The industry welcomes Harbur Park and Leisure Homes to the manufacturing side of the sector. With build slots still out for a long while there is still room for new manufacturers. Harbur already has the credentials of an established design business, having worked with multiple manufacturers for many years creating a range of innovative and exciting park and leisure home designs.
We get to know Managing Director, Dan Burns, to see what challenges he faces and for some history on where it all began.
Tell us about Daniel Burns and the history of Harbur?
I think I must have been around 7 or 8 when I first said I wanted to be an architect. Since a young age, I have always been around the building trade as my dad was a bricklayer. It was the design aspect in particular that interested me. I had always intended to go to University to study but life got in the way and at the age of 16, I applied to be a labourer in what was then, a start-up park home company.
After labouring for a while, I moved around the production line and learnt loads on the build of park homes and holiday lodges, until I found my home, in the drawing office. Learning CAD and designing was helped significantly by having hands-on experience on the shop floor. I loved the speed at which a design was done, the homes were sold and I got to see the build right in front of my very eyes. I could see the results of my design work in real time. It also gave me an insight into how I could improve the look alongside the ease of build.
There are not many industries where you can see your results so quickly and adapt going forward, normally people have to wait years for planning and build projects to evolve before they see their designs in the flesh. Then, wanting to spread out a little, I thought it was time to start my own design practice. This way I could design for not just one manufacturer, but many, and also be involved in the design layout of the parks on which the homes would sit.
It was 2018 that Harbur Designs was officially formed, and since then we have been extremely successful not just in the industry but bricks and mortar construction. We now have nine talented members of staff, all of whom have great industry knowledge and expertise.
Harbur Design office.
What made you decide to go into manufacturing?
Two main reasons. Firstly, as you already know I love designing homes and I wanted to be in control of the design through to the end. Secondly, I’ve had the privilege to have learnt and worked with some incredible people in this industry; talented, skilled, and great to the core, and I am so pleased to have such positive support going forward as we work together to make Harbur Park and Leisure Homes a success.
The demand for park homes and holiday lodges is high, is there collaboration between yourselves and other manufacturers, to meet supply and demand?
It is high, so a great time to start up. Though we will only have a limited capacity of up to 3 homes per week, we don’t want to compete with the larger manufacturers. It just means we are able to book in great homes that are eco-friendly and boutique.
H1 Model – Standard Range
How do you see the industry evolving?
Eco-friendly for sure, predominantly in terms of lowering bills for homeowners. With the way energy prices are going, aside from the benefit to the planet, reducing costs is a big driving factor at the moment.
Nothing is certain yet, but with a potential recession looming, what are your predictions on how this could affect park home living and holiday lodge ownership?
Good question! It’s hard to predict but we’re not pushing out huge volumes and never will, which means we don’t have to hit huge numbers to sustain it. I’m feeling confident. There will always be an element of downsizing for older generations and even in a recession, the staycation market is so strong right now, I think holidays abroad will be reduced before the UK ones.
How important is company culture to you and what measures will you take to maintain your desired culture?
Having a strong ethos and culture in business is absolutely one of my core beliefs. Having worked in unhappy environments myself, whether it be poor management or over-competitive, it’s imprinted on me how important it is for people to be happy at work. We’re all human, we all have life to contend with and whilst work is important, it’s not worth sacrificing your happiness for. I strive for balance for every one of our employees. I care deeply about mental health and I appreciate every one of our team. A key focus of mine over the next 12 months is how to create the very best working environment.
What have your biggest challenges been so far and how will you overcome them?
So far we have had great support with new customers onboard, suppliers and hardworking employees, it’s been great. As with all businesses pushing forward we have had challenges, but that’s where our industry experience has kicked in to resolve them. I hope we never stop challenging ourselves!
Any last comments?
We are extremely passionate about what we do; our goal is to improve the homes we live in to achieve a more sustainable, energy-efficient and zero-carbon future. It’s going to be extremely hard work, without a doubt, but we will have fun along the way with some great people.
We wish Harbur every success and look forward to hearing more on their journey soon.
Harbur Park & Leisure Homes