A FAMILY-RUN building maintenance business has strengthened its order book with support for a major town centre development.

Stone Technical Services (STS), in Darlington, is working on Department for Education (DfE) offices in the town.

The DfE is moving into the four-storey building from it base at Mowden Hall, after The Northern Echo successfully campaigned to keep its 400 jobs in Darlington.

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Stone’s lightning protection division is fitting earthing systems to the site, which is expected to be completed by Christmas.

The project is part of wider £250,000 work, which includes conservation of the 500-year-old Furness Abbey, in Barrow, Cumbria, and restoration of the 13th Century St John the Baptist Church, near Penrith, to renew nave elevations and underpin a gable end.

In Featherstone, West Yorkshire, the company is working on a parish church to repair stonework and a roof.

Dave Stone, managing director, said: “The team has been working really hard to secure some major work with leading organisations such as English Heritage, dioceses and local authorities.

“The wide variety of the projects is really putting us on the map as we head towards becoming a real UK leader in the fields of restoration, conservation, lightning protection and maintenance work.”

Earlier this year, Stone, which employs 37 workers, celebrated the most successful first quarter of its 15-year history after achieving £1m in new contracts that will help it grow turnover by 50 per cent.

The firm, which previously carried out work on St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, has now secured contracts worth more than £1m since the start of the year.

Bosses have put the rapid growth down to the consolidation of the business, which rebranded at the start of the year to allow its four divisions - STS Lightning Protection, STS Restoration, STS Maintenance and Facilities Management and STS Conservation - to grow independently.

Its £1m work includes deals in London with outsourcing company Mitie, at the Allianz building in the City, where STS is completing exterior compound repairs to decorative stonework, as well as the specialist cleaning of canopy and glass areas.

In West London, STS Lightning Protection has been working on the roof of the Linford Christie Stadium, and in Leeds, the historic conservation team carried out a large-scale refurbishment project at St Mark's Church.

Mr Stone added: “We are incredibly proud of this record start to the year and it really is testament to our hardworking, enthusiastic team.

“We are a progressive company and we now plan to continue to reinvest in the business to allow us to grow further as the year goes on.”