For a business to start during the recession, come through that period and continue trading is a testament to the service that they provide.
This is all the more remarkable when a company is involved in the construction industry, which bore the brunt of the downturn. For this month’s edition of Building Ireland, we focus on a quarry company that have done all of the above.
Galway based Coshla Quarries celebrate ten years in business this year and we speak to general manager Martin Collins about the projects that are ongoing within the company at the moment.
The company’s reputation has been forged through hard work, dedication to their customers and delivering quality concrete products to an ever increasing customer base.
Coshla Quarries provides all grades of concrete (including low-carbon), crushed rock and concrete blocks to a host of satisfied customers along the west coast and beyond. A limestone quarry situated on 70 acres at Cashla, Athenry, the firm is a multi-skilled company which places a major emphasis on quality and excellence through every facet of the operation.
All concrete blocks manufactured by Coshal Quarries carry the CE mark, while the concrete is endorsed to EN 206 standards, so no stone is left unturned in ensuring the very highest quality at all times.
“We have full factory-control procedures in place for our blocks, aggregates and concrete, which means full traceability. We were prepared for the new building regulations before they came into place a few years back,” stated Martin.
“You need to have those systems in place for blocks and aggregates, but we had all the paperwork and testing etc, done well in advance.”
To ensure that the customer get their products delivered on time, they run their own fleet of four trucks and the drivers operating them are very experienced and have a good rapport with all customers. Six more trucks are hired in on a permanent basis as the company find this more effective and cost efficient. When the motorway was being built, there were days that up to 20 trucks were used.
The fleet comprises of DAF, Hino and Volvo trucks which are kept in pristine condition and well maintained by their own in-house mechanic.
Business has been good in the last number of years as a number of motorway contracts have been a major part of the business.
“We have a number of contracts ongoing at the moment. We are working on the N17/N18 motorway with John Sisk and Lagan. We are not the main supplier to Lagan, but have been drawing some concrete in for them.”
The project is being built by the Direct Route Consortium which includes Roadbridge, John Sisk, Lagan, three large Irish civil engineering firms and Strabag of Austria.
The new four lane motorway will replace the existing N17/N18 roads, and reduce end-to-end journey times by around 20 minutes. The overall cost of the scheme is estimated at €550 million and the road will be toll-free.
The 57km scheme will be a major boost to the Western region. The new road will be safer, and will bypass Clarinbridge, Claregalway and Tuam which all suffer from congestion. Anyone who has travelled the existing route appreciates the difference this new road will make.
Four lanes will be provided from Gort in the south to Tuam in the north, with a major junction with the M6 Galway-Dublin route to the east of Galway City. It will bypass Tuam, Ardrahan, Claregalway, Kilcolgan, Clarinbridge and Gort. Coshla Quarries are supplying all the concrete for this major project.
Another project currently ongoing is the new Garda headquarters in Renmore where the main contractors are Rattigan’s. Coshlea Quarries Ltd are also working on a project at University College Galway Hospital, where BAM is the main contractor.
“We are holding our own at the moment. We have a few contracts coming to an end, but there is more work coming up. Our location in Athenry means that we can travel to many locations within the two hour timeframe you have for delivering concrete.”
No order is too big or too small. “We supply everybody,” Martin confirms. “From the large contractor to the private individual, every customer is important. All the small quantities add up. A raft foundation for a house could take 100 metres of concrete but we will just as soon supply seven or eight metres – whatever they want.”
Plant in the actual quarry itself includes two primary crushers, two secondary crushers, one cone crusher and five screeners. New crushers and screeners have been added to the fleet in recent years and all the machines are regularly serviced and maintained in perfect running order at all times.
The team at Coshla pride themselves on being authorities on concrete and concrete technology. All the staff are well trained and regularly meet to discuss developments in the sector. An area that is becoming increasingly important is low-carbon concrete.
Here, Coshla Quarries uses GGBS from Ecocem blended with Lagan Cement in its concrete as a way of reducing the carbon footprint. As well as improved workability, pumpability and compaction characteristics for concrete placement, GGBS also offers an array of other advantages including increased strength, reduced permeability, extended life cycle, virtually zero emissions, improved surface finish and lower costs.
“We don’t buy the product blended as different customers require different percentages of each product so we blend here at the plant to suit our customers needs. We find the two products work very well together.”
Last year, the company invested a lot of money updating their concrete plant computer system and their accounts system as they continue enhance the service that they provide.
Coshla Quarries Ltd,
Tel: 091 389020
Fax: 091 389021
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, October 2017, Vol 3 No 9