Chairman's Welcome

2017 was another positive year for the Wates Group, not just in terms of strong financial performance but also for its continued investment in its people and its relationships with important stakeholders, which reflect its commitment to a long-term view of success.

Chairman's Welcome Video

The Group continued to demonstrate resilience in the face of market uncertainty, with growth reported across all business units, contributing to performance exceeding our expectations. The Group delivered 2,000 projects across its business, working 34 million hours, and all with an industry-leading health and safety record.

The Group continued implementing its strategy of focusing on construction, property services and residential developments, with the goal of becoming the most trusted partner in the built environment.

The strong financial results described in this report are testament to the quality and commitment of its people, the strength of its relationships with clients and partners, and its robust financial management. The excellence of its management team was also reflected in Construction News’ recognition of the Wates Group as Contractor of the Year and winner of the Judges’ Supreme Award.

The Group’s commitment to excellence was illustrated in its winning the Investors in People Gold accreditation for the third consecutive time. This was a great accomplishment of which all employees should be proud.

The award of Organisation of the Year at the inaugural UK Social Mobility Awards, recognised that the Group’s commitment to long-term sustainability, implemented through our Reshaping Tomorrow programme, is truly integrated into our business and is a vital ingredient of our success.

All this took place in one of the most turbulent years the industry has ever seen.

As a family-owned business, the Group has always maintained a long-term perspective, ensuring that it acts as a responsible corporate citizen, in the interests of all stakeholders – its employees, the communities it serves, its clients and its supply chain. These principles are integrated in the way the business is managed and reinforced by the Group’s commitment to a set of core values, helping to sustain its long-term perspective.

“The Group’s commitment to excellence was reflected in its winning the Investors in People Gold accreditation for the third consecutive time. This was a great accomplishment of which all employees should be proud.”

Investment in the workforce of the future is paramount if the Group is to continue to prosper, and as well as ensuring more young people enter the industry, it must improve the diversity of its workforce.

If it is to respond to the sector’s skills shortages – which are likely to deteriorate with Brexit – it has to make Wates – and the industry – a more attractive career proposition for people and groups who have not traditionally worked in the sector. The Group is determined to do everything it can to foster an inclusive workplace. By being truly inclusive, diversity will follow, leading to a workforce who will challenge the norm, foster innovation, and facilitate better working practices.

Finally, on behalf of the shareholders, I would like to thank the Group’s Board of Directors and its Executive Committee particularly, who have maintained consistent performance in the months following the resignation of Chief Executive Andrew Davies and were able to manage that transition with confidence. Thanks are due, as always, to all employees for their hard work and continued commitment to the Group’s values of integrity, intelligence, performance, teamwork and respect.

James Wates Signature

James Wates, CBE

James Wates - Chairman