Barnsley firm shows its metal

18 June 2012

What does a new, open space in Barnsley town centre have in common with London’s Leicester Square Gardens and National Theatre and a four-metre tall tuning fork in an Irish garden?

They will all have metal or glass features made in Barnsley by fabrications firm Premier Engineering (Yorkshire) Ltd.

Increasing bespoke and high-end contracts have helped the company achieve over a four-fold increase in turnover since setting up at its current site ten years ago. 

Now the business is aiming to expand further and create up to ten new jobs with the help of specialists from business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley.

Managing director Brent Richards said the recent work for Barnsley Council – stainless steel balustrades, handrails, benches and other work at the new Pinfold Steps development - followed another major contract for the borough authority; three steel sculptures on the Dodworth by-pass, put up in 2006.

He said:  “I’m really proud that we’re creating features of Barnsley that will hopefully be part of the town’s landscape long in to the future.”
After doing an apprenticeship in fabrication and welding, Brent decided to become self-employed in 1989, aged just 23.  In 1996, he took on small unit in Mount Osbourne Business Park and grew Premier from there, netting two Barnsley Chamber of Commerce awards along the way as local business leaders recognised his potential. 

In 2002, the business moved to a much bigger site on Grange Lane Industrial Estate, Stairfoot, which Brent developed after he bought the land from Barnsley Council. His team has risen from nine to 23 with many staff staying with the company long-term.

The company makes and installs structural and architectural metalwork in mild steel, aluminium, stainless steel, brass and glass for clients in a range of sectors from hotels to construction. The range of products is diverse from internal structures to stairs and automated gates.

Projects have become increasingly creative, bespoke and high profile. Recent ventures include making stainless steel troughs, 21 metres in diameter, for a giant water feature in Leicester Square Gardens and a new mezzanine floor for the National Theatre on the South Bank.

Private home owners who want impressive staircases and balconies inside their homes or urban sculptures outside are also turning to Premier. A client in Ireland commissioned sculptures including a giant steel tuning fork.     
Brent puts the company’s strength down to having a sizable facility and workforce yet being able to produce work to a high specification. 

He said:  “We have the capacity for large jobs but I pride myself on having the same exacting standards I’ve always had in terms of the quality of what goes out.

“The direction of the company has definitely shifted to the higher end and it’s that I want to build on further and also attract more orders from overseas. We’ve recently had an enquiry from Grand Cayman Island which is exciting.”  
Premier’s turnover has risen from around £350,000 in 2002-03 to £1.8 million last year and is expected to top £2 million next year.

Enterprising Barnsley business coaches have helped Premier’s development by providing contractual and marketing advice plus support to improve its website.

Brent said:  “As our shop window to the world, we needed a more sophisticated website which better reflected what we do, and it’s certainly attracted interest and enquiries.  All-round, the assistance we’ve had through Enterprising Barnsley has been great.”

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is supported financially by the European Union. The project has attracted £2,259,511 investment into Barnsley from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.

For more information about Premier Engineering visit or call 01226 779544.

Attached picture shows Brent Richards with a tree sculpture crafted in Barnsley.

Media contact for Premier is Brent Richards on 01226 779544 or 07976 290637.

Additional media contacts: Deborah Wain on 07903 466228 or at or Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07792 764891 or at

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency (BDA) and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC). For more information about Enterprising Barnsley go to or contact Martin Beasley on 01226 772648 or at


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