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MAY 19, 2012






Construction special Focus on Irish companies building in Britain

We lead. Others follow.

2 | May 19, 2012


The Irish Post

We don’t take flight. We offer ground control. Integrated Building Products.

Going for gold on safety Alasdair Reisner, Civil Engineering Contractors Association Director of External Affairs, on how Olympic contractors are leading the way in health and safety WHEN Sergey Bubka was in his prime, he made a specialism of raising the bar. This should not be unexpected, given that the Ukrainian was the world’s leading pole-vaulter for most of the ’80s and ’90s. During that period Bubka set 35 new world records, each time nudging the bar up slightly to claim the new highest vault. In 2006 when the Olympic Delivery Authority was Alasdair Reisner. set up it similarly looked to raise the bar, this time for health and safety. But unlike Bubka, it sought not merely to shade previous records but to smash them. From the start the ODA said that the health and safety of those who worked to build the Games would be its top priority. The ambition was to have the safest Games ever — a Games unblighted by the construction worker deaths of previous Olympics. With works still under way, it would be tempting fate to say that this aspiration has been achieved. However with the ‘big build’ already complete, the 2012 Games remains on target to hit this goal. But this is about more than just deaths in the work place. Reportable injuries have been at levels that are a fraction of what would be expected based on the typical performance of the British construction industry. Averages suggest that there would be around 1,000 such incidents for given the amount of work carried out. In fact the number has been just over 100. This performance can be put down to the dedicated work of the whole Olympic team in Stratford and at venues around Britain. New standards have been set, with no stone unturned in search of gold medal health and safety performance. And the benefits are starting to be felt beyond the Olympic Park. The best practice developed for 2012 will be passed on to the wider industry, leading to improved health and safety across the board. So it may be that the best performance associated with the 2012 Games comes not in track and field, but on safer sites across the country.

Olympic legacy –

Overseeing future transformation projects on the London 2012 site


S the construction industry celebrates the successful completion of more than £1billion worth of Olympic stadia alone, industry eyes will soon turn to the mammoth task of transforming the Olympic Park. Billed as one of Europe’s biggest construction projects by the London Legacy Development Corporation, around £500million is expected to be initially spent transforming the Park. Work will include removal of some temporary venues including the Basketball Arena, built by Barr Construction who have held discussions with Rio 2016 organisers about resurrecting the structure for the next Olympic Games. New access roads, fit-out work and new venues including hockey and tennis facilities will all form part of the 18-month construction phase. By spring 2014, the 560-acre Olympic Park will be largely unrecognisable from the one that will host the 2012 Games in just two months’ time, albeit iconic buildings such as the Olympic Stadium will remain. Andrew Altman, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “London’s Olympic Legacy was rooted in the creation of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park — a place that will become one of the most thriving parts of London. The creation of thousands of new homes and jobs will bring huge benefits to the area. “The transformation will take the Park from an Olympic site, to a new piece of London that’s owned and shaped by the community in and around it. Above all, the Park will create a place of practical benefit for

the surrounding community — a place to take your children swimming at weekends, go to school, walk your dog or go to a festival in the summer.” In February the Olympic Park Legacy Company appointed Bam Nuttall to two contracts worth £76m of the total work on the North and South Parks which will create around 500 temporary jobs. The contractor was one of 145 companies to register an interest in the contracts and held off competition from other shortlisted firms including Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Skanska to land the deals. Separate contracts have or will be let for other venues and areas including the Aquatics Centre, the Olympic Stadium and the creation of the South Plaza — a 50 acre public space sitting between the Stadium, the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the

London’s Olympic Legacy was rooted in the creation of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park — a place that will become one of the most thriving parts of London. The creation of thousands of new homes and jobs will bring huge benefits to the area

Aquatics Centre. Mace has already been appointed as project manager to work with the OPLC to manage the delivery of post-Games transformation work. Three shortlisted developers are in the running to build the first new neighbourhood on the Park of around 800 homes on land situated between the Athletes’ Village and the VeloPark, of which 30 per cent will be affordable housing. The developers are: East Thames and Countryside Properties; Barratt Homes and Le Frak Organisation; and Taylor Wimpey and London & Quadrant. Land at Chobham Manor will be turned into mixed housing and duplex apartments adjacent to the Athletes’ Village which will be converted into 2,800 flats after the 2012 Games. It is one of five neighbourhoods to be built on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with up to 8,000 new homes due to be built over the next two decades, in addition to East Village. However, the LLDC has already set out tough sustainable demands on housebuilders and contractors set to win work on redeveloping the site. The LLDC has already committed to completing homes to zero carbon standards as well as 15 per cent reduction in emissions from actual energy use by Park occupants over five years and a 25 per cent reduction in operational emissions over five years in venues and parklands. ISG has been appointed to manage the preparation, delivery and removal of all temporary facilities and services at the majority of Olympic venues, while Balfour Beatty won the £50m deal to run

The transformation will take the Park from an Olympic site, to a new piece of London that’s owned and shaped by the community in and around it. Above all, the Park will create a place of practical benefit for the surrounding community services and facilities at the park for the next 10 years. Works to be carried out by Bam Nuttall include removal of the Athletes Training Centre at Eton Manor, conversion of the Press Centre and Broadcast Centre site, internal fit-out of the new Multi-Use Arena and creation of the visitor centre and landscaped events space to be known as the South Plaza. Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Within a year of the close of the 2012 Games, the Park will be ready to welcome not only another major sporting event, but also the thousands of residents and workers who will reap the benefits of this brand new district of the capital. “The fantastic new sporting venues are only one part of the unfolding legacy story. The Park will help drive the growth London needs to steer it out of recession and on to long term prosperity.”

