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A.W. Hardy creates new landmark headquarters for local funeral directors S.Stibbards & Sons

Towards the end of 2023, A.W. Hardy completed on a high profile build for S. Stibbards & Sons Funeral Directors, a family business that has been serving the people of Rayleigh, Benfleet, and Southend for more than 156 years.

The property – named Weir View House – has attracted a lot of attention locally, not least because it has transformed the landscape of Rayleigh Weir.

The project spec included:
• Dedicated, state of the art care facilities, including a washing and dressing facility
• A large, comfortable, gathering room for families in their times of need
• A training suite with modern media capabilities
• A communal rest area, kitchen and outside space for the use of our colleagues to support their wellbeing
Boasting more than 90 solar panels and a series of other low-carbon installations – including efficient heating and ventilation systems and LED lighting throughout – S. Stibbards & Son’s grand new premises has been developed to make the most of contemporary eco-friendly technologies. Additions such as air conditioning units and underfloor heating will ensure that the property’s users remain comfortable all year round.

Marking a new chapter

There’s been much talk of the build in the local press, including a double page spread in November’s issue of Essex Life magazine that goes into more detail about what the project means to the Stibbards family and how their new HQ will transform the level of care they are able to deliver to their customers.

As Managing Director, Martin Stibbards – the 5th generation of the family company – explains:

“The Stibbards family over the years have always been passionate about ensuring those entrusted into our care have the very best facilities and this should extend to their families and our dedicated, hardworking colleagues.

“As a family, we’ve always been keen to reinvest in our company and improve the services that we offer. Weir View House is testament to this, and the building is probably one of the most advanced of its kind in the country,” Martin said.

“In this sense, we feel that our new premises is a physical embodiment of our business’s values: to provide care, compassion, and support in all we do.

“The building has transformed the way we work and given all of us an immense amount of pride in what we have achieved. It marks the start of a new era for S. Stibbards & Sons, and we look forward to what the next 150 years has in store for our company.”

The iconic building was officially unveiled to staff, local dignitaries, and members of the public at the end of August 2023 and was officially opened by the Hon. Rebecca Harris MP and Ray Howard OBE, with three generations of the Stibbards family in attendance.

Feedback from the client

Martin has only positive things to say about A.W. Hardy’s involvement in his family’s ambitious project and has been delighted with our approach throughout the entire process.
“Planning stalled at the very start of the project, which was frustrating. Then, when we were finally ready to proceed in 2022, we faced uncertainty due to supply chain issues that arose after the coronavirus pandemic,” Martin said. “Thankfully, A.W. Hardy had such a strong supply network that they were able to source everything we needed with minimal delays. This gave us great confidence that the project would be completed within our expected timeframes and, perhaps more importantly, on budget!

“It was clear from the initial conversations that the staff at A.W. Hardy were eager to take ownership of the quality of the build, and that they were willing to do everything in their power to make sure the building was completed to an exacting standard.

“Their team was fully engaged in creating a legacy building. They seemed to fully appreciate just how important the build was to us and what a valuable resource it was going to be for the local community. We felt very reassured that they had our best interests at heart; perhaps this is partly down to the fact that, just like us, they are a family-run enterprise, and they work hard to maintain the relationships they have with their customers.

“They truly held our hand throughout the whole process and never bamboozled us with technical speak. We found the whole team very easy to deal with, particularly our Site Manager Paul, who we knew we could rely on. Any obstacles were swiftly overcome, and we were always presented with practical, long-term solutions rather than quick fixes.

“Just as importantly, Hardy’s contractors kept our site clean and tidy throughout the build. We never received any complaints about the management of the site. In fact, all we’ve had are positive comments that prove what an asset Weir View House is to the area, and, of course, to our business.

“It is difficult to envisage a better team that would have been able to deliver the level of care and service that we received from A.W. Hardy. We approached this project with some trepidation, as the family hadn’t undertaken such a large and significant project before. We found the team at A.W. Hardy to always be accommodating, honest and proactive rather than reactive and Weir View House is testament to their superior knowledge and craftsmanship.

“Overall, A.W. Hardy were excellent to work with. Thank you to Paul, Peter, Mark, Dave, Harry, and the team for doing such a fantastic job.”