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The Business Impact of a Global Pandemic: an Interview with MD Colin Parkins

After a tumultuous year for us all, we caught up with Decorative & Ornamental Plastering Ltd's Managing Director Colin Parkins to find out the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on his business, how he has had to adapt, and his hopes for the future.

How is business?

Business is good. Current workload is strong, and all the signs are that this will continue throughout 2021. The vast majority of our turnover relates to both high-end residential refurbishment and new-builds, both of which have continued apace throughout the pandemic.

How have you had to adapt this past 12 months?

Like all businesses, we have had to find different ways of working.

Due to the challenges of working from home, our office has remained open for all managers and staff, but on a rotational basis ensuring that no more than two people are in the office at any given time. A number of other Covid-secure practices such as increasing ventilation and social distancing measures are now in place to ensure that the office and workshop are safe places for our team to work in.

What have been the most disruptive parts of the Covid-19 pandemic for Decorative & Ornamental Plastering Ltd?

In spite of having to shut our workshop and suspend all operatives, including site personnel, for a 6-week period during the first national lockdown in March-April 2020, we were still able to record our best ever financial figures for our year ending June 2020.

The temporary shutdown of British Gypsum over the same period brought significant challenges for the construction industry. Fortunately, the excellent relationships we have built over the years with all our suppliers meant that our supply chain faced limited disruption and we were able to secure our plaster at normal rates.

Although we were fortunate to avoid any further major disruption in 2020, the start of 2021 has brought new challenges with several of our operatives contracting Covid-19 and therefore having to isolate for 14 days. We continue to manage the situation day-to-day and work closely with our supportive and understanding clients to keep disruption to a minimum.

Looking ahead, what are your hopes for 2021 and beyond?

I feel incredibly positive about our future. Our clients are certainly being successful in acquiring new contracts, with some securing work into 2023! As long as we are able to maintain our recognised quality and service, we hope to continue to move forward with them.

My confidence in the future is such that I have already invested in an increase of our workshop facility by some 50% and also taken on a third apprentice; two things I would not have anticipated 9 months ago!

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