EPD

EPD Insulation Group: Driving change for women in construction

  • 24 May 2024

Construction has always traditionally been regarded as a ‘male industry,’ yet results from the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) report point to more encouraging news. The number of women across the construction workforce increased to 15.8% from April – June 2023, which is a jump of 1.2% from the previous quarter. In short, that equates to the highest number since records began in 1997. EPD Insulation Group has more…

For the last two years, female construction trainee finalists have featured heavily in the Women in Property National Student Awards, which is positive for the next generation of construction workers. Though there are strong indications that more women are taking up project management roles, there has been a slight dip in female construction project managers – from 13.8% in 2022 to 12.3% in 2023.

Bucking the trend

Award-winning EPD Insulation Group Limited is a proud family-run, independent wholesaler for building materials, with many members of female senior staff. Director Jessica Brown, alongside many female team members, are proof that EPD Insulation is scaling new heights in construction gender equality. 

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Established in 2011, the company was the brainchild of Jessica’s father – founder Stephen Boon. From humble roots, starting with vans and drivers, the Peterborough-based firm has grown exponentially and currently operates out of its large central headquarters.

Encompassing the triangular values of ‘Trust, Integrity and Service’, the Cambridgeshire company prides itself on unparalleled customer care, next-day deliveries and exceptional staff wellbeing priorities. With around 150 employees, 60 delivery vehicles and newly appointed Board of Directors this year, this powerhouse distributor has taken UK construction by storm.

Powerful female leadership

From a young age, Jessica saw first hand the dedication and hard work her father put into building the company from scratch.

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“I started working with my dad whilst I was still at school. As the company grew over the years, I grew with it, learning from my father how to run and manage a business. In the early days, we worked from a small office in the garage, with just two delivery drivers. This seems unimaginable to where we are today, as one of the leading independent distributors in the industry!” Jessica says.

“Many of our team started with us as yard operatives and drivers and are now Managers and Heads of Department. I believe this has helped us keep our core family values, which is integral to who we are and makes us unique within our market place. The three of us: my father, husband (Tony Brown – Managing Director) and myself make a great unit and I’m very proud of what we have achieved and continue to achieve!”

In her role as Director, Jessica oversees many aspects of the company’s strategic operations from finance, transport logistics, to sales and marketing, with a focus on growing EPD’s network infrastructure. 

Jessica continues: “It is important to see greater visibility of women across the construction industry. Though the numbers are slowly growing, there is huge room for improvement. In my role as Director, I am interested in encouraging more women into the sector. With more women entering the profession, there is hope for the future. Not only are we interested in seeing a greater female workforce, we want to look after them too and one of the ways we do this is by giving all our staff access to a psychotherapist, to support wellbeing. We take this seriously, as we maintain looking after our staff is a top priority.

“Our chosen local charity one Christmas was Peterborough Women’s Aid, as we believe it is a societal priority to help women and children live a life free from domestic abuse. With the cost-of-living crisis impacting many families, we also donated 100 Christmas selection boxes to Hampton Vale School, to put a smile on the children’s faces.”

Award-winning business approach

EPD Insulation Group takes its philanthropy very seriously and is focused on supporting the most vulnerable members of the local community – this forensic approach extends to all areas of the business. The independent wholesaler works with some of the largest, leading brands across the industry, including Superglass, Kingspan, Rockwool and Hadley Group, and it has seen a record growth period over the last twelve months.

Covering all locations, from Manchester in the North, Bristol in the West, Southampton in the South, and Great Yarmouth in the East, the company prides itself on distributing premium insulation, plywood, timber and fixings, and is widely regarded as one of the largest independent importers of plasterboard. 

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The company can supply warehouse stock items on a next day delivery basis, from its large stock holding. The latest addition of a state-of-the-art digital delivery system allows customers the opportunity to track orders in real-time.  

The winning combination of large stock holding, diverse fleet of vehicles, strong supplier relationships, customer-centric and knowledgeable sales staff allows EPD Insulation Group to continue offering market-leading prices and services. 

“We are leading independent distributors of insulation, screeding, drylining and associated roofing products, providing exceptional service since 2011. Our customer base includes builders merchants, drywall contractors and screed contractors,” she adds. 

“From door fills, plasterboard, studs, fixings, screed, acoustic membrane to of course, insulation, we are the industry’s chosen partner for all building supplies, premium B2B distributor to builders merchants, dry liners, screeders and the wider construction industry. 

“We strive for excellence across our company operations, as demonstrated by our FORS Gold (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme) accreditation. This ensures driver excellence, fleet expertise and sustainability best practice at all times. 

“Throughout 2023, we were delighted have to have been recognised by the construction industry, as an example; EPD Insulation Group was shortlisted as a finalist at the Digital Construction awards in the ‘Delivering Net Innovation’ category.”

Trailblazing with sustainability best practice 

Many companies in the construction industry are looking at how carbon emissions can be further reduced, in the bid to address climate change, as Jessica outlines…

“We are committed to driving down our carbon footprint here at EPD and have invested in 14 charging points for company hybrid and electric vehicles. 

“Our product portfolio is already dedicated to retain heat within buildings, thereby futureproofing with a higher EPC rating. Insulating homes and commercial buildings with EPD products has a multitude of benefits, from reducing energy bills and carbon footprint, creating a warmer home or building in winter and a cooler one in hot summers, absorbing sound, reducing moisture and condensation, and providing greater fire protection.

“The installation of cavity wall or loft/roof insulation allows less energy to be used when heating, the heat is retained for longer and therefore less time is needed each time to warm-up the building.”

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