Company History

1934

  • The business is born in 1934 when Samuel (Sam) Wernick, having made poultry crates, sheds and houses for his poultry business, places a sign outside his family home declaring ‘Sheds For Sale – Enquire Within’.

1940s

  • Despite a difficult start, Sam is pleased with the progress of the business and optimistic about its future, making it a Limited Company in the autumn of 1946.
  • By the end of this decade Wernick® are now manufacturing trailers and portable buildings from their factory in Wolverhampton.

1950s

  • In 1952 the Company buys a large tract of land in Billericay, Essex to relieve the pressure on the Wolverhampton site.
  • In 1956 another new factory is opened at Brownhills, ten miles east of Wolverhampton.
  • The Company’s product range is constantly growing, with the 1958 catalogue listing amongst other things sheds, workshops, garages, chalets and conservatories as well as poultry houses and pigeon lofts.
  • Samuel steps down as Chairman in 1957 and is succeeded by Solly Wernick.

1960s

  • In 1967 Nat Wernick takes over as Chairman.
  • In 1968 production stops at the cramped Waterloo Road site, with all staff moving to Brownhills.
  • In the late 1960’s Lionel’s eleven year old grandson David is employed by the Company sorting bolts during his school holidays.

1970s

  • In 1971 the board accepts Nat’s proposal that Chairmanship should rotate amongst all of Sam’s sons. Joe Wernick is appointed Managing Director for the Midlands and Lionel Wernick is appointed as Managing Director of the South.
  • In 1971, the board agrees to ‘set machinery in motion for buildings on hire.’ In 1974 a subsidiary is renamed ‘Wernick Hire’.
  • In 1975 the first non-family board members are appointed to S. Wernick and Sons, and Harry Peacock, Ray Hunt and Don Richards, are further appointed as Group Directors in 1977.
  • Joe’s son, Julian, and Lionel’s son, David, join the Company in 1978. Julian runs the first hire depot in the Midlands and David works in the sales department at Billericay.
  • In 1979 Nat leaves the Group due to poor health.

1980s

  • In January 1980 Wernick purchases Secometric, another timber framed modular building business with a more modern factory based in Wickford. Within months Billericay is closed and most employees are moved to the new site. The acquisition lets the Company move away from having a set range of products and towards the ‘design and build’ concept of modular buildings.
  • In 1981 David Wernick becomes a Director of the construction division.
  • In 1983 both Julian and David join the Group Board
  • In 1989 Wernick takes over Swiftplan®, another rival modular building company but specialising in steel framed buildings and based in South Wales. David Wernick is appointed as Swiftplan’s Chairman.

1990s

  • Brownhills is closed in 1991 in favour of the more modern factories at Wickford and Neath. Julian Wernick leaves the Group in the same year.
  • 1992 Joe and Lionel Wernick take up the roles of joint Non-Executive Chairmen. David Wernick becomes a Joint Chief Executive with Ray Hunt.
  • In 1994 a new Executive board is formed to support them including Simon Reffell, Eddie Shaw and Graham Craine.
  • In 1995 the Wernick Group acquire Hallam Hire, beginning a chain of many acquisitions that follow and by the end of the decade the group invests £8 million, and the Hire Division has 17 depots and over 8,000 units in its fleet.
  • Wernick Buildings launches Rapidplan® 3000 steel framed building system in 1998.

2000 – 2009

  • Though the Group Head Office remains at Wickford, all production is moved to the Neath factory in January 2000 due to the stronger focus on steel framed modular buildings.
  • Ray Hunt retires in 2001 and David Wernick becomes the sole Chief Executive.
  • Wernick Hire continues to expand with acquisitions which are absorbed into the fleet.
  • PK Accommodation (now Wernick Refurbished Buildings is acquired in 2005).
  • Wernick Event Hire is launched at the beginning of 2006.
  • In 2008, Wernick® Buildings launch PCflex®, a system of modular police cells.

2010 – 2014

  • Andy King succeeds Eddie Shaw as Managing Director of Wernick Buildings in 2012. David Wernick’s eldest son Jonathan joins the Events division in February the same year. Wernick Hire also acquire the Kier Group’s entire portable building fleet.
  • David Wernick becomes Executive Chairman, and Simon Doran is promoted from Managing Director of Wernick Hire to Group Chief Executive in January 2013. Michael Thistlethwaite becomes Managing Director of Wernick Hire.
  • The Wernick Group celebrates 80 years of business in 2014.
  • John Jaggon becomes new Financial Director after Steve Potter retires.

2015 – Present

  • Expansion continues in 2015. In May, Wernick Hire open a new Depot in Avonmouth while Wernick Buildings new factory is officially opened by the then First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones on June 4th. Hewden’s fleet of portable accommodation is acquired in December 2015. Wernick Refurbished Buildings new site at Shipton, York is officially opened by Kevin Hollinrake MP in April 2016.
  • In July 2016 Wernick Hire launch PMflex®, a high quality modular system with 5 storey capability. Construction MD Simon Reffell retires and is replaced by Ben Wernick in December 2016.
  • Jonathan Wernick becomes Deputy MD of Wernick Hire and also Group Marketing Director in January 2017.
  • Seating and Infrastructure division is sold to Arena Seating in April 2017.
  • In June 2017 Liam Muldoon is promoted to Managing Director of Wernick Events.
  • In August former TATA Steel boss Stuart Wilkie joins Group as New Managing Director of Wernick Buildings with Andy King moving to be the Deputy Managing Director.
  • In 2019 a new £3m head office at Wickford is opened which is the first building manufactured with the new Swiftplan® building system.
  • In 2020 the business operates from 32 sites with revenues in excess of £120m.