Specify Magazine: May 2024

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Our first drawing competition, in partnership with AG Wilson, was nothing short of epic!

MAY 2024 Est. 1980
Below is the winning entry by Lucy Topley.

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MAY 2024

Occupier and investor demand for commercial property in NI continues to fall, but the outlook for industrial space continues to be strong.

The NI commercial property market remained subdued overall through the first quarter of the year according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Commercial Property Monitor with challenges in the retail and office sector still apparent. However, the outlook for the industrial sector remains strong despite some easing back in current demand.

Taking a look at overall occupier demand, a net balance of -9% of surveyors in Northern Ireland said that demand fell. In terms of the subsectors, both office and retail space continued to see occupier demand easing back with net balances of -10% and -18% respectively. Occupier demand for industrial space was seen to be flat in Q1, following on from 15 successive quarters of strong growth.

On the investor demand side, a net balance of -12% of NI respondents reported a fall in investment enquiries, the third consecutive quarter that this balance has been in negative territory. Similar to the trend in occupier demand, investor demand for both office and retail space was reported to have declined with net balances of -27% and -18% respectively. Investor demand for industrial space continued to rise, though, albeit at a slower rate than seen previously, with a net balance of +9% in the latest quarter.

Looking ahead, overall, surveyors in NI are less optimistic about capital values. A net balance of -15% of surveyors expect allsector capital values to fall through the next quarter. A net balance of -45% of NI respondents anticipate that capital values for office space will fall over the next three months, and a net balance of 18% of surveyors expect a rise for industrial space. With regard to retail space, a net balance of -18% of NI surveyors anticipate three-month capital values to fall, however at the slowest rate since 2018.

On 12-month capital value expectations, again, local surveyors expect retail and office values to ease back, whilst expectations for values in the industrial sectors strengthened, with a net balance of +23% expecting an increase in the next 12 months.

Looking at rental expectations for the next three months, a net balance of -4% of NI surveyors expect rents to fall at all-sector level. Rents in both the office and retail sub-sectors are anticipated to fall through the next quarter (net balances of -9% and30% respectively). With regard to industrial space, rents in this sector are expected to rise, with a net balance of 27% expecting them to edge upwards through the next quarter. And it is a similar trend on the 12-month horizon, with office and retail rents expected to weaken and rental values in the industrial sub-sector to remain strong.

Garrett O’Hare, RICS NI commercial property spokesperson and Managing Director of Bradley NI says: “2023 was a turbulent year, so it’s unsurprising that surveyors remain cautious on the outlook of the commercial property market. The commercial property sector is continuing to face challenges such as continuing to navigate working from home patterns and changes in shopping habits. With demand from investors and occupiers falling overall, surveyors continue to anticipate that capital values and rents will come under pressure, on top of the increased finance and build costs that new developments are facing. However, it is encouraging to note the continuing strong expectations for the industrial sector.”

Commenting on the UK picture, RICS Senior Economist, Tarrant Parsons, said: “Although sentiment remains relatively cautious regarding the near-term outlook across the UK commercial property market, the latest survey results do show some signs of recovery coming through. For one, occupier demand growth now appears to be gaining traction slightly, supported by the broader economy seemingly returning to growth following a brief recession late last year. Moreover, the prospect of interest rate cuts later this year have already led to an easing in credit conditions across the sector, marking the first such improvement in our feedback since 2021. This should begin to support investment market activity as the year wears on, which, in turn, will likely see a more stable picture emerge for headline capital values.”

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9 Digest

The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust recently celebrated a significant milestone as Phase B1 of the Belfast Maternity Unit at Royal Victoria Hospital, constructed by GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership (GBHP), reached completion and was officially handed over to the Trust. This achievement marks a significant advancement in healthcare infrastructure, promising to enhance the birthing experience for over 5,000 women annually who rely on the Royal Jubilee Maternity Service.ga.

10 Women in Construction

In this edition we talk to Maria Bradley, HR Director at Gilbert Ash about her career in construction.

11 RICS Finalists

Some of NI’s most impressive recent building projects have been revealed as finalists in the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Awards, Northern Ireland 2024. The thirteen entries, which include a leisure centre, a community hub and business enterprise facility will be judged by an expert judging panel.

12 York Street Train Station

Following on from the successful preview of the new Grand Central Station on Great Victoria Street, Translink has released details of the new York Street Station. York Street Station is a brand-new facility replacing the current Yorkgate Train Station. It is a significant project, funded by the Department for Infrastructure.

18 Industry Comment


Next step for AMIC  approved after Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council green-lighted a £10m business case.

BRM Utility secures national multi-year framework contracts with support from Invest NI.

20 Fraser Millar Passivhaus

Fraser Millar, a Belfast-based property developer that has been entrenched in the industry for over 60 years, is behind Northern Ireland’s first, large scale Passivhaus certified, residential housing development, Lancaster Park, located in the south of the city. Presenting a modern and fully sustainable solution for energy conscious consumers, Lancaster Park is currently the largest Passivhaus development in the UK, certified to LEB standard. With a budget of £70 million, Fraser Millar claims that Passivhaus buildings are challenging the old principles of construction and are far exceeding Northern Ireland’s current building regulations.

4 I SPECIFY specifymagazine.co.uk 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
MAY 2024 Contents Page 26 Mannok: Building the future Page 28 Belfast Insulation: Specialists in airtightness & insulation

42 Less Stick, More Carrot

Industry expert Jonathan Payne looks at how the construction industry is now dominated by large management companies that employ very few, if any, skilled tradespersons, with the reliance upon supply chains that are now the lifeblood of the industry.

44 School Drawing Competition

Our first drawing competition, in partnership with AG Wilson was nothing short of epic! Here are some of the winners and runners up drawings...

50 Motoring

In this edition we look at the latest developments in the van market including the new Renault Kangoo and Mercedes Citan.

54 Interview: Jonathan McFarlane, Sales Director, Polypipe

When you think of Polypipe, you might imagine an unglamourous world of 4” sewer pipes… But as part of the multinational Genuit Group, there are big plans ahead for the company and new Sales Director, Jonathan McFarlane, is leading from the front.

58 Specify Talks To...

Ciaran Tiffney, Divisional Director – Construction at Dowds Groups about problem finders and problem solvers.



Grant: Tailored heating solutions

SPECIFY I 5 specifymagazine.co.uk The right job can transform
Find out more at hays.co.uk/ni
a person’s
and the right person
transform an organisation. We’re experts at matching both in construction management.

McAleer & Rushe to deliver student accommodation in City of London

McAleer & Rushe has been appointed by developer Dominus Real Estate to create a permanent home for London’s Migration Museum, as part of a landmark mixed-use scheme in the heart of the City of London worth a construction contract value of over £100m.

The 65 Crutched Friars development, which is due to complete in Summer 2027, will include new purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), to provide over 700 student homes in a 21storey building. The student units will be complemented by green spaces open to the public, such as a new pocket park and public roof terrace, for the benefit of the local community.

Located on the eastern edge of the City of London, the scheme has been designed to be sustainable in both construction and operation, targeting a BREEAM Outstanding rating as well as utilising offsite manufacturing, including prefabricated bathroom pods, a precast and unitised façade and both blue and

green biodiverse roofs.

The development also secures the future of London’s Migration Museum with a purpose-built, three-floor 30,000 sq ft space, which will be free-to-enter thanks to a 60-year lease granted by the Ahluwalia family, with no rent or service charge payable, alongside a new pocket park.

Commenting on the announcement, Mark Diamond, Senior Director, McAleer & Rushe said, “We’re thrilled to be delivering this prominent mixed-use scheme in the City of London as Construction Partner with Dominus. Our decade-long collaboration, involving several successful projects throughout the UK, is rooted in shared values and a commitment to delivering positive social value impact and community outreach. Crutched Friars is a prime example of our early engagement approach in action and with our experienced teams behind us, we are looking forward to working on this landmark visionary scheme with all stakeholders involved.”

Gilbert-Ash continues labour of

love at famous Belfast bar

One of Belfast’s most iconic pubs is currently undergoing a ‘facelift’ with teams of specialist tradespeople working to ensure the famous Victorian interiors continue to welcome thirsty visitors for years to come.

Gilbert-Ash is the principal contractor on the project at the Crown Bar which is owned by the National Trust.

Gilbert-Ash are carrying out a number of maintenance-style works in the ‘back of house’ area and to parts of the exterior and roof however, the work inside the bar itself is being carried out by specialist sub-contractors.

Gilbert-Ash Fit Out General Manager, Andrew Russell said work of this nature at the Crown Bar takes place every five to seven years.

Owned by the National Trust and operated by Mitchells & Butlers, the Crown Bar is a Grade A listed building which dates back to the 1880s and was once a Victorian gin palace.

Originally designed to protect Victorian drinkers from the prying eyes of the busy Great Victoria Street, the stainedglass windows are etched with fairies, pineapples, fleur-de-lys, and clowns. The traditional gas lighting also still remains.


DIGEST 6 I SPECIFY 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

Final bascule span arrives for Farrans Gull Wing bridge

Tand an additional 370 tonnes of temporary ballast to ensure the bridge stability during installation.

An additional counterweight of heavyweight concrete will be placed within the J-beams during the installation and commissioning phase of approx. 380 tonnes resulting in the total weight of the bridge during operation being approx. 1100 tonnes.

The bridge, when installed, will sit clear of the highest tide by 12m, meaning that the tips of the J-beams will usually be well over 50m above the sea below. When the bridge is rolled back in the open position, the end of the bridge span that carries the road will be over 60m above the tide below.

The completed bascule bridge will be the largest rolling bascule bridge in the world lifted using hydraulic cylinders.

Tristram Browne, Project Manager for Farrans Construction, said:

“The arrival of the signature sections of the Gull Wing bridge is another exciting milestone for our team, our client and for the town of Lowestoft. The forthcoming installation is a highly technical and challenging feat of civil engineering.”

Rural business park announces phase three of major retail development

Abusiness park in rural County Tyrone that has become a thriving hub for entrepreneurs and small business owners has announced plans for the development of its third phase as part of a six-figure investment supported by Ulster Bank.

Plasterer-turned-property developer Patrick Hughes began the development of Clonoe Village Business Park in the Tyrone village of the same name back in 2017 with the construction of the first of 20 retail and office units.

Seven years on and the rural business park is home to entrepreneurs of every kind, from barbers and beauticians to legal and financial services, bridal and sportswear brands, a dental hygienist, and even the headquarters of one of the region’s leading engineering firms.

Phase three of the development, which

has been granted full planning permission and will begin construction soon will add five new retail and office units to the business park, including a large coffee shop fronting onto the busy Washing Bay Road.

Since the completion of its second phase in 2022, the business park has reported a 100% occupancy rate.

“Our tenants are staying put. It’s a huge endorsement of the facilities,” Patrick said.

“The flow and return of customers is high and we’re seeing heightened demand for rental space. The addition of the new coffee shop unit to the site will help secure the future of the business park and those who operate from within it. It will put us on the map as


more of a destination where members of the public can come and spend time, which we hope can be a driver for our tenants’ businesses too.”

Construction on phase three is expected to commence this spring with an anticipated completion date set for the end of 2025.

SPECIFY I 7 specifymagazine.co.uk
DIGEST 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
he final section of the Gull Wing Bridge in Lowestoft has arrived bringing the completion of this significant infrastructure project one step closer. The bascule span is 39.5m long, 22m wide and 35m tall and will weigh approx. 1120 tonnes when delivered to site and positioned. This is made up of 750 tonnes of permanent structural steelwork Patrick Hughes, owner of Clonoe Village Business Park, pictured with Mary O'Neill, business development manager at Ulster Bank.

AAndidrain makes 8th investment in CDE fleet Breedon to open new tile factory in Lisburn

ndidrain Limited has completed its 8th project in nine years with CDE, one of the leading suppliers of sand and aggregate wet processing solutions for the natural processing and waste recycling sectors.

Established in 1990, Andidrain is a fully integrated company offering industrial cleaning services for customers in the utilities, construction, environmental and waste management sectors.

Headquartered in Carlisle, the contractor originated in Cumbria and has expanded significantly over the past three decades, now offering its services to projects throughout the UK. Denholm Energy Services acquired Andidrain Limited in August 2022 and has continued its partnership with CDE.

In 2014, Andidrain invested in its first CDE solution, a which enabled the company to reduce its waste-to-landfill volumes by 70%, swiftly exemplifying CDE’s drive to create our best world one tonne at a time. By late 2023, the company owned an MSU:10G and was completing its 7th D:MAXTM acquisition.

The CDE D:MAXTM is a mobile, trailermounted screening and classification system used to process a variety of materials from the water and wastewater treatment process, and this purchase added the newest generation of the technology to the Andidrain portfolio. The addition was set to increase operational coverage, as the existing solutions were utilized to their full potential.

The D:MAXTM sets the industry standard for the removal of solids from liquid waste in-situ, and the latest edition features fine cyclone technology. In addition, carbon footprint and transport costs are reduced as it can be easily moved around a number of sites, facilitating processing insitu at a variety of locations with limited downtime. This minimises the transport required to bring waste material to a processing site and its recovery rates lead to lower disposal costs.

