Today we celebrate Lochlie’s fifth birthday! From a 2 man operation in 2014 to now supporting over 30 staff ( and growing!), it’s been a busy and successful 5 years for founders and Directors David & Douglas Aitken. Here we catch up with them and get their thoughts on the business and this particular milestone.
What inspired you to set up Lochlie?
David: In short, it was Douglas. He’d always had an ambition for us to have our own business, and while he was working abroad I was made redundant unexpectedly – when I called him to tell him, he said “That’s great news!” So here I was feeling like it was a bit of a blow, and all he could see was the opportunity to strike out on our own.
Douglas: I was ready to come home after 7 years away, and like David said, I always wanted to set up a business so it just seemed like the perfect time to do it. Between us, we had loads of experience and contacts, so we had a strong foundation to build on (pardon the pun!) and we’ve never looked back.
What you think sets Lochlie apart from other construction companies?
David: I think the experience and expertise we have on the team is really valuable, and quite unique for a business of our size. I previously worked for some large national companies, who only dealt with large contracts, whereas here at Lochlie, I can put my knowledge and experience to use on a huge variety of projects from small scale alterations to large commercial refurbishments.
Douglas: I think one of the other key things is our level of service. Both of us have seen over our careers the standards of service offered by various construction companies, and to be honest it’s pretty low in a lot of places. Ultimately, construction is a service industry so we are striving to offer a high level of service alongside our quality work, and it’s definitely paying off as we are starting to see repeat business coming to us from happy clients!
What are you most proud of in the last 5 years?
David: Personally, I’m really proud to have my 3 boys in the business, in all their different capacities. Between them, they showcase the breadth of ability that Lochlie has and it’s also very satisfying for me to know that we are building a sustainable business and careers for them in the future.
Douglas: It’s a tough question to answer as there are a few stand out moments.
I’m a big believer in continuous development and learning so I’d say I’m most proud of our commitment to developing our staff. We have just completed a year-long bespoke Management Development programme for our managers, while we currently employ 4 construction Apprentices. We also have a further 2 trainee surveyors attending university on a day release programme and doing really well – as a QS myself, I am particularly proud of the hard work these guys put in. Additionally, 3 of our Site Managers have achieved SVQ level 4 qualifications this year along with one of our supervisors achieving SVQ level 3.
Is there anything you would do differently?
David: Honestly, not much. Looking back, we probably could have done a bit more market analysis from the outset to help our understanding of where our customers would come from – we’re doing jobs now with clients that we wouldn’t have dreamed of at the start! In saying that, we have grown organically at a sustainable pace, which has allowed us to stay in control while still being successful so perhaps it was a good thing after all…
Douglas: Of course there are minor things that we could change, but I like to think of them as little lessons rather than mistakes. As we continue to grow and evolve as a business, we learn from these things and they just become part of the journey.
What does the future look like for Lochlie?
David: I think the future’s really bright. We’re getting continued repeat business from happy clients, as well as referral business through our supply chain partners, and we’re starting work on new projects that are furthering our experience and expertise as a business – for example, we have recently begun work on our first new build project. I think we’ve got a lot to look forward to.
Douglas: Our vision is to make Lochlie Construction Group the principle contractor of choice for clients within the West of Scotland and as David mentioned, we continue to expand through repeat business and client recommendations so are well on the way to achieving this. We’ve seen consistent growth over the last 5 years but I truly believe we are just getting started! Here’s to the next five…