Costain is hoping to recruit a managing director to head the expansion of its building division.
A spokesman said the job would involve the handling of all of the group’s building work and the successful candidate would report directly to Stuart Doughty, Costain’s chief executive.

He said: “This is a senior appointment and is part of the recruitment drive that we announced in November. The man will drive the expansion we want and which is part of the new strategy.”

Costain used to have a dedicated building managing director but this was changed in the late 1990s when the division was split between major projects and regional contracting.

The search for a building managing director is part of Doughty’s strategy of growing Costain. The main element of his plan is to recruit 400 staff to expand capacity to take on PFI work.

Doughty has set targets of 15% growth in turnover and a margin of 3%.

He said in November that Costain, which struggled after accumulated losses of £600m in the 1990s, needed to expand, or risk being left further behind by competitors.

Doughty also wants to increase Costain’s oil, international and utilities divisions, with the latter making up half of the company’s turnover by the end of next year.