Suffolk-based cleanroom construction company ready for final push in remaining months of busiest ever year
THE GUARDTECH GROUP are riding the crest of a wave right now. Be it modular cleanrooms, full turnkey construction or smaller innovative products, the company are busier than ever before – growing in revenue, staff numbers and reputation.
The Haverhill-based cleanroom construction are gearing up for the busiest autumn-winter period in the company’s 22-year history – after reaching a record number of active jobs.
Guardtech had a whopping 20 projects under way concurrently at the tail end of September – more than they’ve ever had on the go at the same time since Guardtech Cleanrooms was formed in 2000.
A major restructure at the beginning of 2022 saw Guardtech Cleanrooms acquire ‘friendly competitor’ Cleanroom Solutions – a fellow controlled environment construction company based in Sussex.
Guardtech Cleanrooms, founded in 2000, had previously provided a range of design & build services – from larger projects to more modest modulars, portable cleanrooms and quick-assembly solutions.
When the deal to acquire Cleanroom Solutions was struck, the Guardtech Directors took the opportunity to recalibrate the business – separating the key elements into five distinct brands, including the introduction of a completely new R&D offering.
Guardtech Cleanrooms would focus specifically on providing modular cleanrooms, while Cleanroom Solutions would use its position as a heritage brand to offer larger-scale turnkey construction services.
CleanCube Mobile Cleanrooms stepped out from under the wing of parent company Guardtech Cleanrooms to become a separate business outright, providing award-winning portable controlled environment solutions and Isopod Rapid Cleanrooms followed suit, continuing to offer a quick-assembly option to clients in a more focused and dedicated manner.
The final piece of the jigsaw saw the introduction of Isoblok Pre-Fab Cleanrooms – an off-site pod solution in the early stages of its development as a brand.
With this, the Guardtech Group was born – and with that, a new era of controlled environment excellence.
An epic year
Commercial Director Mark Wheeler was instrumental in the restructure – and he’s delighted at how things have fallen into place, particularly given just how busy the Group have been since the big change.
“It’s been a pretty epic year so far,” he admits. “Our project schedule has been jam-packed – and it’s only going to get busier as we move on towards autumn and into winter.
“But we’re relishing the challenge – Guardtech Cleanrooms modulars are proving immensely popular, and it’s been brilliant to welcome all the additional skill, knowledge and expertise that Cleanroom Solutions bring to our turnkey solutions.
“CleanCube has continued to grow this year, and we’re evolving that brand further to expand the range of standard portable cleanrooms we can offer, with our new Pharma (pharmaceutical compounding), Bio (biosafety labs) and Equip (original equipment manufacturer) models helping customers discover the portable cleanroom that meets their specific requirements.”
Among the jobs already completed this year are a suite of 150sqm Grade D cleanrooms for pharmaceutical clinical trials in Kent, ISO6, ISO7 and ISO8 modular builds in Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Huddersfield respectively, a high-spec 400sqm Grade C and D project in Yorkshire, a 200sqm ISO7 Medical Device cleanroom in Devon, 100sqm ISO8 build in Essex and a bespoke 20sqm Isopod in Oxfordshire.
CleanCube Mobile Cleanrooms continued to strengthen its position as more than just a PCR testing solution, with Cell & Gene Therapy applications and other Research & Development firms opting to procure Guardtech’s award-winning portable units.
The success of both CleanCube and Isopod as rapid controlled environment solutions is also fuelling Guardtech’s desire to expand their international offering, with plans to open up both products further to the export market as key parts of the business’ future growth.
The Group even found the time earlier this year to repurpose a company van as a CleanCube Mobi to donate to the Uganda People’s Defence Force to support COVID-19 testing in remote villages.
What’s on and what’s to come
The Group are currently working on a 550sqm ISO8 build in Cambridgeshire, 300sqm ISO6 Medical Device development in Staffordshire, 300sqm ISO7 Medical Device cleanroom in Suffolk and two smaller modular ISO7 and ISO8 builds in Hertfordshire and Lancashire respectively for Digital Imaging Technology and Technical Fabrics Manufacturing.
And there are still more to come this year – with a CleanCube Mini scheduled for delivery north of the border, a 140sqm ISO8 project in Kent, 300sqm ISO7 Micro-electronics build in Cambridge,
60sqm CleanCube in Sweden and 30sqm of Softwall Isopods in Denmark.
“We’re busier than we’ve ever been and, given the way things are in the country right now, that’s brought some serious challenges,” Mr Wheeler continues. “But we’ve been incredibly focussed on delivering the best possible service we can for all of our clients and I couldn’t be prouder of the impressive catalogue of projects we’ve got stuck into so far this year.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to all of diligent, hard-working, professional teams and promise that we will continue to do our utmost to deliver the best possible solutions for our expanding client base in the future.”
Revolution and innovation
With all this high-level construction action occurring, Guardtech could be forgiven for neglecting their drive for Commercial innovation – but one of Mr Wheeler’s proudest achievements this year was the launch of Guardtech’s revolutionary Isopod Configurator.
The online tool that allows you to ‘build your own cleanroom’ by selecting a wide range of different elements, including the structural set-up, mechanical & electrical components, furniture and equipment and much more.
“There’s nothing else like it in our industry,” he beams. “Part of the reason we decided to form the Guardtech Group was to make the customer journey as good as it possibly could be. Five distinct companies offering a clear route to the product or service that the client requires.
“The Isopod Configurator gives the customer the opportunity to choose how they want to set up their cleanroom – ISO classification, environmental monitoring system, floor colour, lux levels – if you can think of it, you can almost certainly select it.”
The total package
The Group’s ‘total package’ controlled environment customer experience doesn’t end with their five different construction solutions – Guardtech also provide comprehensive Service Agreements, including full validation and maintenance, a wide range of deep clean programmes through their outstanding Decontamination Team and a broad selection of cleanroom grade furniture & equipment options, from Trespa stepover benches to laminar flow units, air showers to stainless steel cabinets and shelving.
“We try to cover every possible need we can,” adds Mr Wheeler. “But we won’t compromise on the high quality we set with our builds when it comes to our other products and services.
“Whether it’s our Design Team or Ops Team, Service Department or Decon Team, we hold everyone in the company to the same standards – we aim for excellence.”
When the Guardtech Group was formed, Mr Wheeler and his fellow board members, Operations Director Conor Barwise and father Ray Wheeler, unveiled the GUARD Charter – which promotes the business’ core values of: Guide, Understand, Adapt, Respond and Deliver.
“Each business within the group, and every employee working for Guardtech, is held accountable against this charter,” he continues. “We guide them to embody the values that have made our group strong over its history.”
The history and heritage is strong and, as far as the future goes, Guardtech look like going from strength to strength, as their mission to achieve controlled environment excellence continues.
For more information on Guardtech’s products and services, call 0330 113 0303, email email@example.com or visit www.guardtech.com. To check out their revolutionary Isopod Configurator tool, see www.iso-pod.co.uk.