The solution produces a dewatered grit and oversize product. Recovery of this material alone has a huge impact on the volumes of waste to be sent to landfill, an advantage previously experienced by Andidrain.

Breedon Group plc has announced the opening of a new concrete tile production factory in Lisburn.

Breedon’s significant investment at this site will reduce local supply chain constraints and enable quicker and more efficient processes in order to produce high quality tiles at a faster production rate. The new factory contains advanced, modern equipment, increasing Breedon’s tile production capacity in the region by over 80%, from 12 million to 22 million tiles per annum. This new facility will ensure the Group remains at the forefront of tile manufacturing in Northern Ireland. The site has been designed with sustainability as a key consideration. The successful ESG journey of the tile business and the significant decrease in carbon generated per m2 of tiles, is something the team is exceptionally proud of.

Jude Lagan, Managing Director, Cement and Products at Breedon Group, said: “I am proud to see the opening of this impressive facility in Lisburn, demonstrating our commitment to our business in Ireland, whilst benefitting the wider region, providing more supply and enabling secondary and tertiary industries to thrive.”

Kilwaughter launch new GP Mix

Kilwaughter Minerals has launched a new general purpose render, GP Mix, through its K Rend brand.

Boasting a cutting-edge new formula with reduced drying times and improved workability, GP Mix is suitable for use as a float coat, scratch coat and masonry mortar. The product replaces its existing GP Mortar product which has been a successful part of the portfolio for several years.

The product delivers a number of major

benefits for the housebuilder market, giving the same final appearance as traditional sand and cement render mix while being suitable for internal and external use, as well as being suitable for hand or machine application.

The arrival of GP Mix to the market comes less than two years after Kilwaughter Minerals’ K Rend brand launched K Mono, a one-coat, one-pass through-coloured render product that has revolutionised the UK and Ireland housebuilder market.


DIGEST 8 I SPECIFY 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
Andidrain DMAX at Ellesmere Port

New Belfast Maternity Unit reaches completion

The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust recently celebrated a significant milestone as Phase B1 of the Belfast Maternity Unit at Royal Victoria Hospital, constructed by GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership (GBHP), reached completion and was officially handed over to the Trust.

This achievement marks a significant advancement in healthcare infrastructure, promising to enhance the birthing experience for over 5,000 women annually who rely on the Royal Jubilee Maternity Service.

The completion of this state-of-the-art facility, valued at approximately £85 million, signifies a commitment to revolutionise maternity care in Belfast.

Delivered by the GBHP, the project has been a collaborative effort aimed at meeting the evolving needs of expectant mothers and their families.

Peter Reavey, Director at GBHP, said: “This new Maternity Hospital represents the future of maternity care for Belfast. We are proud to deliver a facility that not only meets the highest standards of safety and comfort, but also fosters an environment of support and empowerment for mothers and their newborns."

Built adjacent to the existing Maternity Hospital, the new five-storey unit boasts modern amenities and innovative design features aimed at providing a welcoming and uplifting environment. With en-suite rooms equipped with birthing pools, delivery suites, obstetric theatres, and a neonatal intensive care unit – all conveniently located on one floor for seamless accessibility – the facility ensures comprehensive care for mothers and babies, from routine deliveries to those requiring specialised care.

The project's success was not without its

challenges - construction took place within a busy acute hospital environment surrounded by existing live hospital buildings. However, through close collaboration with the Trust's management and stakeholders, GBHP implemented rigorous logistical coordination and infection prevention measures to minimise disruptions and ensure the safety of patients and staff.

In addition to the Maternity Hospital, GBHP also previously completed the £30 million Acute Mental Health Inpatient Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

Bid Writing Masterclass

Date: Wednesday 12th June 2024

Location: Belfast

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 CONCRETE FUTURES DIGEST specifymagazine.co.uk
Bookings: www.gerardgraham.co.uk “Score more points, win more business."

women in construction

Name: Maria Bradley

Job title: HR Director Gilbert-Ash

Q: What made you want to work in the construction industry?

I joined Gilbert-Ash 36 years ago as PA to the then Managing Director. I moved from a career working in the agri-food sector. The world of construction was certainly very new to me, but it was a step I was willing to take. During my time at Gilbert-Ash my career has developed and I became a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development before progressing to my current position as HR Director.

Q: What does your current role involve?

As HR Director, my role is a varied one, and working alongside my team, we oversee those normal HR responsibilities but beyond that it gives me great satisfaction to really shape things like the company’s diversity and inclusion policies. I’m proud to say Gilbert-Ash is committed to supporting a workplace where everyone is recognised for their skills and talents. Being at the heart of this drive and working alongside outside bodies to ensure we are continually moving forward in this area is very rewarding for me.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

I am passionate about attracting more women into the construction industry. Things have improved dramatically during my time in the industry but we need to continue to work hard to create the environment where everyone is recognised for their skills and talent. Gilbert-Ash is a great place to work, there is a family atmosphere where we do our best to support each other and make it a welcoming and enjoyable working environment.

Q: Would you recommend a career in construction?

I would recommend a career in construction. There is so much more to it than perhaps the stereotypical image of doing heavy manual work on a building site suggests. At Gilbert-Ash we work on iconic buildings which are often enjoyed by millions of people – making your mark on projects like this can be incredibly rewarding for our people.

Q: How has the industry changed since you started?

The industry has certainly moved forward when it comes to diversity and inclusion. In my early days not having my voice heard or valued was a real source of frustration for me, but things have improved. We must continue to work hard to create the environment where everyone is recognised for their skills and talent. Promoting skills and talent should be the culture. Gender should not enter the equation.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

I am at that stage of my career when I can start to think about perhaps slowing down a little. I want to give back to the industry which has given me so much and to society in general so I am considering my options with a view to doing perhaps some volunteering.

Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?

I love to spend time outdoors whether that’s walking or tending to my garden. I’ve always been interested in calligraphy and would love to take a class to hone my skills.

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Maria Bradley

Prestigious projects in Northern Ireland shortlisted for RICS Awards

Some of NI’s most impressive recent building projects have been revealed as finalists in the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Awards, Northern Ireland 2024.

The thirteen entries, which include a leisure centre, a community hub and business enterprise facility will be judged by an expert judging panel.

The RICS Awards showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, real estate, construction and

infrastructure. They recognise outstanding achievement, teamwork and companies.

Amongst the NI shortlisted entries are Templemore Baths, Queens Business School’s Student Hub and the Sperrins Sculptural Trail.

The entries are shortlisted across five categories – Residential Development, Community Benefit, Heritage, Public Sector, Refurbishment-Revitalisation.

Chair of the Northern Ireland RICS Awards judging panel, Michael

Northern Ireland entries shortlisted for the awards are:

• Queens Business School's Student Hub, Belfast (Public Sector Project)

• Custom House, Belfast (Heritage Project)

• Bruce Street, Belfast (Residential Development)

• Templemore Baths, Belfast (Heritage Project)

• St Comgall’s – Ionad Eileen Howell, Belfast (Refurbishment/Revitalisation Project)

• 00 GPS Dedicated Youth Space, Belfast (Refurbishment/Revitalisation Project)

• Sean Dolan’s Creevagh Heights, Derry (Community Benefit Project)

• Waterside Shared Village, Derry (Community Benefit Project)

• New Gate Arts & Culture Centre, Derry (Community Benefit Project)

• The Workhouse Enniskillen (Heritage Project)

• The Workhouse Enniskillen (Refurbishment/Revitalisation Project)

• Sperrins Sculptural Trail, Omagh (Community Benefit Project)

• Sperrins Sculptural Trail, Omagh (Public Sector Project)

Hannaway, said: “It is inspiring to see such inspirational projects in Northern Ireland shortlisted for these awards. It is a true testament to the dedication of surveying professionals despite challenging times in recent years. I wish all of the projects the best of luck.”

Companies still have the opportunity to enter an additional six categories – to be judged nationally – and have until 26th April to submit their entry. Amongst the national categories is the new Ambassador of the Year Award category.


SPECIFY I 11 specifymagazine.co.uk DIGEST 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
Queens Business School's Student Hub, Riddel Hall. Sperrins Sculptural Trail

Work well underway at new York Street Station

Following on from the successful preview of the new Grand Central Station on Great Victoria Street, Translink has released details of the new York Street Station.

York Street Station is a brand-new facility replacing the current Yorkgate Train Station. It is a significant project, funded by the Department for Infrastructure.

It will serve as a welcoming entry point to Belfast and as a vital hub for residents, workers, students and visitors.

As a major public transport facility in north Belfast, York Street Station will act as a gateway for that locality and as a point of access for passengers from across Northern Ireland to Ulster University, Sailortown, Cathedral Quarter, City Quays, Cityside, inner North Belfast and other nearby communities.

York Street Station will be a modern sustainable fully accessible facility fostering better connectivity for passengers and providing a valuable community resource.

Additionally, it will play a key role in promoting the use of sustainable transportation options.

A Catalyst for Regeneration

The current station sees around 1/2 a million passenger journeys each year, one of the busiest on the network, and it is well placed, with a relatively short walk / cycle to the Cathedral Quarter, Ulster University, City Quays and the new City Quays Gardens, as well as Clarendon Dock Offices.

The new York Street Station will serve the Sailortown community including the new developments at Pilot Street and City Quays, which will see a mix of apartments and townhouses, including an ancillary community hub and offices, and landscaping constructed over the coming period.

The station is also perfectly placed for the proposed Sailortown to Titanic Quarter Active Travel Bridge which is currently at the bidding stage for funding.

The new station will also act as a gateway to the wider rail network to both the Larne and Derry~Londonderry lines and is within easy access to the new Belfast Grand Central Station (due to open later this year) connecting to bus, coach and rail services throughout Northern Ireland and beyond.

York Street Redevelopment includes:

• A brand new train station building with fully accessible, high-quality customer and staff facilities.

• New public facilities including retail space, toilets, waiting areas and a

Changing Places facility.

• 70 secure cycle parking and connections to existing national cycle route infrastructure, siting for a new Belfast Bikes station, and consideration to any potential future cycle infrastructure developments in the area.

• A new passenger footbridge between platforms.

• Increased platform width to both passenger platforms to aid passenger congestion at peak times.

• New canopies to platforms with increased cover to passenger waiting areas

• New high-quality public realm space creating an ambient and attractive public space.

• A landmark Public Art feature

• Easy access to local bus services for links to city centre.

Phase 2 Public Realm

Phase 2 will commence after the opening of the new station and will involve the demolition of the existing Yorkgate Station, completion of the platform extension and canopy works and formation of the new public realm space including a passenger drop-off area.

Community Engagement

As part of putting community at the heart of the redeveloped station, Translink sought to reflect the surrounding communities through artwork created for the station. Arts & Business NI facilitated and supported a partnership between Translink and the Golden Thread Gallery (GTG), through its Investment Programme.

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The gallery has worked with Translink to deliver a major creative community engagement project around the station redevelopment. They have drawn directly from community ideas and input to develop the public artworks that will be part of the new building: a major piece of public artwork outside the station, a smaller community artwork within the station building, and the perforated panels which will enclose the station site.

Since February 2023, the GTG team and local artist Lesley Cherry have facilitated free art and creative sessions with local schools and community groups across North Belfast, including Sailortown Regeneration Group, New Lodge, The Hubb Veterans Group and Women’s Group, and the Serenity Club; as well as sessions with Ulster University. GTG also hosted a series of monthly free public drop-in workshops as part of Late Night Art Belfast over summer 2023, taking Translink’s vision for the redevelopment of York Street station as a creative prompt.

All the workshops emphasised personal journeys and connections, reaffirming that the ways we get around our city are woven through our shared histories and are a crucial part of its future development.

The success of the creative partnership was demonstrated recently when Translink and the Golden Thread Gallery won the prestigious Arts & Business NI Creative Community Engagement Award. The award recognised this outstanding collaboration which has engaged with over 1,000 people in the local communities of North Belfast.

Project Social Value

Social Value opportunities have been developed throughout construction phases of the project and continue to deliver positive social impact above and beyond statutory targets, in conjunction with partner agencies.

Translink recognise that heritage is of great importance to stakeholders and

local Belfast citizens – Translink has worked with a wide range of local stakeholders, including the local community, political representatives and various city stakeholders.

The most recent figures for social value provided by Translink’s construction partner Graham include:

• 364 weeks of paid employment for New Entrant Trainees (site-based)

• 10 professional & trade apprentices employed on the project.

• 35 weeks of on-site work experience facilitated for secondary school & FE students

• 292 staff hours dedicated to school construction careers events, site visits & supporting curricula. 413 students reached.

• 34 employer insight events with local employability providers and their client groups to help improve prospects for employment for job-seekers

• 69 event hours (300 staff volunteer hours) supporting the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector

• 50 people working per day on the York Street Site during construction


From its inception, it has been meticulously designed with sustainability at its core, aligned with Translink’s Climate Positive Strategy, which aims to reduce emissions from their buildings, facilities, infrastructure and assets.

Translink's Climate Positive Strategy is a roadmap to a cleaner future. From design to construction, steps have been taken to minimise the overall environmental impact and contribute significantly to the ambitious goals set to be Net Zero by 2040 and Climate Positive by 2050.

