Richard Vining, the new chief executive of Shepherd Construction, has announced that the company will open a central London office to boost its position as a national contractor

Speaking after he took over the top job from Allan McDougall this week, Vining said the office in the King’s Cross area of the capital would house the £326m-turnover company’s 30-35 strong southern division, which would move from Slough in Berkshire.

He said: “We need to be known as more than a northern contractor. The London office is a tentative investment in the future. We will still concentrate on the rest of the country too, but the capital is where 80% of consultants work.”

Vining said turnover at the London arm of the York-based contractor is on schedule to hit £70-80m in the year to June 2012 but he aims to grow that to nearer £150m over the following years, saying there were “tentative signs of recovery” in the capital.

Vining stepped up from his role as boss of Shepherd’s southern division and McDougall has moved to head office to work on separate, unspecified projects.

Phil Greer, formerly managing director of the east division, becomes executive director of operations with responsibility for divisional managing directors, safety, health and environment and business improvement.

Together with Vining, he joins Gary Edwards (business director), Sean Smylie (commercial director) and Mike Porter (finance director) in the executive board team.

Vining said he would also seek to expand the family-owned firm’s work beyond its traditional design-and-build role. “We’re looking for more partnerships and framework deals as well as taking a small development stake in the right projects,” he said.

In the week before the Comprehensive Spending Review, he added: “It would be good to see some money to get needy projects off the ground like schools and academies. But what is vitally important is stability. George Osborne needs to set a clear plan and stick to it.”