Symm and Company Joinery Workshop
The design team develops a brief and sets out each piece, drawing the position of all joints and mouldings. This process was traditionally carried out with pencil on a piece of wood, but is now translated to the latest software. Symm also undertakes a site survey, taking note of access, floor levels and weight bearing in order to adapt the joinery to work in the chosen environment
Jane Carley visits Symm and Company’s Oxford joinery and workshop
Factory location Pershore, Worcestershire
Telephone 01865 254900
Symm and Company was founded in Oxford in 1815 as a building firm. Over the years, it has been responsible for many of the city’s landmarks, having developed long-standing relationships with the university colleges, including Exeter, whose George Gilbert Scott-designed library and chapel it built.
A desire to keep the construction process in-house rather than use subcontractors led to the development of a joinery division, and three years ago the company established a second joinery workshop in Pershore, Worcestershire, to meet demand.
‘We specialise in joinery for high-end residential property, mainly servicing new build or refurbishment contracts,’ explains factory manager Colin Angell. ‘Our priority is to provide close contact and continuity for the architect, so we are involved at every stage from the initial design to the installation.’
The new workshop at Pershore has allowed the company to extend the scope of its work as well as its capacity: it includes full veneering facilities and a modern polishing shop, which offers sprayed and hand finishes.
Production schedules tend to depend on the availability of site access and the flow of information from the architect. ‘We aim to carry out similar processes together, but in practice it is not always possible,’ explains Angell. ‘A major refurbishment can take more than a year, so there is no set lead-time.’
Materials are sourced from commercial timber merchants, with quality being the priority. Symm aims to use wood from managed resources. ‘Many of our major projects use European oak, which is grown widely across the continent and is being planted in significant quantities,’ says Angell.