A SPECIALIST oak frame design and construction company based in South Devon is about to export to Russia for the first time.
Carpenter Oak Ltd, based in East Cornworthy, near Totnes, will shortly be sending the first giant oak frame to Russia for installation in St Petersburg. It will be used as part of a 12 metre wide by 25 metre long cover for a private swimming pool.
The £124,000 contract is the latest export success for the company since establishing links with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and benefiting from the professional advice and expertise of its international trade advisers.
Carpenter Oak director, Stuart Voaden, said: "We had been thinking about exporting, particularly to France and Germany, so we approached UKTI and took advantage of all the advice and skills training they had to offer.
"The support we had from our UKTI adviser was superb and he guided us through all the details.
"We took part in the Passport to Export programme which made us look more closely at how we reach potential customers, including an update of our website. Around 10 per cent of our business is now for the export market and we are expecting this proportion to grow."
The company has identified a market in the British expatriate community in France who have land and want to build homes there and has also exported timber frames and designs to Germany, Ireland and Cyprus. It is also pursuing opportunities in the USA.
Carpenter Oak has also approached the Australian market where, because of restrictions on imported timber, they have concentrated on selling their design skills using locally produced hardwood.
UKTI international trade adviser, Steve Southcott, said: "Carpenter Oak is a great example of a small company which is actively searching for new markets abroad and already achieving good results.
"UKTI can help businesses looking to export with a whole range of advice and information on all aspects of international trade from experienced staff."
Carpenter Oak, which started in 1987, works with a sister firm, Roderick James Architects LLP and employs 35 people at its South Devon base.
Carpenter Oak has featured on Channel 4's Grand Designs programme and major projects have included involvement in repairing fire damage at Windsor Castle and a Buddhist temple in Hertfordshire.