The Irish Post


May 19, 2012 | 3

We don’t do half measures. We’re at home on the big stage. Ellmer Construction.

it’s all still to play for

Bidding to set up home at the Stadium THE future tenant of the Olympic Stadium will not be decided this month after the London Legacy Development Corporation announced it is extending the bidding process by two months. West Ham FC re-entered the race to become the anchor tenant at the stadium after the Games and a decision had been due on May 21. However the LLDC has confirmed that date will be pushed back for eight weeks to allow more time to “address a number of issues” with the Invitation to Tender process. West Ham had begun a procurement process for a contractor to be appointed to deliver its proposed £100m conversion of the stadium last year, only for the bid to collapse in the face of legal wranglings with rival London clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient. However, the club reentered the race in May, with Spurs now committed to developing a new £420m stadium at Northumberland Park. Issues that arose in the ITT stage included governing body approvals, technical improvements to the Stadium and the opportunity to bid for the right to exploit the Stadium naming rights. LLDC chief executive

Andrew Altman said: “The fundamentals have not changed and it remains our intention to sign construction contracts for converting the Stadium at the end of October, with the intention of re-opening in 2014 as previously announced. “This is a significant public asset and a 99 year lease, and it is right that we take the time now to get the best possible outcome for the Stadium.”

Building by numbers More than

240 businesses won contracts to work on construction of the Olympic Stadium.

More than

5,250 people worked on the Olympic Stadium over three years.

4 skeletons were discovered and removed from a prehistoric settlement discovered on the site of the Aquatics Centre.

33 buildings were demolished on the Olympic Stadium site and more than

800,000 tonnes of soil were removed FUTURE TENANT? West Ham captain Kevin Nolan.

before construction began. It took

10 weeks to build the 4,500

tonne steel structure of the International

275 metres 104 metres wide and 21 metres tall.

Broadcast Centre, which is long,

10,000 tonnes of steel is contained in the Olympic Stadium.

52 is the number of overhead electricity pylons removed from the Olympic site over two years.

350,000 nails were hammered into 56 kilometres of timber to form the Velodrome’s race track made from sustainably-sourced Siberian pine.

4 | May 19, 2012


The Irish Post

We don’t rest easy. We restore famous names. Chorus.

Prized Hinkley Point C contract to be announced

THE FUTURE: How Hinkley Point C will look.

THE Government’s push to legislate for electricity market reform has been hailed by the nuclear industry, however fears over new nuclear in Britain continue to grow. The main bidders for the massive Hinkley Point C main civils package in Somerset, worth more than £1billion, are due to find within the next month which firm will win the prized deal, with French firms Bouygues and Vinci bidding with Laing O’Rourke and Balfour Beatty respectively. The consortium behind nuclear developer Horizon, E.ON and RWE npower, pulled out last month, leaving billions in construction work under threat. However, the Nuclear Industry Association said the announcement in the Queen’s Speech last week, that EMR legislation will be introduced in the forthcoming Parliament, would give certainty to investors. Several consortia, including Chinese investors, are believed to be weighing up bids for the venture which has options to build reactors at Wylfa in Wales and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. NIA chairman Keith Parker said: “The potential for new nuclear is huge with massive investments being made in areas that are reliant on nuclear power, and the potential for 5,000 jobs at the peak of construction at each site. “Each new nuclear site is the equivalent of building the whole Olympics project, and this is a project which the UK cannot do without if we want to achieve our carbon targets and meet the electricity demand.”

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The Irish Post


May 19, 2012 | 5

We don’t settle for less. We scale new heights. Byrne Bros.

Key construction schemes to look out for in 2012 include… CROSSRAIL


Crossrail has appointed property advisers including Savills Commercial, Knight Frank and Drivers Jonas Deloitte as it looks for development advice for a series of 12 sites including Paddington Triangle, Liverpool Street station and Fisher Street worksite. More than 2.5million square feet of office, retail and residential space are planned by Crossrail above new central London stations and the client recently won approval from Westminster City Council for 500,000 sq ft development above Tottenham Court Road. Meanwhile, an announcement on the winning contractor for the £200million Tottenham Court Road main station is due in the next month with Lend Lease and Laing O’Rourke among the bidders. The final station award will be the £200million Bond Street contract due early in 2013 with further fit-out and tunnelling packages to come.

