Contracts joy for North-East firms

The Advertiser Series: John and Julie Finley with Shepherd Construction's regional managing director Andrew Constantine (centre) on the Hitachi site in Newton Aycliffe. John and Julie Finley with Shepherd Construction's regional managing director Andrew Constantine (centre) on the Hitachi site in Newton Aycliffe.

TWO NORTH-EAST construction and engineering companies are reporting a surge in contracts, revenue and new jobs, amid signs that the beleaguered building trade is showing signs of recovery.

Newcastle-based Shepherd Engineering Services (SES), has landed a double deal worth a combined £13m, The Northern Echo can reveal, and Newton Aycliffe firm Finley Structures is on target to smash its record turnover.

SES will provide full mechanical and electrical (M&E) services as part of the £200m transformation of Newcastle’s historic city-centre Stephenson Quarter.

The company, which has offices in Darlington and York, will also provide all of the M&E services on the new Consett Academy and Leisure Centre in County Durham which forms part of a £40m investment into the former steel town.

The deals come less than a year after SES was awarded the deal to build Hitachi’s £82m train factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Finley Structures, which is also playing a key role in the return of train manufacture to the North-East, is celebrating a string of multi-million pound contracts.

As well as providing the steel frameworks for the soon-to-open Hitachi plant, Finley recently completed work on an extension of the Nissan car factory in Sunderland, and is working on the new National Biologics Centre in Darlington.

In addition, Newton Aycliffe-based Finley has started work on Middlesbrough Council's Sports Village,and has won a contract for Bam Construction at Teesside University, due to start next month.

It represents a strong first half year for the company, with orders in the financial year, beginning in April 2014, totalling £13.8m, meaning it's on course to far surpass its record turnover of £13.1m.

The firm is looking to take on extra platers and welders in the coming weeks to help manage extra work.

SES has also been on a recruitment drive, employing both time-served and experienced local engineers, as well as appointing four apprentices from across the North-East.

The SES Newcastle team will work in partnership with Miller Construction on the Stephenson Quarter project to help create what developers say will be a vibrant living, working and cultural development.

The ten-acre site, adjacent to Newcastle Central Station, will feature a new 250-bed Crowne Plaza Hotel, office block, restaurants, an art gallery and a car park.

Steve Joyce, SES North-East regional director, said: “The selection of SES onto two of the North-East’s most high-profile engineering projects is testament to the work of our team of specialists who are able to deliver ground-breaking technical solutions for clients.

“More importantly, this has also allowed us to reinvest into the region, bringing local employees back to the North-East while increasing the number of apprenticeships we are able to offer to local young people.”

SES employs about 225 people across the North-East and North Yorkshire.

It is part of the York-based Shepherd building group that was founded by joiner Frederick Shepherd in 1890.

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