May 252017

Scott Findlay, Managing Director at CFF Contractors who have been awarded a £1.4m contract.

With thanks to Karen Stewart.

Local developer LOJJ Scotland has awarded a £1.4 million contract for the development of Loch Street property to local firm CFF Contractors.
The 30 bedroom student accommodation development is due for completion this year and will provide much needed accommodation in the heart of Aberdeen city centre.

LOJJ Scotland who have a number of other developments in the area is run by Aberdeen local Alana Stott who is passionate about supporting the local economy and fellow businesses.

Alana said:

“Having worked with CFF Contractors previously we are delighted to award them this contract; knowing their workmanship and reliability made choosing them an easy decision”.

Scott Findlay, Managing Director at CFF Contractors said:

“it’s a pleasure to be working with LOJJ Scotland on this exciting project”

“Aberdeen has seen more than its fair share of challenges recently so it’s great to see new developments taking place which will have a positive impact on the city and surrounding areas.”

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Mar 172016

Colin CampbellWith thanks to Beverly Tricker, Tricker PR.

Langstane, Scotland’s largest independent office products company, yesterday announced completion of the highest value contract in its seven decade history – a £1.6m deal to supply office and patient furniture to the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

The firm provided and installed 20,000 individual pieces in total at three buildings within the hospital complex; the children’s hospital, the teaching and learning centre and the administration block.

Langstane has been supplying office furniture to the NHS in Scotland for nine years, but this competitively tendered contract is the largest single contract which the firm has delivered under their framework agreement.

“Langstane is known as a provider of quality office furniture,” says managing director Colin Campbell,

“so, the move to also provide patient care furniture such as chairs, over bed tables and patient lockers was a natural product extension for us. As a trusted NHS provider, we were able to use our established track record in delivering office furniture on time and within budget for them and to diversify our product range to satisfy this comprehensive contract requirement.

“We have worked on many major office furniture contracts such as the provision of all furniture for the Prime Four Business Park offices at Kingswells on the outskirts of Aberdeen, but this Glasgow-based contract is the largest one which we have ever undertaken and shows that with our divisions across Scotland, Langstane can provide ‘any time, anywhere and any quantity’.”

The furniture supplied to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital included high back wing back arm chairs, over bed tables, patient lockers, coffee tables, desks, stacking chairs with writing tablets, wall mounted storage and sofas.

The Langstane team was involved from the planning stages of the project, consulting with the client and contractors and providing suggested layouts. This was followed by product sample days where staff and client focus groups could share their thoughts on the planned furniture pieces and the layouts.

The simultaneous construction of the three buildings which were to be furnished provided logistical challenges. Langstane devised a complex delivery schedule which included direct site delivery from manufacturers in one hour slots to allow the Langstane team and the sub contractors to unload and position each drop to allow the build process to take place on site.

“The provision of patient care furniture has diversified our Langstane product range,” adds Colin,

“but such diversification is not new to Langstane. Our business has been built on a process of continually asking our clients what else we can do for them from the post-wars days when my father and uncles began providing pencils and pens to their customers when they delivered their print orders.

Our four divisions of office supplies, office furniture, printing and promotional products can deliver a comprehensive range of everything an office needs and now we can deliver the same complete package to the patient care sector from new hospital complexes like the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to individual GPs surgeries and care homes.”

Langstane is Scotland’s largest independent office products company and is one of the largest in the UK. Langstane, established in 1947 in Aberdeen remains a family business and has further branches in Dundee, Livingstone and Inverurie. Langstane employs over 137 staff and has a turnover of £17.5m. More about the company can be found at

Jan 242013

Following a comment made on a Facebook debate about the difficulty local construction companies can experience in winning building contracts, Voice invited Kenny Anderson to explain further the issues which can leave small local companies at a disadvantage. 

First of all, I’m not having a go at the current local administration or the last one either – I believe problems are caused by the zealous behaviour of officials and civil servants.

For example, in straightforward financial terms we came second for a contract a couple of weeks ago.
We have no problem with that, since all six tenderers were perfectly capable of doing the job.

Some you win, some you lose.  The problem is with the weighting applied to the decision-making.

The lowest tender in this instance was submitted at £315,000.  Ours came in at £321,000, but the clear-cut arithmetic price only carried a 40% weighting, whilst the entirely subjective Total Quality Assessment (TQA) element carried a 60% weighting.

The end result was that a tender for £399,000 was accepted, thus costing the customer and tax payers an additional £84,000!

This is repeated in award after award in some areas of the public sector.  Under TQA guidelines, each tender applicant has to submit a Lever Arch file’s worth of job specific programmes, method statements, personnel CVs and other project-specific information with each tender, meaning that the system is loaded in favour of large companies with planning departments.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) like ourselves can’t justify having senior managers spend four or five hours doing this for each of the ten to fifteen jobs we bid for every week.

It’s not that we object to providing such level of detail as a condition of acceptance, prior to acceptance and site start.  If we failed to do so, we’d expect the contract to be awarded to the next contractor.

Meanwhile, we subscribe to Constructionline, a self-financed scheme run by the UK government for all government agencies, including local authorities and housing associations.  It checks our finances, insurance arrangements, capabilities and so on, providing this information free of charge to government agencies.

Some agencies, however, still choose to sift through this vast array of information for each tenderer themselves, which is incredibly wasteful.

The old system worked on the basis that if you were suitably qualified to do the work, the lowest tender was appointed, and if you screwed up, you were removed from the approved list until you could prove that you’d addressed concerns, whereupon you’d be given a second chance.

it’s common for SMEs to be screwed, by not being paid, by being paid late or by having deductions made

New companies built up gradually from undertaking smaller jobs and out of town contractors who had a track record and wanted to trade here got their chance too.  It was simple, transparent and fair.  Brutal at times, believe me, but fair!

Now frameworks, hub agreements and suchlike exist nationwide and clearly discriminate against SMEs.

The government argues that SMEs can sub-contract work to big contractors.  How likely do you think that is?  And when this happens it’s common for SMEs to be screwed, by not being paid, by being paid late or by having deductions made.  You’re effectively playing poker with billionaires, so the legal system is too slow for worthwhile recourse.

Value for money?  I don’t think so, and there are numerous tricks the big companies could potentially employ to rip off the public sector.

All the while, it is SMEs who maintain local offices paying full business rates, take on staff on traditional contracts and recruit apprentices and young administrative staff trainees.

One large nationwide company operating in Aberdeen ‘uses’ sub-contractors, has most of its managers on fixed-term contracts and doesn’t take on apprentices.  Several huge, high profile local contracts are being undertaken by similar contractors who operate this way.  One locally-based big company used to take on 40 apprentices every year but they’ve been undercut by large management contractors and cannot now recruit the volume of apprentices they once did.  This is a travesty.

I have to stress that I’m not against outside contractors coming in, I just think they should have to establish a base, employ people appropriately and recruit trainees and apprentices as we do.

If every construction company in the UK had the same proportion of trainees and apprentices in its workforce as us, youth unemployment figures would be dramatically lower!

I’m giving evidence to the Scottish Government Procurement Inquiry although I’m very concerned my comments will fall on deaf ears.  I hope I’m wrong, but I suspect I’m right.

Kenny is MD of Anderson Construction, based in Northfield, Aberdeen and is former Chairman and elected Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Scotland.

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