The Government has said it hopes to build more than 100,000 homes by 2015 as part of its attempts to relinquish Government-owned land to developers. Housing minister Grant Shapps said he wanted to extend the ‘Build Now, Pay Later’ scheme to encourage developers to build more housing. The Government has announced sites in Northampton, Bath, Newcastle and Hull as being among the latest to be

released and sold to make way for new homes and will announce further brownfield sites in the coming year.

Supply chains and ability to manoeuvre quickly are crucial Enterprise Ireland’s John Hunt.


In commercial news, the £750million mixed-use development at the former Middlesex Hospital site in London is due to be decided this year, while the £500million Bank Station upgrade and £600million Mersey Gateway Bridge are among the eye-catching schemes awaiting preferred bidders. The £400million Royal Liverpool Hospital revamp and £300million postOlympic Games park transformation contracts will also be hotly-contested. Contractors are also putting in place supply chains for iconic projects recently awarded including the £100million Sea Containers House project in London, won by the Byrne Group, while Sir Robert McAlpine was chosen by the US Embassy to Laing O’Rourke are among the bidders for the build its £650million Tottenham Court Road development. new home in Battersea.


HAVING the right supply chain in place and having your leaders at the frontline are crucial for new companies entering the British market looking for work. That’s the advice from Enterprise Ireland’s senior market adviser for construction, John Hunt, who said opportunities are cropping up in different sectors and Irish contractors are winning work on high-profile projects. “You have to have your leaders at the front as decisions have to be made quickly. It is those companies that are able to manoeuvre quickly and change tactics that end up being successful [when bidding for work]. “Your supply chain and how that will be delivered if you are new to the market is very important and it will be a mix that will be right for that particular job. “If it’s a hotel site then it is not uncommon for companies to move supply chains across Europe whereas with local authorities you would be asked to employ local people, so it depends on the nature of the project.” Mr Hunt pointed to John Sisk’s appointment to The Shard’s £40million

fit-out deal in hotels, and companies including John Paul Construction and Siac Construction winning civil work as proof that Irish contractors could successfully compete in the British market. He added that main contractors coming in from Ireland have performed particularly well in two areas: The Olympics and high-end residential or hotel schemes. “You look at Sisk on the Shangri-La that’s one of London’s most high profile jobs and Bennett Construction is also winning three and four-star hotel jobs. “Irish companies would be highly capable in high end residential and hotel work because of the recent hotel experience in Ireland and have had success on the Olympics.” But with margins shrinking, and the expense of establishing themselves in Britain and potential travel costs, is it feasible for new Irish companies to win work at sensibly priced bids? Mr Hunt said: “It’s about being innovative in terms of your approach. It’s tight in the UK but it’s a hell of a lot tighter in Ireland. There is work to be won here but experienced clients will know not to take a silly price for work.”

The Danny Sullivan Group is a dynamic building and civil engineering company providing skilled labour to both the public and private sector of the construction industry. The management team are dedicated to providing our clients with a safe, skilled and professional workforce underpinned with quality workmanship. Our employees are trained with the skills to comply with both client and legislative requirements. As a company we are fully committed to the Major Contractors Group (MCG) strategy and hold Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards as well as National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). Our skilled quality workforce can help your business achieve economic and quality targets. TEAM WORK Together We Achieve The Extraordinary 22 Barretts Green Road, London NW10 7AE Tel: 020 8961 1900 / Fax: 020 8961 1965

6 | May 19, 2012


The Irish Post

We don’t take risks. We’re a tower of strength. Thorn Plant Hire.

Rail and energy buck trends of cuts in the public sector PRIVATE sector construction is not growing at enough of a pace to prevent public sector cuts hitting the construction industry, a leading industry trade body has warned. The Construction Products Association’s state of trade survey for 2012 Q1 showed that conditions are likely to worsen during 2012 as the full extent of public sector cuts becomes clear. However, rail and energy continue to buck the trend as work continues on Europe’s largest construction project Crossrail and the renewables industry continues to grow after the Government confirmed it has granted consent for a 76turbine, Pen Y Cymoedd wind farm between Neath and Aberdare in South Wales. Major civil projects continue to provide a boost to industry after the Prime Minister repeated his message last week that infrastructure is a key part of Britain returning to growth. Tunnelling work has now begun on the £14.8billion Crossrail project, while moneyspinning schemes such as a new £300million Peel Ports deepwater container terminal at the

Port of Liverpool are among the schemes being pursued on the market. However, the cutbacks in public sector spending are being keenly felt and hopes are still being pinned on the Government’s £2billion Priority Schools Building Programme (PSPB), which has suffered major delays. Contractors have warned that they need to have a greater forward pipeline, particularly with regard to the PSBP, which was originally due to be announced late in 2011. Education Funding Agency chief executive Peter Lauener and director of capital Mike Green were urged by contractors at a Building Future Education conference in London to ensure to speed up the programme. The market is seen as among the most competitive with top contractors such as Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke and Interserve chasing work and developing standardised school concepts to meet Government’s drive to find efficiencies in school building. Bam Construct director of design and marketing Chris

Education Funding Agency chief executive Peter Lauener.

