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NORTHERN IRELAND’S No.1 CONSTRUCTION MAGAZINE VOL 2 2020

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60 SOLID YEARS OF INNOVATION

Family-owned hard landscaping and building products company AG is marking its 60th Anniversary. With it’s roots in quarrying, the Fivemiletown-headquartered business now boasts eight locations throughout the UK and Ireland and is investing for the future. CEO Stephen Acheson tells the story… Check us out on social media www.specifymagazine.co.uk


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BUILD, BUILD, BUILD!

O’HARE & MCGOVERN SCORE TWICE! PAT BURNS PAT BURNS Editor Editor PAUL BRADWELL SHAUN BYRNE Sales Manager Sales Manager SUBSCRIPTIONS: SUBSCRIPTIONS: (UK £18.00 Outside UK £27.50) (UK £18.00 Outside UK £27.50) PUBLISHERS: PUBLISHERS: James & Gladys Greer James & Gladys Greer

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Certified Circulation

For the second year in a row, Newry-based construction company O’Hare & McGovern have taken the ‘Overall Award’ at the Specify CEF Construction Excellence Awards.

The Awards Gala Evening saw the firm win the award for its work on the IFA National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. The superb new 18,000 seater stadium received its official opening the day after the awards took place at the Culloden Hotel. It was built within the confines of the existing Windsor Park which remained fully operational throughout the 98 week construction phase, facilitating over 200,000 At the endspectators of June,at 63 international and Boris domestic Prime Minister Johnson a speech fixtures. Themade work involved the declaring theand UK demolition of that the south wasstands, going to build it’s east refurbishment and way out of the Covid-19 extension of the north and pandemic and the west stands. ensuing debt it has

created.

OHMG designed curved steel

In his speech, the Prime Minister said, “We will build build build. Build back better, build back greener, build back faster and to do that at the pace that this moment requires.” The Prime Minister announced that he would bring forward £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery. Given the success of Northern Ireland based building companies at winning large UK projects this is good news and the money for these infrastructure investments will also filter down to Stormont Ministers. The Northern Ireland Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon is to push forward on the development of some important schemes such as the A1 Junctions Phase 2, A24 Ballynahinch By Pass, A4 Enniskillen Southern By Pass, Newry Southern Relief Road, A29 Cookstown By Pass, A2 Buncrana Road and A32 ( Omagh to Enniskillen) at Cornamuck.

Be wise when you advertise

work at the interface of the North East and North West stands to form a Quadrant. This curved design helped to create a stadium to enhance the viewing experience of the speactators while at the same time mitigating the impact of noise on neighbouring houses outside the stadium. Our congratulations go to the team at OHMG on their success. There was also some cheer from the latest RICS report. Building activity is still rising despite uncertainty in the economy, according to the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and Tughans Northern Ireland Construction Market Survey. Workloads were still rising in the third quarter of the year, The Minister has also reaffirmed according to Northern Ireland her commitment to the A5 and surveyors, with onlyCovid-19 a very A6 schemes. While modest slowdown in activity has impacted construction work relative to this Q2. is continuing and on the A6, it is hoped that the Toome to

Castledawson section could be Housebuilding remained a key completed in Spring 2021. source of workload growth, with In relation to the A5, following a private housebuilding activity public inquiry and the successful rising particularly strongly completion of the statutory(a

processes, construction could commence in mid 2021. Minister Mallon said: “These strategic and flagship road improvement schemes span Northern Ireland and will deliver for many communities and help to address regional imbalance. “Many communities across the North have waited a long time for progress to be made and while Covid-19 has left considerable challenges, I have been determined to get the wheels in motion and get these schemes back on track. “I have also asked officials to bring forward proposals to progress Narrow Water Bridge, a commitment in New Decade New Approach, which would fully explore the environmental and economic benefits this project would deliver for the people of South Down. “While these are uncertain and difficult times, with a focus on green recovery, I also recognise that our road infrastructure needs updated to relieve traffic in towns,

net balance of +48). Private Commercial activity was also rising relatively robustly (+23), according to the survey.

In contrast however, infrastructure workload growth remained weak (+5), and significantly below the UK average (+17). Looking ahead, Northern Ireland surveyors are upbeat about the prospects for growth, with a net balance of +50% expecting workloads to be higher in a 12-month horizon. Infrastructure spending is still relatively low in Northern Ireland and the latest developments in the ongoing York Road Interchange does not inspire confidence for the big explore options for active travel government spending projects. and reshape our places to deliver Economist John at towns and cities Simpson that worklooks for our the Programme communities andfor aidGovernment economic Strategic growth. Investment Boards aspirations for next year and The Minister outlined beyond… seealso pages 36 andthe 37. importance of rail connectivity throughout the island and her Pat Burns commitment to achieving regional Editor balance in investment.

Minister Mallon said: “I have committed part of my budget to get Phase 3 of the Derry – Coleraine rail line back on track. While an updated feasibility study is necessary after almost 10 years of delay, I am fully committed to getting this work done at pace and to making progress for the people of the North West, who have waited too long for action to address regional imbalance and better connect communities. “Rail really is part of our future on this island. As a Minister passionate about addressing the climate emergency, connecting communities and enhancing our island wide economy – I’ll be looking forward to working with my colleagues in the Irish Government to take forward an ambitious plan for the future. “There’s a huge body of work to be done but also significant, economic, social and environmental opportunities that we now must all grasp.”

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VOL 2 2020

contents...

6 DIGEST

Construction work to create 150,000 sq ft of new Grade ‘A’ offices in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter is underway. Belfast Harbour and Titanic Quarter are co-promoting the development of ‘Olympic House’, which on completion will facilitate 1500 jobs in a modern, efficient and sustainable working environment. O’Hare and McGovern Limited has been appointed to construct ‘Olympic House’ which will support approximately 250 construction jobs.

7 DIGEST

Derry City and Strabane District Council has approved plans to build a new high quality residential-led mixed use development on the lands of the former Adria Factory on Beechmount Avenue in Strabane. Proposed by Habinteg Housing Association, the £20 million development will comprise 158 homes as well as community facilities, small business units, public open space, and a children’s Play Park.

8 EQUIPMENT HIRE BUSINESS CALLS FOR EXECUTIVE TO START SPENDING ON INFRASTRUCTURE

Equipment and plant hire specialist CP Hire has encouraged local government departments to start spending on large scale infrastructure projects to provide a lift to the construction sector following the coronavirus lockdown. The family-owned company, which supplies a range of machinery to a number of industries, availed of the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme through Danske Bank, which enabled it to maintain trading and complete new equipment purchases committed to before the lockdown was enforced.

9 NEW HQ FOR GILBERT ASH

Gilbert-Ash recently celebrated the completion of their new £5million headquarters in Boucher Place, Belfast. The investment in the new state of the art building marks a significant milestone for the multi award-winning company.

10 DIGEST

Heron Bros Ltd has secured a highly revered Gold Award in this year’s Considerate Constructors Scheme for the construction of Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex. The awards are presented to the UK’s highest performing construction sites that have demonstrated high levels of consideration in respect of the community, environment and workforce.

12 DIGEST

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced her intention to progress a number of strategic infrastructure schemes and flagship projects as part of her plan to aid economic recovery and community transformation. The Minister has asked officials to push forward on the development of important schemes such as the A1 Junctions Phase 2, A24 Ballynahinch By Pass, A4 Enniskillen Southern By Pass, Newry Southern Relief Road, A29 Cookstown By Pass, A2 Buncrana Road and A32 ( Omagh to Enniskillen).

16 JOHN SIMPSON

The immediate question for the Northern Ireland Executive asks John Simpson, is whether there is scope, in the devolved arrangements, to introduce further, or extra, policies or measures which would supplement the UK policies in this region.

17 ULSTER BUSINESS TOP 100

We take a look at the construction companies in the Ulster Business Top 100 Companies. John Graham Ltd is the highest placed construction company at 8th place and new entries to the Top 100 this year include Gilbert Ash, MJM Marine and Creagh Concrete.

18 AG: SIXTY SOLID YEARS OF INNOVATION

Family-owned hard landscaping and building products company, AG is marking its 60th anniversary. With its roots in quarrying, the Fivemiletown Headquartered business now boasts eight locations throughout the UK and Ireland - and its investing for the future. CEO, Stephen Acheson tells the story….

20 GERARD GRAHAM’S MARKET COMMENTARY

Our new columnist comments on how, to date, 2020 is a year that few will forget. Many construction companies have experienced their most challenging year since 2008…but there are opportunities out there…

27 HUGH MCWILLIAMS

We pay tribute to Hugh McWilliams of H&A Mechanical Services who passed away recently.

34 SPECIFY TALKS TO…

Donal MacRandal, President of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects who says that the Government, as the largest customer of the construction industry, needs to be clear about how it will drive greater long term value from the industry to support the NI economy.

• Tailored energy solution • Full design service • Technical support and guidance • 24-hour emergency call out We provide CPD courses. TO FIND OUT MORE Visit calorgas.ie • Email cpd@calorgas.ie • Contact: 028 9045 5588

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Contents |05

16 JOHN SIMPSON

EXECUTIVE MINISTERS MUST PUT TOGETHER A MORE FOCUSED RESPONSE

20 MARKET COMMENTARY

GERARD GRAHAM OFFERS HIS THOUGHTS ON THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE PANDEMIC

RICS Awards

page 29 • Tailored energy solution • Full design service • Technical support and guidance • 24-hour emergency call out

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30 INTERVIEW

SPECIFY TALKS TO… DONAL MACRANDAL, PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF ULSTER ARCHITECTS


06| 06

digest digest

CONSTRUCTION WORK COMMENCES ON Harvey Group acquires Solmatix as part of 5 year £30 MILLION OLYMPIC HOUSE growth plan in UK and Ireland. NI M&E services company acquires renewable energy specialists Newtownabbey-based M&E services company, Harvey Group, has acquired Northern Ireland renewable energy specialists, Solmatix Renewables in a move the companies say will transform the renewable energy sector in Northern Ireland and act as a springboard for further expansion into the multimillion pound UK and Ireland renewable energy markets. The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, will bring to 110 the number of people employed directly by the Harvey Group in Northern Ireland and Great Britain. With a turnover of £30 million and over 80 staff, Harvey Group has over 30 years’ experience in the design, installation and maintenance of building services within every conceivable kind of building type throughout NI, GB and RoI, including Pharmaceutical/ Cleanrooms, Laboratories, Education, Government and Construction work to Healthcare . Richard sq and ft Norahcreate 150,000 of Anne Grade Bell founded new ‘A’Solmatix offices in 2008, and since then inRenewables Belfast’s Titanic

Quarter is underway. Belfast Harbour and Titanic Quarter are co-promoting the development of ‘Olympic House’, which on completion will facilitate 1500 jobs in a modern, efficient and sustainable working environment.

the company has grown to achieve a turnover of £6 million, with 30 staff operating from its Nutt’s Corner premises. As a result of the deal, Solmatix will continue to operate as an autonomous and independent company within Harvey Group Brian Harvey, managing director of Harvey Group, said there was a perfect fit between the two organisations. “We have been planning to grow our renewables involvement for some time, either organically or through the acquisition of an established player. Having worked with Solmatix Renewables on a number of contracts, we’d always been impressed with their engineering rigour and professionalism. In fact, there seemed to be a natural synergy between our two companies in terms of what we do and how we do it. I approached Richard Bell about a year ago to float the idea of our companies coming comprising together, but only ‘A’ office building two iflinked thereblocks was a of good After careful six fit. and seven consideration we both agreed storeys including a feature atrium that this would indeedofbe mutually providing high levels daylight. The flexibility of the design enables the building to be let on a floor-byfloor or block-by-block basis to suit occupier requirements. The building will also offer basement bicycle and car parking and the location benefits from excellent public and sustainable transport connections. production of Randox’s pioneering

Celebrating the acquisition (from left) Norah-Anne Bell, Richard Bell, Brian Harvey, Gareth Booth (Financial Controller, Harvey Group).

