A thriving North East civil engineering firm is aiming to build sustainably on the growth it has secured over the last four years after successfully exiting its second North East Fund investment agreement.

G&B Civil Engineering provides civil engineering, construction, drainage and maintenance services for a wide range of well-known public and private sectors organisations, as both a sub-contractor and increasingly as a main contractor.

The Gateshead-based firm initially worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers in 2020 to secure a £50,000 investment from the North East Small Loan Fund, before going back to NEL the following year for a £250,000 investment from the North East Growth Capital Fund.

The second investment provided the resources that G&B required to take on more and bigger projects as a main contractor and it has since helped the business more than double its turnover to around £7m.

G&B has grown its team from 28 to 45 people over the last three years, with a new commercial team being created to identify tendering opportunities and support contract bids, and has also invested in building its own plant fleet.

It has just won a place on Northumbrian Water’s new multi-disciplinary civil engineering procurement framework, to go with the framework agreements it already has in place with Newcastle City Council and North Tyneside Council.

Founded in 1981, G&B Civil Engineering predominantly works across its native North East, and also has an operational presence in Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

It has provided planned and reactive maintenance services for the Tyne and Wear Metro and Shields Ferry for the last 12 years, and worked on fertiliser manufacturer Brineflow’s purpose-built, multi-million pound terminal at the Port of Sunderland.

The company is run by managing director James Riley, who did his initial engineering training with the firm during his university holidays in the 1990s before rejoining it in his present position six years ago.

G&B Civil Engineering was referred to NEL by Michael Cook of Cook & Roebuck, which is providing ongoing financial support and advice to the G&B management team

James Riley says: “The business has made a great deal of progress since 2020 and doing so in a controlled, sustainable way with the backing of our North East Fund investments has put us in a very strong position for the future.

“Our focus has remained on the North East, where both the quality and quantity of work available remains strong, and we’re very selective about the types of contract opportunities we chose to go for to ensure that we’re managing our operations properly and can deliver the services clients require.

“Building a dedicated commercial team gives us the focus we need to maximise the chances of securing new contracts and framework agreements, and being selected by Northumbrian Water for their civil engineering procurement framework is testament to the quality and cost-effectiveness of the services we provide.

“We’ve retained a positive working relationship with the NEL throughout the investment period and their backing has made a substantial difference to what we’ve been able to achieve over the last four years.”

Jane Siddle, senior investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “G&B presented us with a detailed, robust business plan that formed the basis of its growth ambitions, and it’s been fantastic to see how the business has used our investment to deliver on its objectives.

“Their success reinforces the importance of having a strong, consistent flow of growth capital available to ambitious North East businesses.

“We wish the team the very best for the future as they look to build on their very impressive achievements of the last four years.”

Michael Cook of Cook & Roebuck says: “NEL’s backing has been instrumental in kickstarting G&B’s growth journey over the last few years and it is the perfect case study of the difference that this sort of growth capital can make to North East businesses.”

NEL Fund Managers remains responsible for managing The North East Growth Capital Fund, which has been designed to create around 790 jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the programme and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.

The overarching £153m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 2,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.