Sale of Sheffield access firm to hit new heights

ALPS Platform on a 610m tower on the new Queensferry Crossing, 'the third Forth bridge'.
ALPS Platform on a 610m tower on the new Queensferry Crossing, 'the third Forth bridge'.

The owners of a Sheffield specialist access company which worked on the new Forth road bridge have sold up to a firm which has vowed to take it to “the next level.”

David Simm and Michael Howard set up Dronfield-based ALPS - Access Lifting, Pulling and Safety - 20 years ago and have built a reputation for specialising in bridges.

The company worked on the Queensferry Crossing, the new road bridge across the River Forth near Falkirk, for three years. It provided suspended access platforms down the side of the three 600ft towers, as well as roped access for finishing works.

It has also worked on “all the major bridges in the UK,” according to Mr Simm, including the Severn and Humber.

Closer to home, it provided access on Manchester United’s stadium, when it was upgrading its seating, and on the Ladybower road bridge in Derbyshire.

Mr Simm said they had a “squeaky clean” health and safety record and “hadn’t hurt anyone yet.”

Alongside this, business was booming, partly due to jobs in the construction sector. The firm has just finished working on a new build block of student flats in Leeds.

The pair decided to sell as part of a retirement strategy for Mr Simm, who is 64. They put the firm on the market and approached selected potential buyers, including Denholm Industrial, based in Somerset.

Mr Simm said: “We wanted it to go to a good home, someone who understood the business and could take it to the next level. We’ve known the Denholm Group for a long time and we fitted in very nicely.”

Discussions began at Christmas and have just been completed. Eight ALPS staff have transferred, including Mr Simm and Mr Howard who are now consultants.

Denholm Industrial Group managing director Steve Hill said: “ALPS has a track record of accessing some of the UK’s most iconic and difficult to reach landmarks and structures and combining our skills and competences creates an attractive proposition for customers.”