£5m headquarters unveiled as strides made towards leading national status

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 18 Dec 2018

A £5 million statement of intent has been revealed by a South Bank engineering giant as it looks to establish itself as a national contractor of choice across heavy industry.

On Line Design and Engineering’s new headquarters is with planners, as the major employer looks to further raise its profile, while keeping its heart in its Immingham homeland.

More than 200 staff are now employed by the technical consultancy specialist, which has just been included in Westminster publication The Parliamentary Review of Construction and Engineering, as it works on $1 billion of capital infrastructure projects across the UK.

Managing director Brendan Conlan said: “It is a statement to say we are here, we are making an investment to keep engineering design and project management within Humberside at a time when for many it is being offshored.

“We want to make On Line a national engineering and design business. I have wanted to build a new office since I came here three and a half years ago. We have had three-and-a-half years of growth, double digit growth, and have trebled the turnover of the consultancy. Last year was phenomenal, and this year will have increased turnover again on the back of a phenomenal year again.”

It is on track to go from £8.9 million in 2015 to £24 million in the latest financial results.

Grimsby’s ID Architecture has brought the impressive proposal forward, and it is hoped consent for the build, on land neighbouring the current Pelham Road premises, will be granted in the new year. Impressed by the ID team, recently relocated to Garth Lane, it was selected from four detailed proposals, with enthusiasm for the project lapped up.

Mr Conlan said: “We want to make On Line a national engineering and design business. We’d like to be in by quarter one 2020, we are having the detailed design done in parallel to the planning, and hoping to put contracts in place by the end of quarter one, with a view to breaking ground in quarter two.

“It is a statement of intent. We are not going anywhere. On Line has been here for more than 35 years, and the current building, and our clients, have served us well.” Paying tribute to his chairman Jeff Laird’s unstinting efforts throughout his career, he said: “This is us saying to clients ‘thanks for all the support, we are now making this investment to be here to support you over the next period’. We are showing the Humber is still a place that can be relied on from a technical perspective.”

Read more: On Line Group shoulder to shoulder with blue chip giants

Under Mr Conlan, who also chairs the Catch public/private sector training organisation based at Stallingborough, the company’s remit has been significantly widened.

When he joined the work was 95 per cent petrochemical and 99 per cent in the Humber, now oil accounts for 65 per cent of the business, of which less than 50 per cent is in the region as growth has come elsewhere.

“We have always served clients in oil and gas, and over the last three years we have moved into utilities, with water, and nuclear also,” he said. “This is without diluting the existing work. We still serve three quarters of the refineries in the UK.”

Rail is now being looked at as strategic plans are brought forward for the next decade.

Employment demand remains strong too, with headcount up from 105 to 220 in the same period, and no sign of slacking.

“We have committed, over the next five years, to have a minimum of 20 apprentices and increase the headcount by a further 80 - these are all well paid, solid jobs,” Mr Conlan added.

Grimsby’s Anglia Engineering Services has been rebranded as the manufacturing arm of On Line now, with recruitment divisions merged within the group too.

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