Carnoustie-based housebuilder DJ Laing has highlighted the strong Dundee property market for its rise in profits.
The long-established firm, which also has a civil engineering arm, is currently working on a 97-home development at Castle View in the Ballumbie area of Dundee.
Newly filed accounts from the Angus firm showed its sales rose to £7 million for the year ending May 31 2020, compared to £6.3m in 2019.
Pre-tax profits also increased over the period, rising from £328,000 to £453,000.
The rising sales and profits come despite the company shutting down its operations for the last two months of the financial year, due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Digital transformation during pandemic
Managing director Karen Nicoll said the pandemic brought changes to the firm’s operations, including investment in its technology.
She said: “Results for our last financial year were very positive.
“The Covid pandemic has been challenging for everyone. It made DJ Laing review its existing strategies and implement new digital systems to improve communications with customers and our team of 80 employees.
“During lockdown we launched a new app and online store for supplying building materials.
“This allows customers to order their products online for collection or delivery in Dundee or Angus.
“Property viewings can still take place in a safe environment but are now supplemented by virtual tours, online bookings and Zoom consultations.”
Long established Angus business
Ms Nicoll is the daughter of David and Dorothy Laing, who founded the civil engineering business in 1975.
The firm, which operates from former jute mill Laing House at Panmure Industrial Estate, moved into housebuilding in 1989.
The managing director said there had been strong demand since the company reopened its sites last June.
“Since returning to sites with Covid safety measures in place, our workload has been extremely buoyant mainly due to the positive housing market in the Dundee area,” Ms Nicoll said.
“Our new way of working will stand us in good stead in 2021 and beyond, thanks to our hard-working team.
“With a high demand for construction and large contracts secured in the Dundee/Fife area, the future looks positive.
“We are actively recruiting for more team members to fulfil our current workload.
“We also take the health and wellbeing of our workforce very seriously. We’ve signed up to the Lighthouse Club’s mental health charter to support our employees during these difficult times.”
Housebuilders experiencing high demand
Planning consent is in place for a 24-acre business park and 274 homes at Upper Victoria, Carnoustie.
DJ Laing will build the new business park and sell or lease the various-sized units in 2022.
The homes will be built and sold by Persimmon. As part of the partnership, DJ Laing’s civil engineering division has already commenced offsite works for this major project.
Last month Springfield Properties, which has developments in Dundee and Perth, reported a 40% jump in profits.
Taylor Wimpey and Vistry Group (formerly Bovis Homes) have also reported stellar results.