As AVDanzer celebrates 30 years at the forefront of the modular building and hire business, we look back to where it all began for founding father, the legendary John Holloway….
John (86) and his wife Margareta live a happy life surrounded by family and friends in their beautiful home in Over Alderley, Cheshire. His sons Dan and Bill Holloway today run the company with fellow Director Helen Scott. Daughters Anna and Maria and the couple’s 9 grandchildren make up the large Holloway family.
It was back in 1986 when John formed AV Hire which began trading in 1987. The company would evolve and later become AVDanzer, which is today one of the leading modular building and site accommodation hire companies in the UK. Still a tightly run family concern AVDanzer now employs 93 people at its three depots across the UK.
John’s career began in 1949 when he started work for a family-run timber importing company which was called Parkers. This became Parker Rosser and was on the exact site which today is home to Media City.
Parker Rosser was later sold to May and Hassell and John was appointed by them to turn around a recently acquired company, the international modular building business Vic Hallams.
John’s career has taken him all over the world including Khartoum, Moscow, Persia, Sudan, Qatar and Riyadh. Following the Suez Crisis John decided to travel to Canada (by ship from Liverpool to Montreal then across Canada by train as there were no direct flights in those days) and he eventually found employment as a logger, felling Columbian Pine and Hemlock on Vancouver Island. John lived in the bunkhouse with the rest of the team meeting men from all over the world.
It was during his time at Vic Hallams that John was responsible for building the new airport accommodation on the Falkland Islands after the 1982 war.
On his return to the UK John decided to use his modular building expertise to establish his own company which was originally called Ashton Vernon Rent-a-cabin. The family-run business started out in a relatively modest way doing exactly as the name suggests; simply a cabin hire company based in Cheadle, Stockport.
But John wasn’t satisfied with running just a small regional concern so in 1995 he also opened a manufacturing plant at Langley Mill in Nottingham, and expanded the hire business to include the sale of modular buildings as well as growing the booming hire fleet. Today the company has depots at Manchester, Nottingham and Essex to ensure they can provide a swift service to clients right across the UK.
Until last year the hire and manufacturing businesses operated as two separate and distinct brands, AV Group and Danzer Limited. However, in order to streamline the business in 2016 the two companies came together under one trading name, AVDanzer.
Today AVDanzer is a £14m t/o company and its site accommodation installations have been seen in the early stages of many of the UK’s largest developments and infrastructure projects, including the building of the Co-Op HQ at Angel Square for BAM Construction. It’s welfare units have also been commissioned by Manchester City Footlball Club at its iconic Etihad Stadium and at Circle Square the former BBC site in Manchester city centre. More recently the company’s facilities have been commissioned by Skanska at the Humber Bridge as they lay the £100m National Grid Humber Tunnel pipeline.
The company is also the first choice for site welfare accommodation for many of the UK’s leading housebuilders including Taylor Wimpey, Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes and Miller Homes.
On the manufacturing side AVDanzer is producing bespoke modular buildings for use in a wider range of situations such as creating additional classroom space, modern offices, high tech laboratories, additional storage and security lodges. Keeping all manufacturing in the UK is important to John and the Directors, who have firmly resisted all pressures to manufacture elsewhere to ensure that as many jobs as possible are created locally, and the highest possible production standards are maintained.
AVDanzer supplies site accommodation, modular buildings, prefabricated and secure steel buildings, on-site sanitary solutions and portable office accommodation in all sizes for short or long term use.
The company has concentrated its efforts on renewing and expanding its fleet, investing up to £1m each year to ensure the fleet is regularly updated and replenished.
The hire fleet has continued to expand and today comprises over 4000 units. The experienced team specializes in supporting larger construction projects where multiple units are stacked up to 4 high, offering a full service that includes livery and branding, transport and delivery, groundworks, fit out and service connection.
In addition the modular side of the business has grown and today AVDanzer provides bespoke buildings for schools, offices, laboratories, universities an healthcare providers.
Commenting on the company’s anniversary Director Helen Scott said: “John has always led from the front and even today he remains actively involved in the business. It is testament to his extraordinary vision and hard work that we are today supporting some of the largest capital investment projects in the UK as well as providing market-leading modular solutions for institutaions and businesses here in the UK and recently into Europe as well.”