Construction: Prison Builders Look to Health and Schools to Beat Recession; in Association with DOVE

Article excerpt

Byline: Christopher Knox

ABUILDING firm that specialises in prison developments is confident of surviving the recession intact, despite expecting its turnover to halve to pounds 10m this year.

Teesside-based Henderson Campbell says it has seen Government spending on new prisons slow down as it concentrates more on other areas, such as social housing.

This has led to the firm, which is based in Guisborough to look at additional markets such as education and healthcare in order to stave off further losses.

The firm, which was formed in 1975 and has a directly employed workforce which fluctuates between 100 and 150, now believes its sales will be dramatically reduced this year and said that it may have to look at a number of cost cutting measures, including redundancies, if some of the schemes it is currently bidding for fail to come off.

However, newly-appointed business development director Neil Armstrong said that he is in advanced talks in regards to 25 construction projects in the North, out of the 380 enquiries he has made since joining the company three months ago.

"It's fair to say that our turnover will be half of what it was last year", Mr Armstrong said. "But, this is to be expected as Government spending on custodial projects has slowed down as it concentrates its resources on helping to stabilise other areas of the economy.

"However, we have already had some good feedback from some of the education and healthcare developers that we are tendering with and are confident about our ability to expand into new markets."

According to the construction leads service Glenigans, to which Henderson Campbell subscribes for new tender opportunities, 17 new projects across the building and civil engineering sector came to the North East market last week alone - at a combine value of pounds 30m. …