Part of the management team at ambitious Hebburn manufacturing company, Watergate Flood Solutions, which makes upvc and composite flood defence doors, has returned from a fact finding visit to Dubai aimed at securing its first export order.
The company which, until now, has only supplied customers in the UK, was alerted to the prospect of demand from Dubai, one of the hottest and driest parts of the world, by a fellow South Tyneside company which has traded successfully in the city for a number of years.
The week-long visit to Dubai by Watergate managing director, Paul Briggs and chairman, Gerard Hiscock, was hosted by Shaun Sadler, group managing director of UTS Group, based on Pilgrims Way, Jarrow. Shaun introduced the pair to his contacts in Dubai and provided them with an insight into business in the region.
Paul Briggs, said: “You would not expect areas such as Dubai to suffer from storms, but the fact is that flash floods do cause extensive damage to both domestic and commercial property and the costs are substantial. With Shaun’s help, advice and personal contacts, we have visited Dubai and we believe that there is good opportunity for us.”
Shaun, whose business supplies pipeline products and services to the water industry worldwide, said: “My business has a base in Dubai and we understand the region very well. Like so many things in business, it is all about building relationship and trust. Watergate has a strong product line and as it is based in South Tyneside I was only too pleased to share my knowledge and contacts in the region. I wish them well going forward.”
Following three years of research and development, Watergate is believed to be the first company in the UK to secure a much vaunted British Standard kitemark for its composite flood defence doors, which it achieved earlier this year. A similar kitemark for its upvc flood doors was also obtained.
To date all its sales have been in the UK where The Environment Agency has identified that around 5.2 million properties in England, or one in six properties, are at risk of flooding. More than 5 million people live and work in 2.4 million properties that are at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea, one million of which are also at risk of surface water flooding. A further 2.8 million properties are susceptible to surface water flooding alone.
Paul added: “Our products are in great demand in the UK with the vast majority being fitted in areas affected by Storm Desmond. Most people will recall the storm for the desolation it caused in Carlisle, but whole areas of Cumbria, the Borders, Yorkshire and Lancashire were badly hit. Our upvc and composite doors are fitted throughout this area.”
All flood prevention products that have a BSI kitemark are vigorously independently tested at BSI facility in Hertfordshire and the manufacturing plant is assessed for the quality of the production of the product which is continued on a regular basis, typically once or twice a year.
Picture caption: (Front) Shaun Sadler of UTS Group with Gerard Hiscock and Paul Briggs of Watergate Flood Solutions.