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Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of The Invicta Group

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The Invicta Group is proud and humbled to be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Since the formation of our first division – now called Invicta Racking – the business has grown to support hundreds of jobs across our seven global offices, and complete projects in almost 30 countries to date.

To mark the occasion, we’re taking a whistlestop tour of some of our most memorable and momentous projects down the years, from a record-setting racking project to protecting world-famous sites from fires and blasts. Read on to learn more about Invicta’s history, and our plans for 2024 and beyond.

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Humble beginnings

The first 15 years or so of Invicta was a process of steady but significant expansion. Starting with pallet racking systems in 1983, our Mezzanine Floors division was founded four years later, a natural extension of our work in warehouses. It wasn’t long before we moved into our offices in Margate, Holy Trinity Hall, named after a nearby church that was bombed in World War 2.

After eight years of growth throughout the UK, Invicta Mobile Shelving was born, taking our storage expertise and applying it to a new, highly efficient format. This move had taken Invicta out of the warehouse, but the next step was to be the most drastic and definitive.

In 1999, Invicta’s Durasteel division was formed, offering innovative Durasteel fire and blast protection systems. While this had some crossover with our existing experience as a specialist contractor, it was still something of a departure from our storage system origins – and a decision that would see us diversify and develop into the business we are today.

Our growing portfolio of services made the formation of two more divisions – Invicta Ceilings and Partitioning and Invicta Interiors – a natural next step. At this point, international expansion was on the cards. It was clear that doing so would require all of these constituent parts to be consolidated into a single, unified front. And so in 2007, The Invicta Group was born – six divisions offering unique & combined solutions.

That same year, Invicta opened its first foreign office in Miami, Florida. By 2008 we also had an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates – our first in the Middle East. This would be another pivotal moment, as our presence locally undoubtedly led to the awarding of our biggest international contract to date: providing high performance Durasteel fire barriers across numerous stations for the newly-built Dubai Metro.

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Invicta Durasteel employees working in tunnel

Going underground

Invicta had undertaken work outside of the UK before the Dubai Metro project, and would win other major contracts before it was finished, but there’s no doubt that it changed the game. Comprising years of work, including two test barriers and 40 finished barriers across 19 separate stations, the project was Invicta’s biggest and most complex to date.

As well as demonstrating our design and installation capabilities, the Dubai Metro showed that we could coordinate effectively between a new office on the other side of the world and our main office in the UK. It not only gave us the knowledge, experience and prestige to fulfil other major projects, but also the confidence and assurance to accelerate our expansion globally.

Though closer to home, our next major project – Recall in Mignières, France – was no less intimidating. While the Dubai Metro was our biggest Durasteel contract outside of the UK to date, this would be our largest racking project. With Recall, we would be creating one of the largest, highest and most efficient archive storage facilities in the world: a 26-metre high, crane-operated system with 12,000m² of storage space.

It was a project that proved to be challenging, balancing the logistical complexities of sending huge quantities of materials and large numbers of personnel from the UK whilst remaining compliant with the strict labour union codes in France. Ultimately however, it was executed to the highest levels of precision, and to this day remains one of the most advanced archive storage facilities in the world.

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Planes, trains and energy projects

Both emboldened by our successes and seeing the growing demand for Durasteel, Invicta opened a regional office in Abu Dhabi in 2012, and a Kingdom of Saudi Arabia office in 2013. A contract for a new and prestigious sports stadium in Saudi Arabia followed, as did work on the Al Sadd Stadium in Doha – precipitating the formation of another new office in Qatar.

Much like a band that has to find its success abroad before triumphing at home, our fire protection work in the Middle East saw us secure our biggest project to date in the UK. The provision of Durasteel fire and blast protection for London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 was a proud moment for us, both as a landmark project and a demonstration of how far the business had come.

Our next big project would take us in a new and unique direction. The provision of high performance fire and blast protection for Saudi Aramco & Dow Chemical’s new Sadara facility in Saudi Arabia presented an exciting challenge. Sadara were building the world’s largest chemical complex ever built in a single phase, a project Invicta had to merge seamlessly into. This work established the template for numerous oil, gas and chemical projects we’ve undertaken since, and gave us hugely valuable experience.

Another incredible project on Doha Metro followed in Qatar, involving extensive fire protection in the underground stations for all three of its new lines, before another definitive step forward in the UK: Stronelairg Wind Farm. While the nature of the project wasn’t that unusual – transformer fire barriers – it was our first renewable energy project, now a major growth area. Its position in the remote Scottish Highlands also made for an interesting installation, and one we’re immensely proud of.

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Asian expansion

With a firm foothold in Europe, North America and the Middle East, 2018 saw us branch out further in Asia. Invicta established two new regional offices in Delhi and Kolkata, India, before opening a Malaysian office the following year. While working on two more major airport projects in the UK, we won tenders for another three metros in the Middle East: Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia, and India’s Kolkata Metro and Mumbai Metro.

The years since have seen further expansion and prestige projects, including a unique partnership in South Korea, where we formed a joint venture with a local company to service the Korean oil, gas and chemical markets. Along the way we’ve tackled a complex project at the prestigious Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, as well as fire and blast protection for a major offshore LNG terminal in Hong Kong.

All of this led to one of our most unique projects to date: ADNOC’s underground oil storage facility in Fujairah, UAE. The largest facility of its kind anywhere in the world, Invicta provided fifteen 10.5m long, 4.5m high barriers for the Pump Shelter building, providing 120-minute protection against the most intensive hydrocarbon fires. The position of the facility near the coast and propensity for strong winds also meant they needed to be wind and corrosion resistant.

Last year saw Invicta further extend its reach with projects completed in the Philippines for Canon, and a major project in Indonesia, providing fire and blast protection to a refinery in Balikpapan. The refinery is a pillar of Indonesia’s net zero strategy, reducing emissions and increasing the quality of its products, and Invicta’s work on it further establishes our growing presence in Southeast Asia.

doha metro durasteel banner

The next 40 years

The Invicta name doesn’t just represent our six divisions, but also our group mentality. Despite growing into a truly international operation, the company has maintained the ethos of a small business that puts its employees first. Our offices and our teams thrive on a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, where everyone feels valued, and contributes to our shared goals.

As we proceed into the future, our biggest challenge is to preserve this, even as we continue to expand. While our offices may be separated by thousands of miles and half a dozen timezones, we want to stay connected. Our shared values, shared expertise and shared passion should continue to bind us together, whether we’re working on a wind farm in Scotland or a refinery in Indonesia.

With a raft of new and exciting projects on the horizon, and partnerships in new countries and markets, we’re confident we can achieve that. The growth of ecommerce and distribution presents exciting opportunities for racking division, while the changing dynamics of offices demand new storage solutions.

And with fire standards continuously rising around the world, Durasteel is only growing in value as a market leader in high performance fire and blast protection. From the smallest storage system to pioneering giga-projects, The Invicta Group will show you how.

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