About Us - by Paul Kitchener, founder of PRK Building Services in Biggleswade
PRK Building Services came into being in 1989 as a business in its own right, but the history behind the business stretches back much further.
My great grandfather started a building business in the Biggleswade area back in 1909. He in turn passed that business on to my grandfather who ran the business, R T Kitchener & Son, up until his retirement in 1980 when he was well into his 70s.
After the war, and with much fewer men, it moved much more towards house renovation and improvements. In the early 1960’s my father joined the family business as a partner and he and my grandfather continued to trade as ‘Jobbing Builders’ as was the terminology in those days. As a child, I myself used to go out with my dad and grandad at weekends helping with little jobs and even laying the odd brick.
In the late 70s I took an apprenticeship as a carpenter and trained for 3 years with a very large national building company. After my initial 3 years' apprenticeship I studied for an additional 2 years in general building trades, covering all the other aspects of the building trade.
In 1989 I set up PRK Building Services to run alongside R T Kitchener & Son, as I had identified a need not only for maintaining the existing customer base but also for targeting people of my own generation.
By the late 90s PRK Building Services stood alone, but with the knowledge that my semi-retired father was always on call for that tricky job that required knowledge of renovation and restoration work.
Today we no longer specialise in any one field. As a company we are willing to provide quotations on any aspect of building from a simple lock change to a complete new build.
All the work is undertaken either by us or by people we have used constantly over the past 10+ years. On larger projects I am quite happy to act as project manager and oversee the entire contract, bringing in all the necessary trades and materials as and when they are required. The only aspect we do not undertake directly ourselves is the heating aspect, but in this case we work with a local heating engineer, who has worked alongside us for quite a while now.
We are happy to quote for any type of extension, loft conversion or conservatory. Kitchen fits and bathroom/wetroom upgrades are also carried out, and within all these areas we are happy to quote and carry out the tiling, electrics, plumbing etc. Patios, driveways, paths and fencing are also undertaken.
We have contacts who we are happy to recommend carrying out any architectural design work, and others who will provide heavy ground preparation services.
The family business continues on through the generations with my own son now being one of the work force, and although we are now a much smaller business than in my great grandfather's day, I would like to think we continue his ethics of providing a local service, with local knowledge, using local people, for people in a local area.
The Local Authority Building Control have now set up a scheme whereby approved businesses can display their logo to show that they meet standards required by the LABC in respect of reliability and compliance with Building Regulations. Anyone displaying this logo has been invited to join the scheme by the inspectors, they cannot ask to join and do not pay to be a member. The idea is to give guidance regarding compliant businesses within the building sector, in what in reality is an unregulated area because no real qualifications are required to be a builder. Members of the scheme are likely to be established businesses with a good record in the industry, with building qualifications to back up their experience.