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Laing O'Rourke looks to create demolition division

Talks held with two firms as contractor aims to boost its Expanded arm by offering complete service

LAING O'Rourke is looking to buy a demolition company.

Construction News understands that talks have already been held with two firms and O'Rourke has also been approached by the senior management of a third with an offer to join them.The demolition arm will become part of O'Rourke's newly-formed Expanded operation.

A company source said: 'O'Rourke bought Expanded Piling last year and has now made the decision to set up a larger subcontracting operation under the Expanded name.Getting a demolition specialist on board means that O'Rourke will be able to take care of all stages of a project from knocking a building down, through the piling stage then on to putting up the concrete frame.

'We are looking at getting the company going very quickly and then will be going out to the marketplace and offering this service.There have been talks with a couple of demolition specialists but then four senior managers from another company approached us and offered to run a demolition arm for us. It is a question now of deciding which route we go down.'

The Expanded arm is expected to be headed by Hugh Waters, who was previously in charge of O'Rourke in Scotland.

An industry expert said: 'There is a feeling that this is a good time to launch this sort of all-encompassing service because there are a lot of opportunities in the concrete frame sector.

'Some of the other leading companies are struggling a bit or have their hands full like PC Harrington at Wembley and White City.Laing O'Rourke has always been the big name in concrete frames so it makes sense to expand that and offer the whole lot to clients.

'You won't have to deal with three separate contractors, Expanded can come in and knock things down and rebuild them all under one management team.'

n Laing O'Rourke's contract wins during the last 12 months have passed the £2 billion mark. The firm, which has pledged to get its turnover up to £5 billion by 2008, won seven jobs totalling £385 million in May to take its annual order book for the period up to nearly £2.1 billion. A quarter of the firm's annual order book now comes from house builders.