JBS Group: Expanding Peterhead’s Marine Industry Influence

Engineering perfection

Peterhead is mainland Scotland’s easternmost point, projecting into the North Sea, making it an increasingly popular alternative to Aberdeen throughout the shipping and marine industry.

JBS Group, having been based in Peterhead since its inception in 1974, is investing heavily in its facilities to capitalise on the region’s growing prosperity. Father and son, John and Allan Buchan, who began J Buchan & Sons; focused on the local fishing market then moved into lifeboat repair during the 1980s boom in North Sea oil. The company has had a history of steady growth since, adding engineering and fabrication to its capabilities in 2002 and moving into several consistently larger premises.

The company name was changed to JBS Group in April 2011 to reflect the organisation’s growing size. Scott Buchan, engineering/fabrication director, and son of Allan Buchan, discusses the company structure today: “The JBS Group is made up of five separate limited companies all operating independently, albeit a number of projects do require input from more than one division at a time. Sea fastening jobs, for example, where the bulk of work is fabrication but often with requirements for our engineering division to undertake machining work whilst commercial and marine divisions are involved with the woodwork or fibre-glassing. Fabrication accounts for approximately 75 per cent of overall business with engineering, commercial, and marine covering the remaining 25 per cent. Although there is a significant difference in the levels of business we feel that all divisions complement one another very well, affording us the opportunity to provide a one-stop-shop that a number of our clients require.”

Demand for this one-stop-shop approach grows with the industry in Peterhead. JBS Group’s portfolio centres on production of highly specialised structures and equipment such as A60 cabins and accommodation modules, offshore containers, grillages, subsea shipping baskets, subsea and topside pipe clamps, and – the most recent addition to its range – heat exchangers. JBS is an expert in fabrication from stainless steel, carbon steel, and non-ferrous materials, meaning it has the versatility to precisely tailor solutions to client’s varied requirements. Furthermore, it has extensive experience in providing repair and maintenance services on equipment and vessels. The only outsourced work is inspection, testing, and painting, although the company can make all the arrangements for this.

JBS Group’s diverse skills and flexibility have evolved rapidly since 2010 when the business moved into a purpose-built facility, leading to its acceptance onto many of the larger blue chip companies’ Approved Vendor lists as well as the addition of the heat exchanger division in 2011. Business development manager Iain Buchan goes on to say that: “Now in 2012, after only one and a half years in the new facility, we find that once again space is at a premium, and in order to meet future requirements for larger structures and projects, the current premises need to be expanded. Our main facility at Dales Industrial Estate sits on a 1.75-acre site and houses fabrication, engineering, and storage activities.

“JBS Group also still holds a twenty year lease on land at Baltic Place, which is currently used for lifeboat repair and stainless steel fabrication work whilst a storage yard on North Street (Peterhead) and a recently acquired workshop in St Fergus, four miles outside Peterhead, will be used for overspill fabrication work. Meanwhile, we have just secured an agreement on a one acre site adjacent to the current building with the intention of building a custom designed workshop that will enable us to reinforce our one-stop-shop service and bring all the company divisions under one roof.”

With this new addition to its capabilities, JBS Group is primed for heightened interest in what it can offer. Already the company has worked with some of the most significant service providers operating in the North Sea. For example, recent projects include grillage work with Bibby Offshore, large accommodation modules for OEG and Aiken Group, and partnering with Wellstream on its BP contract. These companies chose JBS Group because of its one-stop-shop service that offers greater efficiency, reduced cost, and strengthened project control. “It has become apparent through discussions with our clients that there are anumber of significant projects scheduled early next year that will include the fabrication of much larger products,” adds Iain. “The under-construction facility will enable delivery of additional workscopes as well as much larger projects and equipment needed by our clients without compromising the high levels of service and quality that JBS is recognised for.”

Engineering/fabrication director Scott Buchan continues: “Following the recent expansion of Peterhead Harbour, a number of large companies are now opting to use facilities here as opposed to Aberdeen. This in turn has afforded JBS a great opportunity to showcase our extended scope of services including the provision of personnel for sea fastenings, welders, fabricators, banks-man slingers, forklift operators, and other services. There has been a significant increase in demand for our vessel mobilisation products. As a well-established and trusted company with a record for excellent quality, we have been extremely fortunate in the growth of our business. This looks set to continue, hence our acquisition of new land and buildings. We look forward to continuing this expansion and are looking at complimentary areas of business such as decommissioning and renewable energies both within the UK and internationally.”

JBS Group (Scotland) Ltd
Services: Specialised engineering and fabrication