Gary Cramp is keen to draw on the group's expertise nationally on data centre work. Credit: McLaren Construction

McLaren: Data centres ‘heading North’

McLaren Construction is gearing up for an expected surge in data centre work in the North and Midlands, according to regional managing director Gary Cramp.

Cramp told Place North: “We have a centre of excellence, which is predominantly run out of group [from London], but we’re starting to see that data centres are probably going to come up the country.”

McLaren is upskilling teams and supply chain to construct data centres, the UK market for which has been 80% based in London until now. Data centres come with added complexity for building and fitting-out.

Cramp also said he expected the industrial market to pick up with more schemes that were on hold being released to start on site.

“Sheds I think are going to get busy again, but what we have seen this year is a slip of all the jobs from starting and most people you speak to there was a pause from January, then there was an expectation in March that jobs were going to start but they’ve all been pushed back now. But we’re due to start five jobs in the coming weeks.”

McLaren has a stable order book of negotiated work, rather than single stage tender, and Cramp said the “pipeline looks good”. Costs are stabilising but the hardest thing is finding the right people, he added.

In the Yorkshire, recent work includes Konect 62, a multimodal logistics scheme for Henderson Park and Cole Waterhouse, and Sherburn42 in Leeds, a 660,000 sq ft logistics base for investor-developer Firethorn Trust.

Cramp said there were encouraging noises from other developers keen to “move out of the bubble of London” and develop in the North of England, attracted by relatively affordable land values compared to the South East.

McLaren Construction is currently building a £70m purpose-built student accommodation project for McLaren Property, the group’s development arm, in Upper Brooke Street, Manchester. In Warrington, the company is maintaining its strong run with Miller Developments at the Omega logistics hub, where it is working on phase four. McLaren is also starting on a third shed for Columbia Threadneedle at Manchester Airport.

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