When 3 Interiors Contracts Limited began life in Northern Ireland in early January 2010, it was operating out of a garage with just a handful of staff. Despite its modest size, the company had more than its share of experience within the team, which it has utilised well over the past 13 years. It has since grown to the extent that it now has around 100 employees, as well as a 35,000 sq ft manufacturing facility, enabling it to tackle a wide range of top-end projects for many prestigious clients.
“The company was originally started by myself, Stephen Purdy and Brian Stevenson, and we were very much focused on interiors work,” explains Phillip Moorhead, CEO. “We’d all been directors at another business and had come to the collective decision to branch out to do something for ourselves.”
Rather than initially targeting work locally in Northern Ireland, 3 Interiors had the confidence to leap straight into the London market, with its first project being the development of the Penthouse Suite of the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair. This bullishness proved to be well founded, with the company having gone on to complete a string of equally prestigious projects, developing a leading reputation in the process.
“From the very beginning we have always been supremely quality-driven, with a clear focus on customer service,” adds Mr Moorhead. “We knew exactly what London clients would want and expect, so we set the business up to the requisite standard from Day One. We also had many strong connections in London, having pre-existing relationships with the likes of project management teams, designers and architects.”
The ‘can do’ attitude of the business, its emphasis on professionalism and the experience it had prior to its establishment, has set 3 Interiors in good stead ever since, as Allan Macleod, Commercial Director, outlines: “I’ve been with the business for about five years and the quality and professionalism within the organisation were the major factors in my decision to join the company. This reputation has ensured that we enjoy a high proportion of repeat business and a significant volume of recommendations. This is because we work extremely hard to deliver solutions that meet the client’s expectations and overcome any problems they might have. This is vital when you operate at the very top end of the marketplace.”
Thanks to the high standing 3 Interiors enjoys, the company has been able to build a strong pipeline of work, with the hospitality and restaurant sectors in particular proving to be fruitful.
“We’re currently onsite with several restaurant and entertainment venues and are seeing a high volume of enquiries relating to hotels, private members’ clubs and bars,” says Mr Macleod. “The situation is very buoyant, with a great deal of investment coming into the UK from overseas. It’s not just London that’s seeing the benefit either, as we’ve been heavily involved in projects in Scotland too. We’re currently on site with jobs in Glasgow and Edinburgh, while we have also seen increasing opportunities coming our way in the Highlands too.
“Our work in Scotland is in addition to other contracts we’ve worked on across the UK in the likes of Manchester, Birmingham, Cheltenham and Cardiff. For instance, we’ve built up a fantastic partnership with Red Engine, which owns and operates the Flight Club and Electric Shuffle leisure venues, and we’ve worked on a growing number of their sites across the country. In fact, they’re now progressing opportunities in both the US and Australia, so we have been working with them on sites in Dallas, Austin and New York in the States and Melbourne in Australia. It’s a very exciting relationship and we’ve been delighted to be part of their journey.”
One major factor behind 3 Interiors’ ability to deliver the high-quality work its clients demand is the strength of its in-house manufacturing facilities, as Mr Moorhead outlines: “In 2015 we set up a joinery operation on a 14,000 sq ft site with of a workforce of six. This was a huge turning point, and we have since expanded it on three separate occasions, both in terms of the premises and the number of staff. It now covers about 35,000 sq ft with 52 employees dedicated to its operation.
“Having complete control over the joinery process in-house is a significant advantage, as it allows us to keep a handle on the quality and the delivery, which in turn gives the client greater peace of mind. Given the importance that joinery plays in our projects, this is absolutely vital. We also ensure the standards remain high by adhering to the latest accreditations, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001.”
As well as keeping its integrated management systems up to date, 3 Interiors also has a strong in-house apprenticeship programme, having forged a good relationship with the local college. “We take on four apprentices every year and we train them in line with our standards and quality-led ethos. This helps ensure that we have the calibre of people we need to keep pushing the business forward, which is crucial at a time when there is a shortage of skills available within the wider marketplace. We’ve got a strong core of people across the company in all aspects of the business, from the joinery operation through to the office and site management teams, with many of our staff having been with us for a number of years.”
With such a robust infrastructure and well-trained workforce, 3 Interiors continues to be well placed to make the most of the influx of enquiries it is currently seeing as it strives to bolster its reputation further.
“There’s a great deal to be positive about, but we’re also keen to not get too carried away,” says Mr Moorhead. “Instead, we want to keep growing in a controlled and steady manner. We’re currently turning over around £40m a year, and we could push this up to £50m or even £60m relatively easily. The aim, however, is to ensure that we continue to deliver the same high standards of quality and service that our clients have come to expect, rather than overstretching ourselves and potentially risking our reputation. When around 60 per cent of our work stems from repeat business or recommendations, it underlines just how important this is to our future prospects. Ultimately, I want the company to still be thriving in 25 years’ time. We’re definitely in it for the long haul.”
Given the progress the company has made since its creation and the strong emphasis it continues to place on customer service and its own development, 3 Interiors does indeed look like a name that will be around for some time yet.