Our series of interviews with inspirational Yorkshire business leaders continues with this insightful Q&A session with Mark Eburne, CEO of Sigmat. Based in Leeds and Skipton, Sigmat offer a cost effective and faster alternative to traditional building methods.
Hi Mark, could you introduce yourself please?
Mark Eburne CEO, Sigmat. We are based in Leeds & Skipton and are the UK market leader in Light Gauge Steel Frame (LGSF) technology. What we do falls under the broad banner of “modern methods of construction” or MMC, also often referred to as “offsite construction”. We create everything from individual homes to huge superstructures from our manufacturing facility in Leeds.
What were you doing before you started Sigmat?
I’ve had a fairly broad range of senior roles across a number of different industries. Most recently I was CEO of a large builders merchant business based in the South West and I also spent a number of years working within the automotive industry.
What was your initial vision for Sigmat and how does that differ to how the business is today?
Our main vision hasn’t changed since we launched. We wanted to be the market leader in our field so in that sense we have fulfilled our initial aims. However, MMC is still a relatively small niche in the context of the construction industry and my vision is to see LGSF become the default construction method for mid-rise structures.
The sector we work in is on a rapid growth trajectory so our challenge now is to retain our position as market leader and grow rapidly alongside the industry as a whole.
What projects are Sigmat currently working on?
Currently we are involved in 16 live projects around the UK, from Scotland down to the South West.
Every project is different and spans pretty much every sector within construction. For example we are working on a really exciting extension to a Grade 2 listed five star hotel in Scotland, building a new retirement village in the North East, close to completion on a new Marriot Hotel in Exeter and creating our first few Sigmat Bespoke Homes with a developer on the South coast!
It’s such a fast moving and evolving industry that our product and proposition is continuously adapting to an ever changing market.
This year, many businesses have had to alter the way in which they operate. How did lockdown affect Sigmat?
One of the advantages of our construction technique is that it involves fewer people on the building site and therefore we have been fortunate that we have continued with construction throughout the lockdown period as social distancing is much more achievable.
We have a large, state-of-the-art manufacturing hub in Leeds, so again it has been fairly easy to remain Covid safe throughout.
Some of our team work remotely so that hasn’t changed, but I do think lockdown has given us a new perspective and allowed us some breathing space to finesse and finalise projects like the luxury housing launch.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
No advice – be yourself. I wouldn’t change anything, what do they say? The butterfly effect? I wouldn’t want to risk not having what I have now.
What are the key qualities you look for in potential employees?
Drive, ambition and passion. I know it might sound like a cliché but if you love what you do work shouldn’t feel like work! We have built an amazing team at Sigmat, with some of the best talent in the industry but we all share the same ethos and embrace the same goals and core values.
What can we expect from Sigmat going forward? Anything exciting in the pipeline?
As I mentioned we have used the lockdown period to explore options for moving into housing, from social housing to luxury bespoke homes. Our new Sigmat Luxury Homes division has just launched so this is something we really want to push in 2021. It’s an ideal choice for high-end, local developers or first time self-builders as the homes come in three distinct styles, are all fully customisable, have epic green credentials and most importantly can be constructed and fully water-tight, on site in just fourteen days.
We are so keen to get a Yorkshire build underway, so if you are thinking of a self-build, give us a call!
Finally, Yorkshire is home to some magnificent buildings and constructions. Do you have a favourite?
Has to be Leeds Town Hall. For me it sums up Yorkshire. Its majestic, dramatic and hugely aesthetically pleasing. It’s built of Rawdon Hill millstone grit – so its even constructed with Yorkshire grit – you can’t beat that!