Belfast Telegraph

Housing Executive boosts job market with £1bn repair plan

By Margaret Canning

The Housing Executive has said it will spend up to £1bn in the economy on repairs in the next 10 years, creating and securing up to 900 jobs.

It's given the names of four firms - three of which are based in the province - which have won repair contracts up to 2026 for its 87,000 homes.

The firms employ up to 740 people - and between the four, it's expected another 160 new posts will be generated over the next decade.

CTS Projects in Co Down said it could double its workforce to 140 over the contract period after it was named as one of the four.

It joins Co Londonderry firms Combined Facilities Management and H&A Mechanical Services, as well as Carillion Energy Services, in securing the work.

Connaire McGreevy, the managing director of CTS Projects in Warrenpoint, said it was a "sigificant development" for the company.

"I conservatively estimate that we will take on an additional 70 employees, doubling our employee numbers to 140," he added.

Mr McGreevy - who was named Young Businessperson of the Year in the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in April - added: "We'll be delivering a total building maintenance package which means the roles will be many and varied, including joiners, bricklayers, quantity surveyors and contract managers."

And Combined Facilities Management (CFM) director Joe Keenan said the new deals would result in it opening its fourth office in the north west.

The company is based in Magherafelt.

It will be working on 26,900 houses around Northern Ireland - and Mr Keenan said that was well as securing the jobs of its existing workforce, the work would enable it to create "dozens" of apprenticeships.

Housing Executive chief executive Clark Bailie said: "The repairs service will see a substantial investment in the local economy and provides long term assurance of job security and training opportunities for four local contracts.

"Over the past year, we have reviewed contracts, to determine how best a modern and efficient service should be delivered. We have taken into account experiences of contractors, best practice elsewhere and the views of customers."

It said the new contracts would bring more flexibility for scheduling repairs, as well as a focus on getting repairs done first time.

Hugh McWilliams of H&A, based in Draperstown, said the contract would secure the jobs of its 300 staff, as well as leading to around 70 new jobs over the 10 years.

"It will also allow H&A to continue to invest in its apprenticeship programme over the coming years. We envisage that 30 new apprenticeships will be created.

"To help in the smooth running of this contract, we have invested over £200,000 in our IT support structures, allowing live time updates via hand held devices from site and bringing real benefits to our clients, their tenants and our business."

Richard Howson, the chief executive of Carillion plc, said: "We look forward to supporting the Housing Executive in achieving its objectives for providing an excellent service to its tenants."

Belfast Telegraph