The Fastflow Group has concluded a year of unprecedented growth by securing a 50% increase in its water network contracts.

The award – worth up to £270 million over the next nine years – will see the pipeline services business of the North East based group continue the delivery of planned network improvements, meter installation and repair and maintenance work for Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL).

In addition, it will carry out network improvements and highway reinstatements for Essex & Suffolk Water – which is part of the Northumbrian Water Group.

The deal represents about 82% of the contracts awarded by NWL and secures the jobs of 220 people at Washington based Fastflow Pipeline Services (FPS). It will also lead to recruitment in the New Year to mobilise in the south by April.

Said CEO, Neil Armstrong: “This is fantastic news at the end of an extremely busy and successful year for the group. We have won this work against stiff opposition from major players in the construction and infrastructure sector and I believe this is because of the value and quality of services we offer.

“This is not just in terms of price but the way we harness technology and innovation in our processes, our commitment to corporate responsibility and customer care and the fact that clients have easy access to senior managers – including myself – whenever they need it.”

Around two thirds of the work will be in the North East, serving 2.7 million people across the region in many rural communities and in the Tyneside, Wearside and Teesside conurbations.

In Essex there are approximately 1.5 million customers, again in rural areas and conurbations including Chelmsford, Southend and the London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge.

The deal is initially for three years with options to extend for two further three year periods.

John Devall, Water Director for Northumbrian Water, said: “We are determined to maintain and improve the extremely high water quality and levels of services we currently deliver and these contracts will help us achieve our leading targets. Selecting a special group of companies to help us deliver our investment programme allows us to guarantee work and quality standards at competitive prices and means we can develop mutually beneficial relationships.”

The success comes hot on the heels of success for the group’s Fastflow Energy Services business (FES). Launched just over two years ago, the Warrington based operation is one of only five contractors to win a place on the National Grid’s five year asset health framework, through which all works required to upgrade its ageing transmission assets will be channelled.

FES has already been selected by to undertake upgrading and diversion works on the gas transmission and distribution system as well as security improvement projects on both gas and electricity sites.

In May, Fastflow acquired Oxford based property maintenance and management specialist, DW Support Services which maintains over 200,000 properties in the South of England repairing, refurbishing and providing energy saving solutions for major housing associations, London councils, government agencies, universities and NHS trusts.

The Fastflow Group was created when Neil Armstrong acquired the pipeline business from Northumbrian Water in 2005. He added: “After a year of unprecedented growth I anticipate a short period of consolidation, during which investment is likely to be in IT, developing people’s skills and operational systems to make us even more efficient. However I do expect some organic growth and cannot rule out further acquisition if the right business was to become available.”

The group provides work for around 700 people and is forecast to turn over approximately £60 million in the current financial year, more than £70 million next year and has ambitions to break the £100 million mark in the next few years.