Name: Brian Anderson.

Age: 38.

What is your business called?

BA Builders (Shetland) Ltd.

Where is it based?

The Shetland Islands.

What does it produce, what services does it offer?

BA Builders specialises in producing and delivering quality homes, extensions and renovations.

What is its turnover?

Our average turnover would be around the £400,000 mark.

The coronavirus crisis has had a massive impact on my business and the wider team. We had to pause all of our ongoing projects in accordance with the Scottish Government’s guidelines on construction work. While this was frustrating, I appreciate that these measures were necessary to control the spread of the virus.

As we followed those guidelines seven team members were placed on the Government-funded furlough scheme. This, along with other official financial support has really been vital to keeping us going throughout this period.

In line with the latest recommendations from the Scottish Government, BA Builders is prepared to move to Phase Two on June 15 (today) and return to site, while maintaining physical distancing. I expect to bring back all seven staff who were furloughed to progress the projects that were paused due to the lockdown.

I tend to be an optimistic person and I’m pretty sure demand for homes will be similar to before the lockdown.

With the population increasing, there will always be demand for housing from people. Whether this can be met by the construction industry depends on whether banks and other associated organisations are able to feed this by providing mortgages to members of the public. However, if lending continues to be as it was, or even better, I think the market should remain strong.

When was it formed?

We were launched in June 2009.

Why did you take the plunge?

I like a challenge and felt I had a lot to give in this sector.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I was a workshop foreman at a local building firm.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

No funds were raised at the beginning, I just got to work.

What was your biggest break?

Our initial business model focused on self-build mortgages, which are an important feature of the house building landscape in Shetland. However, these are very difficult to get and with help from Business Gateway, we enjoyed our first big break. They strategically reviewed our business model and we found that by building houses to sell on ourselves, we would be able to ensure that the business grew sustainably.

That is because our customers just have to source a mortgage and simply purchase a brand-new property from us. This simplified the process and reduced financial risk for the business as a mortgage to buy a completed home is quite easy to get, in comparison to one for a self-build.

Our second big break was when we secured a business loan of £300,000 from our local authority that will allow us to construct much-needed homes in rural areas around Shetland. Business Gateway were really helpful during this process, highlighting a variety of possible funding opportunities and supporting us in our approach to the council when our funding applications to other providers were refused.

What was your worst moment?

My worst moment personally was being told that I couldn’t get a self-build mortgage to finish off my own house when I was in the middle of building it, so I know first-hand what it’s like to be refused at this stage.

BA Builders stuggled initially because mortgage providers were deciding not to fund clients who were seeking a self-build mortgage.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

There is a lot of work involved in getting projects to the final stage, so it is incredibly rewarding to see things all come together for clients.

What do you least enjoy?

Cash flow issues are no fun at all.

What are your top priorities?

That I do everything so that it meets with the values and morals I hold as a Christian.

To continue to provide high quality homes, extensions and renovations.

To provide affordable homes for first time buyers.

To provide jobs for the local community.

To source sustainable quality materials for all our projects.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Introduce low rate bridging loans for businesses to allow them to build a house for their customers.

The support provided by the UK and Scottish governments in response to the coronavirus has helped keep us going to be honest and without it, I don’t think a lot of companies would still be trading.

Business Gateway have helped us access funding and ensured we have been able to make use of the schemes that put in place to support businesses like ours and really done all the legwork for us.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how you deal with them that counts.

How do you relax?

Being with family is always a great way to relax.