Contractor Mansell plans to double its turnover from social housing and has appointed its first director of social housing to implement the plan.

Kevin Willetts will join Mansell in April from Mercian Housing Association in the Midlands.

Mansell's chief operating officer Philip Cleaver said Willetts had "massively increased Mercian's social housing in the seven-odd years he was there".

Mansell does more than £40m of social housing work in the UK, of which £30m is in England. "We think we can double our activity over the next two years," said Cleaver.

"There is an awful lot of work coming through, especially in repair, maintenance and improvement – where Mansell is strong." Mansell's decision to step-up its social housing activity follows its failed takeover of social housing specialist YJ Lovell in December 1998.

Lovell, now YJL, sold its social housing business to Morgan Sindall last year.