Sustainability measures include -

• Air Source heat pumps

• Solar panels

• Automated Natural ventilation

• Intelligent building management system


RenewableNI empowering women and inspiring inclusivity

Over one hundred women from the renewable energy sector gathered in Belfast recently to discuss increasing diversity and inclusion ahead of International Women’s Day 2024.

RenewableNI’s Women in Renewables event, in partnership with A&L Goodbody is the only all-female event in UK and Ireland in the renewable industry.

Returning for the second year, the event provides a valuable platform to champion female voices and highlight role models.

Women in Renewables was opened by a keynote speech by Kate Nicholl MLA, Alliance Party spokesperson for Early Years and Childcare. Kate drew on her personal experience as a working mother, addressing the challenges a lack of childcare provision is causing.

Childcare is a major roadblock in career pathways. As part of an event survey RenewableNI found:

• 87 per cent of women with children altered their working pattern after becoming a mother, with

• 61 per cent said that childcare costs had impacted their career.

• 22 per cent of women said they didn’t apply for a job or promotion due to childcare.

The lack of childcare provision in Northern Ireland will have longer term impact of society as over a third of women said they had deferred having their first child or had less children than they would have liked due to costs of childcare.

Women In Renewables addressed the issue of women taking on many unrecognised roles and tasks, and the impact this could have. The survey found 28 per cent had a workload that was causing concern. Over half of the women had experienced burnout with another third saying they had ‘come close’.

The women discussed their personal experiences of imposter syndrome, including the need to feel they should say yes to everything or must be ‘the best’ in all areas of their lives.

An all-female panel of industry experts, chaired by Ruth Forbes from event partner A&L Goodbody discussed the importance of trailblazers in the industry. They recognised that those women who had great experiences were following in the footsteps of other women who had to battle for rights.

The panel, also included Head of Renewable Electricity at the Department for the Economy, Zoe Crowe; Eimear O’Reilly, Head of Professional Services and Projects, Everun ;and Sam Mc Closkey, Country Director, Simply Blue Group.

There was consensus that support from male colleagues and partners had been


vital for successful transition and recognising that it didn’t always have to be the female in traditional roles.

Judith Rance, Communications and Events Manager at RenewableNI said:

“It was fantastic to have a lineup of seven women, including our imposter syndrome speaker Jane Fleming, being so honest about their challenges. I would like to thank all of them, and everyone women who attended, for being an inspiration.”

Speaking on the importance of the event to the industry and Northern Ireland, Ruth Forbes, Senior Associate said:

“We know that net zero offers significant and positive benefits to our economy and our people. To ensure this growth is inclusive and sustainable, women must be fully included across all roles in the renewable energy sector, particularly in positions of leadership where they have long been under-represented, and where they have so much to offer.

“This year’s Women in Renewables event and the return of an operational Stormont makes it an important opportunity to highlight the significant work that still needs to be done to ensure equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities for women in the energy sector.”

Find out more at hays.co.uk/ni
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.
RenewableNI Women in Renewables, Kate Nicholl MLA

Top UU students win Hamilton Architects Bursary Award 2024

Four Ulster University studentstwo Architecture and two Architecture Technology & Management undergraduateshave won Hamilton Architects Bursary Awards 2024.

The Award gives each student £1k cash and an offer of a placement year with the practice. The winners were selected from outstanding projects submitted as part of their coursework at UU.

CDE plans new product unveiling at Hillhead 2024

The stage is set as CDE, a leading supplier of sand and aggregate wet processing solutions for the waste recycling and natural minerals processing sectors, announces its return to Hillhead with a major product showcase on the cards for 10.30am on Tuesday 25th June, at the CDE’s standA11.

From June 25 – 27, the wet processing experts will shine a spotlight on equipment from the CDE product range that is improving productivity and delivering consistent performance in the quarrying, construction, and recycling industries.

The company will also debut its most efficient water management solution to date, which it says promises greater functionality, improved maintenance access and safety, speed, automation, and material versatility to offer best value per

ton processed for operators.

Commenting on the company’s latest product reveal, CDE’s David Kinloch, Director of Business Development, UK & Ireland, said: “We see the world through our customers’ eyes and we engineer practical, scalable and proven solutions that address real-world problems, from the big picture issues concerning global sand shortages and the industry’s waste burden, to the everyday needs of our customers.

“Our plans for Hillhead this year really reflect our commitment to innovation and our desire to elevate the industries and sectors we operate in. Alongside the AggMax – the backbone of the CDE process and the driving force behind countless natural processing and waste recycling solutions around the world – will be the latest generation of our FreeFlow and the global reveal of our newest product innovation.”

SPECIFY I 15 DIGEST specifymagazine.co.uk 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 CONCRETE FUTURES
They are, from left: ATM students Zara Jones and Sinead Duffy; Hamilton Architects Partner Graeme Ogle; and Architecture students Lloyd Andrews and Hoklim Lui. David Kinloch

Farrans completes 20-storey student accommodation in Leeds

Farrans Construction has completed and handed over a luxury 20-storey student residential scheme in Leeds city centre for client Infinity Construction Enterprise Limited, part of the YPP Group.

A total of 212 studio apartments have been provided in the Live Oasis St Albans Place development, featuring kitchens, bedrooms, en-suites, storage and living facilities. The range of communal spaces includes a gym, communal lounge, kitchen, study spaces, wellbeing lounge and eighth floor roof terrace.

Farrans continues to build on its presence in the region having recently been appointed as the main contractor for the Phase 1 terminal extension as part of a £100m regeneration project at Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA).

Cathal Montague, regional director for Farrans Construction, said:

“Live Oasis St Albans Place has been an exciting and challenging project in the

heart of a busy city centre location and we are proud to have delivered an unrivalled luxury student experience which matched our client’s expectations. We had an excellent project team on the ground who worked collaboratively with our client, architects, the management company YPP and our supply chain to minimise disruption while remaining on target and on programme.

“Our experience of constructing student accommodation and high-rise properties using sustainable approaches means that we were well placed to deliver a cuttingedge design which relied exclusively on precast construction from the first floor upwards with a façade design and highquality material palette. We have been able to optimise the speed of construction using innovative technology without compromising on the luxury finish. The precast panels offer a more sustainable approach to construction delivery as well as working well in a tight site footprint.”

Lagan Group completes wastewater contract at Kinnegar for NI Water

NI Water and its partners are marking the end of a longstanding contract that outsourced the operation of wastewater treatment facilities at Kinnegar, Holywood County Down for the past 25 years, under the UK government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

The contract, awarded back in April 1999

when sewage services were provided by the Department of Environment, concluded on 30 April 2024, when the current operator Lagan MEICA Ltd, part of the Lagan Specialist Construction Group (SCG) handed the keys over to NI Water’s Head of Public Private Partnerships, Ciaran Crozier.

The original Kinnegar Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW), built in 1964, was given an £11M upgrade back in 1999 by the contracting consortium of Lagan and Hyder plc, with Lagan operating the works for the remainder of the 25-year contract period. The works treats wastewater from the majority of East Belfast, Airport Road West commercial area, and the town of Holywood itself.


Ciaran Crozier, NI Water’s Head of Public Private Partnerships said: “Whilst we are appreciative of the services provided by Lagan SCG and their partners over the past 25 years, we are delighted to bring these assets back in under the direct management of NI Water, as we plan to substantially reinvest in the future of wastewater treatment in the area.”

The much-needed upgrade – which is being developed as part of the Living With Water in Belfast Plan – will fully modernise this key NI Water asset, providing greater environmental protection and supporting growth and prosperity in the Holywood area.

An integrated team - comprising Farrans Construction, TES-CAW and AECOMhas been working collaboratively with NI Water and their project management team from RPS, under an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) appointment, to progress the designs for the Kinnegar site

‘The Older Buildings for a Greener Future’ project

DIGEST 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
16 I SPECIFY specifymagazine.co.uk
NI Water’s Ciaran Crozier (right) and Neil McKenzie from Lagan SCG in the foreground, as Neil hands over the keys to Ciaran. Transition team staff from NI Water and Lagan SCG in background.

Optimism rises in NI construction sector as house building activity picks up

Construction activity in Northern Ireland increased for the first time in two years, albeit at a modest rate, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) construction monitor for Q1 2024.

A net balance of 4% of Northern Ireland respondents to the survey reported that overall construction workloads rose through the first quarter of 2024. This is the first time this figure has been in positive territory since this time two years ago.

Looking at the subsectors, surveyors reported that all private works saw increases with a net balance of 21% reporting a rise in private housing activity, 4% in private commercial and 19% in private industrials. Surveyors were not as upbeat about public sector activity, with a net balance of -6% noting a fall in infrastructure workloads, -32% in public works and public housing is said to have fallen flat.

Surveyors are more optimistic on the outlook though, with a net balance of 28% of NI respondents anticipating that overall workloads will rise over the next year. This is the highest this figure has been since pre-pandemic. It represents the first survey carried out since the return of the Northern Ireland Executive. And indeed, anecdotal evidence from respondents point to the restoration of Northern Ireland’s political institutions as a factor in the improved outlook. Although workloads are expected to rise, surveyors in Northern Ireland do anticipate that profit margins will continue to be squeezed, albeit at a lesser rate than seen previously. A net balance of -6% of surveyors anticipate that profit margins will fall over the next 12-month period.

With the uptick in activity in some subsectors, NI respondents report ongoing shortages in skills across all sectors, with further tightening in some areas. This quarter, surveyors reported increased shortages in quantity surveyors (61% up from 52%) and bricklayers (57% up from 46%). 48% of surveyors noted the continued shortage of other construction professionals which is the same figure as was seen late last year.

Jim Sammon, RICS NI Construction Spokesman, said: “We came into this year off the back of a turbulent 2023, so It is encouraging to see surveyors more optimistic about the year ahead. The construction industry is though continuing to navigate many challenges including skills shortages, ongoing high costs, and other economic issues which will continue to be acutely felt into the months ahead.”

“The return of the NI Executive is a welcome development which will enable decisions to be made that can positively impact our infrastructure and Northern Ireland’s journey to net zero.

The recent budget highlighted the stark public spending environment, so it is clear that tough decisions will have to be made to support these urgent objectives. This includes the need to be decisive in relation to how revenue is raised and how


spending is prioritised. ”

Commenting on the UK picture, Simon Rubinsohn, Chief Economist at RICS, commented: “The results of the Q1 RICS Construction Monitor suggest that activity in the industry more broadly is likely to start picking up as the year progresses although for the time being, it remains the infrastructure sector where sentiment remains most positive. The more upbeat expectations for the residential segment is particularly encouraging given the sharp fall in supply over the last year or so but, to put this in some context, the latest reading is not indicative of a return to even previous development numbers let alone reaching the goal of 300,000 units per annum.

“Although there is a little more optimism about a likely easing in credit conditions towards the back end of this year, financial constraints currently continue to be perceived as the major challenge facing the industry.

“Alongside this, securing planning is also seen as a key obstacle to getting on site while even with the relatively subdued trend in activity, difficulties in sourcing sufficient quantities of skilled labour are still being highlighted”.

SPECIFY I 17 specifymagazine.co.uk DIGEST 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
Jim Sammon

Construction Industry Commentary

Grade A Rents Rising:

I see the commercial surveyors are reporting that sustainability criteria such as the BREEAM accreditation are becoming more important in the sale of a commercial property as companies of all sizes start to identify how they are going to contribute to achieving a net zero future. I think the environmental impact of buildings including their refurbishment and redevelopment will become increasingly more scrutinised now that the NI Assembly has been restored and increasingly more attention comes from foreign direct investors.

Local Government Buildings for Sale: Nobody can deny that the Covid pandemic changed working patterns for

the long-term. Interestingly, the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) wants to shrink its office estate by 40% over the next four years. The process has already started with the Department for Infrastructure's headquarters being put up for sale. Other buildings on the market include the former headquarters for the Department for the Economy in east Belfast.

Companies in all industries, including construction, need to be mindful of how they implement and manage a hybrid working policy. Things that need to be considered include the implications to a company’s insurance if a staff member was to get injured while working from home, dependency on domestic Wi-Fi in homes for important tasks such as electronic bid submissions, and health & safety in relation to ensuring homeworking arrangements for staff comply with industry good practices such as display screen equipment (DSE) guidelines.

Green Collar Workers:

Most people have heard of the terms ‘blue and white collar’ workers. These were typically used to differentiate between office and site-based personnel. I recently read about a term ‘green collar’ worker, which was new to me. So-called green colour labour shortages are pronounced and are having impacts on the deliverability of sustainable projects. Across the UK skills in particular demand

include insulation, heat pump, and window installers - who are at the heart of badly needed efforts to retrofit buildings. There is a risk that the UK's construction progress towards net zero targets could be impeded by a lack of capability in the market.

Command and Control Outdated:

Like many people, when travelling I now download a podcast for the journey. I recently listened to an episode from 21CC (21st Century Construction), by the Chartered Institute of Building. A feature in it caught my attention - a Construction Manager was being interviewed about a new book he had written. It was all about how managers and leaders in the construction industry need to evolve away from the traditional demand and control management style and adapt an approach where staff are empowered.

