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The Future is Employee Owned

The Rooflight Company, inventors of the original Conservation Rooflight® were founded 25 years ago; architect Peter King, founder of the company looks back at the journey from developing the original Conservation Rooflight:

“In the late 80’s I was practicing in London’s Hampstead Garden Suburb and had many clients who wanted to extend into their attics. I noticed a recurring problem with getting access to light and ventilation, as the local Trust’s strict planning guidelines meant that modern roof windows and dormers would never be approved. The only option was a cast iron single-glazed rooflight based on the Victorian design which was prone to rusting and leaking. I spotted a gap in the market and set about designing a copy of the Victorian cast iron model which would meet modern standards using steel, double-glazing and a thermal lining.”

Over a quarter of a century on and the Conservation Rooflight® continues to be specified by architects and conservation officers throughout the UK. The authentic design helps preserve the heritage of period buildings (whether being renovated or developed), by faithfully replicating the original Victorian cast iron roof window whilst also benefiting from the latest technological advances in thermal performance.

Since bringing the Conservation Rooflight® to the market, the Rooflight Company has added the Conservation Plateau for flat roofs to their range. Identifying another gap in the market, they also developed the neorange for pitch and flat roofs, providing a frameless, contemporary appearance. Both Conservation Rooflight® and neo standard ranges have evolved into bespoke solutions specified in projects ranging from Zaha Hadid’s Maggie’s Fife to the Natural History Museum.

What’s next for the Rooflight Company?

The Rooflight Company are now the latest in the construction industry to announce that they are to become employee owned. The news comes at the same time London-based architectural practice Assael reveal that they turned down a large offer from the US before also making the decision to become an EO company.

Always looking to the future, and with their employees in mind, the Rooflight Company joins Assael in a growing family of EO businesses, such as John Lewis, Aardman Animations and an increasing number of architectural practices, of which Assael is now the 18th in the AJ top 100 firms* to make the transition.

Commenting on the transition Peter said: “As an architect and Founder of the Rooflight Company the transition to Employee Ownership is a natural, inevitable progression. We have built the Rooflight Company on a strong values base, matched with innovation and long-term sustainability; EO is virtually the only format that would allow the business to carry on with these values intact. Moreover, giving control of the Company to its own employees is in my view a recognition of the huge value our staff have added to the Rooflight Company, the rewards of whose future success they so richly deserve.”

The decision to become EO has been made to ensure the three core principles of values-led culture, innovation and long-term sustainability are maintained. Becoming an EO company also avoids the disruption and uncertainty for staff which a trade sale would cause.

Other EO businesses have benefited from:

  • Higher productivity and greater levels of innovation**
  • 25% increase in operating profits**
  • More resilience to economic turbulence***
  • More engaged, more fulfilled and less stressed workforces***

Managing Director Val King, says: “We are delighted to announce our upcoming transition to employee ownership, which means that in March employees will become Co-owners of the Rooflight Company through a newly formed trust. As a company led by our strong values of Integrity, Care, Empowered and Unity, employee ownership feels like a natural progression where we will seek to demonstrate that business really can be a force for good.”

The Rooflight Company are now in the exciting stages of transitioning to EO which is due to be completed in March 2019. From one architect solving a problem in the heritage market, growing to 70 co-owners over 25 years later, the Rooflight Company are proud to have secured the future for their business. They are looking even further forward to developing their products and remaining the best in their class.

Deb Oxley OBE , CEO of the Employee Ownership Association, said:  “We congratulate The Rooflight Company on its transition to employee ownership supported by our members Postlethwaite Solicitors and J Gadd Associates. By widening ownership of the business to its employees The Rooflight Company is securing the future of the business, including its ethos, values and employees, while rooting itself locally for the longer term to the benefit of the community it serves.”

If you want to find out more about employee ownership, please contact Val King on EO@therooflightcompany.co.uk.

 

References:

* https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/assael-turns-down-us-cash-and-becomes-employee-owned/10039411.article?blocktitle=News-features&contentID=13634

**https://employeeownership.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Employee_Ownership_Top_50_Infographic.pdf

*** https://employeeownership.co.uk/what-is-employee-ownership/

 

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