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North Wales Firm Using Aviation Technology to Create Outdoor Offices

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A pioneering garden room company that uses aviation technology to create outdoor offices, spas, gyms, hobby and art studios, is on track for a record turnover of £1m next year.

Rubicon Garden Rooms, based in Shotton in Flintshire, has just celebrated its fifth anniversary with a visit from Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami.

The company makes zero maintenance garden rooms using aircraft technology learned by managing director John Lyon when he previously worked as an engineer at Airbus.

Formed in 2006 as a general building firm, the company began specialising in Garden Rooms in 2014 with an initial complement of 2 staff growing to 10 by 2019 together with 4 local sub-contractor artisans.

Caleb Williams, the company’s first apprentice who was recruited in 2016, now has a full time job with the company, and Matthew Parker, from Saltney, is following in his footsteps as an apprentice joiner.

John is currently recruiting the company’s third apprentice thanks to a partnership with Coleg Cambria, to help meet an increasing number of orders.

The visit to join the anniversary celebrations at Rubicon was also a trip down memory lane for Mark Tami.

Until 10 years ago his office used to be in what is now Rubicon’s workshop and assembly area.

He said:

“I haven’t been back here for a while but it’s good to see a local business like Rubicon growing so quickly.

“It’s thriving and taking on apprentices which is very important; giving young people the opportunity to learn  new skills and hopefully build the business further.

“I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen and heard of Rubicon’s garden rooms which are made from environmentally friendly materials.

“I am very supportive of local businesses that grow and obviously employ more and more people as well as producing the quality product that they are making.”

The  company now makes around 40-50 garden rooms a year for clients across the UK including in  Cheshire, Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and further afield in London, Halifax, Leicester and Bristol.

The bespoke, top of the range modular buildings have helped several businesses to expand by creating outdoor office space and meeting rooms which are fully insulated for year-round use, and plumbed in with kitchens and toilets, cutting overheads for company rent.

The rooms, manufactured at their workshop and erected on site, are popular with home workers who improve their work-life balance by using outside space to keep work separate from family life, and cut out commutes.

There is also growing interest from pensioners and younger couples who have commissioned the rooms to expand their living space and add value to their homes without having to go through the hassle of moving house.

Rubicon’s buildings have also proved a hit with artists, musicians and craft makers who use the rooms to enjoy hobbies from sewing and model making, to recording tracks and painting.

They are an ideal solution for fitness fans who have used the space to create home gyms, yoga studios and even house swimming pools and spas. They’ve even been commissioned as outdoor cinemas for private individuals and schools.

The company recently used its expertise to build a café for North Clwyd Animal Rescue (NCAR) , a one-off project at Trelogan, near Holywell.

Managing director John Lyon said:

“It’s been a fantastic journey. It’s great to see the business go from strength to strength.

“Our team are now booked up months in advance which gives us certainty and the confidence to invest to move the business forward.

“We’re delighted to be in a position to start training up our third apprentice. Caleb and Matthew have both been fantastic additions to the team and it’s great to know that we are putting something back into both the local economy and skills base.”

“Wherever possible, we try and buy from local suppliers because we like to support the local economy and keep as much as we can of the revenue in this area.

“The fact that our garden rooms require zero maintenance and last for 30 years has been an important factor in our success and is something that sets us apart from the glorified shed makers.

“The uses for our garden rooms are limited only by people’s imaginations and we can install kitchens, toilets, bathrooms and shower rooms – in fact, anything you would expect to see in a small house.

“One thing we are particularly proud of and gives our customers peace of mind is that we are the only garden rooms company in the U.K. to have Buy With Confidence accreditation from Trading Standards who carried out rigorous checks.”

Caleb, 19, from Ewloe, completed his  two-year apprenticeship which included on-the-jog training and gained a Level Two NVQ in carpentry and joinery from Coleg Cambria.

He said:

“This is my first job from school and it’s ace. I’m really enjoying working  here and I am learning something new every day.

“It’s very busy and, as Rubicon has grown, the team has got bigger and bigger.  I can see a great future here.”