Originally created in 1999 as a sister company to an existing construction business, from a standing start Chiltern Sports Contractors has grown organically into a £4m-turnover organisation, in the process becoming known as one of the leading tennis court facility providers in the country. Construction Industry News recently caught up with Andy Burrell, Managing Director, to see how this success has been achieved.
“We’re able to look after everything for the client, from the initial design through to the completion of a facility,” outlines Mr Burrell. “We can also provide a wide range of different surface types, including artificial grass, porous asphalt and artificial clay. While we specialise in tennis courts, we can also develop netball and multi-use games areas, known as MUGAs.”
The strength of Chiltern Sports Contractors’ offering has seen it develop a diverse customer base that includes the likes of private domestic clients, tennis clubs, sports clubs, councils and schools. Also underlining its capabilities is the fact that they have been awarded two of the ten UK regions on the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) Parks Improvement Framework. Mr Burrell explains further: “Emma Raducanu’s success and the recent upsurge in interest that tennis has been enjoying I think prompted the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to provide funding for parks tennis facilities. This follows a period of underinvestment that led to many public tennis courts becoming dilapidated.”
With the DCMS putting forward £22m to go with the LTA’s own £8m contribution resulting in a total investment pot of £30m, work has since been taking place across the country in the ten designated regions. “We decided to bid for two of the regions, as we felt we wouldn’t have the size or scale to tackle more than that, and we were successful in winning both. These regions are known as ‘North London and South-East’, which includes some of the Home Counties; and the ‘East’, which includes Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Northants, Oxon and Peterborough.”
Chiltern Sports Contractors has already started to see the framework bear fruit and has been busy working on related projects since the beginning of the year. “We’re onsite with at least three projects from the framework at any one time, so it’s worked out very well for us, despite some of the challenges involved, such as having to contend with the administrative procedures of the Local Authorities we’re working for,” says Mr Burrell. “Scheduling such a high volume of work has been tricky, but we have been managing it. We’re used to undertaking around 50-plus projects a year, so it’s certainly been well within our capabilities. We are also continuing to carry out work in the open market too, so that we still have a strong pipeline of work for when the LTA framework is due to finish in March 2024.
“For the future, our aspirations are to maintain our name as one of the highest quality facility providers in the sector. We’re extremely well thought of, as the testimonials on our website demonstrate, and we’re keen to keep that going. We’re not particularly looking to grow turnover significantly, as there’s only a certain amount of growth that’s possible, so we’re instead fully focused on further building our already strong reputation in our existing sector. There’s no job that’s too small when it comes to tennis courts and, in addition to the new build work with projects up to around £250,000 in value, we’re also continually carrying out maintenance and renovation of older courts, sometimes for as little as £5,000. Ultimately, it’s all about the quality that we deliver, not the value of the project.”
With the resurgence of tennis in the UK sure to see a growing demand for tennis courts going forward, Chiltern Sports Contractors looks ideally placed to make the most of the opportunities that will be coming its way.