Over 50 years of the Higgins family journey

A family run company with values focussed on the needs of Clients and the well being of staff.

One day in 1960, a young building estimator told a friend and colleague, "I'm going to start up on my own in building." The response was immediate - "I'll come with you".

This is the story of a visionary young man and his sons. The history that unfolded can be viewed on the timeline below. You can also read the early story in "Contract to Build. The D.J Higgins Story".

Formation (as D J Higgins & Sons)

On 1st March 1961, the Higgins Group was founded. With three sons under the age of five, Mr. Derek Higgins and his wife Olive bought a van and boldly set up DJ Higgins & Sons Limited. The first contract was worth £36. 10s. 0d and the first set of accounts showed that this company had turned over £9,705. 9s. 0d and made a profit of £58. 4s. 4d


First public sector scheme was for new guttering at Wanstead County High School (£59.00)


Throughout the second half of the 1960’s, D. J. Higgins & Sons increased the number and size of its jobs in the public sector - housing, schools and hospitals.


Elderly Persons’ Home, Canvey Island. Completed in 1966, it was then by far the largest job Higgins had undertaken and marked a quantum change in the scale of the business.


In 1970 Higgins successfully tendered for its largest contract to date. This was to build the Cornelius Vermuyden Comprehensive School on Canvey Island for Essex County Council and was worth £320,000, a massive sum.


An important year for Higgins with employment of our first Apprentice (Dave Dorrington – who is still with the company today) and Richard Higgins (now chairman) joins the company. Also we break the half Million mark with the £584,000 extension to King Harold Secondary School for Essex County Council which Richard Higgins worked on.

1st £1m Project Princes Park Avenue

B-Nai Birth Housing Association Hostel + Apartments on Prices Park Avenue.

Queen Mother Laying Foundation Stone St Saviours Priory

In March 1977, HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother laid the foundation stone of the new St Saviour’s priory, rebuilt by D. J. Higgins & Sons Limited.


Stephen and Martin Higgins both join the company. Richard Higgins becomes Director.


George Eastwood retired


D. J. Higgins & Sons Limited built itself a new headquarters Hawke House, Station Road, Loughton which remained HQ until 2005


D. J. Higgins & Sons Limited won contracts to build and refurbish flats in Islington, Tooting, Chelmsford and Southwark. Higgins apprentices beat their 1983 record by winning 15 prizes at the National Federation of Building Trades Employers Award.


The company became a Public Limited Company – Higgins Group PLC. The first directors were Derek Higgins and Richard Higgins.


1st Sheltered Housing Scheme (Limewood Court, Ilford)

In September 1990, Lord Young, Alan Sugar, Derek Higgins and Lord Sieff opened the Nathen Sugar and Rita Simons Special Care Wing at Vi & John Rubens House, Ilford, built by D. J. Higgins & Sons Limited.

Higgins started work on the Angel Town Estate where we would continue with regeneration until late 2000’s.


Following a report written by a director, ‘The Way Forward’, Higgins took on Design and Build housing projects for the first time and won:

- 1st Design and Build New Build – Cleaves Road, East London Housing Corp

- 1st Refurbishment Design and Build (Wharfedale Court) – LB Hackney

Higgins set up the 1st Estate Based Apprenticeship Scheme at the Angell Town Estate.

Higgins realised space in the market for a dedicated RLO instead of the work being carried out by a Site Manager and employed Teresa Twaio-Gormley, Gloucester Grove Estate


Establishment of a dedicated Design and Build Team


Dagenham (Heathland) - 1st of its kind, visually impaired project ran by Danny Barker

1st Design and Build School, Kingsmead School

1st Partner Regeneration Scheme (Pollards Hill Estate) - Largest partnered scheme in the country.


1st CIOB Medal Winner (Danny Barker) for Heathland.


1st Community Development Manager

Higgins worked with Hackney on their Alma House project which formed part of LB Hackney £300m Estate Regenerations Programme.

Higgins Starts work on a 5 year programme to transform Pollards Hill Estate in LB Merton. £35million, 700 refurbished homes and 190 new build homes.


1st Concrete Frame Project (Silwood Estate)


Mr D J Higgins awarded OBE in the New Years Honours List


1st Timber Frame Building (Charlecote Road)

1st Design, Build and Maintain Contract (Southend Portfolio)

1st Achieved £100m turnover


1st On Site Training Centre (Silwood Estate)


Derek Higgins, founder of the Higgins Group passed away on 19th December.

Richard Higgins becomes Chairman.

1st Female Site Manager on Kender Estate, Lewisham.

Formation of a training partnership with community service volunteers (CSV) – 1st skills training centre opened called DJ Higgins centre, Islington.

1st Decent Homes (Kensington & Chelsea) - £12,000,000.

Higgins signed a 10 year partnership with West Ham in the Community (Sporting Link) to provide youth development.


Higgins won Building Magazines, Regeneration Contractor of the Year.

1st ‘Exemplar’ In house management trainee programme is established.

Completion of New Head Office at Langston Road.

Higgins start work on the 7 year land mark regeneration of the Market Estate and Caledonian Park, transforming a rundown estate into a place people want to live


1st Self Build (Angell Town Estate)


We do the double at Building Magazine's Regeneration Awards and take home both:

- Regeneration Contractor of the Year

- Best Community Led Regeneration Project, Market Estate

1st PFI (Brockley PFI)


As confirmation of the company’s long standing and ongoing commitments to the development of its employees Higgins was awarded the Investors In People Standard along with achieving ISO 14001 Accreditation.

1st RLO Winning TPAS Award (Polly Moona).

First JV – Apple Tree Farm with Moat Housing Group.


1st BREEAM Retrofit (Forest Gate).

1st Code 4 (Vale Street).


Partnership with Barnardos begins with 12 trainee placements in the year.


1st Land Swap Deal (St Johns School)

Higgins turns 50.


1st Bespoke Internal Management Development Programme.

Phil Safe our Health and Safety mascot was born.

Break ground on the Myatts Field North Estate to deliver 808 new homes, a Community Centre and state of the art new park.

Complete Streamlight our 1st 24 storey tower for private sale.


Higgins start work on their 1st Job in Brighton

1st Complete new build Secondary School (Epping St Johns)

National Skills Academy – Higgins achieved full construction status.


Shortlisted for Construction News Awards, Constructor of the year.

Launch new Higgins Site Style Guide.

Delivering £190m turnover.


Start work on £64 Million regeneration of Kings Crescent Estate, Hackney.

Higgins Construction becomes FORS (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme) Bronze accredited


Work started on the £40m regeneration of the Colville Estate

Won Excellence in Construction Engagement at the Southern Region TPAS Awards

Completed the regeneration of the Matts Field Estate delivering 808 New Homes and a new Community Centre

Started Work on 201 new homes across three precincts of the Clapham Park Estate


Established position on the HCA’s East and South East Delivery Partner Panel DPP3

Started construction of 333 New Build homes at Wooddene Estate Peckham

Completed the construction of 351 new homes with; retail, office and community spaces at Banbury Park, Walthamstow

Started work at Chobham Farm to deliver 154 homes, two commercial spaces and public open space


Completion of 273 new homes and the external refurbishment to a further 101 homes at the Kings Crescent Estate Hackney

Kings Crescent wins the National Housing Awards Best Regeneration project

Completion of 80 new houses and apartments at Gabriel Square, St Albans


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