Stewart Milne eyes English growth with 250 new jobs

BUILDING firm the Stewart Milne Group has unveiled plans to create more than 250 jobs in the next 12 months to support growth in its homes and timber systems divisions.
Founder Stewart Milne. Picture: Robert PerryFounder Stewart Milne. Picture: Robert Perry
Founder Stewart Milne. Picture: Robert Perry

The Aberdeen-headquartered company is today launching the recruitment drive, which represents an increase of more than 30 per cent to its current 800-strong full-time workforce.

It said hiring will span “all disciplines and professions within the business, from skilled tradespeople, site management and quantity surveyors through to architects, design technicians and cost estimators”.

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The group, which has benefited from the recovery in the housing market and the growing popularity of the traditionally Scottish timber frame building system south of the Border, created some 160 new jobs during 2014. As well as building homes itself, Stewart Milne’s manufacturing division provides timber frames for other builders, as UK firms increasingly look to timber frames to help speed up the building progress and sidestep skills shortages in the industry.

The new posts will be spread across the group’s homes divisions in both Scotland and north-west England along with its timber systems automated facility in Witney, Oxfordshire.

Group chief executive Glenn Allison said: “This is an enormously exciting time to be working in the construction sector, as we bring premium new homes projects forward to meet market demand and continue to grow our timber systems business.

“As a privately owned group, we have a very strong company culture that puts our people and their development at the heart of what we do. This is backed by best in class training programmes; an excellent benefits package and fantastic career progression prospects for those with ambition and talent.

“Many people probably do not appreciate the full range of skills and expertise that our business encompasses but our recruitment this year will include the full spectrum, spanning joiners, electricians, plumbers and roofers through to design, cost estimating, contracts management, HR and finance.”

Stewart Milne said it is also forging new relationships with the supply chain and subcontractor community to support its in-house teams. It currently employs more than 2,000 subcontractors across its UK operations.

The group said that its pipeline of premium home developments and increasing demand for its innovative timber systems from the new homes and wider construction markets were driving its recruitment strategy.

In November the company posted a surge in annual profits and set itself the ambitious target of doubling sales to more than £400 million over the next three years.

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The firm believes that there are still big gains to be made in the timber frame market South of the Border. In Scotland, timber frame construction accounts for more than 70 per cent of new build homes, but in England the figure is around 15 per cent.

Accounts published at the time showed an operating profit of £14.1m for the year to June, more than double the previous year’s £6.7m. Turnover dipped to £209.7m, down from £211.1m a year ago, but the bottom line was helped by lower interest charges as debt reduced.