Our history  


1984 – Founded in Nottinghamshire by structural engineer Michael Ellis pictured, as an underpinning and mini-piling contractor

1987 – Hoopsafe System acquired – later developed to become Smartfoot precast concrete foundation beam system 


1990 – Van Elle purchase first large CFA rig, a Soilmec 505, growing into what is today the UK’s largest CFA fleet  

1997 – Acquisition of A&G Stevenson, later known as A&G Drilling and Grouting, starting the Group’s ground stabilisation operations, now employing over 40 personnel across a fleet of 10 rigs

1999 – Head office moved to Kirkby Lane, Pinxton  


2003 – Staff numbers exceed 250 and the company achieves a £21m turnover  

2003 – Management buyout with a proportion of the company bought by Senior Directors

2003 – Van Elle Geotechnical Services formed to focus on ground investigation and pile testing, which later became Strata Geotechnics  

2003 – First precast concrete factory opened in Nottinghamshire to manufacture Smartfoot foundation beams   

2004 –Piling works begin on the first international project, installing CFA piles on the Eden Project in County Cork, Ireland

2005 – First overseas project in a recycled plant in Holland, where a Soilmec 505 was converted to drive thick wall casings to 27m. The machine was lowered into a 12m pit by a 200-tonne crane.

2006 – Van Elle transport established, today a fleet of 20 specialist HGV’s  

2007 – Redevelopment of our Pinxton office more than doubles space for staff

2008 – First major Smart Motorway scheme completed for MVM JV on the M1 J25-26  


2012 – Formation of Van Elle Rail and first Colmar road-rail vehicle (RRV) acquired. Today the Group has 20 RRV’s dedicated to piling and foundation activities

2013 – Van Elle purchases its first large Rotary Piling rig, the Soilmec R625

2013 – First company in the UK to achieve POS Licence (Plant Operator Scheme) for Network Rail  

2013 – Van Elle undertakes it’s first international project in the Falklands (pictured) 

2014 – Acquired current HQ site in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, allowing expansion of precast concrete production and plant facilities   


2016 – Owner Michael Ellis retires from the company after 32 years

2016 – Floated as public company on the London Stock Exchange and listed on AIM   

2016 – Van Elle purchased its first Llamada P160, which goes on to install the deepest CFA piles (up to 35-metres) – without a Kelly-bar – in a single stroke   

2017 – Obtained a Network Rail Principal Contractor’s Licence (PCL) to operate as a tier one supplier   

2017 – New construction training centre in Kirkby opened by Jeremy Corbyn (pictured).

2018 – Staff numbers exceed 500 and turnover exceeds £100m. Mark Cutler joined as Chief Executive

2019 – Launched specialist Ground Improvement team focussed on vibro stone columns and rigid inclusion techniques   

2019 – All office facilities co-located to Kirkby-in-Ashfield   


2020 – Completion of the Midland Mainline electrification programme after construction of over 2500 on-track foundations

2020 – Strata Geotechnics awarded a position on Highways England’s national ground investigation framework

2020 – Graeme Campbell joins as Chief Financial Officer and Frank Nelson as Chairman

2020 – Company founder Michael Ellis passes away

2021 – Van Elle undertakes the UK’s deepest CFA piles at Canary Wharf, London (pictured)

2021 – Van Elle acquires ScrewFast Foundations Ltd and awarded a primary partner role on National Highways’ Smart Motorway Alliance programme

2021- Reston station for Bam Nuttall in the Scottish Borders becomes Van Elle’s 200th rail station project

2023 – Van Elle acquires Rock & Alluvium providing the Group with an established presence in the South East