beneficial. From my perspective, having Solmatix as part of Harvey Group gives us a level of expertise that would have taken us years to acquire otherwise. “Harvey Group and Solmatix share similar values, by which I mean our commitment to professionalism, our desire to deliver our services to the very highest standards, and the importance we place on treating our customers, our suppliers and our staff with courtesy and consideration.” both growing indigenous businesses Bell, the founder and andRichard new market entrants.” managing director of Solmatix Seanie O’Hare, OHMG Construction Renewables described the acquisition Director, said: “This is an exciting and prestigious development in an area of historical importance, and we will be working with some of the best in the construction industry.

as great news for Solmatix, its customers, suppliers and staff. “In many respects, it’s a case of ‘business as usual’. However, in real terms, being part of this larger organisation will give us access to enhanced technical skills, financial resources and purchasing power. Ultimately I believe this will lead to greater growth and investment within our operations, as well as more jobs and job security. It’s a win-win relationship that’s good offices and premium retail outlets. for our Quarter whole organisation, as Titanic offers a location that well as the economy of Northern has sufficient space and advanced Ireland. “ I.T. infrastructure to maximise productivity benefits for the highly competitive, high value added international financial, innovation and business services. Gateway Offices, located at the entrance to Titanic Quarter, is a template for future developments. Fully occupied by Citi, it has emerged as a commented: symbol of growth Director at Randox “The of international financial services in development of Randox Science Belfast. Park is core to ourAbercorn plans to create Titanic Quarter’s innovative to 474 improve Residentialdiagnostics, Complex of manufacturing efficiency to export apartment homes is located in the centre of ahealthcare lively urban community. high-value capabilities to It represents modern face of world markets.theThis state-of-the-art Belfast. will become a centre of premises There are two hotels in Titanic cutting-edge research, development Quarter – Titanic Hotel Belfast and diagnostic manufacture, covering in the former Harland & Wolff conditions suchBuilding as cancer, and Headquarters andstroke Drawing Offices, and theWe Premier Innprovide Titanic a heart disease. will also Quarter. Three hotels are significant boost further to the local economy planned,new including the 270 We room through job creation. very Hamilton Dock Hotel which will much look forward to working with shortly commence construction, TAL on this initial contract to deliver strengthening Belfast’s business, the high quality infrastructure we conferencing, leisure and heritage require. tourism” growth.

Lisburn firm TAL awarded the first major construction contract at Randox Science Park “It sends out a hugely significant Local contractor O’Hare and McGovern Limited has been appointed to construct ‘Olympic House’ which will support approximately 250 construction jobs The development occupies a prominent position within WItH a reputation for Belfast Harbour Estate, located in Belfast’s excellence in constructing high iconic Titanic Quarter alongside quality Limited a diverseprojects, portfoliotAL of neighbours has been awarded a significant including Belfast Metropolitan contract (£3.1m) College, Citi Group,by theglobal Public Record Office of Northern Ireland medical diagnostics company (PRONI), Catalyst, and the area’s Randox. leading tourist attraction, This initial contract is forTitanic the Belfast. construction of a new facility for Olympic House will be a Grade

medical diagnostic products and will Graeme Johnston, Belfast Harbour’s also include associated administrative Property and Place Director, said: functions. The works are the to first “Belfast Harbour’s ambition phase of aa thriving major capital expenditure develop economic hub for the by region has to never been the more project Randox develop relevant, as we work withBarracks key former Massereene Army partners to support the NI into ‘Randox Science Park’ – economy a to ‘Build Back Better’ from the futuristic R&D and manufacturing pandemic crisis. facility. The award-winning, “Our partnership commitment to international biotechnology firm, develop Olympic House will facilitate 1,500 jobs complete and unveiled its when plans for an innovative we are pleased to play partthis in hub on the 43 acre site our earlier supporting 250 local construction year. industry jobs, as building work Welcoming the announcement, gets underway. The development Damien Hughes, of TAL will be one of theDirector most modern Limited commented: “We office buildings in the City,are offering delighted to have which been awarded accommodation will support

message to local, this contract with national Randox, and one of international investors that Belfast is Northern Ireland’s most dynamic continuing to build for the future, and and exciting businessestoonbea part local of OHMG are delighted and level. Through the quality that global process.” of our work and the dedication and Titanic Quarter professionalism of our team TAL has Belfast’sgrown Titanicover Quarter is one of steadily the last 34 years Europe’s largest urban-waterfront and this contract award reinforces regeneration projects. the strength of our expertise in the Master-planned over 185 acres healthcare sector. ” on the site where RMS Titanic The project and will built, be delivered was designed Titanic Quarter is redefining what it to BIM level 2 in partnership means work,team live, and playand in with thetodesign Ostick central Belfast. During a decade Williams Architects, Rainey & Best,of development Titanic Quarter has Doran Consulting, Delap & Waller evolved into a world class tourism Consulting and Charles destination,Engineers an educational and media Hutchison Consulting. campus, a residential community, Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing accommodating high quality Grade A

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digest digest

06|

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£20M SOCIAL HOUSING DEVELOPMENT GETS GREEN LIGHT Harvey Group acquires Solmatix as part of 5 year FROM DERRY CITY AND STRABANE DISTRICT COUNCIL

growth plan in UK and Ireland.

Derry City and Strabane District Council has approved plans to build NI M&E services a new high quality Newtownabbey-based residential-led mixed M&E services company, use development on the lands the former Adria HarveyofGroup, has acquired Factory Beechmount Northernon Ireland renewable Avenue in Strabane. energy specialists, Solmatix Proposed Renewablesby in aHabinteg move the Housing Association, the companies say will transform £20 million development the comprise renewable energy sector will 158 homes Northern Ireland and act asin well as community as a springboard further facilities, smallfor business units, public space, expansion into open the multiand a children’s Play million pound UK and Ireland Park. renewable energy markets. The acquisition, for an The proposal, which was granted undisclosed sum, will bring to 110 permission at the Council’s virtual the number of people employed planning committee meeting in directly by the Harvey Group in June, will bring the long-term vacant Northernsite Ireland and Great Britain. brownfield at Beechmount With a turnover Avenue back into use.of £30 million and over 80 staff, Harvey Group The homes within hasmajority over 30 of years’ experience the willinstallation be committed in scheme the design, and to social housing and seek to address maintenance of building services within every conceivable kind of building type throughout NI, GB and RoI, including Pharmaceutical/ Cleanrooms, Laboratories, Education, Government and Healthcare . Richard and NorahAnne Bell founded Solmatix Henry Brothers Renewables in 2008, and since then

Sam McKee from the project’s planning consultancy, Turley commented: “We are thrilled to have supported Habinteg Housing Association in achieving planning permission for this exciting housing development in Strabane. We hope this major residentialled development will contribute to reducing the stress on housing waiting lists and provide future residents with comfortable and modern homes.”

company acquires renewable energy specialists the company has grown to achieve a turnover of £6 million, with 30 staff operating from its Nutt’s Corner premises. As a result of the deal, Solmatix will continue to operate as an autonomous and independent company within Harvey Group Brian Harvey, managing director of Harvey Group, said there was a perfect fit between the two organisations. “We have been planning to grow our renewables involvement for some time, either organically or through the acquisition of an established Havingneed worked the growingplayer. and unmet for socialSolmatix housingRenewables in Strabane Town. with on RPP Architects, aDesigned number by of contracts, we’d this new provision of impressed homes willwith offer a mix always been of accommodation including their engineering rigour and general needs, CAT1 elderly as well as wheelprofessionalism. In fact, there seemed chair accessible housing and complex to be a natural synergy between our two companies in terms of what we do and how we do it. I approached Richard Bell about a year ago to float the idea of our companies coming together, but only if there was a good fit. After careful consideration we both agreed that this would indeed be mutually

Peter McGirr from RPP Architects commented: “The welcome approval of this new residential development will significantly progress Strabane’s capacity meet for social Celebrating the acquisition (from left) Norah-Anne Bell, Richardto Bell, Briandemand Harvey, Gareth Booth (Financial Controller, Harvey Group). housing. as great news for Solmatix, its beneficial. From my perspective, We have designed new homes customers, suppliersthe and staff. having Solmatix as part of Harvey needs accommodation. and surrounding amenities to create “In many respects, it’s a case Group gives Adria us a level of expertise The former Factory, which a high quality living environment for of ‘business as usual’. However, in that would in have taken us years to specialised manufacturing hosiery, prospective residents and enhance real streetscape terms, beingofpart thisoflarger acquire otherwise. was previously located on the site the thisofarea and“Harvey following its closure, the lands organisation willWe givelook us access to to Strabane Town. forward Group and Solmatix have vacant forbymore 13 beginning development of this enhanced the technical skills, financial sharebeen similar values, whichthan I mean years. exciting resourcesnew anddevelopment.” purchasing power. our commitment to professionalism, Ultimately I believe this will lead our desire to deliver our services to to greater growth and investment the very highest standards, and the within our operations, as well as importance we place on treating our more jobs and job security. It’s a customers, our suppliers and our staff win-win relationship that’s good with courtesy and consideration.” for our whole organisation, as Richard Bell, the founder and well as the economy of Northern managing director of Solmatix Ireland. “ Renewables described the acquisition

CONTRACTOR HENRY BROTHERS APPOINTED TO BUILD £18.5 MILLION JOINT POLICE AND FIRE HQ (Midlands) has won a contract to build a new £18.5 million joint headquarters for Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service.

Lisburn firm TAL awarded the first major construction contract at Randox Science Park The three-storey facility will be constructed on land behind the existing Nottinghamshire Police headquarters at Sherwood Lodge and is scheduled to open by the end of 2021. Ian Taylor, Managing Director of Henry Brothers (Midlands), said: “As a local company, we are delighted WItH a reputation to have been appointedfor to build excellence constructing high this new jointinheadquarters building for Nottinghamshire Police and quality projects, tAL Limited Nottinghamshire Fireaand Rescue has been awarded significant Service. (£3.1m) by global contract medical diagnostics company “Henry Brothers has a wealth of Randox. experience when it comes to public This initial contract is for sector buildings and we arethe proud to construction of a new for such have been selected to facility work on

production of Randox’s pioneering medical diagnostic products and will also include associated administrative functions. The works are the first phase of a major capital expenditure project by Randox to develop the former Massereene Army Barracks into ‘Randox Science Park’ – a futuristic R&D and manufacturing facility. The award-winning, international biotechnology firm, unveiled its plans for an innovative hub on the 43 acre site earlier this a high profile and important project year. for our local emergency services.” Welcoming the announcement, Damien Hughes, of TAL The company hasDirector been involved Limited commented: are in in a number of major“We projects Nottingham in recent It is delighted to have beenyears. awarded

this contract with Randox, one of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic and exciting businesses on a local and global level. Through the quality of our work and the dedication and professionalism of our team TAL has steadily grown over the last 34 years and this contract award reinforces the strength of our expertise in the healthcare sector.” The project will be delivered to BIM level 2 in partnership with the design team Ostick and currently building a Rainey new £9m fourWilliams Architects, & Best, storey Enterprise Innovation Centre Doran Consulting, Delap & WallerCity at Nottingham Trent University’s Consulting Engineers and Charles Campus – the third development Hutchison Consulting. undertaken by Henry Brothers Midlands forFitzGerald, the university. In 2019 Dr Peter Managing

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Director at Randox commented: “The development of Randox Science Park is core to our plans to create innovative diagnostics, to improve manufacturing efficiency to export high-value healthcare capabilities to world markets. This state-of-the-art premises will become a centre of cutting-edge research, development and diagnostic manufacture, covering conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease. We will also provide a significant boost to the local economy the company alsocreation. completed new through new job Wea very £23m two-storey engineering facility much forwardClifton to working with at the look university’s Campus, TAL on this initial contract to deliver and also began work on a new the highTechnologies quality infrastructure we Medical Innovation Facility require.”(MTIF) on the same site.

