A CIVIL engineering firm has invested £100,000 in laboratory work to support its growing construction division.

The Owen Pugh Group is extending its materials testing laboratory at Marsden Quarry, near Sunderland.

Bosses say the move will allow experts to carry out advanced tests on aggregates, concrete sampling and soil density.

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The move will see Owen Pugh double its existing five-strong laboratory team this year.

The laboratory forms part of the group’s Owen Pugh aggregates business, which ensures materials comply with industry specifications for construction and civil engineering use.

Richard Brady, laboratory manager, said: “The expansion of our laboratory facilities was a natural next step for the business.

“Although we are a fledgling operation in the group, we expect this investment to reap rewards in the next year.”

John Dickson, Owen Pugh Group chairman, added: “We have invested significantly across the business to fulfil our long-term growth plans.

“The expansion of our laboratory and addition of new materials testing capabilities will ensure we are able to provide a full in-house service to clients.”

Earlier this year, Owen Pugh, which bases its HCS Drain Services division in Stockton, moved its GDC civil engineering division into a new depot in Blaydon, North Tyneside.

The GDC business carries out drainage, flood alleviation and regeneration work for local authorities and water utility firms.