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Jones Bros targets £40m in renewables work over two years

Jones Bros is bucking the downturn in highways work by moving more resources into its renewables division with a target of achieving 50 per cent of its revenue from the sector within two years.

The civil engineering and specialist contractor has already won work to install around 270MW in wind farms such as Crystal Rig and is targeting renewable work as its highways work reduces.

Contracts director John Dielhof told Construction News the energy sector has advantages in the procurement process with less competition for work but more emphasis from clients on the contractor’s previous experience.

He said: “Private developers in the energy sector tend to have more flexibility in selecting a contractor.

“In the Highways [Agency] at PQQ stage they have to judge a company on what is in front of them - they are more tied to a rigid formality. The private sector can take note of your previous work as well and when you get a good record it helps for winning repeat business.”

The contractor, which was shortlisted for the Tomorrow’s Company award in the 2011 Construction News Awards, has traditionally specialised in four sectors: waste management; highways and infrastructure; coastal and marine protection and renewables.

Its work on wind farms focuses on plant and electrical works, while it has subcontracted building work on substations under previous projects. It announced last month that it has set up a new base in Inverness, its fourth new regional office in 18 months.

Among its biggest wins in the renewables sector to date was the £16.5 million infrastructure contract awarded in 2008 to build the Crystal Rig II wind farm in the Scottish Borders, completed in September 2010.

Mr Dielhof said the company needed to restructure the way its staff are organised as its major highways project the £35m Porthmadog bypass, being carried out in a joint venture with Balfour Beatty, draws to a close.

However contractors are gearing up for a flurry of contracts and tenders in the short-term due to the review of feed-in-tariffs in 2013, as developers look to secure energy prices under higher tariffs.

Mr Dielhof said: “My target for the next two years is to win £30m-£40m of work. Up until two or three years ago about a fifth or our work was in renewables but it will end up being 50 per cent of our workload in the next few years.”

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