Education Funding Agency director of capital Mike Green.

Gilmour said: “There is a huge amount of discussion about standardised schools but every school is different. “Every major contractor has put a version of a standardised school together but no solution satisfies all criteria. So we have to be careful about how we define the word ‘standardised’. “We are now seeing other teams coming into the industry and trying to design schools and not having the experience to deliver within tight budgets.� However the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) said it was imperative to keep housing as a top priority for Government. CIH chief executive Grainia

Long said: “It is imperative that housing takes centre stage in helping stimulate the economy. “Investing in house building has a positive multiplier effect on communities and on employers and can be delivered quickly. It brings employment and expands to benefit more than just those the homes are built to serve.â€? One Irish building and civil engineering contractor has managed to double its turnover in the past five years to more than ÂŁ100million, having worked with some of the biggest housebuilders in Britain. O’Halloran and O’Brien cites highways, concrete frames and remediation and regeneration as

its areas of expertise, alongside housing where it has worked with big names such as Barratt Homes, Willmott Dixon and Galliford Try. Director Tom Lacey said that although margins are down, the company, which employs around 600 staff, remainS reasonably upbeat about housing prospects. “It’s tight but the market is reasonably buoyant in terms of sales and we are actively trying to expand our client base as well as monitoring our existing clients,� he said. “You are having to run faster to try and stop going backwards now but we are trying to expand and as we do our labour needs will increase as well.�

GO AHEAD: Consent has been given for a 76-turbine wind farm between Neath and Aberdare in South Wales.

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DIGGING DEEP: Tunnelling work has now begun on the ÂŁ14.8billion Crossrail project

The Irish Post


We don’t take flight. We offer ground control. Integrated Building Products.

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May 19, 2012 | 7

8 | May 19, 2012


The Irish Post

We don’t do half measures. We’re at home on the big stage. Ellmer Construction.

Providing the skills for the big projects IN PROFILE: Danny Sullivan & Sons FROM its London base, Irish labour contracting firm Danny Sullivan & Sons has set its mark on some of the biggest construction schemes Britain has ever seen, worth billions of pounds. The company, established in 1986, is providing skilled workers to some of the biggest construction sites in Europe including to construction teams on the Olympic Park; the M25 and recent £500million redevelopment of Kings Cross station. Contractors such as Balfour Beatty, Carillion and VolkerFitzpatrick have all employed the company, who ensure all workers are fully certified and offer on-site assessment and training in areas including construction operations, formwork and steel fixing.


A spokesperson said: “When carrying out a civil contract near a rail environment, Danny Sullivan & Sons can provide key personnel across the two types of contract, carrying out a complex project as easily as possible for the main contractor. “Many of our clients have preferred teams from Danny Sullivan & Sons and many clients re-employ key personnel, a practice indicative of our good working procedures. The company has also engaged with local Government agencies that provide sponsored training, such as Skills Match UK, as it seeks to find the best people for the job.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK: Danny Sullivan & Sons providing skilled workers.

Irish building the BY ROBERT MULHERN


TANDING at 1,017 feet the Shard is London’s tallest building. It’s not only the tallest in Britain, but Western Europe as well. When it comes to skyscrapers, engineering brilliance is rewarded by height. And to stand tall you need to get millions of things right. In the case of the Shard in London Bridge, you need to break new ground, lay mega foundations, implement new methods and push boundaries further into the sky than anyone has before in Britain. When it gets so tall that people stand back and marvel, which is what most Londoners have been doing since the structure appeared on the city’s skyline; you know the project is capturing imaginations before it even opens. With this building there is much to admire and more to celebrate. Before we get into mind-boggling figures it is important to highlight the role played by Irish contractors, designers and architects in the realisation of Western Europe’s tallest skyscraper. Take Byrne Group, the Irish firm responsible for completing all the concrete work on the Shard. They poured over a million hours without a single accident. The company, owned by Patsy Byrne from Kerry, was also involved in a pioneering project, which involved sealing off floors

under construction with an external box-unit, which was hydraulically raised during construction. When the builders went up, the box went with them. “Working at those heights, we wouldn’t afford for a single nail to fall over the edge,” said project director Don Houston from Byrne Group. The Donegal man is a veteran of major construction projects and has been employed in the industry since 1975. He was one of a first wave involved in the rebuild of Kuwait after the Gulf War in 1991. In Britain he has worked on a host of projects including Heathrow Terminal 3. But he never thought he’d be operating at an altitude where planes fly. “In Britain, no one had ever worked at a height of more than 44 stories,” he said. “Working at that level and over one of the busiest rail networks in Europe, well, the safety requirements were massive. “That’s why we spent a year designing and building a purpose built screen. The system was hydraulically driven. When we went up, the box went with us. That part of the project was pioneering.” Working at an altitude, where it is possible to see the North Sea on a clear day, created lots of problems and some of them were exaggerated by the weather. Michael Byrne from Byrne Group arrived at the site one morning to discover the top

hidden by cloud. Up in the sky concrete and construction workers often endured biting cold as they maintained their steady rhythm — one floor a week, every week, no excuses. “Some of the guys had to wear customised balaclavas up there,” joked Houston. “The sight of that may have raised some security concerns. But they had to do it with a wind chill of