His ethos is based on giving people parameters and incentives, then letting them express themselves and come up with the solutions. That includes letting staff decide their own working hours, office layouts, solutions to challenges, then using praise to reward and encourage them further. Basically, using a carrot rather than a stick approach. This results in better productivity and improved staff retention. It sounds simple, and it is. I use the same approach with my nineyear old son. I have agreed with him how many hours he can play Fortnite on his Nintendo Switch, and when he wants to do so. Likewise, I let him decide on when he wants to do his homework, then let him do it within the agreed parameters. I never criticise any of his work, rather I praise him for completing it well. The term is selfesteem. People thrive when they feel valued. The same principle applies for people of all ages and abilities, whether at work or at home.


Gerard Graham FCIOB, is Principal of Gerard Graham Consulting. Web: www.gerardgraham.co.uk

18 I SPECIFY specifymagazine.co.uk

Launch of RICS Retrofit Standard

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), have launched a new Residential Retrofit Standard following an extensive eight week-long consultation period.

This new standard has been developed by a team of experts as a response to a demand for high quality, residential retrofit advice, spurred on by increasingly high energy prices and UK government net-zero targets, and will provide a framework within which RICS members can advise their customers on retrofit options in homes across the UK, in turn supporting the nationwide effort to decarbonise the residential property sector.

The standard also ensures that consumers receive advice from skilled, regulated professionals and ultimately protects the public interest by upholding high standards in a growing market. It is intended to be applied and understood across the UK residential sector and is the only one of it’s kind designed to support surveyors and provide assurance to both consumers and lenders.

A series of extra questions were included in the RICS Residential Property Monitor in January, to gauge the impact of energy efficient properties on market trends, which made for some interesting and insightful responses.

When survey respondents were asked if they had seen greater interest from

buyers in homes that are more energy efficient, 39% said they had noticed an increase in demand, which is an increase on the 34% when this question was asked in June 2023.

On the same basis, 43% stated that sellers were looking to attach a premium to homes that are more energy efficient (42% last time). 26% reported seeing buyers highlight poor energy efficiency as a reason for making an offer below asking price (23% previously) and 37% said that higher energy efficient homes were holding their value in the current market.

Paul Bagust, RICS Head of Property Practice, commented: “As homeowners increasingly look to explore ways to retrofit their homes to improve energy performance, it is critical that advice is given by a highly qualified professional.

“It is clear, especially from the results of the extra questions added to our monthly residential survey, that shows

how the importance of energy efficient homes is increasing, that there is a market need for a standard that facilitates quality, reliability and consistency and provides a foundation for professional indemnity, and the RICS Retrofit Standard does just that.

“This fully comprehensive standard will be rigorously upheld by RICS and has been designed to be used and understood by a broad range of professionals in the industry. We are asking for the recommendations in the standard to be implemented by the 31st October 2024”.

The launch of the standard contributes to RICS goal to continue to lead and influence on sustainability. RICS is also advocating for policy reform to accelerate decarbonisation of the built environment and is spearheading a whole life approach to measuring and monitoring carbon emissions in the sector.


Fraser Millar: the family firm championing a new way of living.

Building contractors and property developers across Northern Ireland are currently facing a number of challenges, however one innovative and forwardthinking family firm believes that it can revolutionise the sector by introducing a European concept known as Passivhaus, which has been a mainstay in the continents’ construction industry for the last three decades.

Fraser Millar, a Belfast-based property developer that has been entrenched in the industry for over 60 years, is behind Northern Ireland’s first, large scale Passivhaus certified, residential housing development, Lancaster Park, located in the south of the city.

Presenting a modern and fully sustainable solution for energy conscious consumers, Lancaster Park is currently the largest Passivhaus development in the UK, certified to LEB standard.

With a budget of £70 million, Fraser Millar claims that Passivhaus buildings are challenging the old principles of construction and are far exceeding Northern Ireland’s current building regulations.

With no grant assistance available to Northern Ireland property developers, unlike those in GB, Fraser Millar has funded the development of Lancaster Park, and the company is committed to becoming a trailblazer in the design and construction of more sustainable housing.

What is Passivhaus?

A concept developed in Germany, Passivhaus refers to dwellings that have been constructed to meet rigorous

energy efficiency design standards, meaning that they maintain an almost constant temperature.

Centred around five key principles –insulation, high quality windows and doors, airtightness, mechanical heat recovery ventilation and thermal bridgefree detailing – Passivhaus homes are vastly superior in terms of their construction, meaning that they retain heat from occupants and appliances and require very little additional heating or cooling.

What are the key benefits of Passivhaus buildings?

“Passivhaus buildings are carefully designed and constructed to ensure that over 90 per cent of the heat generated within the home, stays in the home, leading to less energy consumption which

specifymagazine.co.uk 20 I SPECIFY
One of Fraser Millar’s company directors, John Carrigan, pictured at the ZEB Summit, which was held in the RDS, Dublin, where he hosted a workshop. Lancaster Park boasts a number of well-manicured front and back lawns

can result in significant financial savings for the homeowner,” explained John Carrigan, one of Fraser Millar’s company Directors.

“In fact, data gathered by Fraser Millar demonstrates that our Passivhaus homes are performing as predicted when they

were designed, with real data showing a performance of 102.5% of predicted total energy use. Recent studies noted that typical standard new build homes are reporting performances of between 152% to 198% energy requirement than designed, whereas Passivhaus homes

showed a range between 96% and 104% .”

“Although typically a little more expensive to build, using 70 to 90 per cent less energy than conventional homes directly translates into huge energy savings for the buyer. Lancaster Park homes are also fitted with PV solar panels, which harness energy from the sun to provide electricity, further reducing utility bills.”

Aside from financial savings, Passivhaus homes are specifically designed to promote higher air quality circulation, leading to improved health and wellbeing for all occupants. Continuous ventilation, alongside a heat recovery system, ensures a constant supply of warm, fresh, clean air that reduces the risk of pollutants and dust, which is beneficial to those with allergies.

Elsewhere, due to the stringent construction standards that Passivhaus buildings are expected to meet, they are more durable and resilient than other conventional buildings. The high-quality insulation and airtight conditions of Passivhaus homes means that they have greater protection against issues that can degrade materials over a period of time, such as condensation and mould.

Lancaster Park

Promoting a cleaner, greener and leaner way of living, Lancaster Park is Northern Ireland’s first large scale Passivhaus housing development, situated off the Saintfield Road in south Belfast.

SPECIFY I 21 specifymagazine.co.uk
Each house in Lancaster Park comes with PV solar panels fitted as standard. One of the stylish living areas in Lancaster Park.

Consisting of 219 properties – 65 of which have already been sold – Lancaster Park boasts a range of homes to suit all needs and requirements offering three and four bedroom dwellings, detached and semidetached.

It was also the first large-scale development in Northern Ireland to offer an energy performance certificate (EPC) with an A rating.

The development features green areas, feature ponds and playparks with a landscape management policy plan in place to plant a large number of trees throughout Lancaster Park to support carbon offsetting.

Beaufort Green

Following spectacular interest in Lancaster Park, Fraser Millar is planning to extend its pioneering Passivhaus developments with the addition of Beaufort Green, situated on the Comber Road in Carryduff.

With work expected to begin in the near future, Beaufort Green offers 74 Passivhaus Low Energy Buildings. With a range of 3 and 4 bed, semi and detached houses, Beaufort Green is already attracting very positive purchaser interest.

What Are Homeowners Saying About Passivhaus?

“We would highly recommend living in a Passivhaus – we moved into our new home in Lancaster Park in July 2022. The environment credentials were our main reason for buying the house. It’s

incredible how well our new home retains the heat. The air feels cleaner and fresher. Now that we have lived in a Passivhaus, I don’t think we could ever not live in one.”

Jack, Lancaster Park Resident.

Education, Training and Inspiring Transformation

The multi-award-winning family firm may hold a vast amount of experience in the property industry, but Fraser Millar prides itself on continuous improvement and a large part of that means keeping up to date with the latest industry advancements.

John continued: “I recently completed the Certified Passivhaus Designer course, which is a comprehensive qualification that covers a number of key learnings including economics, construction types

and ventilation principles to name but a few topics.

“The company also invests in providing training for our tradespeople and the wider team to ensure that the building techniques used, and materials sourced are fully aligned with Passivhaus principles.”

Championing a real need for industry transformation, especially as the Net Zero target approaches, John and the wider

specifymagazine.co.uk 22 I SPECIFY
Pictured is a modern kitchen and dining area in Lancaster Park. Pictured is just one of the many styles of house available at Lancaster Park.

Fraser Millar team recognise the need for peer education and actively search for opportunities to share their experience within the property industry in the hopes of inspiring change and enhancing their knowledge.

Zero Emissions Buildings (ZEB) Summit, RDS, Dublin

Attracting visitors from across Europe, John recently delivered a workshop as part of the Zero Emissions Buildings (ZEB) Summit, which was held at the RDS, Dublin, where he addressed an audience comprising of construction companies, architects, trade suppliers and property developers.

“The ZEB Summit was a resounding success and an excellent opportunity to share ideas and innovations on what the future might look like,” John added.

“As part of my workshop, I discussed the history of Lancaster Park, alongside the key learnings associated with it, the benefits of Passivhaus and how the principle became front and centre at Fraser Millar. I warmly congratulate the team at Mosart for organising such a successful event.”

Award-Winning Industry Trailblazer

With sustainable building practices set to become more prominent across Northern Ireland and even further afield in the coming years, Fraser Millar has cemented itself as an industry trailblazer, paving the way for a revolutionised way of living that is both better for the environment and for the health of occupants.

Recently, the Belfast based company scooped:

• Developer of the Year 2023 at the PropertyPal Awards

• Green Development of the Year 2022 at the PropertyPal Awards

• Climate Company of the Year 2022 at the Belfast Telegraph Property Awards.

Striving Into the Future

As society strives to become more environmentally conscious, this is currently a very exciting time for the future of housing developments in Northern Ireland.

There is no doubt that the industry is currently grappling with huge challenges, however greater innovation

and forward thinking is essential to not only make positive change in terms of the environment but to provide costeffective, reliable and durable housing solutions across Northern Ireland –that’s where Fraser Millar believes that Passvihaus can make a huge impact.

With Passivhaus principles, the Northern Ireland housing sector has the potential to be completely revolutionised and the Fraser Millar team is poised to be the driving force.

For more information on Fraser Millar and its Passivhaus developments, visit the website: frasermillar.co.uk

SPECIFY I 23 specifymagazine.co.uk
The Fraser Millar team, who won Developer of the Year during the 2023 PropertyPal Awards


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Commercial Ventilation & Active Heat Recovery

The Nilan commercial AHU series of ventilation units, with heat recovery and integrated heat pump, are designed to ventilate, heat and cool the air in schools, offices and other commercial business premises.

The heat recovery takes place via an efficient rotary heat exchanger or heat pipe, which is supplemented with the built-in heat pump.

The reversible heat pump can heat or cool the supply air, maintaining a pleasant working environment all year round.

The compact design makes the units easy to place in any commercial project.

Making this an all-in-one economical investment.

All-in-one indoor climate solutions for all types of low energy buildings

www.nilan.green | info@nilan.green | +44 (0)28 87 755 109

MANNOK Building the future.

Fermanagh based company Mannok supplied many of the building products for Fraser Millar’s latest PassivHaus development. Specify talks to Gareth Cauldwell from the company about their products and their plans for the future...

Q: What products did Mannok supply to Fraser Millar for the new PassivHaus development at Lancaster Park?

Mannok has supplied Aircrete Block (440 x 215 x 200mm Standard & 440 x 215 x 100mm Standard), Standard Aircrete Brick and 90mm PIR Insulation for the floors in the development at Lancaster Park.

Q: Can you tell us about the benefits of the Aircrete thermal blocks?

Mannok are the only manufacturer of aircrete blocks in Ireland and there are numerous benefits of aircrete blocks, which are more thermally efficient than any other thermal block manufactured in Ireland.

Mannok's Aircrete blocks offer exceptional thermal performance thanks to their unique composition and the highly technical manufacturing process. Aircrete blocks are noted for their superb insulation properties which ensures that your building designs can achieve optimum performance.

Other advantages include aircrete blocks far outperforming some of the other alternatives on the market when it comes to fire performance.

Using aircrete blocks is also a sustainable solution with blocks that are made from up to 80% recycled materials, but it’s not just the block that’s more sustainable. Aircrete’s superior performance means you can build a much more energyefficient home, with Passive House or net zero standards much easier to achieve.

And with it being more energy efficient it means reduced energy bills while it has also reduced costs over alternative methods of construction.

Passive House is now starting to gain momentum across Ireland with many developers embracing the many benefits of this concept and the realisation that it doesn’t come with the significant additional costs often associated with it in the past.

26 I SPECIFY specifymagazine.co.uk

At Mannok, we are well positioned to offer many cost-effective products, such as Aircrete blocks, and solutions like SIMS (Super Insulated Masonry Solution) to help with the transition to Passive House.

Q: Mannok has a Sustainability Vision for 2030… Can you tell us about it?

The Mannok 2030 Vision is the company’s Sustainability Strategy which will roadmap the progress the company will make towards a carbon-zero future up the end of the decade while paving the way for net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

As a company, Mannok is deeply rooted in the community that it serves and with this comes a considerable responsibility to the long-term environmental, social and economical sustainability of the region we live and work in.

