Name: Lily Webb
Company: Contract Floors Ltd., Blackpool
Job Title: Director & Project Manager
How did you get into the flooring industry?
We are a family business, set-up by my father who has been in the flooring industry since leaving school, so I have always been around and interested in flooring work. I studied textiles at Leeds University and when I graduated in 2012, initially I helped at the business, answering the phones and bookkeeping. When the business was short staffed, I supported on jobs, visiting sites and taking measurements. Eight years later, I’m still here and now I’m project managing some of our biggest contracts and have become a Director.
What’s been the biggest change in the industry over the past 10 years?
Pricing has become a lot keener and some companies are willing to cut their prices to win contracts. I’d say products have changed too, there’s more demand for luxury products, such as LVT. It’s become more decorative and design-led and I’m able to use my training for this.
Looking forwards, what do you think will be the biggest change in the next 10 years?
I would hope more young floor layers take up the trade as a career, as there seems to be a skill shortage with younger installers. As a female in a male dominated industry, I would also champion more women entering the flooring industry, particularly in the management side. We also appear to be an industry left behind when it comes to technology. For example, I had to build some job management software because there wasn’t anything available that was suitable. Hopefully the industry will catch up and use technology to their advantage.
What’s the worst job you’ve been on?
The jobs aren’t bad, but refurbishments are always challenging, particularly when working on an old building. There’s always something hidden or unforeseen which can cause delays to work. Then there’s student accommodation jobs. These are usually newer builds, but deadlines can be tight between students leaving in the summer and new ones arriving in autumn.
And what’s the best?
We’re a national company, but we’ve had a number of high profile jobs in the north west. For example, the Low Wood Bay Resort in the Lake District was enjoyable as you’re working in such beautiful surroundings. Other highlights include completing the Foodwell restaurant in Manchester and a number of cutting edge, design–led installations for Edge Hill University. Locally, we’re proud to work at Blackpool Tower, which is a listed building. We also do charity work and there was the time we were featured on BBC’s DIY SOS programme!
Do you have a go-to product for certain jobs?
My dad is a massive believer in the quality of F. Ball and champions their products and has always used them. We use Stopgap 1200 Pro, Styccobond F3, and Styccobond F44 and we’ve fallen in love with Styccobond F49. F Ball products work well for us as we carry out so much work in environments with high temperatures. We also wouldn’t fit any LVT without it.
What do you like best about the job?
I enjoy the flexibility that management brings with it. It allows me to manage the jobs and liaise with the client to get a great finish. It’s also rewarding to be able to see projects all the way through, from tendering to completion and get a happy client and a good profit at the end of it all.
What is your least favourite thing about the job?
Summer months are our busiest period, especially for education installations. There’s often a lot of pressure to deliver on tight deadlines. I’m pleased to say I’ve never missed a completion or handover date for any of the projects that I, or Contract Floors have worked on.