Proud Past. Exciting Future
In 1964 three great friends, two of whom were also brothers-in-law, had an idea. Working for an uncle’s pipe fitting and commercial heating and ventilation business they saw the newly burgeoning home heating market first hand and were appalled by the lack of professionalism and poor customer service that would come to typify the experience suffered by so many home owners.
They knew they could do better. So in March 1964, Evan Ivey (senior), his brother-in-law Brian Durrant and Frank Dalton formed Aston Heating.
Operating initially from Evan’s home in Hornchurch, Essex, they sat down to write a company charter. As engineers first and foremost they pledged to provide home owners with a properly designed heating system, using only proven, quality components, fitted by experienced professionals and backed by a no nonsense guarantee with maintenance engineers on call to keep the system running.
Nothing special about that? Well we agree it certainly shouldn’t have been, but back then it was pretty much unique and, coming so soon after the Big Freeze of 1963, it turned out to be a winning formula.
The 70’s and 80’s
During the early years, with this simple philosophy at its heart, the business grew steadily, moving first to Victoria Road in Romford and then to larger premises in London Road, Romford in 1971.
With a growing reputation Aston Heating was by then contracted to the Gas Board (our original Corgi registration number was 4!), affiliated to the National Coal Board, a recommended installer for Shell and BP and winning new customers on recommendation and word of mouth.
As the business expanded so did our capabilities and we made our first move into the commercial and industrial market, carrying out works for Taylor Woodrow.
Shortly afterwards we became an approved contractor for the London Borough of Redbridge followed by the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Both of whom we still work for today. The natural progression was to then work for all the local authorities in the region.
In 1978, Evan’s stepson, Mike Thomas, joined and would eventually become a director and then Managing Director in 1991 when Evan and Frank retired (Brian having left earlier).
During that time Aston Heating continued to expand and its 40 or so employees were involved in a broad range of installation and maintenance: from major housing developments to service contracts, schools and municipal buildings, working for over 10 London Boroughs and County Councils and several of the UK’s leading building contractors.
The 90’s and noughties
When Mike Thomas took up the reigns in 1991, Alan Thomas, our current MD, joined after a successful career in Local Government and the company moved to our head office in Moss Lane, Romford from where it continued its expansion from roots in heating and plumbing to the broader competencies of building services.
It was in the early years of this decade that Aston Heating won it’s first £1m contract, providing central heating installations for the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.
In 2004, Bill Hayes joined as Quantity Surveyor, leading the management of our prestigious contracts for UCL and the installation and maintenance of services to its 180 plus buildings, before being appointed to the board shortly afterwards.
In 2006 Evan Ivey (junior) joined the board to complete the family line up, bringing a wealth of experience in corporate marketing (although adding little in the way of engineering know how, which we mention to him once in a while); Mike took on the role of Chairman and Alan assumed day to day control.
The present…and the future
In 2007 we further extended our capabilities to Facilities Management and in 2012 we were appointed by Ascham Homes to provide a one stop shop for all their mechanical and electrical maintenance needs to circa 12,000 tenanted properties. This was following a number of years delivering heating and gas service, repairs and installations for Ascham Homes (now Waltham Forest Housing). All telephone calls are handled by our dedicated call centre located in Walthamstow.
Meanwhile the Building Services division continued to prosper and in 2011 won the contract, worth almost £4m, providing mechanical services to the Emirates Stadium Social Housing Development (Queensland Road) working with our long term partner Kier.
By the end of 2013 Aston Heating had grown to an annual turnover in excess of £16m, employing more than 70 hard working, talented and conscientious staff and apprentices.
And so to the future. We’ve come a long way. So far in fact that our original name, Aston Heating, no longer described what it is we do. So at the beginning of 2014 we took the very hard decision to drop our familiar and much loved old name and re-launched our business as, simply, Aston Group.
The name may have changed but our standards never will.