REL Celebrates 70th Anniversary

REL Building Services is celebrating a huge milestone with 70 years of business under its belt.

Over the last seven decades, the family-owned M&E contractor has honed a strategy that has seen it focus on specialist sectors, forge strong relationships with leading main contractors, and secure M&E contracts for large-scale projects across London and the South East.

Despite the challenges of 2020, which saw REL pause its site operations for two weeks because of Covid-19, the team has worked closely with its clients to help keep high profile schemes on track in its 70th year.

These include the new ‘Bloom Clerkenwell’ development by HB Reavis where REL is delivering the electrical infrastructure for the building’s shell and core. REL is also on site at Royal Liberty School in Essex installing an M&E package as part of a £20m refurbishment and expansion project, and in west London, the team is delivering an M&E solution for Sky’s new Innovation Centre.

Another highlight was the handover in February 2020 of REL’s largest ever M&E package. This was designed and installed for a new £34 million facility at Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC). The project reached the final of the H&V News Awards 2020 in the HVAC Project of the Year category.

REL’s successes over the last year were also recognised at the Construction News Specialists Awards 2020 where the company joined some of the UK’s largest M&E contractors as a finalist in the MEP Specialist of the Year category.

Toby Buckley, REL’s managing director, said: “We could never have predicted that our 70th anniversary would take place in such a challenging year, but we’ve still got many reasons to be positive.

“We’re working on some great projects with contractors including Willmott Dixon, ISG, and Morgan Sindall and have become integral members of their project teams. We’ve proved that we have the skills and resources to get involved in schemes from the early pre-construction stages and deliver high quality work that we can be proud of. But we’ve found that what our clients really value most is our proactive, non-contractual approach – if briefs have to change as work progresses, we don’t present our clients with problems, we find solutions and implement them, ensuring projects remain on time and within budget.

“I’m really proud of everyone at REL for their hard work and professionalism, especially this year when we have all had to adapt to so much change. As we approach 2021, we’re looking forward to building on our success and securing further growth, including plans for a new office, which we will be announcing shortly.”

REL Building Services was founded by Robert Ebdon and first operated from St Katherines Dock, near Tower Bridge, in London.

A sole trader, Robert soon built up his business benefiting from the large amount of industry and manufacturing in the area at the time. It wasn’t long before REL Electrical was formed as a limited company employing a dedicated team of electricians and apprentices.

With the help of Robert’s son-in-law, Alan Buckley, REL grew rapidly. Following in his father’s footsteps, Toby Buckley began working for the family business in 1990 and is now the driving force behind the company.

Based in Bromley-by-Bow in East London, REL’s electrical contractor roots remain firmly in place, but in response to client demands, a mechanical arm was set up in 2004. The growth of the mechanical division was the key driver behind the company rebranding to REL Building Services in 2018.