Deckbuilders – racing ahead in decking design & build

Thursday, February 15, 2018

This is the story of how Deckbuilders, established in 2003, became a highly capable decking company. It starts with Jason Wakley - a man who was destined for a successful career as a racing jockey, enthusiastically following the family tradition. So how did he end up owning and running a busy decking design and installation company in Worcestershire?

From racing blood

Jason's future appeared to be clearly mapped out when he left school at 16. With a passion for horses, Jason's father was a jockey and his mother a successful amateur jockey. Indeed, Jason's brother was a professional jockey. It was clearly in the blood.

Taking his first job in a point to point racing yard in Cornwall at 16, it was not long before Jason got the opportunity to work for David Nicholson - the top race horse trainer at the time - moving to the Cotswolds to become Pupil Assistant Trainer. In this role, Jason could continue his development as an amateur jockey whilst also carrying out much training and breaking in of new race horses. It seemed the perfect progression, until injury changed everything.

Landscaping inspiration

During one of Jason's many visits to hospital with a challenging knee injury, he saw his future. Watching some landscaping underway on the hospital site, he felt that this was something he could turn his hand to well and from that moment, Jason decided to set up a company called Unique Landscapes.

Success soon arrived, and the business blossomed, spurred on by winning notable awards such as Show Garden of the Year 2000 at the Royal Welsh Show and many RHS awards at the Malvern Spring Show.

Archadeck opportunity

A chance meeting with the Vice President of Archadeck at The Chelsea Flower Show in 2001 presented a slight twist in the direction of Jason's career. Following the show, timber company, John Brash contacted him. They were looking to recruit decking skill for their new UK Archadeck franchise and word about Jason had reached them. He joined the company, firstly as an installer and then as project manager. But when Brash subsequently relinquished the Archadeck franchise in 2003, Jason could see limited progression for him and decided to set up his own business once more. This time, it was Deckbuilders.

Years of experience and knowledge

Archadeck had been a fantastic learning opportunity for Jason. The international company had built 50,000 decks worldwide and been in operation for over 20 years. Their challenge in the UK had been that their model simply did not work for the British audience. And this now presented potential for Deckbuilders.

Jason wanted his new business to focus entirely on deck design and build. No landscaping this time. Deckbuilders soon became a member of the TDCA and Jason attained as much help and knowledge as possible from them. 

I wanted to deliver a service that was over and above what the TDCA regarded as the standard. I wanted Deckbuilders to be at the top-end of deck design and build in the UK.

- Jason. -

It was not long before Hamish Bowly, also from John Brash, joined the company, bringing a huge amount of decking expertise with him.

Deckbuilders invested a great deal of time and resource into developing a bespoke CAD system to manage the design stage of their projects.

This meant that our customers could fully visualise the design at all angles, before any work was done at all. Changes could quickly be made to the design to fully assess the impact. We know that our CAD system continues to be a significant strength to our business today.

- Jason -
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Not only does the CAD system aid design, it also determines exactly what materials are required, ensuring that a quote remains extremely accurate from the start.

Project management from start to finish

As Deckbuilders has grown, it's become clear that Jason is fully committed to managing each project as completely as possible. To that end, Deckbuilders now treats the timber itself - all to Use Class 4 using Tanalith E from Lonza Wood Protection. It also boasts its own milling department, enabling moulding and cutting at the site in Pershore, Worcestershire. 

Managing the process as comprehensively as we can, ensures that the quality of our materials is controlled to our own high standards and results in the completion of a long-lasting deck that is entirely fit for purpose.

- Jason -

This commitment to every detail has paid dividends for Deckbuilders, which has a long list of notable past and present customers including Taylor Wimpey, Redrow, Beck Interiors, Prater Ltd, Habitat First Group and The War Graves Commission. 70% of current business concerns commercial projects, with 30% coming from top-end residential projects nationwide.

TDCA DeckMark approved for both products and installation and newly accredited as a CladMark Installer, Deckbuilders is also a Worksafe Contractor under SMAS.

Growth at the top of the market

And what of the future for Jason and Deckbuilders? 

We're very confident about the future of our decking business. The market is very strong for commercial and residential decks that are well designed and professionally built. An excess of garden makeover TV programmes in recent years led to many low quality decking operators lacking the knowledge and experience required to construct a safe and long-lasting structure. As they now exit the market, long-standing companies with the credentials and guarantees to exceed expectations in even the largest of projects are well-poised to drive the market, and the standards of the industry, higher, for the benefit of all concerned. Deckbuilders is very excited to be at the forefront of this development.

- Jason -

Would he have rather been a jockey though? He concludes:

I still love horses and have a passion for horse racing, but I wouldn't change anything for the world. Whatever I do, I like to do it to the best of my ability and this is something that I can truly achieve with decking and we're enjoying the results as Deckbuilders races ahead as a leading specialist in decking design and build.

- Jason -

 Find out more about Deckbuilders