Home-made in Perth!
Published on 21 March 2020
To anyone who owns or plans to purchase a Stephen home, the key driver is quality.
When you invest in an apartment or five bedroom villa, you know you have purchased a home of superior quality, with an unrivalled attention to detail, finish and specification from start to finish.
However, are you aware that almost all elements of a Stephen home are created in our factory in Perth?
We spoke to Kirsty Welling, Workshop Supervisor to hear more about the building process and how it’s changed over the decades.
From a young age, Kirsty always had a passion for creating and making so joined the firm as an apprentice at the age of 17, while studying at Perth College.
Twenty-four years on, Kirsty now supervises 11 staff throughout the timber kit factory, including the paint, joiners and machine shop departments ensuring that all work meets the programme requirements of each site. Collectively, the team boasts an impressive level of expertise and experience, from young apprentices through to Peter Farquharson, Workshop Painter who has notched up a staggering 36 years with the firm!
As well as the timber frame kits themselves, Kirsty and her team fabricate everything from stairs and loft hatches to shelving, porches, garage windows and fire surrounds.
Kirsty said, “Some housing developments are rather formulaic with fixtures and fittings almost always bought-in, often shipped over from overseas. With a Stephen home, almost everything you see is handmade with care and attention, built here in our bespoke factory in Perth.
“Not only does this mean that we are responsible for every stage of the manufacturing process, literally working with a hammer and chisel rather than tapping numbers and watching everything pop out on a production line, it also provides scope for more personalisation. If you go into a Stephen development, the house next door is unlikely to be exactly the same and there can be scope for us to adapt certain features within the property depending on the buyer’s wishes, whether it’s changing balcony doors or window position, or perhaps a change to the layout. Essentially, we’re a family firm, steeped in history, and our clients pay for a superior product, personal to that property.”
Of course, in 24 years, the construction industry has changed significantly, with the firm now using the closed panel system for all properties.
Kirsty explained, “With the closed panel timber frames being manufactured within our own factory, everything runs more efficiently. Our closed panels are fitted with doors, windows and insulation in the factory. As well as a quicker build time, it means we have a wind and watertight structure on-site within a few days, meaning we can start on the external and internal finishes sooner. Due to the panels being manufactured within the factory in a controlled environment, there’s also much less waste on site and, for the buyer, they have a more energy-efficient home too as the panels are built to very high standards of thermal insulation and air tightness.”
However, despite advances, some things remain the same.
As a family firm dating back over 80 years, Stephen’s commitment to ‘doing things the best way, not the cheapest way’ remains. Indeed, Kirsty has a strong work ethic which she has instilled in each member of her team.
Kirsty added, “Whether we’re working on a luxury six-bedroom villa or a two-bed apartment, the attention to detail and level of commitment is the same. After all, to that buyer, it’s a huge investment so quality is paramount. My team know that I’m not afraid to reject a piece of work and tell them to start again. After all, we’re talking about people’s homes after all – they deserve the very best!”