Home Features Golden Times: Founding member celebrates 50 years of business

Service Partitions Ltd (SPL), one of the founder members of the Partitioning Industry Association (PIA), is celebrating its golden anniversary this year.

The company, which is based in Bury St Edmunds, was founded on 10 April 1970 by Pat O’Brien, Neil Phillips and Peter Hankins, and started out as a supplier of partitions. Over the next 50 years, it evolved to become an all-round interior specialist and in 1984 Service Group Interiors (SGI) became the trading name of the company.

SGI works on the philosophy of `exploiting design and creating environments`, according to Managing Director William Kirkham,who joined the company 10 years after its inception as a Director. William was President of the Association of Interior Specialists (AIS), which merged with the Federation of Plastering & Drywall Contractors (FPDC) in 2014 to form FIS, from 2003 to 2005.

William and fellow Director Daniel Phillips, who joined the company in 2009, are now equal shareholders of the company. William said the loyalty and understanding of his staff was the main contributor to the company’s longevity. He said: “The success of the business throughout its existence has been based on excellent teamwork. Thanks to a deep pride in their company, staff at all levels have a commitment towards understanding the customers’ needs and putting their requirements first.”

Daniel was quick to back this up, saying: “Over the years, we’ve built up our expertise to offer full service from design concept through to installation, and we could not have done that without some deeply talented and reliable staff. We count ourselves lucky to have not only existed this long, but to have grown and extended our range, and hope all our customers and suppliers will join us in celebrating our achievement.”

Some of the company’s standout projects over the years have been executed through works direct to clients and via main contractors, notably: RG Carters, SDC Builders, Hutton Construction, Ashe Construction, Lindum Group, Borras Construction, 8 Build, Ducron Construction, Seamans Building, Morgan Sindall, Kier Construction, Horizon Construction, McLaren Group, Forest Gate Construction, Bowmer & Kirklandand Barnes Construction.

Service Group Interiors has formed long-standing relationships within the supply chain and has worked in partnership with Komfort for many years, being one of its first registered contractors.

Komfort’s Sales and Marketing Director, Jim Smith said: “Over that time, they’ve become much more than just a customer, they’re very much a partner in delivering a range of projects we’re all very proud of.”

He said Komfort’s relationship with Service Group stretched back to “the evolution of partitioning” and pointed out that the company became one of the main exponents of frameless systems during the 1990s.

“Nowadays they continue to work closely with us on standard, bespoke and fire-systems. Will and Dan’s knowledge is unparalleled in the industry and they are the first point of contact for personnel in our company that have a query on legacy systems. That is an accolade to their knowledge in itself!

“I want to take this moment to congratulate Service Group for 50 years in business, a celebration that has been awarded through hard work, collaboration and excellent service.

Here’s to the next 50 years of continued success for the whole team!” The biggest changes SGS’s staff have seen over the years have been in relation to health and safety and environmental issues, according to William.

One of SGI’s long-standing suppliers has been Forza Doors and its Regional Sales Manager, James Humphreys, said the attitudes of SGI’s staff and owners were a “shining light” that enabled them to respond to complex projects within critical timescales.

“The key relationships that the SGI workforce have with their supply chain partners has been built up over many years and is based upon the ability to give clear and concise information that allows Forza Doors to manufacture and deliver materials to the SGI projects that meets the demanding programme imposed upon them,” he said.

“Congratulations to the SGI team on a tremendous history within the interiors industry and also the next chapter in the book of success that will be written by them.”

FIS Chief Executive Iain McIlwee also praised the company on its milestone.

He said: “Congratulations go to SGI on the landmark. Nothing ever stands still in our industry, and over the years SGI’s long-standing staff must have witnessed some notable changes, while William’s expertise has been an invaluable input to the FIS and its forerunners.”

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