A FAMILY-RUN building maintenance business is celebrating the most successful first quarter of its 15 year history after achieving £1m in new contracts, which will help the business grow turnover by 50 per cent this year.

Darlington based Stone Technical Services Group (STS), which has carried out work on St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, has secured contracts worth more than £1m since the start of the year.

The business is well ahead of financial projections for 2014 and has already achieved half of last year's £2m turnover.

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Bosses at STS say the rapid growth can be attributed to the consolidation of the business, which re-branded 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.

In addition, STS has recruited seven this year so far, taking numbers to 37, and its plans to take on up to another 10, including apprentices.

The new work includes contracts 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.

Dave Stone, managing director, said: "We're incredibly proud of this record start to the year and it really is testament to our hardworking, enthusiastic team. We continue to invest heavily in experienced staff which is, in turn, allowing us to take on even more major contracts and this is already having a real impact on our business, as these first quarter results show.

"Lightning protection and conservation have been the areas we have seen significant growth, especially around the North-East and in London. We're a progressive company and we now plan to continue to re-invest in the business to allow us to grow further as the year goes on."