Offering proven, professional main contracting, design and build contracting, project management and property development services, Bridgewater Construction is an exciting new construction company which hit the ground running with a landmark maiden development of 135 stunning residential units in Blackrock, County Cork. Building Ireland touched base with directors Paul Barrett and David Walsh to find out more.
As statements of intent go, Bridgewater Construction’s’ first development of 135 residential units in one of Cork’s fastest-growing suburbs is quite simply breath-taking. Comprising 24 houses, 64 duplex apartments, a three-storey apartment block with 20 apartments and a four-storey apartment block with 27 apartments, this magnificent Bessboro Park development on the former Ridge Tools site on Bessboro Road, Mahon, immediately marked Bridgewater out as a design and build main contractor of distinction.
Although Bridgewater Construction is a relatively new name in property development / main contracting, having been established as recently as January, 2020, the company draws on a veritable wealth of constriction expertise as its founding directors Paul Barrett and David Walsh each boast 20 years’ experience running numerous other construction / development / investment companies. By merging their combined expertise, they have been able to create a multifaceted, diverse company which serves as one point of contact for all-inclusive development, design and build and main contracting solutions as well as offering keen investment opportunities.
The first two phases of Bessboro Park have been handed over and Phase Three is on course for completion within programme by January, 2023. At the height of the project, a crew of up to 130 were on site delivering unrivalled workmanship to the most exacting standards.
For their second development, Bridgewater have successfully delivered 16 new high-spec two-, three- and four-bedroom houses at Baker’s Field, Watergrasshill, County Cork with a number of further private developments imminent at the time of writing, including 61 units in Rathcormac and 21 in Kerry Pike.
“Blackrock was a main contractor design and build contract while Watergrasshill, Rathcormac and Kerry Pike are our own developments,” Paul reveals. “We’re hoping to start work on four or five other developments in 2022 and are actively working on getting those up and running as we speak. We’re very happy with the start we have made as a company … so far, so good.”
Considering that practically all of their work thus far has been completed amid the far-from-ideal circumstances of a global pandemic, Bridgewater’s progress to date constitutes a remarkable success story, the fact that they went from zero to a turnover of €17m in their first year trading representing an extraordinary achievement by any standards.
“It has been a hectic first 15 months or so, especially with the company starting in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, which has been challenging, not least because we were closed for the first three or four months of business,” Paul continues. “But we worked hard during lockdown to procure as much materials as possible and to plan the projects as best we could in uncertain times.”
It was in many respects a natural move for Paul and David – both of whom had already established numerous successful construction companies – to join forces: “We’ve been friends for 15 years and we spotted the opportunity we’d been waiting for and decided to start up Bridgewater,” the former notes. “Compared to a traditional main contractor, we offer an all-in service including design, build, estimating, etc. and we bring it all in-house. We’re offering something different to what everybody else is offering and it’s a very cost-effective model. There’s no need for a client to engage outside consultants, for example, as we handle everything in-house and offer a complete turnkey solution from start to finish.”
Indeed, the industry-leading in-house team of professionals at Bridgewater – who are engaged across key areas of development, planning, design, construction, finance, sales and marketing, property management, building management and customer service – includes an operations manager, contracts manager, engineers, quantity surveyors, financial controller, accountant, office managers, site managers and foremen, while most of the construction work is subcontracted to reputable, tried-and-trusted builders and tradesmen.
A member of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and a corporate member of Lean Construction Ireland (LCI), Bridgewater – named as Cork Residential & Commercial Company of the Year at the 2021 Cork Business Awards – is fully-certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 quality, environmental and occupational Health & Safety management standards, focussed firmly on implementing the highest standards possible in every aspect of projects, from customer and employee to workplace and environmental engagement.
A truly diverse company, Bridgewater is passionate about becoming an industry leader in the ever-expanding sustainability practices of the Irish building, engineering and construction industries, including the utilisation wherever feasible of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). As a thoroughly modern and progressive contractor, Bridgewater places a major emphasis on operating industry-leading business systems and processes, embracing the latest purchase order, accounting and project management software.
A property partner of choice demonstrating excellence through construction, investment and growth, Bridgewater offers clients access to unique and high-quality investment opportunities both on and off-market in Ireland. Their exceptional, vastly-experienced in-house team provides peace of mind and a genuine competitive advantage by creating exciting opportunities in the residential (and, going forward, commercial) property sectors, operating through due diligence, handling all negotiations and securing the best possible terms for planning appraisals.
The visionary team at Bridgewater understands the needs of modern family living and consequently – as well as being designed and built to the highest standards of construction and energy efficiency – their new family homes are conceived and realised with every area of each house and room tailored towards the dynamics of people and their interaction with this living space.
Priding themselves on delivering high quality residential constructions and developments, Bridgewater Construction develop and build residential estates, apartments, private rented sector and new homes. With the ability to find, design, develop and deliver a perfect residential development project allied to an innate understanding of how to capitalise on development site potential and maximise investment, their ambition is to become one of Ireland’s leading construction companies.
“Our immediate goal is to concentrate on new developments in Cork but in order to futureproof ourselves we will inevitably move to deliver main contracting and design and build contracting throughout Munster before eventually branching into the Dublin market, perhaps in three or four years’ time,” states David.
One of a select group of main contractors who are currently focussed exclusively on building much-needed residential houses and apartments, Bridgewater place an emphasis on family-friendly, stylish homes with comfort, space and connectivity invariably to the forefront, providing an exemplary service from start to finish on all projects.
The key to consistently delivering high-quality projects? “Having a good construction system in place and access to people you can trust. Being on site yourself is massive – you can’t deliver everything from an office. You have to be on site to micromanage the project from the start and to make sure it’s delivered in a way that reflects your vision, expectations and standards.”
Coming from engineering and trades backgrounds respectively, David and Paul are very much hands-on directors who take an active interest in all stages of their developments. Was it their goal to hit the ground running in such spectacular fashion with Bridgewater Construction? “Yes, while main contractors might tend to start out with a €1m project or something of that size, we went out and got clients and brought them a package. We showed them sites and an end project that we could deliver. We are here now because one client believed in us and we now have clients knocking on our door because we have shown what we can do, even in a very tough climate.
“We thought about doing this for years and the reality is that it could only have happened in the last 12-15 months,” Paul continues. “If we weren’t going to do it now, we were never going to do it! The opportunity was there, demand for residential properties is strong and quality homebuilders are hard to come by. There was a niche there and we have shown that we can develop residential properties to a very high quality.”
Paul concludes: “Taking on a large design and build project as our first job, that was our opportunity to put down a marker and we went over and above to make sure it was a development that stood out in terms of quality and finish. We used quality materials and products and spared no expense because we knew it would stand to us. We made a statement with that development and made sure everything looked perfect right down to the contrast between the brickwork and paving to the lighting – and it has really paid off. That development has set the standard and we will make sure that every future Bridgewater development matches or exceeds it.”
Bridgewater Construction Ltd.,
Tel: 021 4810080
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, August 2022, Vol 8 No 8