Keith Macaulay

Member Article

Big deal for NE services business

A North East based utility infrastructure business has secured a major contract to project manage the installation of services at a big Yorkshire housing development.

Service Connections Ltd. (SCL) will oversee the provision of electricity, gas, water and telecommunications – including fibre optics – at the Navigation Point development in Castleford.

The fact that the deal has been under discussion for nearly six years demonstrates the challenges faced by the housing market which is, at last, showing some small signs of recovery.

“It is great to have made such a positive start to the year,” said SCL owner Keith Macaulay, who has spent more time working on behalf of insolvency practitioners than solvent House builders over the past few years: “This is a complex and exciting project which will keep us busy over the next six years.

“It is a bit like doing a complicated jigsaw, making sure that all the utility companies get the right pieces in the right place at the right time – which is always quite complicated and particularly so in the winter. It’s vital for a developer that homes can be handed over on time to purchasers – and we’re critical to ensuring that happens”

Navigation Point is at the junction of the rivers Aire and Calder, at Cinder Lane near the centre of Castleford and will comprise riverside houses and flats. Work on the first phase of 279 homes has just begun.

Developer Greenhaven Homes has appointed the Strategic Team Group to construct a mixture of two, three and four bedroomed homes for sale. In the longer term Navigation Point could comprise up to 1,200 properties and also include a civic square, play areas, an eco park, boat moorings, fishing pegs, shops and a bar/restaurant.

John Gladwyn, Project Director for Greenhaven Homes says: “SCL has a refreshing style of managing a sector which is not renowned for its proactive approach to delivery. SCL guided us through the utilities procurement process, saving us time and money.”

Keith Macaulay, moved to the North East over six years ago to set up a multi-utility business for the Fastflow Group, a well-established Washington based water and gas contractor. Fastflow’s decision to pull out of that market following the collapse of the UK housing market in 2008, led Keith to turn his full time attention to Service Connections around 18 months ago.

The company, which was set up in 2006 and is now based in Corbridge, Northumberland has historically split its time between building and project managing the construction of utility infrastructure for new housing developments and working on behalf of insolvency practitioners dealing with housing companies which have entered administration or receivership across the UK and Ireland.

However with the project in Castleford and advanced talks underway with similar large housing and commercial schemes in Scotland, London, the North East and Yorkshire, there are some signs that the market for building houses and commercial properties is slowly improving.

This has prompted Keith to expand the team and he is looking to appoint an engineering graduate with the aptitude to quickly take on responsibilities in the small but growing business.

SCL made a pre-tax profit of over £100,000 in the last financial year (to Jan 31st 2012).

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Paul Dobbie .

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