1st Choice Leisure Buildings. A Family Business Who Listens And Delivers
Covid-19 Information

Like all other retail businesses, we understand the current situation with Covid-19 is causing concern and anxiety amongst the population Our key focus is the welfare and health of all our customers and staff and we will be closely following government guidance and act accordingly based on advice from the NHS, Public Health England and Public Health Scotland.

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So that you can understand how we are operating during these times, we have created some FAQ’s below to help answer any questions you may have. These are unprecedented times and we will be constantly reviewing and updating our FAQ’s and guidance on a regular basis.

If there are any questions you have that are not listed below, please email us by using the contact us page or by giving us a quick call.

 

Are your display sites open currently?

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Yes, we are open at both display sites and we would love to see you and introduce you to our range of lovely buildings. Please do keep in mind that Self Isolation is still very much a thing so we recommend checking that we are open – by calling the relevant office or by checking our Facebook page – before travelling. We would hate to disappoint you if we were forced to close an office due to shortage of staff.

Both sites have have been configured to be Covid-Safe with hand sanitiser – available both as you enter the site and within the office – an enhanced cleaning regime, screens, etc. in place. We have discussed our measures with the HSE during Covid Spot Checks and were commended on our preparations. Whilst the wearing of face coverings is no longer mandatory, we are happy to wear a mask upon request and/or conduct our discussions and any business outside of the office space.

 

Am I still able to place a new order or talk to someone about an existing order if I am uncomfortable visiting in person?

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You can order online as usual and our telephone and email will be operating as usual from 9am – 5pm seven days a week. Please feel free to contact us with any queries but please be aware that we are still experiencing high levels of interest so our lines may sometimes be busy and we apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.

 

How long are deliveries taking and are they restricted in any way?

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Deliveries and installations are continuing as usual (although, due to the disruption to the supply chain, shortages of raw materials, personnel, etc. they are taking significantly longer than usual – please see this page for further information and estimated timeframes). All installations are carried out using our established ‘Contact Free’ system in accordance with government guidance. After you have ordered you will be emailed a risk assessment document which we ask you to complete and return prior to a delivery date being agreed (except Trentan log cabins whose customers will receive a telephone call instead.)

Whilst the install teams usually love chatting (they have even been known to partake of the occasional cup of tea or a biscuit!) we must do things a little differently currently and ask that you maintain a suitable distance for the duration of the works. You will not be asked to sign anything upon completion and any invoices will be emailed or posted. If the only access is through the house then you will be asked to prop all doors open and vacate the area whilst our staff carry the components through your property.

 

What exactly are the challenges currently?

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No matter where we live or what we do, we will all agree that 2020 was a challenge. Certain industries were shuttered whilst others – including our own – saw unprecedented demand placed upon us. For the period between our re-opening at the end of April and the middle of October we were seeing four to five times the usual volume of sales which, coupled with staff suddenly having to self-isolate and massive shortages of materials within the supply chain, caused huge challenges to our ability to meet our quoted lead times. No matter how robust our preparedness, there is not one company anywhere in the UK who could have coped with that month after month after month and, whilst our factories and installation teams worked tirelessly to keep things on track, there were inevitably ‘those days’ where were everything seemed to be going against us. We would be promised faithfully that we would receive certain materials on a given date for the lorries to pull in to our yard short of what we were promised, containing different materials or, more often than was ideal, simply not arrive at all.

Whilst these challenges were outside of our control we hate letting our valued customers down and so we changed our strategy on advising delivery dates to ensure that the number of people who were disappointed were minimised (most people were understanding of the constantly shifting rules and challenges but we hated every one of those phone calls.) We soon had to change from arranging a delivery date soon after order to arranging a delivery date shortly prior to the intended day of delivery.

Whilst we had hoped that 2021 would be a ‘new start’, it was soon apparent that it would be anything but. Far from it in fact. Currently we are seeing the following major areas of delays:

Shortages of staff throughout the industry with more people than ever being forced to self-isolate and parents being forced to stay home to home-school their children. This is a problem both here in the UK and in the sawmills/production facilities overseas.