In the Mannok 2030 Vision we have identified a number of priorities under the three foundational pillars of People, Planet, and Partners and within those we have identified a total of 36 ambitious target to achieve by 2030.

Each pillar is key to the long-term success of the organisation and ensuring we continue to contribute to the economic, social, and environmental prosperity of the region where we are based.

Q: How is Mannok playing its part in sustainability in the construction industry?

Our commitment to sustainability is intrinsically linked to the products we produce and how we manufacture them. All of the products - whether that is cement, aircrete blocks, insulation, rooftiles, or precast - are highly engineered to maximize their sustainable and energy-saving properties. We have an active environmental management system (EMS) that provides guidance and oversight that governs the operations within each facility and the potential impact of these operations on the environment.

The adoption of sustainability-driven principles throughout the company in relation to lean manufacturing, waste

reduction, responsible sourcing, recycling, and energy usage, ensures we continue to improve every stage of production.

We also have published Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for the majority of our products through an Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) programme. This is cradle-to-gate datadriven analysis of the product lifecycle allowing a view on environmental impact, it’s a continuous journey but it allows a focus on the carbon intensive parts of the process to bring down the overall environmental impact.

Q: Do you think that sustainability is becoming ever more important in the construction industry?

There is no doubt that sustainability is becoming more important in the construction industry. It is the duty of our company and others like us to ensure that we reduce our carbon footprint.

Many now want a fabric-first approach to building design as energy efficiency has become important, especially amidst rising energy costs.

Q: Are you developing new products for this sector?

Mannok is in the final stages of acquiring certification for a new full-fill cavity board that would benefit the housing development sector. The Mannok IsoCavity board is manufactured with a tongue-and-grove application for ease of installation and will satisfy the need to minimise cavity thicknesses in future builds.

SPECIFY I 27 specifymagazine.co.uk

Specialists in airtightness and insulation

Belfast Insulation have been working in the construction industry for over 25 years. Not only do they supply and fit insulation to domestic and commercial properties across Northern Ireland, but they also supplied all the insulation and air tightness measures for Fraser Millar’s Lancaster Park Passive House development.

“The Lancaster Park development is very high spec,” said Ryan Gilpin of Belfast Insulation, “with the studs 180mm in depth, we used a bead insulation to ensure a very low u-value. We also carry

out and install airtightness membrane, taping and jointing all the properties to ensure that no heat escapes.

“This is very specialised work and essential for Passive Houses and we are the only company in Northern Ireland carrying out this work at present.”

Airtightness is about eliminating all unintended gaps and cracks, holes, splits and tears where air can move into and out of the space (heated or cooled space) of the building.

Such gaps, cracks etc can account for up to 50pc of all heat losses through the

external envelope of a building. It is important to remember that an airtight building does not mean it is hermetically sealed, rather it means that unintended air leakage has been reduced to a minimum.

A Passive House's airtightness must be demonstrated with a pressure test where the allowable air change cannot exceed 0.6 times a room's volume per hour and the pressure differential is limited to 50 Pascals.

Belfast Insulation are specialists in their field and offer a complete service of insulation both in cavity walls and in lofts


and also offer a defective insulation extraction service. This is another fast growing part of their business across Northern Ireland. The old types of foam and mineral wool insulation break down and subside over years; this will cause cold spots, condensation on internal walls, black marks and mould growth. By extracting and re-pumping with high

grade bonded bead, these problems will not only be fixed but could help in dramatically reducing homeowners heating bills.

Belfast Insulation operate right across Northern Ireland and are currently working on the new Dunluce Hotel in Portrush. Previous projects include Avoniel and Newry Leisure Centres, while

the Northern Ireland Housing Executive regularly use their services.

Whether it is a standard or traditional build, a new development of a Passive House, Belfast Insulation has the expertise and the experience to handle it.

More details are available from www.belfastinsulation.com or on 028 90 42 44 11.


Maple Joinery:

Providing project management and joinery solutions to the construction industry

Chris and the team at Maple Joinery NI ltd provide project management and joinery solutions to the construction industry.

Their Lisburn based joinery workshop manufactures everything from stairs, bespoke commissions, door-sets, frames etc.… anything made of wood! The Maple Joinery pre-hung door range has been very popular within the construction industry. In fact, the days of getting a joiner to hang doors on site are almost over! The pre-hung door service ensures quality and efficiency every time! Contact: info@maplejoineryni.com

Chris and his team are currently working alongside Frazer Millar on the prestigious Lancaster park passiv house development site. The largest in the uk and Ireland where Maple Joinery NI is responsible for a complete joinery package. From standing the timber frame kit, including the vital air tight details, to 1st fix and 2nd fix joinery.

“At Maple Joinery NI we pride ourselves on producing the highest quality homes. With Frazer Millar leading the way on passiv house development, We have been fortunate to be heavily involved in the construction side. This has allowed us to gain experience into air tight construction and the workmanship required to achieve passiv standard. We are proud to have worked with F&M to produce over 100 passiv homes since 2021 and are aiming to continue to develop our expertise in passiv building.”

Chris McKee MD, Maple Joinery NI Ltd.

specifymagazine.co.uk 30 I SPECIFY

Newtownards based Newton

Ground Engineering (part of The CAB Group) are Ground Improvement Works Specialists who undertook the soil stabilisation works for Fraser Millar at the impressive new Lancaster Gate development.

Soil stabilisation involves using hydraulic binders including lime, cement, ground granulated blast furnace slag and other proprietary agents to treat and improve formation and sub-grade layers ahead of new construction

In many parts of the UK and Ireland large areas of land are unsuitable for construction because the soil is too wet, too cohesive, or simply too weak to provide a stable base.

Reaching target CBR's in excess of 30%, stabilisation techniques can be developed to make use of otherwise unsuitable materials, which in most cases are disposed off site at an ever increasing expense. The advantages of using existing material on-site reduces vehicles movements, reduces costs both in terms of excavation, disposal and importing aggregates. Soil stabilisation offers a much more economical and site wide improvement solution compared to localised piling or deep trench fill foundations.

project requirements.

Now widely used, soil stabilisation carries the benefit of being able to be used in a number of applications including:

• Distribution Centres

• Apartment buildings

• Data Centres

• Residential Developments

• Soil remediation

• Land reclamation

• Working platforms / piling platforms

• Temporary haul roads

• New access roads

• Aircraft runways, taxiways and aprons

• Sub-base and formation improvement


Newton Ground Engineering is one of the leading ground engineering companies in the UK and Ireland. They have been specialising in soil stabilisation, ground remediation, demolition and site enabling work solutions for over 25 years.

Their blend of experience, engineering knowledge, modern engineering machinery, integrated GPS technology, and HSEQ management systems, ensures they can meet the needs of their ever-expanding client base.

Stabilisation has many advantages and can be used in a wide variety of applications, by selecting the correct binder for the soil type. Almost any soil can be improved enhancing the bearing capacity to suit the

Other services offered to the construction industry by Newton Ground Engineering include:

• Deep soil mixing

• Mass soil mixing

• Dynamic Compaction

• Soil Remediation

• Site Enabling Works

• Vegetation Clearance

• Demolition

• Crushing & Screening

• High Energy Impact Compaction

For more details contact Newton Ground Engineering via info@thecabgroup.com or on 028 9127 4000.

SPECIFY I 33 specifymagazine.co.uk

• Over 30 years experience

• Specialising in large sites new builds

• Specialist bricklaying

• Traditionally built housing

• Timber frame housing

• Commercial developments

Having built almost 800 new homes in Northern Ireland, Ardis Construction offers a complete bricklaying service to the construction industry.

Working to NHBC recommended standards, Ardis Construction can facilitate all the foundation, masonry and bricklaying requirements for any new builds.

For more details contact Geoffrey Ardis on 07725 551331 or Geoffrey.Ardis@BTinternet.com

34 I SPECIFY specifymagazine.co.uk
The Groundwork
Most. Services Provided Include: • EARTHWORKS – Topsoil Strip, Cut, Fill, Export Off Site • DRAINAGE – Foul, Storm and Large Attenuation Systems
ROAD FORMATION – Stone Import, Kerbing, Footpaths
UTILITY WORKS – Prep for Diversion, New Supplies, Lighting
BUILDING PREP – Site Clearance, Excavation, Sub-Structure ALL MACHINES GPS ENABLED 74 Magheraknock Road, Ballynahinch BT24 8TJ. Tel: 07812 745 090 Email: brian@bescontracts.co.uk Ground Works Contractor SPECIFY I 35 specifymagazine.co.uk


In 60 years, Sarnafil® established itself as the prime brand in the roofing industry. Protecting your building, protecting your investment, protecting your company.

Sarnafil AT is Sika's new hybrid single ply membrane with market-leading sustainability credentials.

Sarnafil AT is engineered with a unique hybrid single ply technology which makes it highly flexible, fantastic resistance to impact damage and with no plasticisers, offers long term service and durability for decades.

Why specify Sarnafil® Advanced Technology?


Tel: +353 1862 0709 email: info@ie.sika.com www.sika.ie
Sarnafil® AT , the first and only roofing membrane to be 'Cradle to Cradle' certified.

Over 20 years experience and with a portfolio of both domestic & commercial contracts

The Toyota Hilux needs no introduction to readers of Specify. It’s well known as the ultimate go anywhere, do anything workhorse. To celebrate the Hilux’ success on the likes of the Dakar cross desert rallies, Toyota Gazoo Racing has produced a special edition model. The new model has dedicated suspension features to deliver a livelier driving experience, with increased control, responsiveness and grip feel. A series of GR-themed exterior and interior design features reinforce the vehicle’s special quality and appeal.


We offer bespoke plumbing design and installation, tailored to each project.


introduced for new Hilux, including retuned rear leaf springs and new bushes. The result is confidence-inspiring reliability in demanding driving conditions.

We have been installing heating systems for over 20 years. We can design heating systems either individually or in combination to meet all heating installation requirements


The GR Sport further benefits from the significant advances. Its world-famous off-road capabilities have reached new heights, aided by an automatic limitedslip differential and Active Traction Control. At the same time, great handling and comfort in on-road driving have been secured with suspension upgrades and noise and vibration countermeasures.

We are a Gas Registered Company supplying a range of reliable gas services from boiler installations, breakdowns and servicing. Safety is always paramount.

Compared to the standard Hilux, these upgrades deliver significant improvements in handling characteristics, including steering effort and steering angle response, straight-line performance, a flat ride and rear grip feel. The new set-up also contributes significantly to ride comfort, with fast response to high-frequency vibrations and increased damping capability to control body movement and eliminate shock.


We offer a range of alternative energy solutions providing not only environmental benefits but a reduction in energy bills.


The key feature in the upgraded suspension system is the introduction of new monotube shock absorbers and new front springs. The monotube design creates a larger piston area to give better damping performance, with faster response and better heat dissipation. It also helps maintain the performance quality of the oil inside the unit when driving in tough conditions.

We have realised the importance of ventilation systems within any building. We strive to be at the forefront of installing all ventilation systems . With new building regulations in place it is now more than ever vitally important to get the right ventilation strategy for home or business.

The GR Sport is powered by Hilux’s more powerful 2.8-litre engine, introduced to the range in 2020. This delivers 201hp and 500Nm of torque and is matched to a sixspeed automatic transmission.

10 Dolmen Road, Castlewellan BT31 9TF

The front coil springs have been stiffened and both these and the new shocks are painted red to make a stand-out statement of the Hilux GR Sport’s special character. These changes are in addition to suspension upgrades previously

Phone: 07803 190650

Exclusively a Double Cab version, the GR Sport maintains Hilux’s impressive loadcarrying capabilities that are among the best in its class: it can take a payloads of one tonne and tow braked trailers up to 3.5 tonnes.

The black front grille has a dedicated Gpattern mesh and gains a prominent central horizontal bar with the Toyota

name, in place of the brand emblem. This heritage-inspired touch references the badging on the fourth generation Hilux of the early 1980s.

The frontal design is amplified by new, larger front fog light surrounds. The 17inch alloy wheels have a contrast black and machined finish and are fitted with all-terrain tyres. The black theme is carried through in the door mirror casings, side steps, over-fenders and tailgate handle, plus a sports bar, fitted as standard. These elements throw the bright red of the new shocks and springs into sharp contrast. Discreet GR Sport badging is also featured.

In the cabin there are new sports front seats in a combination of black leather and synthetic suede with red perforations and contrast stitching. The GR Sport branding is featured on the seatbacks, carpet mats, starter button and the information display animation graphic. The driver can use paddle controls for manual shift selection and aluminium sports pedals are fitted. The look is enhanced with carbon fibre-style trim inserts, a red deco line across the width of the instrument panel and blue door panel illumination.

Equipment specifications are based on the Hilux Invincible and include a premium JBL sound system, navigation system, heated front and rear seats and a Panoramic View Monitor which provides an all-round view of the vehicle’s location for precise manoeuvring over rough terrain and in tight spaces. LED headlights and combination lamps, smart entry and push-button start, dual-zone air conditioning, Downhill Assist Control

28 I SPECIFY specifymagazine.co.uk
143 Northumberland Street, Belfast T 028 9032 2802 Doorways.co.uk
SPECIFY I 41 DIRECTORY To advertise here, contact: Specify Magazine info@specifymagazine.co.uk AUTOMATIC DOORS CAVITY TRAYS DIRECTORY specifymagazine.co.uk

Less stick, more carrot...

