Always on time

Since its inception just over 80 years ago, EI.WHS (Thornaby) has undergone numerous changes to its business.

Originally established in 1927 as A. Anderson & Son in Middlesbrough, EI.WHS was acquired by Staveley Industries in 1968 and was then amalgamated with WH Smith Electrical Engineers in the 1980s. The name was abbreviated to WHS, and finally changed to EI.WHS following the acquisition of Electrical Installations in the South of the UK. Today EI.WHS is a leading independent mechanical, electrical and instrumentation (ME&I) building services contractor with an annual turnover in excess of £100 million. Providing premier ME&I engineering services for public and private sector clients in commercial and industrial markets, EI.WHS’ activities include project management, design, procurement, supply, installation, testing, commissioning, maintenance as well as ATEX Hazardous Area Inspections and ME&I systems.

Having clocked up 20 years’ experience in providing electrical and instrumentation solutions to the oil and gas sector, Andy Richardson, contract manager for oil and gas at EI.WHS states: “Our key focus is on providing electrical and instrumentation services to clients in the oil and gas, steel, water and industrial sectors from our offices based in Thornaby and Scunthorpe. In addition to our extensive service range, we also have our own in-house design team, which uses a bespoke software package – also developed in-house over many years – to design and manage cable data as effectively and economically as possible, including the automatic generation of loop diagrams, cable test sheets and hazardous area inspection sheets.”

In July 2005, the company strengthened its position in the industry through a partnership with Vital Services Group, when Vital completed its investment in EI.WHS. Vital Services specialises in permanent and contract recruitment of engineering and construction staff. The unique relationship between EI.WHS and Vital means that EI.WHS is now backed by one of the largest and most respected  resource providers in the UK, and is able to provide the most flexible solution to meet its clients’ needs, whether it be a sub-contract, turnkey package or the provision of labour only.

Continuing, Andy says: “We have proven our ability to undertake the most demanding electrical and instrumentation projects for the offshore oil and gas sector. Our first offshore project was the provision of electrical and instrumentation work on a living quarters module, built at Teeside during 1992. Our relationship with this particular client continued to develop as we secured a number of projects. Consequently, during the 1990s we became its preferred electrical and instrumentation contractor, completing a number of various kinds of offshore projects, including the conversion of a supertanker into an FPSO.”

More recently, the business was approached by a potential client, to provide assistance with a new major offshore project. “We were approached to assist with the front end engineering and design (FEED) study for the project,” Andy comments. “This new client is an alliance between several industrial construction related companies in the Tees Valley area. The project is the first of a number of planned sixth generation deep water/harsh environment semisubmersible drilling rigs with a combined value of around $1.8 billion. The launch of the first semi-submersible is planned for 2009.”

Andy strongly believes that the experience EI.WHS gained in the oil and gas sector was a key factor in the company being approached for its assistance with the FEED study. With a reputation built on its ability to deliver projects to the highest standards using care and consideration in everything it does, from safety of its employees and others, to the environmental impact of its operations, the approach was also due to its renowned ability in completing projects in-time and to budget.

Andy elaborates on the importance of continuous improvement and innovation within EI.WHS: “Development is important, but it must be balanced, to ensure that we grow at a pace that is sustainable within the market place. Construction within the oil and gas sector can fluctuate, and developments come and go very quickly depending on world events far removed from the UK sector. Our strategy is to interface the offshore oil and gas work with other onshore construction work, such as petrochemical, power stations, and gas plants, to providecontinuity for our clients and our workforce. Our capacity to react to sudden demands has been well proven in the past and with the continued support of our partner, Vital Resources, our capacity to respond has been strengthened for future projects.”

As with all companies, particularly in the oil and gas sectors, safety is pivotal in EI.WHS’ operations, and the business is regularly noted for it achievements. “The health and safety of our workforce is our highest priority,” says Andy. “We believe that our health and safety record is second-to-none, and our attitude to safety has resulted in us being one of only two companies ever to have received the International Safety Award for 36 consecutive years from the British Safety Council. In addition, we have achieved Safe Contractor Accreditation, and also have a BSI audited Environmental Management System in place.” When a client recognises its efforts, it helps the company know that it is working with a conscientious organisation – Advansa is one such organisation. In July 2007, Advansa awarded EI.WHS an annual safety award for being the safest contractor based at its Wilton site on Teeside.

In conclusion Andy reflects on the current state of the industry: “In today’s global market, the demand for oil and gas is ever increasing; fields that were previously considered either inaccessible or uneconomic are rapidly being developed and exploited with new technologies. I believe that these rapid advances in technology, will underpin further developments in the future, and that the success of UK fabrication yards will continue to rely upon the constantly repeated high standards of technology, quality of build and certainty of delivery that is offered by our offshore fabrication yards in the UK.

“We intend to remain focused on the opportunities in the oil and gas sector both onshore and offshore, by continuing to include this in our portfolio of key market sectors, which also comprises water, steel and industrial works. Our plan is to continue to grow our business in the oil and gas sector, relying on the competence and strength of our workforce and the continuing relationships with our clients, many of whom we have already served for decades. We will continue to strive to secure repeat business for selected clients in these key sectors, which can only be achieved by understanding the needs of the client, and delivering the services required safely, on time and within budget,” Andy concludes.


Services Mechanical, electrical and instrumentation building services contractor