The right job can transform a person’s life and the right person can transform an organisation, we’re experts at matching both in construction management. Find out more at hays.co.uk/ni

20/08/2014 16:45


06| 08

digest digest

EQUIPMENT HIRE BUSINESS CALLS FOR EXECUTIVE TO Harvey Group acquires Solmatix as part of 5 year START SPENDING ON INFRASTRUCURE TO SUPPORT growth plan in UK and Ireland. NORTHERN IRELAND CONSTRUCTION SECTOR NI M&Eand services Equipment plant hire specialist CP Newtownabbey-based Hire has encouraged M&E services company, local government Harvey Group, has departments to acquired start Northern Ireland renewable spending on large energyinfrastructure specialists, Solmatix scale Renewables a move the projects to inprovide a lift to the construction companies say will transform sector following the the renewable energy sector coronavirus lockdown. in Northern Ireland and act as a springboard for further The family-owned company, which expansion into multi-to a supplies a range of the machinery millionofpound UKavailed and Ireland number industries, of the renewable energy markets. government-backed Coronavirus The acquisition, forLoan an Scheme Business Interruption through Danske whichtoenabled undisclosed sum,Bank, will bring 110 itthe to maintain trading and complete number of people employed new equipment purchases committed directly by the Harvey Group in toNorthern before the lockdown was Britain. Ireland and Great enforced. With a turnover of £30 million and 80 staff, Harvey Davidover Hutchinson, directorGroup of CP has over 30 years’ experience Hire, said the company had seen in the design, installation momentum building in theand Northern Ireland construction sector in early maintenance of building services 2020, until lockdown forced it to within every conceivable kind of suspend and collect NI, almost buildinghiring type throughout GB all ofand its RoI, equipment. including Pharmaceutical/ Cleanrooms, Laboratories, He said: “Our customers are from Government a Education, wide variety of sectors,and some of Healthcare . Richard and Norahwhich are essential services, and Bell founded soAnne in order not to letSolmatix them down Renewables in 2008, and since we reduced our operation fromthen seven depots to two and used the government’s furlough scheme, which has been a lifeline.

if the government and acquires renewable energy specialists company

banks play their part, in the has grown to achieve a thecompany medium term we are turnover of £6 million, hopeful the sector willwith 30 staff operating from its Nutt’s Corner come through this.” premises. HeAsadded: “Our localdeal, Solmatix a result of the government now needs as an will continue to operate to start spending on autonomous and independent infrastructure, the Group company withingive Harvey projects that are shovel Brian Harvey, managing director ready the go-ahead and of Harvey Group, start planning for said the there long- was aoverdue perfect fit between the two sewage system organisations. upgrade. “We have been planning to Celebrating the acquisition (from left) Norah-Anne Bell, Richard Bell, Brian Harvey, Gareth “A renewed focus oninvolvement grow our renewables Booth (Financial Controller, Harvey Group). green energy, solar, and for some time, either organically as great news for Solmatix, its beneficial. From my perspective, wind farmsthe could give theof an or through acquisition customers, suppliers and staff. local economy an amazing having Solmatix as part of Harvey established player. Having worked boost and with the right “In many respects, it’s a case Group gives us a level of expertise with Solmatix on leadership andRenewables vision of ‘business as usual’. However, in that would have taken us years to athere number of contracts, we’d is massive potential real terms, being part of this larger acquire otherwise. always impressed with within been the Northern organisation will give us access to “Harvey Group and Solmatix their and Irish engineering economy. If rigour you give enhanced technical skills, financial share similar values, by which I mean businesses an opportunity, professionalism. In fact, there seemed resources and purchasing power. our commitment to professionalism, webewill adapt, change, to a natural synergyand between problem solve our way Ultimately I believe this will lead our desire to deliver our services to our two companies in terms of through this.” to greater growth and investment the very highest standards, and the what we do and how we do it. I within our operations, as well as importance we place on treating our approached Bell about a Where it is Richard safe to do more jobs and job security. It’s a customers, our suppliers and our staff year ago to float the idea of our so CP Hire is bringing win-win relationship that’s good with courtesy and consideration. ” companies coming together, but only its staff back to work. All for our whole organisation, as Richard Bell, the founder and ifofthere was a good After careful its equipment is fit. now well as the economy of Northern managing director of Solmatix sanitised on collection consideration we both agreed and this during its pre-delivery Ireland. “ Renewables described the acquisition that would indeed be mutually inspection, screens are in place at hire desks and staff in depots are regularly disinfecting David Hutchinson workstations and washing their hands.

Lisburn firm TAL awarded the first major construction “Construction could have a difficult time in the short term, however contract at Randox Science Park

ISO AUDIT SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED AT QMAC In August an external audit was conducted to review the management procedures at QMAC Construction Ltd. The audit, which was carried out by NQA – a UKAS accredited certification WItH a reputation for body, involved a excellence in constructing high three-day review of quality projects, tAL Limited the procedures and has been awarded a significant practices relating to contract (£3.1m) by global quality, environmental, medical diagnostics company and health & safety management. Randox. This initial contract is for the As a result, the successfully construction of acompany new facility for retained certification to the

production of Randox’s pioneering medical diagnostic products and will also include associated administrative internationally recognised ISO functions. The works are the first 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 phase of a major capital expenditure standards, and also received project by Randox develop certification to thetonew ISO the former Massereene Army Barracks 45001:2018 management standard. into ‘Randox Science Park’ – a Rhona Quinn, Managing Director, futuristic R&D and manufacturing commented, facility. The award-winning, “Passing this audit was an important international firm,The achievementbiotechnology for the company. unveiled its plans for an innovative ongoing development of quality hub on theas 43well acreassite earlier this assurance health & safety management procedures to protect year. our staff and supply chain members Welcoming the announcement, remains key priorities forofthe Damien Hughes, Director TAL company. I would like to thank all the Limited commented: “We are staff who were involved in facilitating delighted to have been awarded the successful audit.”

this contract with Randox, one of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic and exciting businesses on a local and global level. Through the quality of our work and the dedication and professionalism of our team TAL has steadily grown over the last 34 years and this contract award reinforces the strength of our expertise in the healthcare sector.” The project will be delivered to BIM level 2 in partnership with the design team Ostick and Williams Architects, Rainey & Best, Doran Consulting, Delap & Waller Consulting Engineers and Charles Sonia Kelly from QMAC with the ISO Hutchison Consulting. Audit Certification Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing

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Director at Randox commented: “The development of Randox Science Park is core to our plans to create innovative diagnostics, to improve manufacturing efficiency to export high-value healthcare capabilities to world markets. This state-of-the-art premises will become a centre of cutting-edge research, development and diagnostic manufacture, covering conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease. We will also provide a significant boost to the local economy through new job creation. We very much look forward to working with TAL on this initial contract to deliver the high quality infrastructure we require.”

The right job can transform a person’s life and the right person can transform an organisation, we’re experts at matching both in construction management. Find out more at hays.co.uk/ni

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GILBERT-ASH CELEBRATES NEW £5MILLION Harvey Group acquires Solmatix as part of 5 year HEADQUARTERS BELFAST growth plan in UKIN and Ireland. NI M&E services company acquires renewable energy specialists Newtownabbey-based M&E services company, Harvey Group, has acquired Northern Ireland renewable energy specialists, Solmatix Renewables in a move the companies say will transform the renewable energy sector in Northern Ireland and act as a springboard for further expansion into the multimillion pound UK and Ireland renewable energy markets. The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, will bring to 110 the number of people employed directly by the Harvey Group in Northern Ireland and Great Britain. With a turnover of £30 million and over 80 staff, Harvey Group has over 30 years’ experience in the design, installation and maintenance of building services within every conceivable kind of building type throughout NI, GB and RoI, including Pharmaceutical/ Cleanrooms, Laboratories, Gilbert-Ash recently Education, Government and celebrated the Healthcare . Richard and Norahcompletion of their new Anne Bell founded Solmatix £5million headquarters 2008, and Belfast. since then inRenewables Boucherin Place, The investment in the new state of the art building marks a significant milestone for the multi awardwinning company. To mark the occasion initially, the entire Gilbert-Ash team across the UK and Europe was part of a unique virtual celebration this morning which saw Managing Director Ray Hutchinson thank staff for hard work and resilience so far this year, he commented: “Over the past few months, everyone who works for Gilbert-Ash has been genuinely amazing. Although it hasn’t been business as usual, it has been business as one and distance, it turns WItH a reputation for out, doesn’t distance us as a team. And excellence in constructing for those returning to our siteshigh qualitythe projects, Limited across UK and tAL Europe this last has been a significant number of awarded weeks, we’re already working one – collaborating contractas(£3.1m) by global with clients, partners and each other medical diagnostics company to help our clients on projects Randox. many of which are fundamental to This initial contract is for the our nation’s recovery and future construction prosperity.” of a new facility for

the company has grown to achieve a turnover of £6 million, with 30 staff operating from its Nutt’s Corner premises. As a result of the deal, Solmatix will continue to operate as an autonomous and independent company within Harvey Group Brian Harvey, managing director of Harvey Group, said there was a perfect fit between the two organisations. “We have been planning to grow our renewables involvement for some time, either organically or through the acquisition of an established player. Having worked with Solmatix Renewables on a number of contracts, we’d always been impressed with their engineering rigour and professionalism. In fact, there seemed to be a natural synergy between our two companies in terms of what we do and how we do it. I approached Richard Bell about a year ago to float the idea of our He added: “I am incredibly proud of companies coming together, but only the Gilbert-Ash team - this worst if there good fit.out After of timeswas has abrought thecareful best in consideration both us and we havewelots to agreed look forward to not would least moving our brand that– this indeedinto be mutually new offices when it is safe to do so.”

Celebrating the acquisition (from left) Norah-Anne Bell, Richard Bell, Brian Harvey, Gareth Booth (Financial Controller, Harvey Group).

as great news for Solmatix, its beneficial. From my perspective, customers, suppliers and staff. having Solmatix as part of Harvey “In many respects, it’s a case Group gives us a level of expertise of ‘business as usual’. However, in that would have taken us years to real terms, being part of this larger acquire otherwise. organisation will give us access to “Harvey Group and Solmatix enhanced technical skills, financial share similar values, by which I mean resources and purchasing power. our commitment to professionalism, Ultimately I believe this will lead our desire to deliver our services to to greater growth and investment the very highest standards, and the within our operations, as well as importance we place on treating our more jobs and job security. It’s a customers, our suppliers and our staff break out glazed ‘pods’ and win-win relationship that’s good with courtesy and consideration.” access to a fully equipped gym for our whole organisation, as Richard Bell, the founder and area. well as the economy of Northern managing director of Solmatix Ireland. “ Renewables attributes described the Gilbert-Ash its acquisition continued success on its ‘As One’ approach and its unique working culture and family environment as an employeeowned company. It continues to complete a broad portfolio of successful construction projects across sectors Ray Director Hutchinson this contract with Randox, one of at Randox commented: “The including arts and culture, Northern Ireland’s most dynamic development of Randox Science workplace, hotels and leisure, team have demonstrated remarkable and exciting businesses on a local Park is core to our plans to create science and technology, retail and resilience and dedication during and global level. Through the quality innovative diagnostics, to improve residential. this time, those working remotely of our work and the dedication and manufacturing efficiency to export and those on our client sites. In Gilbert-Ash projects professionalism of ourhave teambeen TAL has high-value we healthcare capabilities particular, have been deeply to shortlisted for over the Royal Institute steadily grown the last 34 years world markets. Thisfeedback state-of-the-art encouraged by the from of British Architects’ Stirling Prize clients commending sites asofan and this contract award reinforces premises will becomeour a centre with its work on the Everyman example of industry practice the strength of our expertise in the cutting-edge research,best development Theatre recognised in the winning with regards tomanufacture, health and safety.” healthcare sector. ” and diagnostic covering of the coveted award in 2014. The The project will beover delivered conditions such as cancer, stroke and contractor employs 180 staff at “While is remains a very challenging offices London and Belfast. to BIM inlevel 2 in partnership heartfor disease. We willwe alsowanted provide time our industry, toa with the design team Ostick and significant to the economy use today’sboost occasion to local reflect on Ray Hutchinson concluded: has Williams Architects, Rainey &“ItBest, through job to creation. We very the year new to date, thank everyone undoubtedly been an incredibly and to look reiterate ourtocommitment Doran Consulting, Delap & Waller much forward working withto challenging period for us all and it is continued in the future for Consulting Engineers Charles TAL on thissuccess initial contract to deliver very positive that the and world is now our team, our clients and our wider Hutchison Consulting. the high quality infrastructure we emerging from the devastating effects supplier network as well as their FitzGerald, Managing require.” of Dr the Peter Covid-19 pandemic. Our families.”