, founder of specialist construction consultancy and training company, Incrementum (Europe) Ltd. and Chair of the CIOB Northern Ireland Hub.

In my 32 years in the construction industry, I have witnessed significant changes, and we now have an industry that has exemplary levels of health and safety, is highly organised and is constantly striving for higher levels of professionalism.

All change has not necessarily been positive though, with an industry that is now dominated by large management companies that employ very few, if any, skilled tradespersons, and the reliance upon supply chains that are now the lifeblood of the industry.

Another change that has happened, particularly in the last few years, is the approach to contracts. In my past life as a Building Contractor, contracts were rarely amended, and in fact it was not unusual to have no written contract at all, often a handshake and mutual respect were enough! I have personally delivered projects of several million pounds in the past without a contract. I had a client many years ago who said “a contract is something that could be broken, but a true gentleman would not break a handshake!” Things have definitely changed since then.

Not that I would advocate a return such practices, with the industry becoming more complex, a standard form of building contract is essential for both parties and should provide protection in the majority of situations for the parties.

What I do find difficult to accept is the practice of highly amending contracts, which in the last few years has, in my opinion in many instances, gone beyond what is deemed acceptable. For example, the JCT standard form of contract has been in existence since 1931, derived through consultations from various professional bodies, including architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, and contractors professionals who collaborate to draft and revise the contracts, ensuring that they accurately reflect industry standards, practices, and legal

requirements to ensure clarity, fairness, and effectiveness in the contracts' language and provisions.

If the JCT has taken such a comprehensive and robust approach, why does our industry think it is necessary to heavily amend the standard forms? A JCT contract in standard form has approximately 40,000 words, so do our legal representatives really believe it is not robust enough, and feel it necessary to amend it with often tens of thousands of additional words?

Even the NEC contract, which was developed in response to many of the principles and recommendations outlined in the Latham Report, such as the ethos of collaboration, flexibility, and risk management, with a very strong emphasis on clear and simple language, is also now heavily amended with numerous Z clauses that are far from being clear and simple. A practice that is very much against the philosophy of a broader shift in industry thinking and practices that the Latham Report helped to catalyse. So, what is the purpose of these amendments, Z clauses and condition precedents that are now very much common practice in construction contracts? The answer is simple; at best, they are transferring risk down the supply chain, and at worst, they are booby traps

that can and often do result in breaches of contract resulting in financial remedies.

The main contracts are certainly being heavily amended, however my experiences in the last few years is that the contracts to the sub-contractors are the ones that are in many cases being very heavily amended, with often numerous onerous clauses that give grounds to refuting claims for additional works and time.

I regularly review contracts for my clients, many of which are sub-contractors and SME contractors, and it never seeks to amaze me some of the clauses that are inserted into contract amendments with condition precedents that are intentionally difficult to adhere to. The result is often a difficult and lengthy negotiation process trying to remove or modify many of these amendments. When it has not been possible to remove all of the amendments, it then results in significant additional time being required to administer the contract correctly to ensure compliance, thereby preventing any breaches. The majority of our sub-contractors and smaller contractors are successful because they are good at delivering a quality product on site, not because of their exceptional contract administration skills.

It is disappointing that this is the direction in which our industry has gone. In fact, it is difficult to understand why this has happened, in particular when we consider the crisis the construction industry is currently facing with a people shortage and a skills shortage.

In simple macroeconomics terms, with demand for quality sub-contractors outstripping supply, the textbook outcome should be that the supply chain is in a strong negotiating position, and as such should be given fair and equitable contract terms. However, as main contractors’ margin’s in the majority of cases continues to be eroded in a race to the bottom, seldom does this seem to be the case in reality, and the management

42 I SPECIFY specifymagazine.co.uk
Jonathan Payne

of the supply chain is often seen as an opportunity to maximise margins.

The supply chain therefore has to educate itself in terms of contracts. A service I provide is bespoke workshop masterclasses for sub-contractors, teaching them how to understand the contract, identify the onerous clauses and condition precedents, identify and mitigate risk, and how to effectively administer the contract in a timely and efficient manner. Such skills will keep them compliant, and, in the event a dispute arises, they will have sufficient records to ensure they a have a robust defence.

A recent industry survey of construction contracts shows that projects with heavily amended contract conditions did not perform any better than projects that did not amend the standard forms of contract. If that is the case, then there is significant resource being wasted on both sides in the enhanced administration required to deliver these contracts. These wasted resources could be better utilised in working together in a more collaborative manner to ensure project deliverables are achieved in terms of time, cost and quality.

Hence, my suggestion is that we should be adopting a practice within our supply chains of less sticks, and more carrots. This applies to both the main contractors and their clients, as well as between the main contractors and their subcontractors. Often the onerous contract amendments are originally instigated by the clients, and the main contractors have no choice but to pass these down through the supply chain. Hence, I am not saying it is necessarily the actions of the main contractor that is always at fault, it is our

industry as a whole and the practices that are being adopted that are at fault and need to be reviewed.

How do we do this? Well, as I said before, “less sticks, more carrots”, conveying an approach that emphasises positive reinforcement (carrots) rather than punishment or coercion (sticks), with the adoption of strategies aimed at motivating and incentivising project participants to achieve desired outcomes rather than relying solely on penalties or enforcement mechanisms to drive compliance. This could be achieved through such practices as:

• Incentivising performance: Instead of penalising contractors and subcontractors for delays or defects, clients could offer bonuses or other rewards for completing works ahead of schedule or delivering high-quality work, such as enhanced payment terms, reduced retention levels or future partnering options.

• Collaborative problem-solving: Rather than assigning blame and imposing penalties when issues arise, all stakeholders would work together to identify solutions and overcome challenges, with a strong focus on achieving shared goals.

• Encouraging innovation: Providing incentives for innovative approaches or value engineering aimed at motivating contractors and subcontractors to propose creative solutions that improve project efficiency, reduce costs, or enhance performance.

• Building positive relationships: Fostering a co-operative and supportive environment among all of a projects stakeholders with a goal to enhance trust and collaboration, leading to better communication, teamwork, and ultimately, project success.

As our industry evolves and meets the challenges ahead, we must also realise there has been significant societal evolution in recent years, driven by technological advancements, changes in demographics, shifts in cultural norms, and responses to global challenges.

Maybe this evolution means our approach to construction, and as such, our standard forms of contract need to evolve significantly as well, with more emphasis placed on rewards for performance, not punishment for failures. Hopefully we can look forward to a contracting future with “less sticks, more carrots!”

If you are interested in a bespoke contract administration masterclass, please feel free to contract me direct at jonathan@incrementum.ltd


Our first drawing competition, in partnership with AG Wilson, was nothing short of epic! Thank you to everyone who entered, the talent was phenomenal!

Specify Magazine collaborated with the multiaward-winning Civil Engineering firm AG Wilson, to launch a regional art competition aimed at primary school-age children in the Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon area.

This initiative, with a £1,350 prize fund, invited budding artists, from P5-P7, to use their imagination and illustrate what they believe a modern construction site in Northern Ireland looks like.

After going through hundreds of amazing entries, four in particular stood out, Toby and Michael from Poyntzpass Primary School and Daisy from Edenderry Primary School. The overall winner was Lucy Topley from Moyallen.

BELOW: Lucy Topley from Moyallan, the overall winner.
LEFT: Daisy Gorman, Edenderry Primary Portadown RIGHT: Toby M, Poyntzpass Primary School ABOVE: Michael Willis, Poyntzpass Primary School
ABOVE: Amelia Donaghey, Carrick Primary School, Lurgan
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www.moore-concrete.com rockwool.com

Northern Ireland Material Costs November 2023

Costs are based on a list prices and where possible reflect an average between suppliers; it should be noted that actual quantities of materials determine the final price; individual contractor's trade discounts will have to be applied; prices listed have been based on a Greater Belfast area and therefore delivery charges will need to be applied for other location. Base date: November 2023. Material costs (excluding VAT).


3mm dust Tonne


6mm aggregate including Type 3

10mm aggregate including Type 3

14mm aggregate including Type 3

20mm aggregate including Type 3

32mm aggregate including Type 3

25mm crusher run Tonne £13.00

40mm crusher run Tonne

50mm crusher run

65mm crusher run

100mm crusher run

150mm crusher run

Recycled fill – uncrushed

Recycled fill – crushed

Building sand

Washed sand

Kiln dried sand






440 x 215 x 100 7N/mm2 solid block



x 215 x 150 7N/mm2

£860.00 440 x 215 x 150 10N/mm2 solid block

440 x 300 x 100 7N/mm2

440 x

440 x 150 x 100 7N/mm2 soap bar block

Fair Faced concrete blocks:

440 x 215 x 100 10N/mm2 solid blocks

Thermal Lightweight block

440 x 215 x 100 7N/mm2 block; thermal density 0.320W/m2C





Unit Cost/Unit
Tonne £13.75
Tonne £16.00
Tonne £14.50
Tonne £15.00
Tonne £14.25
Tonne £13.00
Tonne £13.00
Tonne £9.00
Tonne £10.50
Tonne £25.00
Tonne £25.00
Tonne £25.00
lorry load)
M3 £90.50
M3 £92.50
M3 £94.50
M3 £96.50
M3 £98.50
M3 £100.50
M3 £102.50
M3 £113.00
Ordinary Portland Cement 25 kg bag £7.91
CEMENT: (bagged)
block 1000
£600.00 440
100 10N/mm2 solid
£630.00 440
solid block
block 1000 £860.00
block 1000
300 x
10N/mm2 solid
1000 £550.00
440 x 100 x 100 7N/mm2 soap bar block
Concrete brick 215 x 100 x 65 15N/mm2 1000 £345.00
Concrete facing bricks: (average mid-range price) Red rustic brick 1000 £394.00 Red smooth brick 1000 £338.00 Blue engineering brick 1000 £358.00 Clay bricks: (average mid-range price) Red brick 1000 £780.00 Multi red brick 1000 £780.00 Buff brick 1000 £880.00 Blue engineering brick 1000 £1,100.00 MORTAR: Ready mix mortar M4 m3 £124.00 Ready mix mortar M6 m3 £184.00 Ready mix mortar M6 Coloured (dark colour) m3 £164.00 Unit Cost/Unit DAMP PROOF MEMBRANES: 1000g sheet; 100m2 per roll Roll £42.50 1200g sheet; 100m2 per roll Roll £50.00 100mm wide High Performance Damp Proof Course (30m per roll) Roll £4.82 150mm wide High Performance Damp Proof Course; (30m per roll) Roll £7.25 215mm wide High Performance Damp Proof Course; (30m per roll) Roll £10.85
REINFORCEMENT: Mild steel: 8mm diameter Tonne £780.00 10mm diameter Tonne £780.00 12mm diameter Tonne £780.00 20mm diameter Tonne £780.00 25mm diameter Tonne £780.00 32mm diameter Tonne £780.00 40mm diameter Tonne £780.00 Mesh fabric; 4.8m x 2.40m sheets A142 sheet £18.00 A193 sheet £24.50 A252 sheet £32.00 A393 sheet £50.00 TIMBER: Structural/Carcassing:4.80m lengths Carcassing Regularised C16; 100 x 35 Length £6.09 100 x 47 Length £8.19 150 x 35 Length £9.69 150 x 47 Length £13.35 175 x 47 Length £15.17 200 x 47 Length £17.34 225 x 47 Length £19.51 225 x 75 Length £31.14 Cacassing; Treated 100 x 22 Length £4.59 150 x 22 Length £6.48 175 x 22 Length £7.55 225 x 22 Length £9.72 Roof battens; Treated 50 x 22 Length £2.21 50 x 35 Length £3.64 Whitewood; PAR sizes 110 x 19 Metre £2.18 169 x 19 Metre £3.05 194 x 19 Metre £3.50 219 x 19 Metre £3.91 269 x 32 Metre £7.52 44 x 19 Metre £0.63 44 x 25 Metre £1.02 44 x 32 Metre £1.02 44 x 44 Metre £1.41 69 x 12 Metre £1.06 69 x 32 Metre £1.53 69 x 44 Metre £1.98 94 x 12 Metre £1.42 94 x 19 Metre £1.75 94 x 32 Metre £2.05 94 x 44 Metre £2.53 144 x 19 Metre £2.59 Whitewood door framing/lining: 119 x 32 Metre £2.55 132 x 32 Metre £2.53 32 x 12 door stop Metre £0.50 Redwood Door frame 97 x 57; rebated Metre £5.78 Architrave/skirting 119 x 19; bevelled/moulded Metre £2.40 Architrave/skirting 144 x 19; bevelled/moulded Metre £2.78 Architrave/skirting 69 x 19; moulded/moulded Metre £1.44 Hardwood Mahogany Door frame 97 x 57; rebated Metre £14.08
48 I SPECIFY specifymagazine.co.uk


