NORSCOT has much to be proud of as it celebrates 35 years of business – but it also has an eye to the future as it embraces new technology which will transform not just where we live, but how we live.
The proud Highland kit home, window and door manufacturer marked its 35th anniversary on July 4. Since it started trading back in 1984 Norscot has become a significant employer in the region with a near £5 million turnover and over 60 staff.
The company is headquartered in Caithness where it has it’s factory, offices and a showroom. To promote the business further afield it has an office, showroom and storage facilities on the Carse Industrial Estate in Inverness.
It has benefited, over the years, from the support of many thousands of customers throughout the UK and overseas.
It is a milestone which current managing director Callum Grant recognises could not have been achieved without the commitment of Norscot’s employees and it’s customers, past and present, whose support has enabled the business to grow over the years. “So, very many thanks to you all”, Callum said.
“We actively encourage and train our employees to grow within the company and are rightly proud that some employees have over 20 years service”. Several factory staff have been promoted to office positions including Ian Nicolson who moved from manufacturing our timber frame kits to designing them”, Callum added.
Directors Carrie and John-Paul Body have also progressed through the company. Carrie starting as an admin assistant is now finance director and John-Paul who started as a fabricator is now production director.
The board also includes Jason Fraser who joined the team in 1991 as an architectural technician and is now the company’s technical director and Callum himself, who joined the company in 1988 as a salesman and is now managing director.
Norscot provides goods and services to our many thousands of customers, many of them drawn by Norscot’s reputation as a trusted and recognised name in the timber frame, windows and door industries.
Callum believes Norscot’s success has been jointly driven by a commitment to customer service and the production of quality products designed to cope with the worst Highland weather can throw at them.
Norscot’s range of timber frames kit homes is predominantly manufactured for the self-build market. But, they also work with selected developers who are building multiple homes on sites throughout the Highlands.
“We don’t just manufacture the timber frame wall panels, we also manufacture the windows and doors and assemble the internal door sets. The majority of other timber frame manufacturers just concentrate on making the panels and buy everything else in. That puts us in a unique position where customers know that they are buying a product with consistently high quality”, Callum said.
“I think this multi-faceted approach comes from working in the Highlands and the desire / need to be self-sufficient, control what do and make it better, rather than just buying in”, Callum added.
Technical director Jason Fraser commented, “Our industry is constantly innovating and evolving with the aim of providing the customer with high-quality products and services whilst offering great value for money and we are certainly at the forefront of that movement”.
Norscot’s portfolio of energy efficient windows and doors, which are all made in Caithness, offers more material options and choices than any other manufacturer in Scotland. They are available PVCu in a host of modern and classic colours and in hardwood or engineered pine. There’s also the unique Aluwood composite system where they combine the beauty of timber on the inside with various colours of maintenance free aluminium on the outside. The company has recently secured a large number of window and door replacement contracts with The Highland Council and several Highland housing associations.
Norscot’s Highland roots are also evident in its commitment to repaying the support it has received from the Highland community over the years. It’s chosen charity last year was Birchwood Highland which works with people over the age of 16 who are experiencing mental health issues. The charity operates support teams in the Inverness, Easter Ross, Caithness, and Lochaber areas, so it was a natural choice for Norscot to choose Birchwood.
Norscot also continues to support local events, schools and organisations including sponsorship of Caithness Rugby Club, Wick Academy, Inverness and Muir of Ord golf clubs. Having just won the contract to replace windows and doors at Reay golf club, they will be supporting it too, in the near future!
“Something we could never have envisaged 35 years ago was the way technology is transforming the business. We have evolved from our early days as an up and coming joinery company to today where we are working on products such as intelligent windows & doors which are controlled by your smartphone”, Jason said.
This is not the only area where Norscot is pioneering new technology. The business is also working with the University of Strathclyde on a KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership) to develop the use of virtual reality (VR). “When a customer comes to us looking for a new home, we will be able to place them in a VR environment and give them walkthroughs of different house types”, Jason added.
Even more significant, is Norscot’s creation of intelligent “smart homes”. These homes could have particular significance for an area like the Highlands. Jason continued, “Our WellBe homes will allow people to remain in their own homes much longer, a concept backed by NHS Scotland and social services. Together with our academic partners at Northumbria University, we are looking at the hazards and barriers preventing people from staying in their own homes for longer. We’re also looking at the design and layout of homes at inception to ensure they’ll be ready to cope with elderly living and other issues rather than having to adapt them later.”
So, while Norscot’s latest milestone anniversary has provided an opportunity to reflect on the past, the company is looking forward to an exciting future.
“Here’s to the next 35 years and beyond ”