Willmott Dixon is looking at bidding for Building Schools for the Future work as a main contractor as it continues to grow despite the downturn.
The contractor has worked on a few BSF projects but always as part of the supply chain for consortiums led by others.
Willmott Dixon’s head of education Peter Owen said the Group’s construction business now had deals in its sights having almost won enough work already to hit its ambitious £650 million turnover target for 2009.
Willmott Dixon Group, which took about £380 million in 2007 prior to its acquisition of Inspace, is aiming to increase its capacity so that it can turn over about £900 million. Its construction business hopes to increase its headcount across the UK by about 40 people during 2009.
Education work makes up in the region of 60 per cent of the firm’s turnover, and Mr Owen said it was looking to higher its sights.
He said: “We are looking at developments on our own now. We are looking at BSF bids as a main contractor.”
Willmott Dixon construction business chief executive John Frankiewicz added: “This is an important next step for us in the education market after our success on previous BSF work and the Academies Framework. We think we bring a lot market and will be linking up with other partners in the bidding process.”
Possible BSF targets are understood to include the London boroughs of Ealing – worth in the region of £275 million – and Wandsworth, as well as the £150 million St Helens contract in the North-west.
Mr Owen attributed much of the company’s success during the downturn to work it has done with Jonathan Porritt and George Martin on sustainability.
Mr Porritt, a founder director of Forum for the Future, began as non-executive director at the turn of the year, and works with head of sustainability Mr Martin.
Mr Owen said: “We have surrounded ourselves with people that challenge us on everything we do.”