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Twenty years ago, David and Mark left the security of ‘working for the man’ and started a company together. I remember asking David at the time, so what is it you’re doing? The answer wasn’t what I’d expected…

…’well, my brother’s an ideas man, a bit of a ‘blue sky thinker’,’ he said, ‘and he’s found these log cabins’.  ‘Okaaay… is there a market for them?’ and yes there was!

Though always keeping some traditional construction projects going, the company has moved on from the log cabin days in the last 2 decades.  The combination of Mark’s curiosity and willingness to embrace new ideas, with David’s practical, problem solving approach to construction seems to have been a winning formula and SIPS has become their speciality. The SIPS projects have grown in size and numbers over fourteen years and the move to the new yard in Basingstoke has increased the possibilities of what the company can do.

It was my privilege to celebrate this milestone anniversary with the Bentleys at the (aptly named) Master Builder’s House in Buckler’s Hard last weekend.

David gave a brilliant speech including some very funny tales of the brothers’ business trips in inappropriate clothing for -30 degrees, Lithuanian lock-ins, and brushes with the law.  He also looked back at the ‘humble beginnings’ with garden offices, accounts departments in cupboards and lodging in holiday chalets that were due for demolition (luxury!)

He also honoured everyone in the team individually, which was really touching. Of course, Angie and Mici (the Mrs Bentleys) have been there from the start, and most of the team have been there in some capacity for many years, including old colleagues from David’s main contracting days. As those days were over twenty years ago, we have more experience than we might be willing to admit to (please nobody add it up!) It also means there’s a great wealth of knowledge that’s being passed onto the younger members of the team, so the company is in safe hands for the future.

Thank you, Bentleys, and here’s to the next twenty years!

by Kristin Jones