North Wales company boss, Huw Jones, has pledged to use his year as chairman of a top industry body to campaign for Welsh jobs.
The owner and managing director of Jones Bros (Civil Engineering), Ruthin, took over as chairman of the Welsh arm of the Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association (CECA) on
Speaking after his inauguration, Mr Jones said civil engineering was a backbone industry ofWales and its ability to expand and prosper must not be put at risk by regulations that restricted Welsh firms’ ability to compete to be main contractors.
“I see my role as CECA Wales chairman being to help Welsh companies maximise their opportunities for work in Wales and get further up the food chain, and in so doing secure Welsh jobs and offer greater value for money to the tax payer.
“With Wales in the grip of recession it’s key that we look into all barriers that limit opportunities for Welsh jobs and give home-grown firms every opportunity to win new business.
“It is good for Welsh companies to participate as subcontractors on large jobs, but if we in Wales want to maintain the well paid, more secure jobs, we must ensure that our indigenous companies have every opportunity to win the work as main contractors.
“It is apparent that some local authorities are using outdated financial assessment criteria which restricts opportunities for Welsh firms to compete as main contractors. Some firms have grown considerably in recent years, and have the capacity to take on much bigger contracts, but this is not recognised because of the out of date information some authorities keep.
“It is essential that our political leaders look into this before it costs jobs.
“The solution should include parcelling the work opportunities to suit Welsh resources, not forming very large frameworks that restrict our Welsh members from competing.
“This will help to ensure a good home market for Welsh companies, which in turn will strengthen their bases and secure employment in Wales, assisting them to compete in wider markets elsewhere.”
He added that civil engineering firms should resist the temptation to cut corners during the economic downturn by reducing budgets relating to safety.
“There is no easy way through any recession, but it is paramount that contractors still ensure they operate safely.”
Founded in the 1950s, Jones Bros now employs 250 personnel working on contracts across the UK. Company turnover increased from £30m in 2007-08 to £37m in 2008-09.
Current projects include an £18m, two-year contract to provide balance of plant for a windfarm in Dunbar, Scotland, and a recently-secured £7m two-year framework contract to undertake key waste management work in Yorkshire.
Jones Bros was also recently awarded the highest ever mark in the UK in an environmental quality assessment in the Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Award Scheme, CEEQUAL.
The award, which is backed by the Institute of Civil Engineers, was given for Jones Bros’ work on an £8.5m contract to provide infrastructure for the Welsh Assembly Government’s £13m business park at Parc Cybi, Anglesey.
CECA Wales is the single, wholly representative trade association for construction companies in the civil engineering industry in Wales. It has 46 member companies.
It lobbies on behalf of its members and provides information in relation to the state of the industry, tendering opportunities, employment, taxation and health and safety advice.