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We’re delighted to announce the launch of our regular meet the supplier feature. Each month we will be interviewing our suppliers and showcasing the work they do and what they have to offer. Spaceway works with a wide range of suppliers and each and everyone plays an important part in ensuring our clients receive the highest quality products and ultimately achieving the best end result. To get things started, we’d like to introduce Mark Hurman, Managing Director at Freewall, manufacturer and installer of storage wall systems, lockers and other bespoke office solutions.
Talking about the company’s history, Mark said: “Freewall is the sister company to Anco, which my father, John Hurman, founded in the early 90s after he was made redundant from another racking company. With a determination to succeed and book full of contacts, he launched Anco, a trade only supplier for shelving, racking and storage solutions, from his garage using the chicken shed for storage space.”
From its humble beginnings, Anco and its sister company Freewall, run by brothers Mark and Gavin Hurman, has naturally evolved and is now based in West Sussex, has over 50,000sq.ft of manufacturing, warehouse and storage space and employs over 30 people.
Freewall provides flexible configurations which are individually designed to fit from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Its design led approach and in-house manufacturing enables it to create bold or sympathetic statements for any organisation. Its storage solutions are incredibly versatile and can be used to transform even a basic cupboard into lockers, t-point areas or coat stores.
Mark said: “In areas where rent is very expensive, maximising every inch of space is crucial. Even a traditional filing cabinet can take up much-needed floor space and leave an empty void overhead. With our floor to ceiling cupboards, we can eliminate that wasted space and maximise the storage area.”
One particular product which is in popular demand right now is lockers: “Again, and as always, it really just comes down to space. If you look at the traditional desk pedestal, it takes up a lot of room and is only used to store personal belonging. When it comes to office space planning, we are seeing a huge rise in the removal of these pedestals and a move towards locker storage. This obviously frees up space, but it also means the company can use smaller desks and therefore, increase the number of desks per floor.”
Lockers can also be installed with intelligent opening systems, moving away from traditional key operations. “We can offer lockers which use a swipe card system, it works on the same process as a door entry system, and eliminates the issue of lost keys. It also allows the organisation the flexibility to simply re-programme the card when a person leaves and a new employee joins.”
Freewall and Spaceway have a longstanding partnership, in fact, Malcom Jeary, founder of Spaceway was one of John Hurman’s first customers. Mark said: “The partnership we have built with Spaceway over the years has become incredibly streamline. Because we only supply to the trade, we offer Spaceway complete confidence in the price of our storage solutions and technical support from start to finish.
“We receive the enquiry from Spaceway and from that we will provide quotation usually the same day. If Spaceway’s client proceeds we will go to the site, take all the dimensions and plan the delivery logistics. We produce full drawings for approval and work with Spaceway over any alternations the customer requires until the drawings are approved. Upon approval, we manufacture the products, deliver to site and install the storage solution. What really works for our clients is our ability to take care of everything from design, to manufacture and installation.
There are several benefits to manufacturing the products in-house, explains Mark: “With some jobs, details and plans can change at the last minute. We worked on a project for a company in London which was moving office and required the installation of over 1,000 lockers. Due to the nature of the client’s business, much of the work had to be undertaken at the weekends and to a tight deadline. Configurations on this project changed close to the completion date, and if we didn’t have the ability to manufacture our products in-house to meet these changes, this job would not have been completed on time.
“In addition, it means we are able to produce bespoke products for our clients without the hefty price tag of a joinery company.”
We asked Mark what difficulties he sees reoccurring when it comes to office space planning? “The real challenge most people face is maximising the space they have, whilst making sure it looks fantastic. Built in cupboards will win hands down over traditional free-standing units, not only do they make great use of all the space available, they also ensure clutter does not build up either under or over the units. Our solutions can be tailored to a company’s brand, colours can be perfectly balanced and matched, providing the client with a sleek looking office with much needed extra space. It’s space that was there already, it was just not being used correctly or efficiently.”
When it comes to challenges facing the industry, Mark believes the issue of political uncertainty could be having a knock-on effect on consumers’ confidence. “It’s quite simple when people feel confident they will spend money, when they don’t they won’t. Freewall is working exceptionally hard to manufacture more economically, invest in new machinery and become even more competitive for its clients.”
Finishing off, Mark added: “We have a fantastic team at Freewall and a team that will always go the extra mile. Our retention rates are impressive and lots of our employees have been with us for over ten years. Our partnership with Spaceway is incredibly important to our business and we look forward to working with them and supplying space saving storage solutions for their clients for years to come.”
Another project well done by Spaceway. As before, we're very pleased with everything from concept through to completion.
We're very impressed with the Spaceway team and the whole project was installed without fault. We are looking forward to working with the team again.
“I was so happy I did not get bothered throughout the extensive works and that a strict timetable was completed flawlessly. Fantastic experience all round.”
Thank you to Spaceway for the improvements that have been made to move Bodywise forward. You've done a very good job and we look forward to working with you again.
The project was designed to meet our specific requirements which included fitting in 20 more additional workstations using the existing space. The design works well and has met our expectations fully, we will continue to use Spaceway, they do a good job.
MD, ALPMA UK
"I’m very pleased how they’ve gone through it all and actioned it and they’ve got good depth of resource, good depth of people, and good skilled people who work well and tightly and good communication. So I’m delighted."
It’s no good having just an empty industrial building you need a concept for space, a design, an infrastructure and someone to build it. Designing something like this from scratch with someone who’s willing to invest in your ideas, Spaceway is your perfect partner.
Spaceway worked with us to create the perfect environment for our staff. The completed project was fantastic and utilised the space to provide practical, modern and attractive working surroundings.
We were delighted with the service from Spaceway.
Plastimo UK Limited
We are delighted with the finished product. The space has been turned into an exceptional working environment, which will serve us well for years to come
The office fit out is superbly finished to the highest standards and beyond our expectations.
The project was challenging to say the least with the removal of 280 workstations and fitting of 400 new ones, along with collaboration areas and 400 bespoke lockers over two weekends, but Spaceway managed to complete this along with office refurbishment works on time and to an excellent standard.
Our project was finished on time and to budget in what was a very short timescale, which is a credit to the team at Spaceway!