A Message from our CEO and Founder

With the FDS Group now approaching its 20th year of trading and a largely expanded workforce in a cross division of business sectors, Gerard Sheridan CEO updates us on how the business needs to restructure to allow greater concentration in specific sectors.

Andy Riley and myself, who were Buro Happold employees 19 years ago, decided to set up a Fire Consultancy as we wanted to have more freedom to pursue our passion for skiing whilst working remotely. In the early months of 2001, FDS Consult was set up to deal with developing Fire Strategies for complex buildings.

The Company quickly expanded and in 2003 we opened our first office in London. The Consultancy went from strength to strength. Following some ground breaking research and full size fire testing into the fan assisted smoke extract systems for a large development, we had a dilemma as the Client could not get any of the Smoke Venting Contracting Companies at the time to install. Unlike current day activities, they did not want to get involved.

Fire Design Solutions was set up to deal with the installation of these systems and quickly started expanding into natural ventilation systems and car park extraction systems. A lot of thanks goes to good relationships with Barratt Homes, Telford Homes, Weston Homes and St James who encouraged this as they only wanted one smoke venting contract. We later moved into fire alarm systems, fire sprinkler systems and then expanded into maintenance as the business grew.

Both of the companies were doing fire consultancy, installations and maintenance which created confusion with Clients and the brand was seen as having a conflict of interest. Over the past three years as Andy and I have stepped out of the day to day running of the business, due to other business interests, Senior Members of the various departments have become members of the management team, working with the MD, Nick Waterfield.

Based on the Client feedback on the confusion of the various companies, and the progression of the Senior Management team, we started looking at how we could restructure the business to represent what the Clients required and how best this could be managed. With my fellow owners Andy & Nick, we decided as part of a restructure we would promote our Senior Managers to Group Directors allowing them to influence the future of the group and business units.

The restructure moving forward is intended to separate the business into the various sectors units and no longer allowing the sector cross over. With this in mind, moving forward the business units will become known as below with the existing two companies continuing, but will be specific in their main business.

The business units will be known as FDS Contracting, FDS Maintenance, FDS Building Services Consultancy, FDS Controls and FDS Consult (UK).

As the name implies, FDS Contracting will be the contracting part of the business and will no longer cross over into the other disciplines. Similarly FDS Maintenance will be a standalone maintenance company servicing both FDS and 3rd party non FDS installed systems.

FDS Building Services Consultancy will be responsible for CFD smoke modelling and the design of smoke extraction, environmental and fire detection systems. This business unit will also offer Clients the opportunity of doing the 3rd party design works for independent systems up to Tender stage allowing Clients to gain independent tenders and tender reviews. FDS Controls will be procuring all the controls necessary for FDS Contracting and 3rd party Contractors for non FDS projects. FDS Consult (UK) will be purely responsible for fire consultancy and will not be taking on contracting or maintenance work.

The Group and new business units will continue to be led by our MD Nick Waterfield and our newly promoted Group Directors. Rachael Archer has become Finance Director, Steven Morgan has become Consulting Director. Dan Foster has become Sales & Procurement Director. Martin Ives has become Estimating Director.

We are hoping the restructure and the appointment of Board Directors will clarify the business elements to Clients, allow the specific business units to expand and allow greater growth in the specific sectors.

Gerard Sheridan


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