Wates Group

Last updated
Wates Group
Private company
Industry Engineering / Construction / Property Services / Residential Development / Facilities Management
Headquarters Leatherhead, Surrey
Key people
James Wates CBE, Chairman
David Allen, CEO
Revenue£1.62 billion (2017) [1]
£47.2 million (2017) [1]
Number of employees
c. 4,000
Website www.wates.co.uk

The Wates Group is one of the largest family owned construction, property services and development companies in the United Kingdom.



Established by Edward Wates in 1897, the company expanded into speculative housebuilding and general contracting in the 1920s and 1930s. [2] During World War II, it was involved in building the Mulberry harbours. [2] In March 2015, it was reported that Wates would take over most of the Shepherd Group's construction operations. [3] [4] [5]

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Mulberry harbour type of portable temporary harbour

Mulberry harbours were temporary portable harbours developed by the United Kingdom during the Second World War to facilitate the rapid offloading of cargo onto beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. After the Allies successfully held beachheads following D-Day, two prefabricated harbours were taken in sections across the English Channel from Britain with the invading army and assembled off Omaha Beach and Gold Beach.

Shepherd Building Group

The Shepherd Building Group Ltd. was one of the largest privately owned construction groups in the UK, but restructured in 2015 to focus on its Portakabin portable buildings businesses.

Two months later, it was confirmed that Wates would take over Shepherd Engineering Services (SES), Shepherd Facilities Management and various contracts held by its loss making Shepherd Construction arm (Wates refused to take on Shepherd’s problematic Colindale mixed residential and retail development), with some 1,200 staff transferring to Wates in September 2015. [6] [7]

Colindale district

Colindale is an area which lies mainly within the London Borough of Barnet, although the western side of Colindale's main shopping street is within the London Borough of Brent. It is also the NW9 area of Hendon. Colindale is an area of suburban character. It is situated about eight miles (12.9 km) north west of Charing Cross.

The Wates deal was concluded on 1 October 2015, [8] [9] being valued at £9.8m, with Shepherd booking a £2.8m profit after taking account of costs for the sale. [10]


The group operates in three core areas: Construction, Property Services and Residential Developments. There is also Wates Giving, a charitable foundation which has given away circa £10 million since 2008. [11]

Wates runs Building Futures, an education programme for the long term unemployed. It is accredited by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance. [12] Wates has been a major donor to the UK Conservative Party. From 2007 to 2017, Wates Group Services Ltd gave £430,000 to the party, including a £50,000 donation in February 2017. [13]

Conservative Party (UK) Political party in the United Kingdom

The Conservative Party, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, known informally as the Tories, and historically also known as the Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 288 Members of Parliament, and also has 234 members of the House of Lords, 4 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 11 members of the Welsh Assembly, 8 members of the London Assembly and 7,445 local councillors.

Major projects

Major projects include:

RAF Keevil

Royal Air Force Station Keevil or more simply RAF Keevil is a former Royal Air Force station located between the villages of Keevil and Steeple Ashton, about 4 miles (6.4 km) east of the town of Trowbridge, in Wiltshire, England.


It won the Construction News Contractor of the Year Award in 2017 [20] and the magazine Building Major Contractor of the Year Award in 2009, 2010 and 2016, with CEO Andrew Davies named CEO's CEO of the Year in 2016. [21]

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  2. 1 2 "history". wates.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2015-03-28. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
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  5. "'No comment' on takeover speculation at Shepherd's contracting businesses". Yorkshire Post. 10 March 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-09-13. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
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