SunSkips has quickly grown from a single yard in Stowmarket to a three-site business spanning East Anglia, with locations in Cambridge and soon Haverhill.
On top of its vast inventory of skips and large fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles, SunSkips also needs solid bases of operations to manage 3,000+ tonnes of Cambridgeshire and Suffolk’s waste – and that’s where Red Leaf Group comes in.
The Chelmsford-based design and construction group is made up of four companies: Red Leaf Developments, Red Leaf Enviro, Red Leaf Power and Red Leaf Ground Screws. And it’s Red Leaf Enviro – a new arm of the business specialising in the recycling and energy sector – that makes the company such a great fit to help SunSkips expand.
“Working for businesses like SunSkips requires a bit of outside-the-box thinking,” explained operations director Christian Alexander. “It’s mainly down to the non-traditional methods we use, whereas typical construction companies use standard methods that aren’t going to deliver the same level of quality for a waste management site. They don’t have a recycling background, so don’t fully understand the needs of the client.
“Red Leaf goes beyond just analysing the project the client has brought to us: we also analyse what it is they’re doing on a daily basis and recommend the best product or even design our own products for a custom solution.”
Even something as seemingly simple as a manhole needs to be carefully considered for SunSkips’ sites, requiring thick, steel-plated covers due to the large vehicles going over the top and to protect against heavy materials that might be dropped on them.
Understanding all these smaller details is key to getting the client exactly what they need for the right price.
“We were able to help SunSkips develop sites to fit their budget, working closely with the architects to change the design where necessary and reduce costs,” added Christian.
While Red Leaf faces the usual construction challenges with the weather and dealing with local councils to get building permissions, disposing of construction waste isn’t a huge problem for them considering who their clients are.
“But we do work hard to make sure we’re ordering the correct quantities of materials so we don’t have many offcuts,” he added.
Once the job is done and dusted, Red Leaf doesn’t simply down tools and leave the client to get on with it; they can be relied on to solve problems long after the site is complete.
“We’re a good company to have on speed dial,” Christian explained. “We’ve had incidents where lorries have hit roof trusses of columns and it’s shut down operations. But we can be out there pretty quick to help once we get the phone call.”
Despite its large ambitions and multiple subsidiaries, Red Leaf Group is actually a family business at heart. Christian’s wife Elizabeth serves as the company director while he handles a lot of the day-to-day operations, making sure projects are running smoothly and responding to any emergencies.
The 36-year-old’s experience of reacting quickly is going to come in handy later this month as he and Elizabeth are expecting their first child together.
The father-to-be, who went to school in Ipswich and is originally from Maidstone in Kent, is practically part of the family at SunSkips too, having known managing director Mat Stewart for about 15 years.
“We met through his former company Countrystyle and we’ve been friends ever since. He was at my wedding!”
With a baby on the way and a fast-growing business on his hands, Christian needs all the downtime he can get, but it doesn’t seem like there’s much chance of that.
“I don’t have spare time,” he said, only half-jokingly. “But if I do get the occasional day where I can do something for myself, I like riding dirt bikes and occasionally going fishing.”
Red Leaf Group is a trusted partner at SunSkips and one we’d be happy to recommend for waste and recycling site development.