SCOTTISH construction firm CCG (Holdings) has ramped up profits by more than 40 per cent in its most recent financial year, driven by the upsurge in housebuilding activity north of the Border.

The Cambuslang-based contractor made a pre-tax profit of £9.1 million in the year ended March 31, up from £6.4m the previous year, accounts newly-filed at Companies House show.

The growth in profits came as turnover climbed to £144.2m from £136m, reflecting the company’s increasing workload in supporting the delivery of social housing projects in Scotland.

Financial director Bernie Rooney, who teamed up with chairman and chief executive Alastair Wylie to stage a management buyout of CCG in 1999, said housebuilding is once again accounting for between 80% and 85% of turnover at the company, having dropped to as low as 50% in the aftermath of the last recession.

And a key driver of the resurgence is the Scottish Government’s commitment, backed by £3 billion of funding, to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes by 2021.

Projects CCG has been engaged in include the long-running Anderston Regeneration Masterplan, which recently saw it deliver 206 mixed-tenure properties for Sanctuary Homes near Finnieston in Glasgow.

It has delivered the award-winning Dougrie Drive project in Castlemilk, Glasgow, which provided 130 homes for Glasgow Housing Association. And it is involved in in social housing developments at Gallowgate in Glasgow’s east end, Leith Walk in Edinburgh, Perth and North Ayrshire.

Mr Rooney, who noted that social housing accounts for around 75% of the turnover CCG generates from housebuilding, said the market is benefiting from the political will to tackle the housing shortage in Scotland.

“It is the first time in a long time that the government are putting targets out [for housebuilding],” he said.

“It is one of the first times I can remember that you have had that goal, that is detailed in a manifesto that way.”

While concern over a shortage of skills is regularly highlighted in the construction sector, CCG said it benefits from its continuing investment in apprenticeships and staff training.

Mr Rooney, who observed that the firm’s results illustrate its “prudent” approach to taking on work, said CCG takes on between 16 and 24 apprentices every year, depending on workload.

CCG employed 626 people, on average, during its most recent financial year, with 70 of that number trade apprentices and 28 professional, management and administrative trainees.

“You can bleat about it and expect someone else to do something about it,” said Mr Rooney when asked about the skills shortage. Alastair and I bought over the company through a management buyout in 1999 but have worked here since 1988, 1989. We have always employed apprentices. You have got to invest in your own.”

Noting that the flow of talent gives the firm the “platform” to win work, he also highlighted the efficiency of the company’s operations as a key factor in its progress.

CCG is able to do a large part of its housebuilding in its own factory, before the units are crane erected on site. Mr Rooney said the process reduces the amount of time spent on site, meaning the work is uninterrupted less by bad weather.

“We get it wind and water-tight a lot quicker, so it is not as exposed to the elements,” he said. “If somebody takes 12 weeks to build a house, and we take six, it helps us improve our turnover.”

However, mulling the outlook for the construction industry, the CCG directors flag that the “industry will be faced with mounting challenges as an increased level of contract opportunities materialise, relative to skills shortages in materials availability.”

Mr Rooney said Brexit uncertainty has yet to impinge on housebuilding activity in Scotland.

But he observes that there is risk of the market being affected should it result in the government reducing financial support for housebuilding, adding that he is aware that withdrawing from the EU could result in the cost of brick and timber imports rising.