promoted to his current position as Head of Business Development. Dan is now responsible for leading the Estimating function and supporting the Sales & Marketing Strategy for the company.