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Kajima's northern learning curve

Kajima Construction Europe appointed north-east project executive Stan Inskip to its operations board last month.He talks to Joanna Booth How did you start in construction?

I started as a cabinet maker, and went back to university to do a degree relatively late in life in my 30s. I was a site manager in Warrington with Galliford for three years before moving to Kajima nine years ago.

What makes the north-east different from the rest of the country?

I've been working in this area for three years now, and it is a bit insular. It's not like London, where people are quite transient, will take one job and move on.That's a benefit - good people stay where they are, allowing you to build and develop.

Any exciting major projects for Kajima at the moment?

There are two £30 million PFIs on the go.We're just finishing North Tyneside schools and starting Darlington education village.We're putting first-stage bids in for two more PFIs, which we'll hopefully secure in January. One is a £21 million library in Newcastle then it's a £55 million scheme in Gateshead.

Is PFI the future for Kajima?

PFI has been around for a few years, and as a company we probably didn't come into it as early as we should have.

We want to gain our market share of it.We are developing our interests there but we're not forgetting other types of contract.

Despite Kajima Construction Europe's turnover going up last year, you made losses after taking on new staff to service PFI contracts.Will you be choosier about what you bid for?

There are so many parties involved at the front end of PFI - designers and legal consultants all need to be paid.

Our spending in the north-east reflects the fact we're tendering for £80 million of work.We've learnt from North Tyneside schools and we'll continue learning from our next projects.The most difficult thing to get a handle on is exactly what the end-user requires.

What are your goals for Kajima in the north-east?

Two years ago there were only three of us in the northeast and now we're running 42 staff from this office.We've got a good grounding here and I want to build on that.

When we started here we didn't know the local clients or supply chain but we've built up a team which knows the industry.We are cherry picking through tenders at the moment, monitoring what's out there very closely.