In Britain, no one had ever worked at a height of more than 44 stories, working at that level and over one of the busiest rail networks in Europe, well, the safety requirements were massive Don Houston

minus two degrees over floor 60.” Houston nursed the project along. Byrne’s were working a revolutionary sub-form core up the middle of the structure, jacking it up inch by inch. Once the concrete set, they just jacked it up some more. The flow was constant and inches quickly turned into metres. By the time they got to floor 72, they’d gone higher than any

other contractor in Britain and had made engineering history in doing so. Houston was there that day beside a tight team littered with Irish workers, which now includes his son Johnny. For the Donegal man that moment was the highlight of the project to date. “No one had ever done a slip form that high,” he said. “It was a seminal day in the project. Houston said nobody was used to working at those heights. Not even the fearless metal workers who were captured manoeuvering beams into place high above the city by a passing photographer in March — a picture that was carried by the mainstream media and pored over by the public. Yet the brave work completed at the top disguises the heavy toil and methodical planning that took place down at the bottom. Back when the Shard was a humble 21 stories high, over 700 truckloads of concrete were deposited at the London Bridge site during a highly pressurised 36-hour operation. That part of the job was a logistical nightmare. As well as tens of thousands of commuters coming into London Bridge every day — something that constantly needed to be considered — there is also a bus station on the doorstep and Guys Hospital is situated across the road from the main access gate. At the peak of the concrete pour, trucks were arriving onto

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The Irish Post


May 19, 2012 | 9

We don’t rest easy. We restore famous names. Chorus.

pride of London

the site at two-minute intervals. Lorry deliveries were controlled using a buffer zone a few miles away. Vehicles were held and then dispatched also at twominute intervals. The whole operation was scheduled for a weekend when there was less traffic and less demand from other sites in the capital. Byrne’s brought the concrete from four different plants to reduce risk and maintain the flow of material. If one plant failed, the other three could make up the shortfall. At the delivery point, three concrete pumps were installed capable of pumping 150 cubic metres of concrete an hour. At around 5,500 cubic metres, the concrete pour, which created the raft foundation to support the Shard, was among the largest ever undertaken on a British building. On a project like this, every number is impressive, from the 250,000 man-hours without a single accident to the £50million price tag that has recently been applied to penthouse apartments situated between floors 45 and 62. Few could ever hope to own one, but the beauty of such a structure is that it will be enjoyed by millions of people on the ground in years to come; tourists, locals and connoisseurs of the building trade alike. In years to come, people will say Irish contractors played their part. Others will rightly say they led the way.

ROOM WITH A VIEW: Workers on the Shard.

It’s the high life in a Shard apartment DETAILS of the 10 luxurious Shard apartments due to go on the market for millions of pounds have not yet been unveiled, but sources close to the developers say the standards of comfort will be uncompromised. The two-story apartment on floors 64 and 65 will be as large as a six or seven-bedroom house. The dining hall can also double as a reception room. The apartments will have 360degree views with rooms arranged around the concrete core which contains lifts, a fire stairwell and other services. The building’s brain will control blinds built into the windows, coming down on sunny days to reduce glare. The owners of the apartments, three two-storey duplexes and seven single storey laterals will occupy floors 53 to 65, with the top penthouse duplex at 735 feet, making it the highest dwelling between London and Russia’s Ural mountains. Owners will have access to the five-star Shangri-La’s facilities, including its swimming pool on the 52nd floor and dedicated high speed lifts. Developer Sellar Property Group and agents Knight Frank, will not market the apartments until the middle of the summer. Interested purchasers are expected to come from the Middle East, Russia and other former Soviet states. The apartments will account for just 62,000 square feet of the 1.2million square foot building, which will have three floors of restaurants, 27 of offices and 19 of hotel rooms. At the top there will be public viewing galleries.

The Shard Fact File Location: Southwark, London Construction started: March 2009 Estimated completion: July 2012 Cost: £450 million Height: 309.6 m (1,017 ft) Floor count: 95 (Including plant floors), 72 (habitable) Floor area: 1,200,000 sq ft (110,000 m2) Main contractor: Mace Architect: Renzo Piano Developer: Sellar Property Group

VISION: Architect Renzon Piano overlooks a model of the Shard.

10 | May 19, 2012


The Irish Post

We don’t settle for less. We scale new heights. Byrne Bros.