Gilbert-Ash’s new headquarters on Lisburn firm TAL Boucherawarded Place, can accommodate the first major construction up to 100 staff. A magnificent main atrium has a full height exposed contract at Randox Science Park concrete wall that serves as a striking backdrop modern cantilevering productiontoofa Randox’s pioneering staircase. medical diagnostic products and will also project include associated administrative The was led from the outset functions. The works are Director, the first by Gilbert-Ash Technical phase ofMcMeel a majorand capital Finbarr wasexpenditure designed to be open and light, a project by Randox toproviding develop the welcoming and impressive first former Massereene Army Barracks impression for visitors. The exterior into ‘Randox Science Park’ – a of the building, constructed by a wide futuristic R&D and from manufacturing range of members the Gilbertfacility. The award-winning, Ash team, uses coloured glass and international firm, modern fibrebiotechnology cement boards to create unveileda modern its plans outline. for an innovative hub on the 43 acre site earlier this Staff year. health and well-being has been to the fore of Gilbert-Ash’s thoughts Welcoming the announcement, in developing the new headquarters, Damien Hughes, Director ofanTAL with a focus on promoting active Limited commented: “We are environment. This includes both delighted to have been awarded fixed and standing workstations,

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The right job can transform a person’s life and the right person can transform an organisation, we’re experts at matching both in construction management. Find out more at hays.co.uk/ni

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06| 10

digest digest

HERON BROS SECURES GOLD AWARD FOR Harvey Group acquires Solmatix as part of 5 year CONSTRUCTION OF ARDS BLAIR MAYNE WELLBEING growth plan in UK and Ireland. AND LEISURE COMPLEX

NI M&E Heron Bros Ltdservices has secured a highly Newtownabbey-based revered Goldcompany, Award in M&E services this year’s Considerate Harvey Group, has acquired Constructors Scheme Northern Ireland renewable for the construction of energy specialists, Solmatix Ards and North Down Renewables in a move the Borough Council’s Ards companies say will transform Blair Mayne Wellbeing the renewable energy sector and Leisure Complex. in Northern Ireland and act asawards a springboard for further The are presented to the expansion into the multiUK’s highest performing construction sites that have demonstrated high million pound UK and Ireland levels of consideration respect renewable energy in markets. of theThe community, environment and acquisition, for an workforce. undisclosed sum, will bring to 110 During the £30m development, the number of people employed Heron Bros made engagement with by the Harvey Group in thedirectly local community a high priority. Northern Irelandlocal andbusinesses Great Britain. They encouraged to Withtheir a turnover of on £30the million advertise services site’s and over 80and staff,they Harvey noticeboards also Group promoted careers in construction to colleges has over 30 years’ experience and in schools. the design, installation and First aiders andofoperatives were maintenance building services trained to use the defibrillator within every conceivable kind of located nearby while goodwill building type throughout NI, GB and RoI, including Pharmaceutical/ Cleanrooms, Laboratories, Education, Government and Healthcare . Richard and NorahAnne Bell founded Solmatix Renewables in 2008, and since then

company acquires renewable energy specialists

the company has grown to achieve a turnover of £6 million, with 30 staff operating from its Nutt’s Corner premises. As a result of the deal, Solmatix will continue to operate as an autonomous and independent company within Harvey Group Brian Harvey, managing director of Harvey Group, said there was a perfect fit between the two organisations. “We have been planning to Celebrating the acquisition (from left) Norah-Anne Bell, Richard Bell, Brian Harvey, Gareth grow our renewables involvement Booth (Financial Controller, Harvey Group). for some time, either organically as great news for Solmatix, its beneficial. From my perspective, or through the acquisition of an customers, suppliers and staff. having Solmatix as part of Harvey established player. Having worked “In many it’s a case Group gives us a level of expertise Karl McKillop (Heron Bros Construction Director), Annet McGowan (Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and respects, Leisure Complex with Solmatix Renewables on of ‘business as usual’. However, that would have taken us years to Junior Manager), Theresa McErlean (Heron Bros Contracts Manager), Ards and North Down Mayor, Cllr Richard Smart, in a number of contracts, we’d and Gayle Wilson (Ards and North Down Borough Council's Corporate Project Manager). real terms, being part of this larger acquire otherwise. always been impressed with organisation will give us access to “Harvey Group and Solmatix activities includedrigour sponsorship of “This was a unique and complex smoothly the construction process their engineering and enhanced technical skills, financial share similar values, by which I mean community races. also project with a wide range of went and the high standards we professionalism. In The fact, company there seemed resourcesThe andpositive purchasing power.and partnered with synergy the National Trust challenges throughout,” said achieved. feedback our commitment to professionalism, to be a natural between and RSPB so the team could offset Contracts Manager, Theresa reaction to the new complex has also Ultimately I believe this will lead our desire to deliver our services to our two companies in terms of their carbon dioxide emissions. McErlean. “We’restandards, proud of and howthe made it all growth worthwhile.” to greater and investment the very highest what we do and how we do it. I within our operations, as well as importance we place on treating our approached Richard Bell about a more jobs and job security. It’s a customers, our suppliers and our staff year ago to float the idea of our win-win relationship that’s good with courtesy and consideration. ” companies coming together, but only for our whole organisation, as Richard Bell, the founder and if there was a good fit. After careful well as the economy of Northern managing director of Solmatix consideration we both agreed Ireland. “ Renewables described the acquisition that this would indeed be mutually

CONNEX WINS £3M CONTRACT WITH LONDON DEVELOPER

Connex Offsite, managers, designers, general specialists in the Lisburn firm TAL awarded the first major construction labourers and tilers, to meet their manufacture of highrapidly growing order book. end modular bathroom contract Randox Science Park pods announced at a three roles including joiners, operations

million pound contract, to supply luxury modular bathroom pods to London property developer, Mount Anvil

The contract will see the Newry based manufacturer export their residential bathroom pods to Mount Anvil’s Royal Eden Docks development, an area in East London WItH a reputation that is set to re-emergefor as a globally excellence in constructing significant commercial, cultural high and quality projects, residential centre. tAL Limited has been awarded a significant Connex is(£3.1m) aggressively contract by targeting global new business throughout the UK, viewing medical diagnostics company the residential market as having Randox. major scope for future expansion. initialtwo contract is for In This the next months, thethefirm construction of afor new facility for will recruit staff a variety of

Brendan Doherty, Managing Director production Randox’s of Connex of Offsite said: pioneering “We are medical products and will delighteddiagnostic to be working with Mount also administrative Anvil,include one ofassociated the leading property developersThe in London, with functions. works are thethirty first years of construction history in the phase of a major capital expenditure city under their belts. project by Randox to develop the former Massereene Army Barracks “Mount Anvil recognised the high into ‘Randox Park’ –a quality of ourScience pods and standard of futuristic R&Drecent and manufacturing service from major projects facility. award-winning, we haveThe delivered in Central London and decided biotechnology our product was a international firm, perfect fit for their supply chain unveiled its plans for an innovative requirements. hub on the 43 acre site earlier this year. “We have seen huge growth in Welcoming recent monthsthe andannouncement, I believe the Damien Director of TAL Covid-19Hughes, crisis has been the catalyst for a shift to modular“We construction. Limited commented: are Off-site manufacturing being delighted to have been is awarded

this contract with Randox, one of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic and exciting businesses on a local and global level. Through the quality of our work and the dedication and professionalism of our team TAL has steadily grown over the last 34 years and this contract award reinforces the strength of our expertise in the healthcare sector.” Brendan Doherty, Connex Offsite The project will MD be delivered to BIM levelby2the in partnership embraced industry because of with the design team Ostick the restrictions on the level and of labour Williams on site. Architects, Rainey & Best, BecauseConsulting, our pods Delap are completely Doran & Waller finished in aEngineers controlled Consulting andenvironment, Charles shrink wrapped on the factory floor Hutchison Consulting. and shipped to the construction Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing

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Director at Randox commented: “The development of Randox Science Park is core to our plans to create innovative diagnostics, to improve manufacturing efficiency to export high-value healthcare capabilities to world markets. This state-of-the-art premises will become a centre of cutting-edge research, development and diagnostic manufacture, covering conditions such as cancer, stroke and heartwe disease. We willthe also provideofa site, are reducing numbers significant boost on to the local economy trades required site.” through new job creation. We very Connex launched two years ago, with amuch £1.2 look million investment, and due forward to working withto aTAL significant in production, on this increase initial contract to deliver will movequality into its new £2.5million the high infrastructure we facility ahead of time, in August 2020. require.”

The right job can transform a person’s life and the right person can transform an organisation, we’re experts at matching both in construction management. Find out more at hays.co.uk/ni

20/08/2014 16:45

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Hays | 11

MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS SET TO PROVIDE VITAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Mark Wade, director at Hays Recruitment, examines how the progression of a number of key infrastructure projects will provide a welcome boost to the Northern Ireland economy in the coming years. There is no doubt that the construction sector has an important role to play in leading the country out of the recession that has followed the coronavirus pandemic. While hospitality, leisure, retail and tourism have borne the immediate brunt of the lockdown, the long term impact will be widely felt across all sectors. The attention of the Prime Minister and our local government has rightly turned to how to continue to progress with major infrastructure projects in the knowledge that they will provide vital employment opportunities. The UK government has confirmed £900m for ‘shovelready’ projects with a stimulus package which will include £360m for new homes. One organisation which is progressing with an extensive portfolio of plans in Northern Ireland is Translink. The Belfast Transport Hub, which was approved in March 2019, will see the redevelopment of the Europa Bus Centre, Great Victoria Street Railway Station and the surrounding 20 acres of land at Grosvenor Road. The NI Transport Holding Company (NITHC) is developing a station concourse, 26 bus stands, eight railway platforms, bus maintenance

Mark Wade

and parking, car parking and a new public square. Graham Construction were awarded the £20m Transport Hub enabling works contract in November 2019. These are scheduled to complete during early 2021 with the main build phase expected to commence in 2021. Work is also being completed on the North-West Transport Hub in Derry-Londonderry, which includes additional park and ride capacity, public realm work and a bus turning circle. The Hub is a major scheme that will be a key portal for the North-West region, supporting business, leisure and tourism opportunities, as well as acting as a vital community space for everyone in the city. Plans are in place too for major renewals of Northern Ireland’s railway infrastructure and new stations for Lurgan,Yorkgate and Ballymena. Overseeing this activity is John Glass, director of infrastructure and project delivery at Translink. He said: “Coming out of the pandemic we need to see money being spent on

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infrastructure to ensure the quick stimulus of the economy and it is encouraging that we have seen early commitments that recognise this. We have already had two years without an executive, so now we have to see strategic decision making on key projects. The Green Agenda needs to be at the forefront of these decisions if Northern Ireland is to reach its Carbon Zero goal by 2050.” The Belfast Transport Hub will see 400 construction jobs being created on site, with engagement taking place to provide opportunities for long term unemployed people. There are a number of roles currently open with Translink’s project team across different levels, including project managers, quantity surveyors, commercial managers and BIM managers. Hays is working with Translink to recruit for these positions. Each role will offer the chance to learn client side from some of the largest and most complex projects taking place here at the moment. There is no travel outside Northern Ireland, a big plus for many who are striving for a work life balance, and there is the additional perk of free public transport for employees and their families.

