One of the biggest ever construction projects to be undertaken in Ireland has been the Irish Center Parcs in Co Longford.
Construction is well underway at the 480-acre site in Newcastle Wood, five kilometres from Ballymahon.
Center Parcs is a network of European holiday villages founded in the Netherlands in 1968. There are five parks in the UK they receive 2.2 million visitors a year. Center Parcs customers are repeat visitors with 35 per cent of people coming back every year.
The Irish Center Parcs will have capacity for 2,500 guests when it opens next summer. The venture is set to give a huge boost to the local economy through the creation of hundreds of new jobs.
The development will employ 750 people during the construction phase, and when fully operational, the village will create full time jobs for over 1,000 people, with the majority of employees likely to live locally.
Some 466 lodges and 30 apartments are currently being constructed with young families firmly in mind. The dwellings include features like rounded table edges, as well as blackboards for kids to draw on.
On site there will be a lake and a tropical swimming area. It will also have activities like cycling and paddle-boarding and facilities such as sports grounds, zip-lining and water sports. Up to 200 indoor and outdoor activities will be available.
4,600 doors and 3,200 windows will be installed prior to the build being finalised. Each lodge will feature a fully equipped kitchen with modern appliances and a log-burning fire. There will be three types of lodges – Woodland, Executive and Exclusive.
As stated, over 750 people have been employed during the construction phase with many sub-contractors being brought in by the main contractor John Sisk & Son.
With construction on the €233 million resort ramping up in County Longford, the Dublin-based construction firm has turned to many reputable firms in their area of expertise to carry out work.
One sub-contractor that has been there from the start is Mayo-based Frank Garvey Plant Hire who has been awarded the contract for all the groundworks on the prestigious project.
This has been a massive boost to Frank who only established the business four years ago and he told Building Ireland that he hopes it is a project that will put the company firmly on the map.
“It’s certainly the largest construction project that we have work on,” stated Frank. “We are here from the start doing all the groundworks, while we are in the course of putting down 60,000sq metres of paving, the majority of which is granite. I was very lucky to get involved here. I had worked with another company for a number of years before I started out on my own.”
Frank employs 28 people, the majority of who are working on the Center Parcs project, while he has upgraded his machinery for this project.
“I have brought in some new machinery for this project alright like a brand new CAT, while I’ve hired in machinery as well. At the moment, I’m looking to add to the fleet. I’m on the look out for a 5 1/2 tonne and eight tonne machines. I would do a good bit of business with Finnings Plant, but I’d shop around as well and often go to the U.K for machinery.”
Maintenance wise, Frank does a lot of the work himself, while this is very much a family business as his wife Anna Marie looks after the administration side, which sees plenty of paperwork to be sorted.
“There is a lot more paperwork these days then there used to be, but thankfully, Anna Marie has years of experience in that.”
Being involved in such a prestigious and large project means that health and safety is at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts and Frank is no different in that regard.
“Health and safety is a massive issue and you need all the necessary certificates to even get on the site. There is no cutting corners when it comes to health and safety and that is the way it should be.”
Frank is delighted with the direction that the business has taken since he started just four years ago and he is hopeful that the future is bright for the company.
“Look, this is a great contract to get and we are fortunate to be here. Now, it is up to us to ensure that everyone is happy with the work that we are doing. This job finishes up next year and we are always actively seeking more work as you never know what is around the corner, especially where the construction industry is concerned.
“We’re going well at the moment, but I’ve been long enough involved to know that you can’t slacken off in anyway with regards to the quality of work that you deliver and that is something that we will be focusing on, maintaining and trying to improve on the standards that we have set.”
Frank Garvey Plant Hire
T: 087 7409553
Facebook: Frank Garvey Plant Hire Ltd.
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, December 2018, Vol 4 No 11