Green deal Government scheme hopes to create 65,000 jobs THE construction industry is stepping up its game ahead of the launch of the Green Deal, which the Government hopes will create 65,000 jobs by 2015. The Government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme is due to launch in October but has been beset by criticism and delays with secondary legislation still not laid before Parliament. However, the Construction Products Association’s Green Deal project team, in conjunction with the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes, has produced a guide to highlight how companies can get involved in the scheme. The ‘Green Deal Opportunities for Industry’ Guide explains how the scheme will operate and offers advice for operators as well as case studies of companies working in similar fields. The move follows the establishment of the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Buildings group, which aims to create a network of Green Deal

providers, financiers, product and service suppliers. EEPB chairman Dr David Strong said: “Our priority working groups will be looking at how we overcome market barriers and unlock opportunities from Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation, especially for SMEs.”

The construction sector is suffering at the moment but it could play a key role in getting the UK’s economy back on track — with energy efficiency and green infrastructure central to economic recovery

Local authorities in Birmingham and the North-East are among the first to commit to the Green Deal through community groups. Newcastle City Council is leading procurement of a delivery partner to establish and run an energy efficiency improvement scheme for a partnership of local authorities in the North-East, following the launch of the £1.2billion Birmingham Energy Savers scheme. Meanwhile, industry has welcomed the proposals to legislate for the Green Investment Bank in the Queen’s Speech. Association for Consultancy and Engineering head of policy Michael Hall told The Irish Post it was likely to see investment in additional infrastructure that wouldn’t find full investment from the private sector. “It’s a good initiative that we support but would like to see go further, although we recognise that it can’t be a full-scale bank

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May 19, 2012 | 11

We don’t take risks. We’re a tower of strength. Thorn Plant Hire.

will bring jobs straight away. “What we need to see is new and innovative ways of getting private sector investment in infrastructure and I think the Green Investment Bank will be an important part of that.” UK Green Building Council chief executive Paul King said the GIB was a ‘welcome example of the Government

intervening’ but warned there was more work to be done for the Government to show “renewed leadership on green issues”. He said: “The construction sector is suffering at the moment but it could play a key role in getting the UK’s economy back on track — with energy efficiency and green infrastructure central to

economic recovery. “Unfortunately, deregulation is not a miracle cure — in fact we probably need greater intervention from Government — for example bringing in incentives like reduced Stamp Duty to encourage households to take up the Green Deal, and helping the commercial sector cut energy use.”

Green policy to look out for in 2012 Feed-in Tariffs: After the fiasco that was the Government’s battle in the courts to slash the FiT rates or return, solar groups have accused the Government of destroying the industry with further cuts due in July. However, solar power remains an important solution to planning requirements, and hundreds of businesses wrote to the Prime Minister asking he intervene to stop further cuts. Green Investment Bank: The Government expects to obtain state aid approval for the GIB by autumn and will have £3bn to spend initially though the industry wants it to have full borrowing and lending powers. Wind projects are expected to be

among the first to receive investment, but business secretary Vince Cable has already committed the first £80m investment in the small scale waste infrastructure sector. Zero Carbon Homes: Not due to be required until 2016, followed by commercial buildings in 2019, zero carbon housing has been one of many controversial green issues in the Government’s term todate. After being accused of watering down the term ‘zero carbon’, it has also been accused of adding pressure to housebuilders who will have to meet clients’ demands on stricter green targets on schemes in the short-term. Green Deal: Due to be launched in October 2012,

some industry groups have said the scheme will not see mass take up until 2014 with fears over a lack of consumer awareness. However, it has potential to create 65,000 jobs by 2015 and enough work to see SME builders through the recession. Questions still remain over how the scheme will operate though, and whether construction firms will lose out to energy companies and retailers, as Government is still consulting on how the scheme will operate through secondary Business legislation. Secretary Vince Cable.

Mixing business and charity workers to prevent sudden adult death syndrome. Mr O’Grady, who also sits on SKYDIVING, marathon the board of construction running and bringing the Ryder industry charity The Lighthouse Cup to England are all part of Club, said holding charity events an Irish construction recruiter’s was a good way for drive for charity. Ardent Tide to help Ardent Tide chief introduce clients from executive Dermot various sectors within the O’Grady said the industry, while making company is hoping money for good causes. to bag a couple of He said: “It helps us to Irish rugby stars to raise the profile a bit and act as captains for a we have organised ‘mini Ryder Cup’ on seminars to help educate September 28, to clients on certain topics, take place at the Dermot O’Grady but the hope would be that same time as the Ardent Tide chief you would introduce famous golf executive. people so that they can do tournament. some business with each other. The event is expected to raise “So you could introduce a money for The Ireland Fund of groundwork contractor to a Great Britain — The Forgotten formwork contractor or a main Irish Campaign. contractor to a sub-contractor. The company, based in We try to add value for our Cricklewood, provides clients clients wherever we can.” with self-employed workers for a The company has found fee, while retaining legal and tax employment for workers in liabilities, so - scheme basis trades across the board rather than permanently on their including labourers, plasterers books. and steelwork manufacturers It has also signed a deal to and has almost 3,000 workers on sponsor the London senior its books at present from all hurling club championship next sorts of backgrounds. season and committed to paying for an ECG for each of its

