Following the Reece Group’s acquisition of Armstrong Works in 2012, the first of its engineering companies has started its move into the iconic Scotswood Road site.
Responsive Engineering, which was formed by a merger of two Reece Group companies, Pearson Engineering Services and Responsive Engineering Group, has now relocated its machining operations at Team Valley along with its 300 size workforce into the refurbished premises.
Reece Group will be investing £10m into the redevelopment of the site over the next two years which will see it transformed into a new engineering facility. The production area for Responsive Engineering alone will occupy in excess of 7,000 sq m and includes technically advanced machinery, giving the capability and capacity to provide a new range of work for existing and potential clients.
In the last three months, in addition to an 80-plus person modular office being created at the south elevation of the building which leads directly onto the shop floor, purpose built welfare facilities on the shop floor, including lockers, toilet and shower blocks and canteen areas have been completed.
As a provider of sub-contract manufacturing for the oil and gas, sub-sea, power generation and defence industries, the move for Responsive Engineering has come at a time when demand for its specialist skills and products is burgeoning.
The potential at the new site is welcomed by managing director of Responsive Engineering, Roger Anderton who said: “The logistics of getting the site ready and the machinery moved has been an enormous challenge but one which has been both exciting and invigorating for everyone involved.
“There has been a tremendous effort from all those involved to achieve what has been a seamless transition of operations onto site and we definitely see this move as an excellent opportunity to further build upon our success.”
Since the purchase, Reece Group has created a project management team who have coordinated a transition of operations onto site. Previous owner, BAE Systems is releasing space in a phased exit and Reece Group now occupy more than 65% of the site which has a total footprint of 32,000 sq m.
In line with providing employment and wealth in the North East, 95% of the upgrading work on-site has been sourced from North East companies with more than 228 contractors inducted on site during the last six months.
Chairman of Reece Group, John Reece said: “Armstrong Works is a location synonymous with engineering innovation and the arrival of the first Reece Group Company on site marks a major milestone in our ambition to create the most capable Tier 1 engineering supplier site in Europe.
“The huge expanse of available space provides the opportunity not only to unite our portfolio of innovative and award winning engineering companies but also to give them the capacity and scope for future growth in a climate conducive to innovation and creativity.
“Our substantial investment is testament to our commitment to securing the future of engineering in the North East and it is a privilege to be able to continue the engineering and manufacturing legacy created by Lord Armstrong more than 167 years ago.”