Capable of producing 70 million Covid-19 vaccine doses – enough for the entire UK population – within six months of its opening next summer, the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre is being built at a former RAF airbase in Oxfordshire.
Glencar Construction, based just over 60 miles away in St Albans, laid the foundation at the Harwell campus site in April – and made such a good impression that it was asked to complete the full civil, structural and internal design.
That added an estimated £80m to an already sizeable £16m contract for the four-year-old firm, and elicited a visit from the prime minister to check on progress in September. But that is not why Glencar has bulldozed its way to the top of the Fast Track 100.
Eddie McGillycuddy, 40, and Chris Gleave, 49, set up the company in 2016, having worked together at McLaren Construction, which featured on Fast Track 100 three times between 2006 and 2008. At first, the pair targeted sub- £10m industrial projects and worked as consultants for their old firm to finance the new venture.
McGillycuddy has been dubbed “Shedward” by his peers for his expertise in building industrial-scale storage space: vast sheds for corporate clients often larger than 500,000 sq ft, or about seven football pitches. When the vote for Brexit in June 2016 spurred demand for onshore manufacturing and storage facilities, Glencar found itself in demand, and it secured its first project, for Ocado, in January 2017.
Glencar has since completed dozens of warehouse units in Kent, Crewe, Croydon, Milton Keynes and at Heathrow airport; it employs in excess of 100 people directly and hundreds more through sub-contractors. Last year it opened an office in Birmingham to support its growth across the Midlands. Over the summer it completed the fit-out of a 525,600 sq ft warehouse on Merseyside for Kellogg’s – the American giant’s biggest distribution centre in the UK.
This jam-packed schedule has seen sales rocket from just £610,000 in 2017 to an annualised £96.5m in the year to September: an average growth of 441% a year over three years, and a record rate in the 24 years of the Fast Track 100 league table.
Ocado remains a core customer: Glencar is currently rebuilding the online grocer’s Andover warehouse – devastated by an electrical fire last year – and is working on a new robotic fulfilment centre in Bristol.
With most of the near-£100m from the Harwell project to be reported in next year’s accounts, and ongoing expansion into the pharmaceutical, cold storage and student accommodation sectors, Glencar’s growth looks set to stay healthy.
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