IN PROFILE: Ardent Tide

12 | May 19, 2012


The Irish Post

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Co. Meath company Manley Construction opens first British office in Manchester


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N Irish contractor has landed a place on a prestigious new build housing framework after opening its first office in Britain to target the North-West of England for work. Manley Construction has successfully tendered for a place on the North-West social housing consortium Procure Plus’s £130million, four-year framework which will award contracts to 34 companies to maintain 195,000 properties across the region. The Co. Meath-based contractor is listed alongside some of the biggest contractors in Britain on the Procure Plus framework with Kier and Willmott Dixon among those to

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win places. The framework aims to bring 25 per cent efficiencies for Registered Providers on new build social housing projects through procurement in volume and collaborative purchasing. Despite being an established presence in Ireland, with a turnover of around £7.5million, the family-owned business has now moved to Britain for the first time within the past year. Head of British operations Ian Caldwell said: “We carried out a UK market appraisal and decided to set up in Manchester

We decided to set up in Manchester as there is a good community network but also good transport links like the M6. Things have slowed down in Ireland but we’re still building. We won’t be frightened about having a go at anything here

as there is a good community network but also good transport links like the M6. “Things have slowed down in Ireland but we’re still building. We won’t be frightened about having a go at anything here. We’ll be looking at housing and I have good experience in healthcare as well. We’re actively looking at getting on some tender lists which would be another big step for us.” The contractor, which was established 25 years ago, is a family-owned business originating from Co. Meath, but has invested in a new office near Manchester Airport. It says it wants to target work in healthcare, education, leisure, commercial and residential development sectors. Manley’s experience to date has included large-scale schemes such as the development of St Anne’s Golf Club in Dublin Bay and a 70,000 sq ft retail scheme in Athlone. Manley Construction also boasts the outspoken businessman Ben Dunne as a client, having won a fit-out job on his Switch Island, Liverpool gym where works included internal refurbishments and extensive M&E installation. As for employing subcontractors, Mr Caldwell said that local firms would be used as

The Irish Post


May 19, 2012 | 13

We don’t do half measures. We’re at home on the big stage. Ellmer Construction.

Social investment needed IN PROFILE: O’Halloran O’Brien OFFICE for National Statistics figures released this week show a massive decrease of 10.9 per cent in public housing output for 2012 Q1. The figures were in contrast to private housing, which was boosted by 1.3 per cent. However, director at Irish contractor O’Halloran O’Brien Tom Lacey says although the housing market is ‘reasonably bouyant’, social housing investment was needed. He added that zero carbon reforms planned in 2016 are yet to be fully reflected on the ground, but that housebuilders are keeping focussed on planning reform. “We have planned for a shift in social housing but the other legislation we are watching is on planning and how funding will pan out as a result,” he said. O’Halloran O’Brien has worked with some of the biggest housebuilders in Britain including Persimmon, Berkeley Homes and Taylor Wimpey. It works in highways, concrete frames and remediation and regeneration as well as housing. The contractor employed more than 800 people at its busiest period in 2011, but employs around 600 staff and has doubled turnover from £50m five years ago.

MB MULCAHY – INSURANCE well as Irish firms, with clients, including Mr Dunne, often seeking to employ specialist subcontractors they have worked with on previous projects. “It is very competitive in Manchester but it’s competitive everywhere in Britain at the moment. It’s not going to be easy [to break into the market] but we are up for the challenge,” he said.

CLIENT: Businessman Ben Dunne. Manley Construction UK managing director Gabriel Manley added that the NorthWest has a “world-class construction supply chain” which the company intends to tap into and use as a springboard for its growth.

Health and safety is at the forefront IN PROFILE: MGF AS health and safety has come to the forefront of the 21st century construction industry, excavation support group MGF have found main contractors seeking their advice more and more. The company which is in its 31st year, has eight regional offices across Britian and specialises in the supply of excavation support equipment to the construction industry as well as temporary works design services. Some of the biggest contractors in British construction including Balfour Beatty and Morgan Sindall have come to the group which employs more than 260 people for support on new schemes. Marketing manager Jenny Hodgkiss said: “Health and safety is at the forefront of what we do. We manufacture our own products so we listen

to our customer’s feedback to come up with innovative new products. “The popularity of our temporary works design service has increased dramatically where we would gather information from our customers and prepare a design based on a range of equipment and we specify what equipment they need.” The company is also looking to promote best practice within industry including through its engineering and design director Steve Hesketh who acts as chairman of the Shoring Technology Interest Group and is working with the HSE to agree and publish best practice guides for industry. Among the products it has found in demand is the MGF Stairsafe as contractors seek alternatives to ladders for use in access to confined spaces under concerted health and safety efforts.