As chairman of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) John knows what is needed for the future of infrastructure in Northern Ireland. “Our latest policy paper, which was presented to the Northern Ireland Executive, calls for the establishment of an independent infrastructure body which provides expert guidance on the requirements for Northern Ireland in the long term. We need to be looking ahead to the next 20 or 30 years and asking the questions of; How will we travel? What are the energy requirements? And making sure that there is a co-ordinated plan across roads, transport, energy, waste, connectivity so that everything is aligned and working together.” Now more than ever before there will be a reliance on the resilience and the innovation of the construction sector. At Hays we will continue to support our clients as they work through these challenging times, and we look forward to watching Translink’s exciting projects take shape. For more information please contact: Mark Wade 02890 446900 Mark.Wade@hays.com


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WORK ON STRATEGIC ROADS AND FLAGSHIP ROAD SCHEMES UNDERWAY Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced her intention to progress a number of strategic infrastructure schemes and flagship projects as part of her plan to aid economic recovery and community transformation. The Minister has asked officials to push forward on the development of important schemes such as the A1 Junctions Phase 2, A24 Ballynahinch By Pass, A4 Enniskillen Southern By Pass, Newry Southern Relief Road, A29 Cookstown By Pass, A2 Buncrana Road and A32 ( Omagh to Enniskillen) at Cornamuck. The Minister has now set the wheels in motion and has asked officials to work at pace to progress these schemes. The Minister has also reaffirmed her commitment to the A5 and A6 schemes. While Covid-19 has impacted construction work on the A6, this is continuing and it is

hoped that the Toome to Castledawson section could be completed in Spring 2021. In relation to the A5, following a public inquiry and the successful completion of the statutory processes, construction could commence in mid 2021. Minister Mallon said: “These strategic and flagship road improvement schemes span Northern Ireland and will deliver for many communities and help to address regional imbalance. “Many communities across the North have waited a long time for progress to be made and while Covid-19 has left considerable challenges, I have been determined to get the wheels in motion and get these schemes back on track. “Each scheme is at a different stage and I have asked my officials to bring forward plans to press ahead in the short and longer term.”

Nichola Mallon Minister for Infrastructure

BREEAM ‘EXCELLENT’ RATING PUTS ARMAGH SRC AMONG THE MOST SUSTAINABLE FE COLLEGES IN THE BREEAMING EXCELLENT! Southern Regional College’s new £35 million landmark campus in Armagh UK AND IRELAND has secured an official BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating for sustainability. Celebrating this industry-leading Southern Regional College’s new £35 million landmark campus in Armagh has secured an official BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating for sustainability, contributing to the College’s ambition to become among the most sustainable in the UK and Ireland. Designed by WYG Group with Kennedy Fitzgerald Architects, the new 14,000 square-metre campus, which is under construction at Lonsdale Road in the city, will welcome thousands of new and current students to its world class facilities when it opens in September. BREEAM is the world’s leading independent sustainability measure for major infrastructure and building projects and the top rating achieved by Armagh SRC means the development will provide a sustainable environment which will protect natural resources and enhance the well-being of students and staff attending. Building work on the landmark educational campus got under way in April 2018 under the stewardship

of Newry-based construction company, Felix O’Hare Limited, and around 200 jobs were created within the construction phase of the project, including 25 apprenticeship opportunities.

accreditation are (l-r) Conor McGeown (Project Manager,WYG), Stephen Morrissey (Contracts Manager, Felix O’Hare), Gary Young (Project Manager, Southern Regional College).

The new campus will house an unrivalled blend of specialist accommodation designed to facilitate the most advanced professional and technical education and training, including facilities for students at degree and postgraduate level. A key feature of the new Armagh build is the provision of innovation hubs through which students will directly engage with business and industry in real life projects. Already a national and international success, the new Armagh campus

was recognised in 2018 as Northern Ireland’s best initiative at the UK-wide Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards – and yet again earlier this month when the project was ‘highly commended’ among a roster of industry-leading international projects at the Go Awards 2020. The Armagh campus is part of

a wider, ambitious £100 million investment programme led by Southern Regional College and the Department for the Economy aimed at dramatically improving local educational provision and facilities across the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council area. Full planning consent for a new £45 million landmark Craigavon campus was also granted last year.

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MORTGAGE LENDERS HINDERING FIRST TIME BUYERS

Ballyclare homebuilder, Hagan Homes, says the reopening of the property market has yielded positive results for the industry but stricter deposit demands from mortgage lenders is hindering the process for many first-time buyers.

The company, which is currently onsite with six developments and due to begin construction on three new sites in Dundonald, Carrickfergus and Strabane, said demand for their properties has been extremely positive since lock down restrictions were eased. High volumes of enquiries and sales over June were “overwhelming” said Chairman James Hagan. “Since we reopened our show homes in the middle of June, our sales agents have been inundated with bookings and enquiries. There is huge interest in our properties and that seems to be the case across the industry. “That demand, for us, can be quantified by the number of sales we are making. We handed over 12 new properties and recorded 20 new bookings in June, compared to nine bookings in June last year. “The current level of interest is also highlighted by the page views we are

seeing online for our developments. “Traffic to our sites online during the last two months has recorded over 80,000 views, more than double that of the same period last year. It’s activity like this that is testament that people in Northern Ireland are keen to move home or purchase their first property but we need mortgage lenders to work with the industry to ensure demand translates into even more sales by offering 90%

mortgages that were available pre lockdown.” Mr Hagan says prior to lockdown first time buyers benefitted from 90% and 95% mortgage packages making access to the property market easier but today those offers are no longer available. He added: “Our current purchasers are not getting the mortgages they need. We have really strong bookings

and interest in the properties but with no 90% mortgages available from banks and mortgage providers this means our purchasers need to have bigger deposits. “The majority of our buyers are first time buyers and that presents an affordability issue. We would urge providers to review this as soon as possible to keep the market in positive territory.”

Hagan Homes has announced a three-year partnership with NI charity Belfast Central Mission (BCM) to help fund one of its Supported Housing projects for young people in East Belfast.The relationship will see the company commit to a £25,000 donation per year for three years, which will cover the salary of a full-time support worker who will provide those who benefit from this campaign with bespoke one-to-one support and an aftercare programme. Pictured are (l-r) Jim Burke, Director of Sales and Acquisitions, Hagan Homes; Lois Payam, Head of Residential Services at BCM; and Joanna Greenaway, Support Worker for BCM’s Supported Housing Project in East Belfast.

HALDANE FISHER LAUNCH E-COMMERCE SITE READY FOR ‘STAYCATION BOOM’ Independent merchant Haldane Fisher has launched its first e-Commerce platform in time for a predicted house improvement surge as many opt to stay at home during the holiday period. The platform, built by eCommonSense, will initially be for Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland customers only. Later this year, they will be going live for customers in England and the Isle of Man. Future-proofing the business involved sorting out multiple challenges that were all dependent on each other. These included sorting out the product data for 10,000+ products, simplifying the pricing structures and changing to a new version of their ERP system that allowed full integration with the back office.

For many builders’ merchants, working to resolve all of these simultaneously would have been too much but the board of Haldane Fisher recognised the importance of having a class-leading eCommerce solution in place. David Haldane, Managing Director, said: “Our first attempts at websites showed us that if the digital solution is not fully integrated with the back office, it is not worth doing due to the time and resource needed to administer. So when we made the decision to go online, we of course looked at other providers but the more we talked with eCommonSense, we realised it was their platform that would deliver what we needed.” Haldane Fisher are one of the leading independent suppliers to the construction industry with 19 branches across the UK and Ireland. They started this journey to future proof their business about 18 months

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ago. They went live with their new ERP software, Kerridge Babbage, about four months ago (March 2020) just as the Covid-19 crisis shut down the world. David added: “The pandemic made us realise the amount of business that we were missing if we had been live with the website. Overall though we came through in good shape – we adapted our business model, and we evolved.” Initial financial projections are incredibly modest, given the many uncertainties with the economy. They expect web revenues to be about 3% of their total turnover (£77m). Haldane Fisher is adopting a strategy that is a hybrid approach with both branches and online working hand in hand. “We’re confident that we have now got a robust

website as a result of all the hard work that all sides put in throughout the process. We pushed Andy and his team very hard and they delivered the goods every single time and have allowed us to add tremendous value to our online presence,” said David. “Our staff are all enthusiastic - we have nominated an eCommerce Champion in each of our branches. Suddenly there is a lot of fresh interest and we feel the collective excitement of opening a new virtual store.”


14 | RICS Awards

HILLSBOROUGH CASTLE WINS PROJECT OF THE YEAR IN INAUGURAL RICS SOCIAL IMPACT AWARDS, NI Project of the Year: Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Visitor Facilities, Hillsborough

RICS (Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors) has announced the winners of the inaugural RICS Social Impact Awards for Northern Ireland, and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Visitor Facilities has won the esteemed title of Project of the Year. Thirty three construction projects, whose entries celebrate the role of property professionals in transforming Northern Ireland communities and the everyday lives of people, were shortlisted back in February. Eight projects have now been successful as category winners, with Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Visitor Facilities selected by judges from amongst them as Project of the Year. The awards – which are supporting The Prince’s Trust campaign to get more young people into construction – were launched earlier this year to find the best examples of developments delivering economic, social or environmental improvements for their communities; therefore, recognising the real estate industry’s vital role in society. All of the Northern Ireland winners were announced in a digital awards ceremony.

They are: • Project of the Year: Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Visitor Facilities, Hillsborough • Commercial: Project FLEX at Allen & Overy Offices, Belfast • Education: Strabane Academy – Phase 1, Strabane • Healthcare: The Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre (AMHIC), Belfast • Heritage: Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Visitor Facilities, Hillsborough • Infrastructure: Ormeau Avenue Sewerage Improvement Scheme, Belfast • Leisure: Leisure Transformation Programme, Belfast • Residential: Old Mill Court, Sion Mills • Student Accommodation: 123 York Street, Belfast In 2014 Historic Royal Palaces took over the operation of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and embarked on a major restoration project. The aim of the project was to open what was once described as a ‘locked away hidden gem’, making its heritage accessible for all and giving the castle a future as valuable as its past. The overall

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project included restoration works to the castle, gardens, extended grounds, and construction of new built elements to optimise the visitor experience. RICS Social Impact Awards Head Judge for Northern Ireland, Michael Hannaway, commented: “The Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Restoration project is an exemplary display of traditional skills and workmanship working alongside modern surveying and delivery techniques. With extensive collaborative working with stakeholders and local community groups the project has revealed a once hidden treasure and for the first made

its heritage accessible to all and secured for future generations the economic viability of the visitor attraction as well as the surrounding area.” He continued: “The built environment is an integral part of the Northern Ireland economy but also makes a positive impact on our everyday lives. In these challenging times, it is warming to reflect on these winning projects, and how they are not only a demonstration of the breadth of talent within the profession, but showcase how buildings can make towns and cities more inclusive and deliver communities which people can be proud of.”


RICS Awards | 15 Northern Ireland Winners’ Summaries Commercial

Project FLEX at Allen & Overy Offices, Belfast Project FLEX comprises the full repurposing of Allen & Overy (A&O) existing office accommodation. This project involved the full redesign of seven storeys of office accommodation to help support organisational growth from 500 to 900 staff. By remaining within their current building, A&O illustrated their commitment to reduce their carbon footprint. A&O have improved their video-conferencing and digital technologies to reduce air travel and therefore CO2 emissions. During the works where possible local contractors were used. Significant collaboration existed throughout the design team but also included with A&O appointed staff which did lead to changes to the works whilst progressing all of which were welcomed by both the contractor, design team and end users. A workplace psychologist was engaged who studies mental processes and human behaviour by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and the environment with all such information used to aid in the design of the new office area.

Education

Strabane Academy – Phase 1, Strabane In 2011, Strabane Academy was founded, following the merger of the Strabane Grammar and High Schools, which operated from two separate sites.The Derry Road site provides a purpose built 10,000 sq. m state of the art education facility, currently accommodating 516 pupils. The school accommodates a learning resource centre, information technology suite, school library, canteen and a 6th form centre. The 7-hectare site includes two rugby pitches, a hockey pitch and five tennis courts. There is also a fully equipped gym within the school. The construction of the Strabane Academy has provided both short- and long-term employment opportunities. Excellent education facilities enable teaching on a wider range of subjects. The sports facilities encourage community involvement and outreach to other schools and clubs.

Healthcare

The Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre (AMHIC), Belfast This purpose-built modern facility supports the development of the Belfast Trust’s acute mental health service in one location, having previously been split between several sites. Basing the Centre at Belfast City Hospital is intended to reduce the stigma of mental health and ensures patients are close to the

clinical services they require. The centre provides 80 acute mental health en-suite bedrooms including six psychiatric intensive care beds. All aspects of the design were carefully considered, ensuring the built environment enhances the overall inpatient experience.