Malaysian Plywood; 2440 x 1220 sheets

5.5mm thick

9mm thick

12mm thick

18mm thick

25mm thick

Marine Plywood; 2440 x 1220 sheets

12mm thick

18mm thick

OSB 3 SE Board; 2440mm x 1220mm

9mm thick

11mm thick

18mm thick

Chipboard Flooring T&G 4 Edge P4; 2400mm x 600mm

18mm thick

22mm thick

MDF; 2440mm x 1220mm Sheet

12mm thick

18mm thick

MDF Moisture Resistant; 2440 x 1220 Sheet

12mm thick

18mm thick

Fibre Cement Board; 2400 x 1200 sheet

9mm thick

12mm thick;


Timber Square Fencing Post

75mm x 75mm; 2.4m long

Timber Square Fencing Post 100mm x 100mm; 2.4m long

Timber rails; 75 x 44 splayed; m long 4.20m long

Timber Fencing 150mm x 22mm

Bevelled Top & Bottom; 2.10m long


72mm C channel

70 vertical stud; 3600mm

9.5mm plasterboard; (1800 x 900 sheets)

12.5mm plasterboard

12.5mm fireline


12.5mm soundblock

15mm plasterboard

15mm moisture resistant plasterboard

15mm soundblock

8mm x 100mm

Wafer Head Jack-Point Screws 13mm; 1000 per

25mm drywall screws; 1000 per box

Sealant; 600 ml

tape; 240mm

Unit Cost/Unit
Sheet £14.60
Sheet £19.38
Sheet £21.45
Sheet £31.40
Sheet £47.86
Sheet £34.94
Sheet £49.65
Sheet £10.09
Sheet £11.79
Sheet £15.98
Sheet £11.18
Sheet £13.72
Sheet £19.19
Sheet £23.43
Sheet £24.71
Sheet £31.68
Sheet £31.74
Sheet £39.66
each £5.31
each £9.42
each £5.31
each £2.59
m £2.18
m £2.20
m £2.29
50 top hat channel; 3600mm long
m2 £4.67
m2 £3.05
board m2 £6.74
resistant plasterboard m2 £7.18
m2 £6.74
m2 £4.09
m2 £6.28
board m2 £6.79
box Box £10.41
Hammer fixings; 100 per
Box £19.58
Box £16.00
box Box £18.00
35mm drywall screws; 1000 per
sausage £13.60
310 ml Tube £8.81
Roll £6.00
wide x 300m per roll Roll £13.50 Joint
10kg/bag Bag £11.30
60; 25kg/bag Bag £14.40 INSULATION: 100mm roofspace insulation m2 £3.80 150mm roofspace insulation m2 £5.70 70mm slab insulation for internal metal stud partitions m2 £6.25 50mm PIR insulation; 2400 x 1200 sheets Sheet £22.00 75mm PIR insulation; 2400 x 1200 sheets Sheet £31.00 100mm PIR insulation; 2400 x 1200 sheets Sheet £42.00 50mm floor insulation; 2400 x 1200 sheets Sheet £24.00 75mm floor insulation; 2400 x 1200 sheets Sheet £36.00 100mm floor insulation; 2400 x 1200 sheets Sheet £41.00 Unit Cost/Unit PLASTER: Bonding Coat; 25kg/bag Bag £13.49 Carlite finish; 25kg/bag Bag £10.65 Skim Coat; 25kg/bag Bag £11.77 Angle Bead Galvanised; 3m long Length £2.20 Plaster Stop Bead 10mm; 3m long Length £3.86 Movement Bead Galvanised; 3m long Length £19.28 Plastop Galvanised; 3mm; 2.40m long Length £2.69 PVC Angle Bead; white; 10mm; 2.50m long Length £2.73 Plaster Stop PVC; white; 10mm; 2.50m long Length £2.88 RENDER: Ready mixed render; sand:cement (1:3) with waterproofing additive M3 £125.00 PVC angle bead; 2.5m long Length £2.10 PVC stop bead; 13mm; 2.5m long Length £2.10 PVC bellcast bead; 2.5m long Length £3.00 MF CEILINGS: Framing MF6A (perimeter channel); 3600 mm lengths m £1.53 MF7 (primary channel); 3600 mm lengths m £2.03 MF5 (top hat); 3600 mm lengths m £2.29 MF9 (clips) ; 200 per box Box £56.90 GA2 (strap hanger angle) m £1.44 Boarding 12.5mm plasterboard m2 £6.74 25mm drywall screws; 1000 per box Box £16.00 ROOF COVERINGS: Concrete tiles 420 x 330 plain tiles; (average mid-price) m2 £11.00 419 x 330 double roll tiles; (average mid-price) m2 £11.00 Half round ridge; 455mm long each £4.50 Angle ridge tile; 455mm long each £4.50 Fibre cement slates; 600 x 300 m2 £25.00 Angle ridge tile; 525mm long each £4.50 Bangor blue natural slate 500 x 300 m2 £125.00 Angle ridge tile; 455mm long each £8.00 Water resistant membrane reinforced roofing underlay; 75m2/roll Roll £145.00 FLOOR SCREEDS: Semi-dry concrete screed mix; full lorry load m3 £105.00 DRAINAGE PIPES & FITTINGS: uPVC 110mm diameter pipe; 6m length Length £20.00 D/S Pipe Coupler nr £3.50 Short Radius Bends – 87.5º nr £3.50 A R P/E Long Radius Bend – 90º nr £18.00 D/S Long Radius Rest Bend – 87.5º nr £18.00 Equal Junction – 87.5º nr £10.00 Equal Junction – 45º nr £10.00 A B S/S Universal Gully Trap nr £20.00 P/E Vertical Inlet Hopper nr £26.00 160mm diameter pipe; 6m length Length £40.00 D/S Pipe Coupler nr £7.00 Short Radius Bends – 87.5º nr £14.00 A R P/E Long Radius Bend – 90º nr £28.00 D/S Long Radius Rest Bend – 87.5º nr £28.00 Equal Junction – 87.5º nr £21.00 Equal Junction – 45º nr £21.00 SPECIFY I 49 19B Weavers Court Business Park, Linfield Road, Belfast BT12 5GH Tel: +44(0)2890 249330 E-mail: mail@mccarthy-lilburn.co.uk specifymagazine.co.uk
Intumescent and acoustic Mastic; Class F;
Paper joint tape 51mm wide x 150m per roll

Separated at birth

This is the new Mercedes Citan van and this little commercial vehicle was recently crowned Irish Van of the Year.

I’m not surprised as it is a very capable workhorse, with a payload up to 750 kg, a cargo volume of 2.9 cubic metres and a cargo area of 2.35 m2. That’s enough to swallow two Euro pallets in the back and I should know as I put the Citan to use with plenty of recycling runs.

In case you didn’t know, the Citan is actually a Renault Kangoo underneath but that’s no bad thing. Mercedes and the Daimler Group are part of a motoring alliance with Mitsubishi and Renault and they all share projects and engines.

Both the Kangoo and the Citan look alike when viewed from the outside, although the Mercedes does boast a new front face with LED daytime driving lights. But the Citan is much more than just a Kangoo with a Mercedes logo on the bonnet.

Wearing that prestigious three-pointed star


Cost: From £21,310

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel

Power: 115 bhp

Torque: 270 Nm

0-62mph: 11.7 secs

Top Speed: 109 mph

Economy: 54.3 mpg

Real world economy: 45 mpg

Emissions: 137 g/km

Load volume: Up to 2.9 cubic metres

Cargo area: 2.35 m2

Payload: Up to 750 kg

Towing: 690 kg unbraked - 1,500 kg braked

Rivals: Renault Kangoo, Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner, Toyota Proace City, Volkswagen Caddy, Ford Transit Connect.

badge gives the Citan a more upmarket edge so it will appeal to a different customer base than the Kangoo. And then inside Mercedes have worked their magic, creating a cabin that’s very flash. It’s not on par with a Mercedes E-Class or S-Class, but it comes fitted with the same brilliant MBUX operating system with ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control.

The 5.5-inch central infotainment touchscreen isn’t the biggest, but it’s the perfect size for a small van. And just like a luxury Mercedes you have a multi-functional steering wheel with those tricky-to-use slider pad controls.

The heating controls and air-con are manually operated as well, but there are loads of cubby holes and storage spaces, including overhead areas. The only thing that lets it down is the old-school graphics on the driver display.

In contrast to the modern infotainment screen, you have to navigate the same style of dot-matrix graphics you had on an old Nokia 3110 phone.

Power comes from a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel engine that drives the front wheels via a 7-speed auto gearbox. There’s also a six-speed manual option available. But if you’re a delivery driver and jump in and out of your van all day, then one less thing to do, like having to manually shift gears, will be welcome indeed. The auto also makes sitting in city traffic a much less laborious task.

It’s quite lively to drive when you’re not carrying a heavy load. I know performance figures aren’t important for commercial vehicles, but 0-62 mph takes 11.7 seconds, with a top speed of 109 mph.

The Citan handles really well, it uses Renault’s CMF-CD platform so it’s the same as the Kadjar and Megane — more car-like than a van.

And there’s an all-electric version that would be perfect for customers in a city. That is powered by a 121bhp electric motor with a range up to 177 mile.

specifymagazine.co.uk 50 I SPECIFY
Renault Kangoo and Mercedes Citan vans are practical, well equipped and fun to drive plus they share a lot more in common than just load lugging abilities.

Modern vans are not only practical little workhorses, but they are also very wellequipped and as much fun to drive as a car.

The perfect example of this is the new Renault Kangoo which shares a chassis with the Megane, a car that is available as a very potent hot-hatch.

The Kangoo is a great-looking van and rammed with kit inside, not like the vans of old that were sparsely equipped.

The new Kangoo, like all vans, doesn’t have a rear-view mirror, there’s no point as you can’t see out the back because there is a bulkhead in the way.

So Renault has come up with the clever idea of fitting an optional seven-inch screen where the rear-view mirror would fit, which receives images from a camera fitted to a shark fin on the roof, above the rear doors.

As soon as you start the van an image of behind is displayed and this becomes your rear-view mirror, though this screen isn’t

used for reversing as the camera is placed too high up.

Instead, there’s an additional rear-view camera mounted lower down on the rear door and it’s viewed on the main infotainment screen.

You can opt for a standard panel van or crew van options with medium-wheelbase or long-wheelbase versions.

There’s 3.3 cubic metres of space in the standard Kangoo, while the long-wheelbase version has a loading capacity of up to 4.2 m3 and a payload up to 800 kg.

In the cargo area are clever drop-down rails so you can hang long items up above out of the way, freeing up space in the cargo bay below.

And very long items can be slid into a compartment that sits above the driver’s head, so you can use the full length of the van for storage – very clever.

Inside the cabin it is rammed with numerous smart storage areas so goods and equipment can easily be stowed away, and above the driver’s display is a hidden compartment, handy to store your phone away from prying eyes.

The Kangoo is available with a 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine in either 95 bhp or 115 bhp and it was the more powerful variant with 270 Nm of torque that was fitted to my test van.

It’s not fast, 0-62 mph takes 13.6 secs with a top speed of 107 mph, but the diesel engine is responsive with all the torque available from only 1,750 rpm.

And as the Kangoo handles so well, just like a supermini, it’s a blast to drive around some twisty roads.

It’s frugal, too. Renault quote 50.3 mpg but I averaged around 45 mpg, which is pretty good.

There is even a new electric Kangoo that has a 45 kWh lithium-ion battery, which powers a 75 kw electric motor that produces 120 bhp and 245 Nm of torque.

It has a potential range of 187 miles and the EV has the same loading capacity as the two diesel engine options, but the payload is reduced to 615kg.

Charging takes 13 hours using a regular domestic socket, four hours using a 7.4 kW wallbox, 1 hour 21 minutes using a 22 kW public charger or 40 minutes using a 80 kW fast charger.

All models covered by Renault’s threeyear/100,000-mile warranty and three years’ roadside assistance, available with four years’ servicing, plus the option of a special financing package.


Cost: From £20,250

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel

Power: 115 bhp

Torque: 270 Nm

0-62mph: 13.6 secs

Top Speed: 107 mph

Economy: 50.3 mpg

Real world economy: 45 mpg

Emissions: 115 g/km

Load volume: Up to 34.2cubic metres

Cargo area: 3.3 m

Payload: Up to 800 kg

Towing: 750 kg unbraked - 1,500 kg braked

Rivals: Mercedes Citan, Volkswagen Caddy, Citroen Berlingo, Ford Transit Connect, Peugeot Partner, Vauxhall Combo.

SPECIFY I 51 specifymagazine.co.uk

When you think of Polypipe, you might imagine an unglamourous world of 4” sewer pipes… But as part of the multinational Genuit Group, there are big plans ahead for the company and new Sales Director, Jonathan McFarlane, is leading from the front.

With a career spanning over 25 years within market leading organisations, most within the construction industry, Jonathan knows what it takes to promote a business up into the higher echelons of the industry.

Polypipe is part of Genuit Group plc which is an expanded collaboration of businesses which serve the construction industry by providing sustainable water management, climate management, and building solutions.

Jonathan McFarlane, the new Sales Director for Polypipe

Sustainable Solutions - Climate Management Solutions

Polypipe are developing new low-carbon heating and cooling technologies to facilitate the energy transition in the built environment for our clients and end-users.

