Sunday Business Post – Done Deal – April 27 2008
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Northern Ireland construction company Graham is to invest £10 million in a new eco-friendly headquarters building in Hillsborough, Co. Down.
The project-team for the new Graham site also includes architects Building Design Partnership (BDP), planning consultants White Young Green and public relations consultants Strategic Planning.
The building work is expected to be completed within two years, and the project will create approximately 200 jobs. Graham executive chairman Michael Graham said the new facility would highlight the company’s wide range of building, engineering and management capabilities.
‘‘It gives us an opportunity to use the experience we have, not only in design and construction, but also in the management of these type of facilities,” said Graham. ‘‘It allows us to demonstrate all of the things that we do to our clients.”
Graham said the 3,000 square metre, three-storey, glass-fronted building will showcase Graham’s ‘green’ design and construction techniques, including natural air circulation, biomass woodchip burner and sustainable urban drainage system.
‘‘The centre of the building has a full height atrium, that helps with natural ventilation and spreads daylight throughout the building,” he said. ‘‘All the building materials are sourced locally from sustainable sources. We will have computerised co-ordination of all the various systems, to make sure that everything is managed to keep the building at the right temperature and light levels.”
Graham said that the company’s present base, at Dromore, County Down, was now too small.
‘‘We have been in the current location in Dromore for well over a hundred years, and we have just outgrown our facilities,” he said. ‘‘This allows us to create a modern working environment and bring the efficiencies that modern methods can bring, and also improve the working environment for our staff.”
Graham was established in Dromore in 1878, and now employs close to 1,000 employees, with an annual turnover of €290 million. It has interests and projects under way throughout Ireland and Britain, and Graham said it was important for the company to have an all-island presence.
Last March, Graham secured a €45 million contract, in partnership with Co Tyrone-based PT McWilliams, to construct an 8.6-mile dual carriageway bypass around Tullamore, Co Offaly. It is also undertaking the €27.5m Macken Street Bridge project.
Its accomplishments also include the new Football Association of Ireland headquarters at Abbotstown, Dublin 15, and the Dargan Luas bridge in Dundrum.
‘‘We have been working fairly consistently in the Republic since 1997,” Graham said. ‘‘It is a very important market for ourselves, and we have €100m at work on the ground in the Republic. We are very keen to grow, not just in the civil engineering side, but also in construction. Also. we have just secured our first facilities management contracts in Dublin.”