123 York Street

Heritage

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Visitor Facilities, Hillsborough The Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Restoration project is an exemplary display of traditional skills and workmanship working alongside modern surveying and delivery techniques. With extensive collaborative working with stakeholders and local community groups the project has revealed a once hidden treasure and for the first made its heritage accessible to all and secured for future generations the economic viability of the visitor attraction as well as the surrounding area.

Infrastructure

Ormeau Avenue Sewerage Improvement Scheme, Belfast The Ormeau Road Sewerage Improvement Scheme will deliver a key element of the infrastructure required to enable continued and sustainable development of the Linen Quarter and surrounding areas of the centre of Belfast. The project team demonstrated not only technical excellence, but also commitment to collaboration and engagement with a very wide and complex stakeholder group. Project success was driven by detailed programming and sequencing of the works, which focused on minimising disruption to all stakeholders.

Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre

Lesiure Transformation Programme (Andersonstown)

Strabane Academy

Leisure

Leisure Transformation Programme, Belfast Judges were impressed at the social impact of this 4-year transformation programme. From the inception to the present time the project team consulted its relevant community. Its goal was to ensure that “everyone has access to modern, fit for purpose leisure facilities” and this project delivered just that. It consulted neighbourhoods to ensure that their local facilities suited the style of activities that the neighbourhood required. The time and energy committed to consultation across a divided society demonstrated genuine community commitment.

Residential

Old Mill Court, Sion Mills Old Mill Court, Sion Mills is the first newbuild scheme based on the 2014 published Rural Housing Design Guide created by Rural Housing Association & GM Design Associates.

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Planners have worked to develop a housing proposal that is truly rooted within the rich history of the village, but which also goes beyond bricks and mortar in its efforts to reinvigorate the local economy and generate a sense of community belonging. The scheme provides high quality, future proof homes in an area of high social need.

Student Accommodation 123 York Street, Belfast

123 York Street is a newbuild student accommodation development in Belfast City Centre, adjacent to the expanding University of Ulster campus. With many student accommodation projects receiving bad press and with competition from other PBSA developments high the client brief was to deliver an exemplar project. The project was completed on time, under budget, has been widely praised for its design

and demand for rooms has exceeded expectations. The project won the Belfast Telegraph Commercial Development of the year 2019.

Project of the Year

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Visitor Facilities, Hillsborough The Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Restoration project is an exemplary display of Traditional skills and workmanship working alongside modern surveying and delivery techniques. With extensive collaborative working with stakeholders and local community groups the project has revealed a once hidden treasure and for the first made its heritage accessible to all and secured for future generations the economic viability of the visitor attraction as well as the surrounding area.


16| John Simpson

EXECUTIVE MINISTERS MUST PUT TOGETHER A MORE FOCUSED RESPONSE by John Simpson

Connor Murphy, as Minister of Finance, has shown an appreciation of the potential for supplementary local action. He has, in conjunction with Ministers in Scotland and Wales, asked the Treasury for supplementary finance. Whilst Mr. Murphy has asked for greater financial flexibility, it is less convincing that he asked to be permitted to move funds from capital projects so that he can supplement current services, than a policy in the opposite direction.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy

To give some extra momentum to the economic recovery, the Executive should take a careful look at the programme of capital spending expected in the next three years and do two things. First, identify those projects which would do most to strengthen the economy. Second, can the Executive identify extra capital projects which are most likely to leverage economic progress? This is not a request to delete existing proposals: simply to reprioritise the timing. Such reconsideration would particularly look for an immediate go-ahead for:

This year Northern Ireland will experience the most painful recession since the Second World War. Unemployment will increase to levels that cannot easily be predicted but with some certainty will be higher than for many years. There is a threat to living standards across the UK and Ireland which is unavoidable. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has gone as far as could be expected both to use public funds to partly offset the reduced level of output across the economy and also to allow the public sector to borrow on a scale not seen since war time. The Chancellor has increased Government borrowing to the point where financial risks have been taken, political goodwill has been drawn and, for average families, there is a concern about the timing and

scale of appropriate reductions and repayments of that borrowing. In the years after 1945 when reducing World War borrowing was a serious issue, Governments eased the immediate cost to citizens by allowing years of higher inflation to disguise the direct impact on living standards. That prospect is worrying. The largest set of responses to minimise the long-term impact of the recession will come from the UK Government. The Jobs Funds and the financial support to businesses have already offset some of the consequences of the lockdown of the economy and social behaviour. Essentially the Chancellor has set the scene to temporarily alleviate the pressure on businesses and employees. The Jobs Fund (for furloughed employees), the return to work one-off payments, the short-term change in property stamp duty, the incentive to hire more employees who can be offered training, and the temporary VAT reduction for hospitality businesses are all designed to get people back to available jobs. The key linkage is that, as the

covid-19 diminishes, businesses are expected to compete to regain their commercial leverage in the market place. Government cannot, or should not, offer incentives which rely on continuing job subsidies. The Chancellor has used his judgement to offer an appropriate temporary response. For some professional critics, the Chancellor may even have gone too far! The immediate question for the Northern Ireland Executive is whether there is scope, in the devolved arrangements, to introduce further, or extra, policies or measures which would supplement the UK policies in this region. The hope is that the Executive will see this as an opportunity which should not be missed. That expectation is made all the stronger as a response to the repeated assertions by well-placed business observers that covid-19 may hit a region like NI more seriously than other regions added to which NI is still ill-prepared for the degree of disruption which will follow the end of the Brexit transition period.

• The York Street M2/M3 junction • The cross-border electricity grid development • The scheduling of the completion of the A6 dual carriageway to the Northwest • A schedule of priorities for water service and sewerage capacity improvements • A timetable for Broadband capacity to all main urban centres If there are other critical services or facilities that would improve the capacity and productivity for business operations, then they should be identified quickly and assessed alongside this critical group of current proposals. Should Connor Murphy be allowed to borrow funds to allow a larger capital programme? Subject to evaluation tests on value for money, the case for extra borrowing, as part of a time limited response to the recession looks strong. This would be in addition to the acceleration of the existing capital budget. Is the Executive ready to accept these challenges? The Executive must now expect to be under increased scrutiny.

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TOP 100 | 17

ULSTER BUSINESS TOP 100 2020 COMPANIES SEE SALES RISE BY MORE THAN 10% IN LAST YEAR John Graham highest placed construction company Northern Ireland’s biggest businesses have seen sales rising by more than 10% over the last year, it has been revealed. The Ulster Business Top 100 Companies 2020 list with A&L Goodbody shows turnover has grown to £27.5bn from £24.9bn, across our largest businesses – up 10.4%. The list has showcased the performance of the biggest firms from right across Northern Ireland, ranked by turnover, for more than 30 years. Meanwhile, pre-tax profits have also risen in line with sales – up around 10% across the companies on the list, when compared year-on-year figures. Profitability increased from £935.6m to £1.03bn. The majority of the company accounts cover 2019 and the end of 2018, thus any impact of the ongoing coronavirus situation would not be reflected in the overall performances. And poultry processing giant Moy Park has topped the list for the ninth year in a row, with turnover of £1.58bn, while pre-tax profits now sit at £70m.

John Graham Ltd is the highest placed construction company at 8th place and new entries to the Top 100 this year include Gilbert Ash, MJM Marine and Creagh Concrete. Ulster Business editor, John Mulgrew, said: “The performance of some of Northern Ireland’s leading firms continues to cement our position on the business map – especially given the wide breadth of companies which call here home.

Michael Graham, Graham Construction

“And while over the course of more than 30 years this list has been through the boom times, as well as tough periods following the 2008 recession, the next couple of years are likely to be the most difficult many of them have ever faced. “But many of those companies on the list, and across Northern Ireland as a whole, have the resilience and the ability to weather such challenging times, and Ulster Business will be there as a guide along the way.”

Michael Neill, head of Belfast office, A&L Goodbody, sponsor of the Top 100, Chris Kirke, Moy Park chief executive, and John Mulgrew, Ulster Business editor

Rank 2020

Rank 2019

Company

Year Ending

Latest Sales (£000s)

Previous Sales £000s

Profit/Loss £000s

Prev Profit £000s

Net Worth £000s

8

4

John Graham

March '19

735,008

767,636

8,188

13,117

60,767

14

13

McLaughlin & Harvey

Dec '19

513,445

422,710

11,486

11,322

54,968

18

16

NI Water

March '19

416,442

431,772

80,670

94,478

1,048,686

19

18

McAleer & Rushe

Dec '18

395,167

334,073

16,777

13,386

44,828

20

19

Northstone

Dec '18

374,546

375,227

7,511

-232

86,576

22

24

Terex GB

Dec '18

368,050

320,072

49,822

45,897

40,927

32

32

FP McCann

Dec '19

264,023

255,026

18,230

17,899

172,970

Gilbert Ash

Dec '18

179,426

165,547

7,372

2,080

16,386

48 51

51

Brett Martin

Dec '18

170,981

155,536

6,029

7,198

46,719

61

67

Haldane Shiells

Dec '18

127,688

111,743

3,886

4,437

32,623

69

100

Heron Bros

Feb '19

106,988

74,586

5,433

8,552

81,941

73

72

Kingspan

Dec '18

99,909

100,488

5,070

4,435

46,578

76

88

Balcas Timber

Dec '18

97,990

84,738

5,468

2,295

12,685

MJM Marine

Dec '18

97,725

49,525

17,447

7,832

24,365

78 80

Creagh Concrete

March '19

95,570

71,230

155

400

15,577

85

84

Macnaughton Blair

Dec '18

93,336

88,219

5,189

4,730

8,870

88

83

Henry Group

March '19

88,560

81,830

2,540

1,675

19,916

95

78

Mac Interiors

Dec '18

82,646

94,724

5,624

6,098

17,170

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18| AG

AG: SIXTY SOLID YEARS OF INNOVATION Award winning building products

Family-owned hard landscaping and building products company, AG is marking its 60th anniversary. With its roots in quarrying, the Fivemiletown headquartered business now boasts eight locations throughout the UK and Ireland - and its investing for the future. CEO, Stephen Acheson tells the story…. Now a third generation familyowned hard landscaping and building products specialist AG (formerly Acheson + Glover) has been characterised and driven by innovation for 60 years. Established in March 1960 as a single-based quarry plant in Fivemiletown, County Tyrone our products can now be seen in commercial and residential settings the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland. Our company mission is simple: to design, manufacture and sell hard landscaping solutions that make construction better, faster and safer. Since our very earliest days AG

has been renowned for our focus on innovation. We’ve justifiably earned that reputation through the development of many market firsts that literally break the mould. Whilst the company is long-enough established to have had to withstand several major economic downturns, we have remained true to our deeprooted family values of: • Customer Care • Innovation • Integrity • Sustainability • Wellbeing Having managed to overcome many significant business challenges over the past six decades we believe we now have the team and resources in place to realise our potential and meet our growth objectives. As well as building a strengthened and highly experienced executive team we have invested in a wide range of capital expenditure projects aimed at future-proofing the business. For example, in recent months, we have completed the latest phase of a two year £2m business improvement investment programme with the introduction of robot-led automation at our Fivemiletown plant. Our

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AG| 19

Paving products at Jaguar Landrover, Dungannon

Retaining wall products

first KUGA robot, named Ivan, is now playing an integral role on the production line for our premium retaining wall products. Indeed, this move has been such a success we plan to add to our robot ‘family’ this year. We are delighted to be one of the first companies in our sector to introduce this particular type of robotic technology but for us it’s very much about adding to our capability as opposed to job displacement. Consequently, this has the potential to be a real gamechanger for us. Another critical strategic move for us in recent months has been the opening of our new Specification Centre in Dublin. We regard this as evidence of our commitment to truly growing our base and presence

in the Republic. This new facility has been created with the specifier market in mind and the feedback so far has been very encouraging. The Dublin expansion comes on the back of strong sales across the business and our team has been working hard already in using the new centre as a platform to introduce our range of premium walling and paving products to architects, engineers, local authorities and key influencers across multiple sectors. Ireland has been an important market for AG for many years and the new centre is ideally located for access by specifiers of all kinds, whether they be landscape designers, design consultants or architects.

