As reported in The Herald newspaper on Aug 30, 2012. By Greig Cameron, Deputy Business Editor
A SPECIALIST construction firm has won its largest ever contract, guaranteeing employment for its Scottish workforce for the next 12 months.
ACT Construction, which focuses on building cold storage facilities, has secured a tender for work at the Arla Food dairy in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. The contract is worth more than £4 million.
Glasgow-based ACT has spent around a year working on securing a deal to supply thousands of square metres of panels for coldrooms at the £150m facility.
Traditionally the business has had a steady turnover of between £2m and £2.5m, but the Arla contract award will see that figure soar.
It will also provide stability for the 14 ACT employees in Scotland as well as providing subcontracting opportunities for around 75 people. The majority of these will be in England.
Kenneth Godsman, managing director, said: “We have previously worked on Robert Wiseman Dairies’ flagship dairies in Droitwich and Bridgwater and Arla dairies in Lockerbie, Leeds and Westbury.
“We had to fight off severe competition from some of the UK’s largest cold-store contractors, but we could boast a level of experience in this sector second to none.
“This Arla dairy is the biggest liquid milk dairy in the world so we have been through a rigorous tender process taking the best part of a year and it is the biggest contract we have won.
“By the time we have finished it will be more than £4m of work as a standalone contract, which just about doubles what we would ordinarily have as turnover.
“From our perspective it is quite good given there is still a downturn in the construction industry.
“This is as big a job as we are likely to get in the industry and it guarantees employment for the best part of the next 12 months, which is a fantastic achievement in the current climate.”
ACT is supplying and installing the food safe and temperature-controlled partitions in the dairy. Its work is scheduled to begin on September 3 and run until early next year.
Mr Godsman added: “It is nearly 60,000 square metres of panels.
“We will be taking on some contract managers and surveyors specifically for the duration of the contract, but most of the work will be done by specialist subcontractors on our behalf.”
Arla is building the dairy on a 115-acre site and intends to process and package up to one billion litres of milk a year from British farms once the facility is running at capacity.
Around 1000 construction jobs are being created during the building phase with almost 700 people to be employed once the dairy is open.
The main contractor is Caddick Construction while NG Bailey is taking on electrical and mechanical engineering.
Arla is hoping to deliver a zero carbon facility and send no waste to landfill.
It is also supporting a new shuttle bus service plus pedestrian and cycle path improvements to encourage staff to leave cars at home.