Problems with European hauliers being reluctant to commit their vehicles and drivers to the UK due to increased customs delays and with shortages of drivers here in the UK.

We are seeing massive (and increasing) shortages of raw materials coming out of Sweden. The vast majority of our timber comes from this market (it is the best) and, despite the sawmill industry never closing down there – indeed record months of production have been reported – they are now seeing their lowest stocks of materials in 20 years. Closing down the world’s economy and forcing people to stay home fuelled a massive demand for materials for DIY projects and a huge boom in construction as the world opened up again. Fuelled by a new president willing to invest in huge infrastructure projects, low production in Canadian sawmills and a series of devastating forest fires domestically, there is a new market for European softwoods: the United States of America. As if that wasn’t enough the governments in Russia and Belarus decided to exploit the situation for political reasons and started sending timber to the East instead of the West creating yet another void which needed to be filled by the Swedes. A perfect storm. Put simply there is just not enough timber to go around and, unlike certain other industries, it is simply not possible to harvest more timber as it takes years to grow stocks.

Whilst the problems are particularly prevalent in the timber industry, we are also encountering big problems with deliveries of other materials such as ironmongery, roofing, glass, cement, insulation… in fact pretty much everything that goes in to producing and installing our buildings. Earlier on we were seeing huge delays and disruption to the supply of PVCu double glazed doors and windows as a result of many of the manufacturers of extrusion enduring a 6-8 week loss of production early in 2020 but this is stabilising currently. The problem right now seems to be related to simple glass production.

We are even seeing a worldwide shortage of shipping containers (seriously!) which is hampering imports from Indian and China so we are seeing shortages in ironmongery (such as door handles and hinges) and fixings. This problems was compounded by the blockage in the Suez Canal in Spring 2021 which saw ships delayed and others diverted entirely skipping ports and many containers being unloaded in the incorrect location or returned to the original port of departure.

 

When will I receive a delivery and installation date?

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We hope that the issues listed above should ease in due course:. Vaccines are starting to have an impact and the future is looking promising, although it does still remain very uncertain. The issues with Self Isolation and the huge disruption to the supply chain remain, therefore we have adopted the following policy of delivery date notifications:

Diamond, Platinum, Regent and Royal Timber Buildings: Delivery date offered to customer 2-4 weeks prior to intended delivery date.
Trentan Log Cabins (self build kits): Delivery date arranged by haulier as soon as the cabin kit has arrived into the UK (lead time from that point usually around 2 weeks depending upon your location).
Trentan Log Cabins (installed): Delivery and installation date arranged by the installer as soon as they are notified by the haulier that the cabin kit has arrived into the UK (usual lead time from that point will usually range from 2-4 weeks depending on their schedule at that point). If you are contacted directly by the haulier please direct them to the installer so that they can combine delivery and installation dates (otherwise the cabin kit may be sitting on your driveway for a period of time before they can come out to you to install).
Lugarde/Woodpro Buildings (self build kits): If you have selected the ‘Premier Delivery’ option then the delivery date will be arranged by haulier as soon as the cabin kit has arrived into the UK (lead time from that point is usually around 2 weeks depending upon your location). If you have opted for the Free ‘Direct From Factory’ delivery’ option then you will be notified when the building comes off the end of the production line and is enroute to you (you will generally receive approximately 24-72 hours notice of the anticipated delivery day).
Lugarde/Woodpro Buildings (installed): If you have selected the ‘Premier Delivery’ option then the delivery and installation date will be arranged by the installer as soon as they are notified by the haulier that the cabin kit has arrived into the UK (usual lead time from that point will usually range from 2-4 weeks depending on their schedule at that point). If you have opted for the Free ‘Direct From Factory’ delivery option then you will be notified when the building comes off the end of the production line and is enroute to you (you will generally receive approximately 24-72 hours notice of the anticipated delivery day) and we ask that you confirm its safe arrival on the ground with our install team so that they can confirm their date for installation.
LidgetCompton Concrete Buildings: A tentative week commencing date will be offered for installation shortly after you return your risk assessment and base completion documents. Closer to the time you will be contacted by the factory to confirm this week and the week prior to the intended delivery date they will be able to confirm the expected date of delivery.

