An innovative Tyneside firm is combining Scandinavian design expertise with North East manufacturing skills to introduce a new construction system to potentially-lucrative UK construction markets, expansion which will create 20 jobs.
Aartoft Limited said it is the UK’s only producer of lightweight concrete pre-fabricated bathrooms, which have long been widely utilised in the Scandinavian construction industry for projects ranging from hotels, student accommodation and nursing homes through to apartment buildings and social housing.
Led by Niels Sandahl, the Newcastle-based firm is aiming to popularise this cost-effective method of bespoke, technology-driven construction in UK markets, where the various cost and efficiency benefits it offers to both clients and contractors are not currently widely understood. The Aartoft management team expects its development plans to lead to the creation of at least 20 new North East jobs in the foreseeable future, to add to the firm’s existing 30-strong workforce.
The company’s expansion plans are now being backed by a £300,000 investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund, which is administered by regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.
Support for the project is also being provided by Santander Bank and UK Export Finance, with advice on the investment supplied to Aartoft by Michael Smith and Barry Gill of the corporate finance team at Newcastle accountants Tait Walker.
Niels Sandahl, who settled in the North East three years ago, said: ”While this method of construction is widespread across Scandinavia, it hasn’t so far been widely adopted in the UK, a situation which we believe we can address.
“We were very keen to find locally-based investment capital to support what we wanted to do, and working closely with Tait Walker, we had long discussions with NEL about how their backing could help us realise our commercial objectives, discussions which reached a pleasingly positive conclusion.”