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Over the years we have been the proud recipients of a number of industry awards for areas such as product innovation, sustainability and health and safety, so it’s been particularly gratifying in this special milestone year to pick up top prize in the Best Health & Safety Product

Category within the National Housebuilder UK Awards and to be nominated in the Best Innovation category of the UK Construction News awards – both of which demonstrate we’re still doing something right after 60 years! www.ag.uk.com


20| THE MARKET

MARKET COMMENTARY Gerard Graham

by Gerard Graham

Social housing is expected to be a growth sector in the near future…

To date, 2020 is a year that few will forget. Many construction companies have experienced their most challenging year since 2008. Most Managing Directors had to temporarily close their businesses for the first time in their lives, that’s a very difficult thing to do as it goes against the grain of what they have been striving for. Although there have been challenges, there are also opportunities ahead. Here are my thoughts on the implications of the last few months… Impact of the Pandemic: Higher premium insurances: Get ready early for a challenging renewal. Expect heightened underwriter focus on COVID-19 impact. My

advice is to commence the renewal process earlier than normal, and to seek advice from your Broker on anticipated changes. Employment contracts: Many people have been working from home and may well continue to work from home 2-3 days per week going forward. Chances are their employment contract was written based on the ‘head office’ being their place of work. This will need revisited by many employers to ensure their employees are insured to work from home. Remote working: I think at some stage a construction company is going to take the bold step to have all its staff working remotely and no longer have a head office. The staff will need to be trained on operating a paperless office and cloud computing. This will reduce their overheads as rent/rates/ utility costs/photocopier expenses etc. will no longer be required. The company will hire a meeting room

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in a business park for essential face-to-face meetings. This could make the company leaner and better positioned to undercut their competitors when tendering for work. Undoubtedly there are pros and cons with such an approach, but regardless, I think sooner rather than later we will see a company go down this road.

Opportunities:

Constructionline: Constructionline has a new section on COVID-19. Contractors should take the opportunity to update it. This will help potential clients identify who is mobilised for new contracts. Marketing: In a challenging economic market many companies make the decision to reduce their marketing budget to reduce costs. I believe this is the wrong decision. If anything, more time should be focused on marketing as now more than ever you need to be stealing a yard on your competitors to make sure your business is being presented

to the widest possible audience. Sectors: The two sectors I think there will be growth in are social housing and commercial refurbishment. I think there will be more managed service office spaces opening up to allow office workers to work in a shared business environment in proximity (5-10 miles) of their home. The growth areas will be outside of Belfast in towns where people previously would have commuted to Belfast from such as Ballymena, Dungannon, Cookstown, Newry, and Ballymoney. Staff training: Many employers have used the recent time to focus on getting their staff trained. In particular, many companies seem to have prioritised getting management staff chartered during 2020 to help compete for future public sector contracts.

Revenue:

Now is a time when contractors should maximise every income


THE MARKET| 21 stream that is available. Three simple opportunities that are available, that often get overlooked, are: R&D Tax Credits: The UK government is pushing hard for a greener construction industry. Even so, many innovative firms are not getting the R&D tax relief they deserve. Construction businesses often see themselves as problemsolvers, but not innovators.You are likely to be eligible for R&D Tax Credits if the following applies to your business: 1.You pay corporation tax. 2.You have spent time, money or expertise improving or creating a product, service or process for your industry. 3.You have tackled technical challenges and used an element of trial and error. 4. A solution to this problem did not exist before. I have been working with a company called RIFT Group Ltd and recommend their service. Their technical team specialises in hunting down qualifying R&D costs and turning them into a serious financial boost for businesses. To date I am surprised that more companies have not availed of this. Invest NI: Many local construction companies export their services to Great Britain. For those that are a client company of Invest NI there are various grants and financial support mechanism on offer. A simple example is the Technical

Development Incentive (TDI). This offers up to £10,000 in financial support towards developing new products, improving processes and testing/certification. For companies that have achieved certification to ISO standards or are migrating to the new ISO 45001 standard for their health & safety management system, then there is financial support available. CITB NI: For levy payers, the CITB NI has a service offering that is worth revisiting every year to see what is on offer. Example of grants that are available include: 1. Apprentice grants. 2. Industrial placement grants. 3. Assessor & Internal Verifier grants. 4. NVQ achievement grants 5. Business Certification grant available for initial certification on a recognised scheme including Investors in People, Quality, Environmental, and Health & Safety, - for example ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 14550, and Safe-T-Cert just to name a few. A £500 grant is payable upon evidence of award by the appropriate recognised body. What are you waiting for!

Current Mood:

There are many public sector PQQs (Pre Qualification Questionnaires) and ITTs (Invitation To Tender) that seem to be stalled or on ‘pause’. This seems to be as a result of meetings with key decision makers being postponed as well as client

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bodies reviewing their budgets to re-prioritise resources as a result of the pandemic. Such projects need accelerated to ensure there is a pipeline of work for the immediate future. On a positive, I have spoken recently with many people who are very busy. For example, the owner of a medium sized demolition company told me during late August that his company is busier than ever and has a strong pipeline of work for

the remainder of the year. Some NI Housing Executive contracts have been awarded in recent weeks which have been welcomed, and there are various new-build school projects which have advanced to PQQ stage. That can only be good news… Enquiries: Gerard Graham FCIOB is a Past-Chair of the CIOB Belfast Hub, and is Principal of Gerard Graham Consulting. He can be contacted at gerard@gerardgraham. co.uk.


Call 0800 2794796 www.grantni.com

Save time and maximise efficiencies on new build & retrofit projects Our Free Home Heating Design Service can provide greater long-term savings. Take advantage of our team’s specialist knowledge and allow us to correctly size the heating system and specify best suited heating products for the property, taking it to a new class of efficiency. Service includes room by room heat loss calculations based on SR:50 guidelines, correct sizing and combination of Grant products including the A+++ Aerona³ R32 air source heat pump, A rated pre-plumbed hot water cylinders, Afinia aluminium radiators and Uflex underfloor heating system. We can ensure that Energy Performance and Carbon Performance are achieved and heating and hot water energy is sourced from renewables. Start the journey to zero carbon today in 3 easy steps…

Send house plans, contact number & preference of heat emitters heatpump@grantni.com

A member of our team will be in touch to discuss your requirements

You will receive full property specifications with recommended products all available from Grant

All specified products are designed to work together as part of the Grant Multiple Package Solutions offering

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Grant Home Heating | 23

GRANT’S HOME HEATING DESIGN SERVICE HELPING TO SAVE TIME AND IMPROVE EFFICIENCIES

Grant Aerona3 R32 air source heat pump

Leading heating technology manufacturer Grant is offering those working on new build and retrofit projects the opportunity to have the property’s full heating requirements designed and quoted under one roof, free of charge, by the Grant technical team. This digital service is helping homeowners and those working in construction to save time on projects whilst also giving peace of mind to know that the exact heating requirements of a property are being met, which in turn results in reduced carbon emissions and greater longterm savings for the property owner. Grant’s home heating design service involves full room by room heat loss calculations in line with SR:50 guidelines on assessment of new build property plans. This is followed by the specification of the main heat source best suited for the property and identification of appropriate supporting technologies including hot water storage and heat emitters. In addition to providing room by

room heat loss calculations and specifying the best suited heating products for the property, the Grant team will work alongside the specifier to ensure from a heating perspective that requirements are met correctly and efficiently. It is this careful combination of heating technologies and smart controls by the technical specialists at Grant which ensures that the heating solution is bespoke to the property, bringing it into a new class of efficiency. Heating technologies featured in Grant’s Multiple Package Solutions offering which may be recommended for the property include the A+++ Aerona³ R32 air source heat pump, which is available in four outputs and is a highly efficient main heat source and the highly efficient Vortex condensing oil boiler range, which is available in a range of models with outputs from 12kW to 70kW. Once the main heat source is selected, additional technologies are specified to support the system’s overall efficiency including Grant’s pre-plumbed hot water cylinders. These A rated cylinders are highly versatile as they can work with

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one or more heat source and are configured for two heating zones and a domestic water zone. The final stage focuses on selecting the correct heat emitters to suit both the property and the heat source’s needs. Grant’s range of heat emitters includes the popular Uflex underfloor heating system and the sleek in design Afinia aluminium radiators. Avail of Grant’s free of charge home heating design service in three easy steps:

1. Send planning drawings, a contact number and preference of heat emitters to heatpump@grantni.com 2. A member of the Grant team will be in touch with you to discuss requirements 3.You will receive full property specifications with recommended products all available from Grant Visit www.grantni.com for more information on Grant’s range of innovative heating solutions. Follow Grant on Facebook and Twitter @myGrantNI or Instagram @ mygrantni


24| Envision

LEADING THE WAY IN CONSTRUCTION SITE SECURITY SOLUTIONS Envision-IS are at the forefront of utilising innovative security solutions to offer customers the most up to date technological solutions which ensure the highest levels of security provision. With over 25 years’ experience providing innovative security solutions across the UK and Ireland the team have recently enhanced their range of products to include additional features which respond to new security site needs arising from the current Covid-19 pandemic. Recognising the need for construction sites to have increased levels of functionality from their on-site security systems, Envision-IS have launched Series 5 Construction Turnstiles which include enhanced thermal and facial recognition combined with the level of bespoke technology and software that Envision-IS are renowned for. Series 5 Construction Turnstiles have been designed in-house, utilising the expertise of the Envision team, combined with access to the very

latest in technology, delivering an optimum security solution for construction sites. Envision’s security turnstiles are designed to provide a fully contained entry and exit system which includes stand alone access control and recording software. Series 5 Construction Turnstiles secure your site with advanced biometric visitor access and are available in two size options – a turnstile pod or a larger version which includes the turnstile pod with an additional security office. They offer IP intercoms and CSCS cards (and also CSR card), along with a health and safety

“We have worked with Envision-IS from the beginning of 2020, we love the fact that our site now has 24/7 security coverage.” software management system. With multiple authentication modes (e.g. face/temperature, card/temperature and card/face/ temperature), The system can trigger voice notifications to personnel entering your site. The system ensures that access is given to those personnel who meet pre-defined standards

SERIES 5 Construction Turnstiles

which could include those wearing or not wearing a mask. These Series 5 Construction Turnstiles come complete with a tailored construction site package that includes delivery, commissioning of unit on site, loading of software onto your PC, training and maintenance. The Envision-IS team will be happy to discuss a rental agreement and a timescale that meets your specific site needs.

coverage all year round. We find every aspect of their organisation great to work with from the installation team right through to the accounts team.” If you wish to review the security solutions you have in place for your business, please contact Envision for a confidential, no-obligation discussion: sales@envision-is. co.uk

A Director in the construction sector said, “We have worked with Envision-IS from the beginning of 2020 after they were recommended to us. Previously we had wired CCTV and now Envision-IS provide us with full site security. We love the fact that our site now has 24/7 security

For further information on the specification of the Series 5 Construction Turnstiles and to view the full range of security solutions available visit:

https://envision-is.co.uk/ construction-security-turnstiles/

DETECT • • • • •

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digest

26

ERRIGAL INVESTS IN NEW MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIAL ESTATE Errigal Contracts has purchased a significant site in County Antrim following three years of growth and international expansion across Europe. The company is investing £20m over the next three-year period towards the initial development of the 70-acre site, the former Enkalon industrial estate, with plans to create a centre of excellence for off-site construction. The company already has manufacturing facilities in Monaghan and this further investment is part of the Brexit strategy to make the business more flexible. The company specialises in partition systems, external facade, interior fitout, ceilings and bespoke solutions working throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe. With significant growth in the last three years, Errigal has more than doubled its employee count to 325 and this is projected to grow further to 450 in the coming year. It also has an extended workforce of over 1,500 currently working on-site across projects. The company has also more than doubled its turnover since 2016; growing from £52.4m in 2016 to £116.2m in 2019, with a strong operating profit in the last year of £7.1m.

