A NORTH EAST construction company is hoping to build upon its annual £2m turnover this year thanks to demand for one of its specialist services.
Darlington-based Stone Technical Services, which specialises in repair, maintenance and restoration, is on target for 20% growth as more organisations than ever are implementing building condition surveys to allow them to plan their annual budgets.
Stone’s survey division – www.building-condition-surveys.co.uk – has become a leader in its field in the UK and has carried out high-level surveys on some of the country’s best-known landmarks.
The family-run business specialises in all aspects of high-level maintenance, lightning conductor installation and steeplejack services, as well as restoration and masonry refurbishment projects on churches, museums, clock towers, castles, spires and historic buildings.
It has worked all over the UK on a variety of high-profile buildings including St Paul’s Cathedral and the Royal Courts of Justice in London and for organisations such as English Heritage and the National Trust as well as for well-known industrial clients such as INEOS Plant Utilities and Teesside power station.
The surveys determine the condition of a building or structure and allow companies and organisations to plan financially for the long term depending on whether repair, refurbishment or replacement works need to be completed.
Managing director Dave Stone said: “Surveys are a major growth area for us and are really helping us to develop because organisations, especially councils and public-sector companies, really need to plan budgets for annual repairs, especially on very old buildings.
“Our expertise in the field means that if further work is required following a survey, this can be completed quickly and on budget.
“We carry out a wide range of surveys on so many different buildings all over the UK which means we now have a solid reputation as leaders in the sector.” In addition, the family-run business is seeking to recruit more apprentices.
Last year it increased its workforce by a third and created 10 jobs but the company is still finding it difficult to attract young apprentices into the industry.
Stone said: “If you join a company like Stone Technical Services as an apprentice, you’ll learn a trade from some of the very best in the business.
“You get the chance to gain industry qualifications and hands-on experience that could set you up for life.
“But we are finding it hard to entice young people into the industry which surprises me as the rate of young unemployed people seems to keep on growing.”
During 2011, Stone Technical Services won a number of new contracts working all over the UK on buildings such as Merchant Taylors’ Hall in the City of London, Theakston’s Brewery in North Yorkshire and the Cornmill Centre in Darlington.
The company also works with councils, NHS trusts, housing associations and Network Rail to carry out a range of maintenance, safety and conservation projects.