Taylor Woodrow was founded 90 years ago by Thomas Wilson. It employs over 7000 people worldwide and its primary business is housebuilding, with 90% of operating profit coming from developing new homes in the UK, and selected markets in North America, Spain and Gibraltar.99
In 2000, the firm made £201.5 million profit.100 In 2002, it reported a 15% rise in pre-tax profits to £233.1m on turnover of 2.22bn. This led to the announcement that it would buy back £50m of its shares.
Its housebuilding sector is the fourth largest in the UK following the £480m acquisition of rival Wilson Connolly in 2003 and £556m acquisition of Bryant Homes. Bryant happily claim that:
'we have the confidence to put a 10-year National House Building Council warranty plus our own two-year Bryant guarantee on every home we build.'
However, Funnily enough the 'NHBC Warranty' is nowhere to be found in the NHBC Buildmark policy that is given to the buyers of their new homes.101
In 2000, a scandal in Ghana erupted over the mysterious payment of 10 billion cedis to Taylor Woodrow subsidiary, Taysec, for 'refurbishment' on the Golden Beach Hotels that were nearly or already completed. The initial quote of 3.1 billion cedis as what was needed to finish all works was terminated and re-awarded to Taysec at 10 billion cedis.102
Also in 2000, the contractor was fined £80,000 after 30 tonnes of scaffolding fell from a 12-storey building in central Cardiff due to 70% of the ties that were meant to hold the structure up never being put in place.103 Another scaffolding collapse left 28 year old scaffolder, Stuart Whybrow, dead two days before he was due to marry. The verdict of accidental death wasn't much comfort to his fiancee.104
99'Company Profile,' Wilson Connolly. See: www.wilsonconnolly.co.uk/page.asp?ID=CPROF. Viewed: 11.03.04 100'They benefit from privatisation Fat cats who get PFI cream,' Socialist Worker, 25.08.01. See: www.socialistworker.co.uk/1763/sw176302.htm. Viewed: 29.01.04 101'Who would noe buy Bryant (WilCon) homes?' John Bowley. See: www.wronglybuilthouses.co.uk/bryant.html. Viewed: 29.01.04 102'The 'Black-hole' hotels rip-off,' The Ghanaian Chronicle, 21.08.00. See: www.mclglobal.com/History/Aug2000/21h2000/21h0r.html. Viewed: 29.01.04 103'Scaffold Collapse in Cardiff, U.K.' 13.12.00. See: www.workcover.vic.gov.au/vwa/home.nsf/pages/so _construction_attach/%24file/Scaffold_Collapse_Cardiff.pdf. Viewed: 29.01.04 104'Construction workers killed in the City of London,' London Hazards Centre, 28.04.03. See: www.lhc.org.uk/kaw/kawdate.htm. Viewed: 29.01.04