Errigal was founded over twenty years ago in London and is now headquartered in Monaghan with offices in Derry, London, Amsterdam and Zurich, alongside the new development estate in County Antrim. The Irish company, led by Cormac McCloskey and Damien Treanor, has worked on some of the most innovative and ground-breaking construction projects from residential, commercial and education to healthcare and hotel & leisure. Cormac McCloskey, from Derry, was recently included in the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist list for 2020, one of only three from Northern Ireland, with the winner to be announced in November this year. Within the 70 acres purchased by Errigal in County Antrim, 30 acres of this includes a functioning distribution warehouse centre. The company plans to breathe new life into this, supported by Invest NI, as well as using the whole site to enable Errigal to continue to develop innovative off-site construction processes. The team will be working with their supply chain to encourage other companies to locate around the site, complimenting Errigal’s off-site construction development. It will also include a residential development to meet local demand for housing across 15 acres and in addition create a host of jobs in the Mid-Ulster area.

Cormac McCloskey It will provide a forwardthinking learning environment for apprenticeships, with over 84 apprentices and 18 undergraduates currently enrolled in the The Errigal Training Academy, an accredited training centre. Cormac McCloskey, Director, commented: “The new investment in county Antrim is an exciting development in the growth of the business. We have extensive experience in off-site construction, and it is our aim to develop the site into a centre for excellence in off-site construction, benefiting our clients across the UK, Ireland and Europe. It allows for early collaboration and a lot of sectors are seeing the benefits of this, such as healthcare and education. It is becoming increasingly important to do as much

construction as possible off-site, reducing the number of people required on-site to install works.” Current projects for Errigal include the completion of 22 Bishopsgate, London City’s tallest building and newest skyscraper with 62 floors at 278-metres high. This high profile £26m project for Errigal is set to open this month. Errigal has also been involved in some of the most ground-breaking residential developments in recent years including One Tower Bridge in London, Central Park Apartments in Dublin, Circle Square in Manchester and 1 Palace Street, London. The company also worked on the World’s tallest residential building in Mumbai over a 5-year period. The majestic World One is 442 metres high with 117 floors and has become Mumbai’s most iconic landmark.

RESTORE DATASHRED IS SERIOUS ABOUT SHREDDING IN NORTHERN IRELAND… Restore Datashred is one of the UK’s leading on-site and off-site shredding companies. They help over 40,000 customers to dispose of confidential information in compliance with data protection legislation. They take the security of confidential data very seriously indeed. They’re BS EN15713:2009 shredding standard accredited, so you can be confident that the service you receive from Restore Datashred will be of the very highest standard. Their off-site service is designed to offer you a simple and reliable solution tailored to meet the needs of your organisation and guarantees that your company’s confidential information will be handled securely

every step of the way.

Secure shredding with unrivalled service Whether your confidential material is in the form of paper records, digital media, uniforms, ID badges or other items, our secure process ensures that all materials and data are strictly contained and controlled. Confidential data and materials are collected by uniformed and securityvetted staff, in a range of satellite tracked and secure vehicles. The data is returned to one of the destruction centres, where it is unloaded inside a high security warehouse and shredded on the

same day. All suitable shredded paper material is then baled and sent to a paper mill to be recycled into paper or tissue products, depending on the grade.

For more information please contact our Area Sales Manager for N.I. Paul Bradwell: 07792142426 paul.bradwell@ restore.co.uk www.restore.co.uk

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An Appreciation | 27

TRIBUTES PAID TO HUGH McWILLIAMS

Hugh and Anne McWilliams

Hugh McWilliams, managing director of H&A Mechanical Services in Draperstown died on 14th August. Hugh and his wife Anne were on their way home from holidays. They had driven up from the west of Ireland, and were just by the gates of their son Carlus’s house when Hugh suffered a heart attack. The company was established in 1993 by Hugh and Anne McWilliams, and for the last five years H&A has been the main sponsor with Derry GAA. H&A has grown from just six people to an employee base of 358. It has

its headquarters in Draperstown and operates satellite offices in Mallusk and in Co Kildare. The company began life as a mechanical services specialist but in recent years has diversified into new areas. It has carved out a reputation for excellence on a diversity of projects, specialising in large volume contracts within the social housing sector, where it delivers mechanical, electrical, refurbishment and renewable projects throughout Ireland. Writing in the Irish News, Cahair O’Kane paid tribute to Hugh. “From he started out with nothing as a young plumber on building sites,

Hugh McWilliams left his mark. When others drained every second from the tea breaks, he had no interest in sitting. He’d come to the lunchbox, lift a sandwich and head off to fit a radiator. The men coming to work behind him knew he’d been there when they found a half-eaten sandwich lying on the sill. “It almost became a calling card. They’d know then that it was done right. “On Friday afternoon, Ballinascreen and Derry lost a son far more generous than they could ever realise. The routine was always the same. Up and into work for 6am, open up the gates, get the yards set up and get the men off to work. “He might have left the tools down

once their plumbing business, H&A Mechanical Services, took off but the work ethic remained. “Publicly, Hugh was the face of the primary sponsor of Derry GAA. It gave him enormous pride to see the company’s name on the county’s jersey. But the reason Hugh did it was the same reason he gave so generously to so many people – he just wanted to help. He was a huge supporter of local schools and community groups and charities, such as mental health awareness group STEPS, who said they and the parish were “the poorer for losing such a community champion”. “The mark Hugh McWilliams left on his community will endure forever.”

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Sign up to CIS FREE to get 3 day's full access to our premium system. Contact us on:

Construction Information Services (CIS) is the market leader in supplying All-Ireland construction opportunities. We provide fully researched real-time information on construction projects from pre-planning to on-site stages. *This project listing was generated on 3rd September 2020.

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CIVIL AND UTILITIES ProjectID Title

Stage

Category

Value

County

On Site

Civil and Utilities

€117,000,000

Co. Cork

Stage

Category

Value

County

On Site

Commercial

€58,268,606

Co. Dublin

On Site

Commercial

£22,500,000

Co. Antrim

Stage

Category

Value

County

Tender

Community and Sport

£4,500,000

Co. Londonderry

Stage

Category

Value

County

1059006 €60m - Educational Facility 1034574 €50m - Academic Hub & Library 1054666 £5.5m - New 14-Classroom Primary School 827148 £29m - College Development

Tender Tender

Education Education

€60,000,000 €50,000,000

Co. Dublin Co. Dublin

Tender On Site

Education Education

£5,500,000 £29,000,000

Co. Armagh Co. Fermanagh

1098517 £28m - Preventative Maintenance, Response Maintenance Minor Building Works 1063884 £17.5m - New School Building 873787 £17.5m - New School Building and Sports Hall

Tender

Education

£28,000,000

Co. Antrim

Tender

Education

£17,500,000

Co. Down

Tender

Education

£17,500,000

Co. Down

Stage

Category

Value

County

Contract Awarded

Hospitality

€44,000,000

Co. Dublin

Stage

Category

Value

County

On Site Tender

Industrial Industrial

€152,000,000 £5,693,200

Co. Louth Co. Down

883989 €117m - Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project (Sewerage Network Contract D )

COMMERCIAL ProjectID Title 899944 €58m - Commercial Development 1076991 £22.5m - Building and Above Ground Asset Repair and Maintenance

COMMUNITY AND SPORT ProjectID Title 1059488 £4.5m - Waterside Shared Village, Contractors

EDUCATION ProjectID Title

HOSPITALITY ProjectID Title 969659 €44m - Residential Development

INDUSTRIAL ProjectID Title 114092 €152m - Biopharmaceutical Campus 1052318 £5.6m - Manufacturing Facility

RESIDENTIAL ProjectID Title

Stage

Category

Value

County

1116441 Multi Supplier Framework Agreements for Architect Led Design Team 913073 €46m - Large Housing Development 975105 €147m - Residential Development 1006952 £8.7m - Apartment Development

Tender

Residential

€54,580,000

Co. Dublin

On Site

Residential

€46,530,000

Co. Kildare

Tender On Site

Residential Residential

€147,000,000 £8,704,868

Co. Dublin Co. Antrim

1059394 £5m - Residential Development 1070948 £3.7m - Social Housing Accommodation, Phase 2 1119201 £20m - Land Design and Build 1119993 £20m - Design and Build

On Site Tender

Residential Residential

£5,034,131 £3,739,900

Co. Antrim Co. Antrim

Tender Tender

Residential Residential

£20,000,000 £20,000,000

Co. Tyrone Co. Antrim

1017589 £2.8m - Social Housing Development 992136 £2.6m - Housing Development, Phase 1

Contract Awarded On Site

Residential Residential

£2,800,000 £2,609,925

Co. Londonderry Co. Armagh

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34| INTERVIEW

Specify talks to… Donal MacRandal, President of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects Q: Did you plan to get involved in the Construction Industry?

Donal MacRandal

Like many people in the construction industry I am from a construction family. My grandfather was a woodworker in the shipyard before becoming a builder/housing developer, and my father was an architect who enjoyed his work. I applied for Architecture because I could not think of anything else I wanted to do more and, having seen my older brother already studying Architecture, it seemed the obvious choice. Q: How did you start off?

I started in Queens University completing my primary degree in Architecture. After a year out in a local practice, and a year in a practice in Cambridge Massachusetts, I went to Edinburgh to complete my postgraduate studies before returning to work in a small practice in Downpatrick. Q: What have been the highlights of your career so far?

Becoming president of the RSUA is definitely one of the highlights. I have been very fortunate to have experienced several very different roles as an architect in my career across both private practice and the public sector. Each role change motivated me to acquire the knowledge and skills required to be effective in a new sector. I now view these changes that pushed me out of my comfort zone as the most rewarding parts of my career. Q: What was the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

From a lecturer in Edinburgh who advised “if you don’t understand how something works don’t fiddle with it or try to change it”. When I started working on historic buildings I realised that this is the perfect advice for a conservation architect. Q: What would you say to any students considering a career in construction?

Go for it. The construction industry provides excellent opportunities and rewards for those who are interested in their work and work

hard. If, however, you are seeking a job in which you do not have to think hard or adapt I suggest the construction industry is not for you. I would encourage anyone thinking of a career in construction to consider a traditional construction apprenticeship or degree as these offer the best starting points. In either case do realise that the construction industry is a very technical and evolving industry that will require you to continue learning for the rest of your career. Q: Do you think the Construction Sector needs more support from Stormont?

The construction industry is a major contributor to the NI economy and generates a net income for our economy from its work outside NI. It is, however, a cyclical industry deeply affected by economic cycles that makes it difficult for it to strategically plan for the future. Government, as the largest customer

of the construction industry, needs to be clear about how it will drive greater long term value from the industry to support the NI economy. A mature acceptance by Government of the risks that it is best placed to manage or bear is essential and is the best support Government can provide to the construction industry. Government can also help the construction industry by demanding more from it and by not incentivising bad behaviour within the industry or accepting poor quality work. Like all industries construction benefits from a level playing field and effective competition. Q: What needs to be done to help the Construction Sector?

The construction sector, over the next 15 years, will have to radically reduce buildings use of resources during construction and operation to respond to the climate emergency. Achieving this will require adoption

of 3D BIM not only during design and construction but also during operation and maintenance. Full use of 3D BIM will permit significant resource efficiency gains in the design of buildings through full integration all elements of construction to minimise the use of materials. This requires procurement of the specialist manufacturer’s and subcontractor’s elements at a very early design stage so that their products and systems can be built into the design not tacked on as separate elements later. The move to fully integrated design does, however, require a shift in current procurement processes that only the public sector has the expertise and scale to drive. Q: Tell us something surprising about yourself…

The surprising thing about me is that I am not very surprising and I am quite happy with that.

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2020

SPOTLIGHT

SPECIFY SPOTLIGHT ON EXCELLENCE In the absence of our annual awards Specify magazine will be featuring projects which display the usual high standards of excellence over forthcoming editions. In addition we will be examining on video with business leaders the successful outcome of their recent projects and the methods employed by participants to overcome problems encountered. These video clips will feature on our website and will also be available for social media distribution to reach a wider digital audience. In this way Specify will continue to ensure our Northern Ireland builders get the recognition they deserve for the outstanding work the construction industry has produced, both here and elsewhere. If your company has completed a quality project recently and want to let others know about it please contact Shaun Byrne on shaunbyrne@greerpublications.com or on 07955 745731. Alternatively you can contact the Editor, Pat Burns on patburns@greerpublications.com . Check us out on social media www.specifymagazine.co.uk


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Specify Magazine: Vol 2 2020  

Specify Magazine: Vol 2 2020  

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