‘Exciting times’ as builder’s prop makers start selling Down Under

Uni-prop managing director David Marr, who is selling his building support product into New Zealand

Uni-prop managing director David Marr, who is selling his building support product into New Zealand and Australia Picture: SARAH BEE - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich-based company says it is enjoying “record sales” of its new adjustable building prop, which it sees as the first major advance on a decades-old system.

Ipswich firm Un-prop's Gorilla support system Picture: DAVID MARR

Ipswich firm Un-prop's Gorilla support system Picture: DAVID MARR - Credit: Archant

Uni-Prop International has signed a deal with the Hartman Group which will see its products sold into Australia and New Zealand.

The Uni-Prop device uses a system backed by hydraulics to support structures temporarily while builders carry out construction or repair work.

MORE – ‘Trip of a lifetime’ trip launched aboard cruise line’s newest vesselThe original concept for the invention came from Woodbridge blacksmith Tom Moye who worked with innovator and entrepreneur David Marr – now managing director of the company – to come up with a “safer” version of the traditional builder’s adjustable prop.

The business is based in Suffolk, but the devices are made in China.

“We’ve got several hundred builder customers now who are using it for a variety of projects,” said Mr Marr, who said demand in the UK had been growing “steadily”.

“We are enjoying a period of record sales and now list several hundred professional builders as customers. To sign a distribution agreement for the other side of the world at this unprecedented time demonstrates what a truly great product we have invented in Uni-Prop.

“This development is a real boost for our global ambitions as well as underlining that we are delivering great service too.”

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The patented Uni-Prop system delivers up to 2000kg of controlled power, but builders can switch back to mechanical means when this is not required, he explained.

The product was conceived and developed in Ipswich. The global distribution business – Uni-Prop International – is based in Ipswich. It’s manufactured under licence in China,” said Mr Marr. The firm employs a couple of people in Suffolk, but also outsources a lot of work around the area, and expects the workforce to grow, he said.

“I would be disappointed if we are not employing more people literally within the first half of next year,” he said.

“We are in a pre-launch phase. Although we work with big companies like Jewson until it’s nationally available we are supplying directly to businesses in the UK and Ireland.”

The business is growing, he said, and was currently taking on around 30 to 40 “incredibly varied” new customers a month, with the product attracting interest from as far afield as California. “It’s incredibly exciting times,” he said.

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