Sustainable Solutions – Building Building on their track record, Polypipe deliver innovative ventilation management systems that ensure the air we breathe is clean and safe.

Polypipe Ireland poised for growth

Specify talks to Jonathan McFarlane, the new Sales Director for Polypipe

Sustainability is core to their commercial strategy, driving innovation in both how they run their businesses and the products they create. Genuit find solutions for the environmental challenges facing infrastructure, buildings, and communities, and deliver these at scale.

Genuit has a clear goal to be the leading provider of sustainable construction products.

The Group operates from 28 facilities in total and manufactures the UK's widest range of solutions for heating, plumbing, drainage, and ventilation. The Group primarily targets the UK and European building and construction markets with a presence in Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, and the Middle East, with sales to specific niches in the rest of the world.

Polypipe Ireland operates across the 3 business units within Genuit Group (water management solutions, climate

management solutions and sustainable building solutions) – providing customers from Coleraine to Cork with innovative products that support the creation of a more sustainable built environment.

Sustainable Solutions - Water Management Solutions

Expectations of the built environment to solve the urgent challenges facing our infrastructure, buildings, communities, and planet have never been greater. Genuit Group is finding solutions for the challenges we’re facing, creating a more resilient business, society, and planet.

Drawing on decades of experience, intelligently engineered, holistic water solutions aid in the management of water from roof to river.

“It’s refreshing to work for such a pioneering company, that welcomes positive change and encourages continuous improvement” Jonathan tells me, “Especially when it comes to new product development and reacting to ever changing market and customer demands”. This has been evident with the recent launch of their Polyplumb Enhanced range of professional push-fit plumbing fittings.

For 25 years, PolyPlumb® has served as a tried and tested staple of the residential plumbing market. The original, robust, and reliable grey push-fit plumbing system, PolyPlumb® continues to be one of the most popular fittings for plumbing professionals.

Polypipe continue to push the boundaries of innovative technology and progressive design, the PolyPlumb® system we know and love has been improved. Now updated with a fresh new look and patented In-Cert® feedback technology, the new PolyPlumb® Enhanced fitting continues to deliver the reliability and confidence you’ve grown to expect from Polypipe Building Products.


The company has exciting plans and a series of new products to be launched later this year, demonstrating the commitment to pioneering new product solutions within Ireland.

Co. Antrim local Jonathan McFarlane started with Polypipe last summer and is developing a strategic plan, alongside the Senior Leadership team, that will pivot the business to an added value proposition and enable Polypipe Ireland to navigate through any anticipated market changes during the next 5+ years.

Q. How did you start out within the construction industry?

I started my career in a local leading builder’s merchant in the mid 90’s, following Alevels. I was torn whether to continue with further education, or to get a job. I was keen to start earning, so I accepted a job on a busy trade counter. Within a short time, I was approached by my Sales Manager to support the internal sales team and within 8 months I progressed to external field sales at 19 years old.

Decorative coatings, Haldane Fisher Group, Brick & Stone Ltd.

My career to date has provided me with extensive experience across multiple functional roles including Sales Leadership, Operational Management and General Management in various industries. Through my previous roles, I’ve gained tangible experiences, skills and personal growth, positioning me to focus on directing the sales function within our business and the market context which we operate in.

should I need to react to support my team or a customer.

I normally try to balance my time between core office administration tasks such as sales analysis, forecasting, meeting preparation and future planning with allocating the remainder of my time to my sales team, the wider functional teams and being in front of the customer.

The office provides a one-dimensional view of the market, customer performance and/or demand but nothing beats meeting with a customer to fully understand their business and how we can support them now and into the future as a true partnership.

Q. How did you find the initial few years of selling?

Interesting – a baptism of fire! But I loved every single minute.

I had a lot to learn (and still do every day) but the early days of my external selling taught me a lot – listen to your customer, communicate effectively, develop a strong sense of resilience and be agile to change.

I returned to support my on-the-job learning at the University of Ulster, completing my Business and Management degree part time, along with several professional accredited courses since – everyday is a school day still.

Q. How does that compare to the art of selling today?

A lot of what I learned in my early period selling, still resonates with me today – the importance of customer experience, key stakeholder engagement, being part of a highly effective team and focusing behaviours that support continuous improvement and sustainable change.

Selling products in the present day is heavily influenced by data and insights. Commercial decisions often are based on this data rather than gut feelings. Nonetheless, it is still important to appreciate the significance of gut instincts.

Q. How has your career experience helped within your current role?

I have been fortunate to work with some fantastic people across market leading businesses such as JP Corry, B&Q Trade, IKEA, Compass Group, AkzoNobel

Q. Would you recommend a school leaver to join the industry?

Yes, definitely - it can be an attractive opportunity for school leavers who are looking for an opportunity to obtain a breadth of experience in an industry which tends to provide a stable and rewarding career path.

At Polypipe, our Diversity & Inclusion ambition is centred on creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable to bring their whole self to work – ensuring school leavers and future generations are welcomed within an organisation that actively seeks a diverse workforce that represents our changing population.

As Strategic Partners of the Construction Inclusion Coalition, we’re looking not just within our business but at the wider industry, working together with our industry peers to drive change in our sector.

Many construction companies, along with Polypipe, provide training and/or career advancement opportunities to enable individuals to progress over time. Additionally, the industry is very diverse in terms of the roles it can offer from trade professionals right through to Project Engineers and Senior leaders.

Q. What is a typical day look like? Without sounding like a cliché – there is no typical day.

I aim to plan and structure as far as possible to enable me to be as productive and effective as I can be. However, I always ensure flexibility within my diary

Q. What are your plans for 2024?

My focus for the remainder of 2024 is centred on improving our internal capabilities through enhancing my teams performance, as well as enhancing the customer experience. Constantly asking “How can we improve”? and challenging the norm to add value where we can.

Having an effective team around me is fundamental to our continued success and we continue to develop a culture around our trademark behaviours of working together, taking ownership and finding a better way.

We have some recent additions to the team and will continue to look for opportunities to grow and add bench strength for the future.

I’m excited about the remainder of 2024 and the years ahead, we have a great story to tell and leveraging the wider group strength we can offer our existing and future customers a really comprehensive offering, which will enable future growth and further investment.

Q. How do you relax when outside of the world of sustainable water management solutions?

Outside of work, I like to unwind by spending quality time with family and friends. Most weekends, I can be found either entertaining my 6-year-old daughter Rose or taking my prized possession, my Ford Mustang GT, out for a long drive!

I still look to plan time for personal development – whether reading books like Atomic Habits, Way of the Wolf, Understanding the Why etc or listening to Podcasts to stretch my thinking.

Over the summer period I aim to be outside, hopefully enjoying my garden and no doubt working through a rather long DIY to-do list which my wife has meticulously prepared for me!


Grant’s tailored heating solutions chosen to heat luxury new build homes in Northern Ireland

For over 45 years, Grant has been delivering innovative, efficient, and carbon-reducing heating solutions to building contractors, merchants and developers.

In recent months, the Grant team has been busy working closely alongside builders and developers across Ireland to provide tailored heating solutions for their developments. This includes a project in Holywood, Co.Down where the manufacturer teamed up with building company Distinguished Homes, to design bespoke home heating solution for two new, contemporary-style 2,650sqft and 3,114sqft properties.

Both properties are being heated by 13kW Grant Aerona3 R32 air source heat pumps to provide a reliable, highly efficient, and environmentally friendly home heating solution. The awardwinning Grant Aerona3 range has an ErP of A+++, is easy to install and the technology helped to achieve required compliance under building regulations. The 13kW model is also recognised by the Internationally acclaimed Quiet Mark for its quiet operation.

Mark Eccles, Grant NI, comments on the importance of correctly sizing a home heating system, “Having the correct size of heat pump and accompanying technologies is vitally important for a property. This is one of the reasons why we provide a free of charge home heating design service for clients. Sizing requirements are based on the heat load requirements for each room within a property and these calculations also help

to determine the best suited heating technologies for the new build project to ensure the system runs as efficiency as possible and that all required compliance under building regulations is achieved.”

To support the system’s overall efficiency and ensure long-term home heating performance within the two luxury properties, an energy efficient hot water storage solution was installed in each home. This included a 300ltr Grant MonoWave cylinder in one property and a 210ltr pre-plumbed Grant hot water cylinder in the other, both of which will supply 24/7 hot water.

The Grant Uflex underfloor heating system was installed throughout the ground floor of each home and on the first floor of one of the homes. The other opted for Grant Afinia aluminium radiators on the first floor to heat individual rooms. These modern heat emitters work effectively to distribute heat efficiently, whilst offering versatility to support the overall design and architecture of each property. Grant

smart heating controls were also included within the heating package for each home.

One of the most beneficial aspects of Grant’s free of charge home heating design service is that a representative from Grant visits each property to commission the Grant Aerona3 air source heat pump, at no additional cost, to ensure the unit is installed correctly and is operating at optimum efficiency. The representative at this time will also explain to the homeowner how to correctly use the heat pump controls.

Commenting on the project, Stewart Duncan, Director, Distinguished Homes said, “I got the opportunity to learn about Grant heating technologies through a course at a local merchant and was particularly impressed with the quality of the products. When I sent the house plans to the Grant team they were very helpful and designed and specified the full heating system for these houses. The whole process saved a lot of time and hassle, and we were content to know that the systems had been professionally designed and all heating technologies sized and specified correctly by Grant. I was particularly happy that Grant came to fully commission the heat pumps and set the systems to optimum efficiency prior to handover. We were also able to provide links to online tutorials on how to operate the system to the new homeowners which was very helpful.”

Visit www.grantni.com for more information on Grant’s range of innovative heating solutions. Follow Grant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @mygrantni or on LinkedIn @GrantEngineeringULC.

Think Heat Pumps. Think Grant.

Grant new build home 13kW Grant Aerona³ R32 air to water air source heat pump
Efficient Heating Solutions www.grantni.com Our innovative heating technologies have been bringing comfort to homes throughout Northern Ireland for over 45 years. Trust Grant to heat your home now and into the future. Grant Uflex Underfloor Heating Grant Aerona3 R32 Heat Pumps Grant Hot Water Cylinders Grant Vortex Condensing Oil & HVO Biofuel Boilers

SPECIFY talks to... Ciaran Tiffney, Divisional

- Construction

Q: Did you plan to get involved in the Construction Industry?

Yes, right from the early days of reviewing university prospectus’ in the study hall of St Patrick’s Grammar in Armagh I always knew I wanted to enter the construction industry. I never saw myself sitting at a desk all day so knew I needed to do something that would allow me to get out and about.

Q: How did you start off?

I completed a degree & post grad in Construction Engineering & Management and Construction Project Management at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. After graduating, I got a position with McLaughlin & Harvey in 2008 as an Assistant Site Manager.

This was right at the start of the global recession which was an extremely difficult period for the whole construction industry.

Q: What have been the highlights of your career so far?

Winning the CIOB Manager of the year in 2016 for my category. This was a great personal achievement to win a national award - but also slightly disconcerting accepting an award for a construction project that ultimately so many people played an important role in delivering! On a more local scale, I am proud to have been involved in the redevelopment of the Ewart office building in Belfast. Works took place during Covid which also added to the project difficulty. There was

certainly a great sense of achievement when this project was delivered.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Identify who are problem finders and who are problem solvers, they sound like they are similar people but ultimately projects will get finished with problem solvers involved. This advice never made sense to me initially but the more projects I worked across the more I understood what was meant by it.

Q: What would you say to any students considering a career in construction?

My advice – go for it! The construction sector is challenging but it is also an extremely rewarding area to work in. An added benefit is that you can work across various sectors within the industry –should that be working inhouse as an architect, engineer or a surveyor or on site as a tradesperson or working directly for the contractor. There are also many opportunities to travel should that be of interest.

Q: Do you think the Construction Sector needs more support from Stormont?

The construction industry needs Stormont to be up and running for an ongoing period which will allow the sector to improve. Firstly there is an immediate need for additional funding as at the moment the ongoing issue with a lack of funding has resulted in infrastructure across Northern Ireland urgently needing improved with no means to do so.

Q: What needs to be done to help the Construction Sector?

As noted above, a stable Government would be a fantastic start, I don’t think it can be underestimated how important the role of stable Government is in driving the economy, especially in Northern Ireland. With more certainty on that front construction would be in a better place. More investment from outside of the local Government i.e. private sector would also be a massive help, a few signs of that happening Belfast at present but would be great to see more coming in the next few years.

Q: Tell us something surprising about yourself…

Embarrassingly I have only just got onto Dermot Kennedy and his music.

58 I SPECIFY specifymagazine.co.uk
Est. 1980 Driving the Northern Ireland Construction Industry Forward. At Specify Magazine, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive coverage of the entire Northern Ireland construction market. Our mission is to report on the important events, projects, products, developments, and ideas that are shaping and propelling our industry forward. Want to submit a press release? Email us at press@specifymagazine.co.uk For advertising costs and availablity email info@specifymagazine.co.uk www.specifymagazine.co.uk


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028 2565 2566 EXT 3 CONTACT US www.moore-concrete.com sales@moore-concrete.com MODULAR MODULAR WALL WALL SOLUTION SOLUTION

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