Sunderland builder takes over Tolent’s Teesside operations

A Sunderland contractor is taking over Tolent’s Teesside operations, re-employing up to 150 former Tolent staff.

Brims Construction could see its headcount more than double after agreeing to take over projects with Tolent’s Teesside clients. Tolent was a Gateshead-based contractor that had an annual turnover of £200m before collapsing last week.

Brims, a 16-year-old company with 90 site and office staff, plans to re-employ Tolent’s former Teesside managers, staff, operatives and supply chain for the jobs.

Brims said it “will not be taking responsibility for reimbursing any of Tolent’s creditors”.

Brims is run by Ian Clift, Jason Wood and Richard Wood – with the latter two directors being former Tolent staff and sons of John Wood, the founder and former chairman of Tolent. Brims said that John Wood helped the group seize Tolent’s Teeside work.

Richard Wood said: “[Tolent’s] unfortunate demise has provided an opportunity for the future expansion of Brims and at the same time, we are hopeful of providing secure employment for up to 150 employees moving forward.

“The former Tolent sites will be re-badged as Brims Construction and our sole aim is to save jobs with the minimum of disruption to clients.

“We have spent the last few days talking to clients and reassuring them that their projects will proceed as normal, with the people they have previously been dealing with. We are confident we can minimise any job losses by quickly stepping in this way.”

The projects are worth a total of £20m and are a mix of commercial projects, including a rolling programme of petro-chem maintenance work, according to Brims.

Richard Wood added: “Several clients have already recognised our new proposal is simply to provide them with the same group skillset of people but with a stronger company behind them.

“We have already received new orders for work, which helps save the previous workforce, for which we are all extremely grateful.

“We are currently dealing with the administrator, in order to buy the Tolent Teesside office building at Thornaby and it is very much our intention to put firm roots down in Teesside.”

John Wood, who founded Tolent in 1983 and helped run the business until 2019, said: “It gives me great pleasure to be able to offer my help with these proposals, especially with Brims being central to it.

“It keeps the construction heritage alive under the Brims name and it will hopefully salvage some of the work that Tolent was previously involved with.

“We are confident that we will save as many site and supply chain jobs as we can and I would encourage all existing management and site staff to feel encouraged at what we are doing.

“It is great news for the region. We just want to save the jobs and get work back on track.”

A spokesperson for Tolent’s joint administrators, James Lumb and Howard Smith of Interpath Advisory, said: “We can confirm an agreement has been reached which would allow trade to resume from the site in Stockton-on-Tees. We will be working with the relevant stakeholders over the coming days to conclude this agreement.”

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