Local businesses are hoping to get a slice of the action when the main contractor appointed to work on the new Anderson High School comes to Shetland next week.
However, some of them still feel sceptical about how much work will be available for local firms.
One of the UK’s largest building companies Miller Construction is inviting prospective sub-contractors and suppliers interested in working on the new school and halls of residence to “meet the buyer” on Thursday, at Islesburgh. This event will give local firms an opportunity to find out more about future work on the project, which is due to start in the autumn next year.
Miller Construction has been appointed by Hub North Scotland Limited, also known as hubco, as selected partner for Shetland Islands Council on the £42 million scheme.
At least 30 Shetland-based companies are expected to attend the event, where hub North Scotland and Miller Construction will present details of the AHS project. Local firms hope this will be a real opportunity, rather than just a PR exercise.
Managing director of local building firm DITT Peter Tait said: “We will attend and see how the project will be broken up into smaller packages.”
One of the directors of Tulloch Developments, George Smith, said: “We will be going to see what we can get in groundwork, supply and plant hire.”
Arthur Robertson of Garriock Brothers said: “We’d be interested in supplying material and plant hire. We have Brindister Quarry and they’ll have to buy quarry material, they won’t be able to import it from the mainland. I would hope they’d use as many local sub-contractors as they can, although they’ll have to get some specialist trades from the mainland.
“They’ve got the contract now and we’ll have to support them as much as possible.”
Miller Construction area director Scott Alexander this week insisted the firm was committed to working with local firms. He said: “We hold meet the buyer events when embarking on major projects as part of our commitment to providing opportunities for local businesses to join our supply chain.
“These events have been successful in delivering opportunities for many local businesses. The local supply chain will be pivotal in delivering the hub North Scotland project at the new Anderson High School and halls of residence. We are delighted to be hosting this event as part of our continuing engagement with local businesses who want to find out more about the opportunities available.”
• More on this story in The Shetland Times.