2016 The year that brought us Brexit, the Rio Olympics and Tim Peake’s incredible mission to space. For us at Hardscape, this year has certainly had some fantastic highlights but it has also taken a lot of hard work and dedication from the team to get to where we are today.

cpd-13Our partnership with the Landscape Institute which has been a great opportunity to engage with landscape architects across the country at multiple industry events and champion the incredible work this industry does. We delivered a sell-out CPD event at our Long Marston facility in partnership with the Landscape Institute giving attendees a unique insight into the tools and technologies that are available to create stand out paving projects. We’ll be running more sessions next year so if you’d be interested in attending future events please get in touch.

As a geologist, it’s really important to me to keep up to date the natural stones and materials that are available and to meet with our suppliers on a regular basis. Sustainability is a commonly discussed topic and we are committed to ensuring that all our materials are sustainably sourced and ethically traded. My travels took me across the UK, Europe and Asia and one of my favourite anecdotes came from a trip to Holland earlier this year when someone I met with commented that if clay wasn’t extracted from the clay quarries, Holland would flood as a result. Having supplied 9,000 tonnes of clay this year, it’s nice to know we’re helping out!

Our efforts to continually provide high levels of customer service and consider the environmental impact of all aspects of our work were rewarded with our achievement of ISO 14001:2015 UKAS accreditation. I am incredibly proud of the team for all the hard work they put into putting the systems in place to demonstrate how we are working to minimise any negative impact on the environment and comply with legislation.

As a business, we are committed to continually investing in the latest technology so that we can provide our customers with cutting-edge designs to bring their creative vision to life. One of the most exciting developments was the launch of our GENerator of Inspirational Environments (or GENiE for short). This innovative platform enables us to help our customers visualise different blends of materials and patterns in a realistic 3D setting. We expect virtual reality platforms to become a key tool during the planning process over the next few years and we’re continuing to develop the GENiE platform to meet the evolving needs of landscape architects.

cnc-laserAnother new addition to our capabilities came with the installation with a state-of-the-art 5-axis CNC machine at our Long Marston facility. This incredible piece of machinery allows us to shape any material in 3D in a totally automated process. We also became the first company in the UK to install a CNC laser which essentially burns the material changing the colour of materials from black to white or vice versa to create a stunning finish. Using these cutting-edge technologies, we have been able to deliver some of the most creative, innovative and artistic pieces that have brought projects to life across the UK and Ireland.  You can find out more about some of our favourite projects from the year by clicking here.

mattsThe opening of our Materials Lab in Bolton in October saw one of my biggest dreams come true. This state-of-the-art space is a unique resource for you to explore, be inspired by and get expert advice on materials for your projects. We’ve had a great reaction from everyone who has visited so far so watch this space for the events we have planned at the Materials Lab next year.

With a host of exciting projects lined up for 2017, we’re excited to be involved in schemes that maximise the use of natural materials to create stand-out schemes that benefit the public and the environment around us. I’d like to thank all of our customers, partners and suppliers for their continued collaboration and support and we look forward to a successful 2017.