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14 | May 19, 2012


The Irish Post

We don’t rest easy. We restore famous names. Chorus.


COTLAND’S aim to be 100 per cent renewable is likely to see further movement into the country from Irish contractors in the short-term, according to experts. Companies with experience in offshore wind are likely to flood to Scotland, creating work for civil engineering contractors in the process both for the turbines and access roads and excavation works, as well as design and build contracts for manufacturing hubs. Although the Scottish Government has ruled out new nuclear, First Minister Alex Salmond has pointed to wind, wave and tidal power as future energy sources. “In Scotland most of the big wins are coming around transport infrastructure and wind farms,” said Enterprise Ireland’s senior market adviser for construction John Hunt. “The Scottish Government is aiming to be 100 per cent renewable by 2025 and there will be opportunities in civil engineering as a result for the likes of Sisk, Redbridge, John Paul and Siak Construction.” Europe’s largest on-shore wind farm is based at Whitelee where infrastructure contracts went to Galliford Try subsidiary Morrison Construction and Balfour Kilpatrick (now Balfour Beatty Engineering Services). John Paul construction completed the £10.5 million A9 Crubenmore Dual Carriageway

Northern Extension in September, while Northern Irish firm Lagan Construction has experience in wind farms and has an established office in Scotland to target work. The contractor was appointed by City of Edinburgh Council to build £11.5million of flood defences along the Water of Leith in a job due for completion later this year and has worked on wind farms including Griffin Wind Farm in Perthshire. Sources told The Irish Post that there is competition between Irish contractors moving into the British market and Scottish contractors. One source said: “There is a concern that a lot of contracts have gone to Irish and foreign companies in the past few years at a time when Scottish companies have suffered from public spending cuts.” Independent infrastructure company, the Scottish Future’s Trust, has also said it expects Irish builders to come to Scotland to bid for work as it supports a £9billion portfolio of work. However, some contractors have begun to operate seamlessly between Scotland and Ireland, including Graham Construction, which now operates on a turnover of more than £200million through winning work on both sides of the Irish Sea. As well as winning regular contracts in Scotland, the contractor was one of those named on the estimated

Wind power making

£600million A5 Western Transport Corridor scheme in Northern Ireland and crucial civil projects including the N52 Tullamore Bypass. The contractor is also expected to bid for wind farm work in Scotland, having already worked on wind projects in Ireland such as the Bin Mountain Wind Farm in Co. Tyrone and the Mullananalt Wind Farm in Co. Monaghan.

Despite the interest from Irish contractors in the Scottish market, however, figures released this month showed more than a 100 per cent increase in firms going bust in the year to March 2012 compared with the year to 2010. Scottish Building Federation chief executive Michael Levack insisted that the evidence pointed to trading conditions in Scotland getting worse.

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The Irish Post


May 19, 2012 | 15

We don’t settle for less. We scale new heights. Byrne Bros.

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IN PROFILE: O’Donovan Waste Disposal

Billionaire says turbines will destroy tourism WIND farms have found an unlikely foe in billionaire tycoon Donald Trump who even attended a Holyrood hearing in front of a Scottish parliamentary committee assessing wind farms last month. Mr Trump wants to build a ÂŁ1billion golf course development in Aberdeenshire but has criticised wind farms and said he received an assurance that a proposed 11turbine offshore wind farm near his golf course would not be built if his

development went ahead. Plans for the wind farm off Aberdeen Bay were submitted to Marine Scotland last summer and a planning decision is expected this year. However, in a letter to first minister Alex Salmond this month, Mr Trump said: “Scotland can never become independent under your leadership because thousands of industrial wind turbines will destroy your tourism sector.�

FOR TURBINES: Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond.

AS contractors try to cut down on waste to find savings, one company is recycling its waste into material to be used on new construction sites. O’Donovan Waste Disposal is a family-run business that has been involved in construction going back as far as the 1930s. It is currently a supplier on Europe’s biggest construction project Crossrail, while contractors to have employed the company includ industry heavyweights such as Costain, J Murphy and Bam Nuttall. The company operates recycling plants such as the one at Tottenham in London where it produces recycled aggregates including crushed brick and concrete, while it aims to achieve 99 per cent diversion from landfill as well as producing fuel for power stations. High-profile private clients such as Tesco and M&S are among the bigger clients, while the company also provides refuse services to individual households. Managing director Jacqueline O’Donovan said: “Our turnover has decreased since 2008 like most people, but our gross profit margin is up. We haven’t made redundancies, a lot of eastern European workers have gone home so we’ve just battened down the hatches a bit. “Our drivers have been fully trained, we have fitted side view mirrors to our vehicles and we’re committed to safety and accreditation.�


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The Irish Post Construction Supplement - May 2012  

The Irish Post's dedicated 16 page construction supplement, sponsored by The Byrne Group

The Irish Post Construction Supplement - May 2012  

The Irish Post's dedicated 16 page construction supplement, sponsored by The Byrne Group