A FORMER crane hire firm is set for a third successive record-breaking year since it switched to the specialist steel market.

SCH Site Services, based on Aycliffe Business Park in Newton Aycliffe, started out in 2006 operating with four mobile cranes and four drivers working for local companies.

The firm first started to explore the secondary steelwork market in 2011 and recorded a turnover of £325,000.

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A year later, SCH Site Services moved into its own £500,000 premises in Aycliffe, and recorded sales of £2.2m.

And after moving into other areas of work, including main steelwork erection, architectural metalwork, steelwork fabrication, crane hire and contract lifts, building dismantling and site fabrication, that figure leaped again to £3.43m last year, a rise of 64 per cent on 2012.

But this year the firm is expecting to record sales of £4.6m - up 75 per cent on last year and more than 100 per cent in the two years since moving to its new 40,000 sq ft premises.

Staff numbers have also doubled in the last three years, while more recently three new office staff Patricia Washington, Mathew Reed and Dave Scott have boosted SCH's workforce to 39, with nine in the factory, seven in the office and 23 out on sites.

The Aycliffe firm now counts Sir Robert McAlpine, Robertson's North-East, Shepherd Construction, Hall Construction, Peikko and Balfour Beatty among its client list, as well as its own neighbouring company, Finley Structures.

Construction manager Andy Braid said: “A lot of endeavour and hard work has gone in to SCH over the last three years especially as we've slowly established ourselves as one of the main players in the North-East steelwork market.

“In what has been a difficult market in recent years, our reputation is earning repeat business and a top reputation and we want to build on that by establishing ourselves further in the architectural metalwork market.”

Some of SCH's recent projects include the fabrication of and installation of secondary and primary steelwork for Shepherd Construction at Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire, a primary steelwork at Northumberland street entrance Eldon square for Sir Robert McAlpine and the refurbishment of sheds 3, 4 and 5 at PD Ports, Billingham, for Hall Construction.

SCH is also working towards ISO9001 and CE marked product accreditation by July this year.