This policy has been implemented so that we do not let anyone down as the situation changes through the year and we will not be able to offer dates outside of this system for the foreseeable future. In order to streamline things as much as possible we ask you to carefully check your email address and phone number on your order confirmation and promptly return your risk assessment documents as soon as these are received. Just because you have not received a definite delivery/installation date does not mean that we are ignoring you; the relevant people will be in touch with you closer to the intended delivery date on the basis outlined above. You are welcome to contact the relevant factory to ensure that everything is correctly in the system if you would like (contact details will be on your order confirmation) but they will be in touch with you as soon as they can offer a date with a degree of certainty. Our apologies if this is outside the usual quoted lead times (again quoted on your order confirmation) but they truly are working as hard as they possibly can under extraordinary circumstances.

 

Are deliveries being delayed at all?

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As you will understand, having read the section above, there is utter chaos in the supply chain. Our factories have individually and collectively been working hard to secure the required materials and ensure that they have alterative options in reserve. Suitable redundancy (for normal times) is built in to the system with materials being sourced from multiple suppliers however, with a general shortage across the industry, it is not possible to agree any additional supplies from new suppliers so production is limited by what materials can be delivered. Each factory has been affected by extended lead times and has needed to change suppliers on numerous occasions. Over time this has eroded their onsite material reserve meaning if they do not receive previously agreed/confirmed deliveries when they are promised they will have no option but to interrupt production until materials can be provided by another source.

This, regrettably, has had direct impact on final delivery to site on occasion. We faced a choice: stop production for a number of weeks in an attempt to replenish stocks (so that we can guarantee delivery dates when offered) or push ahead and endeavour to stick to the initial estimated delivery times quoted at time of order. With a lot of effort – and more than one sleepless night – we have persevered with the latter and the factories are managing it as well as they possibly can. On a few occasions, due to shortages of staff, materials or logistic capabilities we have been forced to extend lead times unexpectedly (sometimes at the last possible moment) and we truly do apologise for this. Please rest assured that this has only ever occurred as a very last resort and when truly out of our control. We continue to work tirelessly to ensure that any disruption is kept to an absolute minimum but please do keep in mind that it is a possibility.

 

What about base construction, building removal, painting, etc?

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We work with various local tradespeople to offer various ‘additional services‘ such as building removal, base construction, painting, electrical works, etc. These contractors are independent of ourselves and have their own schedules and commitments but all are currently operating although their lead times do vary. Please be aware that, if you are trying to combine removal of an old building or base construction with delivery of a new building, these tasks will involve different teams and they will, therefore, occur on different days. Due to the shorter notice on delivery-dates currently (see above) it may not always be possible for the contractor to offer a date prior to the initial delivery/installation date offered by the factory therefore this may mean that you need to put the delivery/installation date back slightly to accommodate this. With this in mind we would always recommend allowing the contractor to complete these preparation works as soon as it is possible for them to do so even if it is a week or two prior to the expected delivery/installation date for the new building.

 

What happens if I need to self-isolate?

If as we approach the day of works, you or anyone in your household shows any symptoms of Covid-19, please notify us without delay. Arrangements can then be made with the delivery/installation team to defer delivery until another time or to undertake your installation in a different manner if suitable access is available.

Thank you for all of the understanding and kind words that we have received over the course of the last year. We really are doing our best to cope with these challenges as best as we can whilst being open and honest with you at all times. Our staff are under huge strain and doing their very best and we appreciate every one of them for their efforts.

Woking Show Site
1st Choice Leisure Buildings
Woking Garden Buildings Show Site
Sutton Green Garden Centre,
Whitmoor Ln, Sutton Green,
Guildford, GU4 7QA UK
Phone (01483) 237550