Having established itself as one of Northern Ireland’s leading building and civil engineering companies over the past decade, Cunningham Contracts Ltd is now making its mark south of the border and was recently shortlisted for an Irish Construction Industry Award in the highly-competitive Residential Project of the Year (Large) category.
Held in the Citywest Hotel, Dublin on Thursday, June 13, the Irish Construction Industry Awards recognise and reward companies who strive for excellence within the sector and Cunningham Contracts Ltd was a worthy nominee for its successful delivery of Connaught Grove, a new build social housing development in Athboy, Co. Meath comprising 32 units, including all site development works, communal open space areas, new adopted roads and footpaths, cycle paths, drainage and underground utility services which were all constructed to full adoptable standards.
Construction of the homes were a mix of load-bearing masonry construction, designed timber frame construction and concrete tiled roofs with external wall finishes comprising mostly of brick with render features. Connaught Grove consists of a mix of 10 two-bed, 20 three-bed and two four-bed houses with a high spec finish, energy efficient heating with an A2-rated BER. The needs of a number of residents with specific physical requirements were also catered for with the provision of four level access units as part of the overall development. The site was located in a mainly residential area, adjacent to occupied buildings and in close proximity to Athboy town centre.
As the main contractor, Cunningham Contracts Ltd collaborated with Van Dijk Architects, building services engineer Semple McKillop Ltd, structural engineer Duffy Chartered Engineers IRL and client Meath County Council. The €5 million project took 56 weeks to complete, with the official opening being performed by Damien English, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government last summer.
“We handed it over to Meath County Council on time and within budget,” contracts manager Alan Little says.
“We were very happy with how it turned out and to be nominated for an Irish Construction Industry Award is great recognition for the entire team. We have been nominated for CEF (Construction Employers Federation) Awards in Northern Ireland on a number of occasions, but this is our first time to be in the running for an award in the Republic.
“This project is notable for its use of air source heat pumps as the only heat source. This new technology required considerable cooperation between the design team and ourselves to achieve a satisfactory outcome.”
With overhead power lines crossing the site at Connaught Grove, ESB was required to disconnect / divert / remove existing lines and new underground cables were installed as part of the contract. Utility providers were contacted at early stages to avoid delay on programme. Construction works below ESB lines were programmed to be completed at later stages of the project. The presence of asbestos containing materials on site led to the appointment of specialist ACM contractors who disposed of same in accordance with current waste legislation at a licensed landfill site.
Cunningham Contracts Ltd was established in Newry, Co. Down in 2006 by husband-and-wife Tim and Joanne Cunningham, and has doubled its turnover every year since. Its strong company ethos is complimented by a sustainable approach to construction, quality of customer service, commitment to health and safety, impressive build quality and personal development and training. Cunningham Contracts Ltd understands that construction is not just about the ‘build’, but rather the project on the client, the environment and the entire contract team. For that reason, it is trusted time and again to provide a quality service.
The civil engineering firm has grown to employ a 60-strong team comprising site engineers, quantity surveyors, buyers, contract managers, accounts staff, foremen and labourers. Its dedication to training and developing it staff is reflected in its ‘Aspire’ program, which focuses on providing the resources and support to its team in order to capitalise on their knowledge, skill and personal development.
Working with both private and public clients, the high performance, skill and drive of Cunningham Contracts Ltd has seen it develop an impressive portfolio. With experience not only in social housing but also in other sectors such as private housing, healthcare, education and commercial projects, the contractor can offer its clients a qualified knowledge base, combined with quality and an unrivalled service.
Over the past two years, Cunningham Contracts Ltd has achieved its aim of becoming a leading all-island building and civil engineering contractor, with the bulk of its work now concentrated in the south. To cater for its client-base in the Republic of Ireland, the company has opened a second office at Quayside Business Park, Dundalk.
“Our focus has shifted to the southern market because of the constant demand for our expertise in delivering social housing schemes. The same demand isn’t there in the north at the moment,” Alan explains.
Cunningham Contracts Ltd is committed to integrating Health & Safety into the management of all projects it undertakes to encourage everyone involved to work together to improve the planning and management of projects from start and identifying hazards early on so they can be eliminated. The company has clearly defined management systems, Safe T Cert and ISO 9001, to identify and control health and safety risks, thus minimising risks to its workforce, sub-contractors and the general public.
In addition, Cunningham Contracts Ltd is committed to minimising the impact of its activities on the environment. As an ISO 14001 accredited company, it has applied this standard to all environmental aspects of its activities, products and services that it can control or influence. This has enabled the company to manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic way in accordance with its environmental policy.
Current projects being undertaken by Cunningham Contracts Ltd include a 61-apartment social housing development in Ballyfermot for Dublin City Council, a 40-unit social housing scheme in Townspark, Kells for Meath County Council, extension to St Joseph’s Hospital in Trim, Co. Meath for HSE, a 24-unit social housing development in Swords for Fingal County Council, extension to Realt na Mara school in Dundalk for the Department of Education and the development of a new homeless shelter at Coldwinters for the Peter McVerry Trust and Fingal County Council.
“Our aim is to continue growing our client-base in the south because that’s where the work we specialise in is at the moment,” Alan concludes.
Cunningham Contracts Ltd
5a Carrogs Road,
Newry BT34 2NJ
Telephone: 02830 252695
Cunningham Contracts Ireland Ltd
Peaken Suite Block 2,
Quayside Business Park,
Telephone: +353 (0)42 9419700
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, August, Vol 5 No 8