A FIRM specialising in the conservation of historic buildings and work on high level structures has started 2012 by making a major investment in its 21st Century marketing techniques, to drive its growth.

Stone Technical Services, based in Darlington, has already secured new work after launching two new websites to help grow the lightning protection consultancy and building condition surveys sides of the business.

Working with Newton Aycliffe-based Design365, Stone, which has worked on St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Royal Courts of Justice and Buckingham Palace, has enhanced its online prescence so that the company name is now easily found on search engines which, in turn, is increasing traffic and business via the websites.

It comes after significant growth for the firm, which increased its workforce by ten last year and opened new premises in Cheadle Hulme, near Stockport, and near Piccadilly Circus, in central London. The company also has offices in Pinner, in Middlesex, and its headquarters in Darlington.

Nearer to home recent contracts have been secured for Theakston's Brewery in North Yorkshire and the Cornmill Centre in Darlington, as well as structures such as the Gibside Monument near Gateshead.

Managing director, Dave Stone, who started the business with his brother Grahame in 1998, said: "I strongly believe that continued growth requires constant investment- both in staff and in business development aspects such as our marketing.

"Now we're a nationwide company, working with some big names, we need to reflect that in our websites and other areas of our marketing.

"So we've invested heavily and already we're staring to reap the rewards as many of our clients have found us online."

Alan Foster, managing director of Design365, added: "Stone's proactive approach to its marketing is refreshing to experience as it is a very specialist sector which requires a comprehensive online marketing approach to target the right market areas and develop the business nationally."