JB Structures is a specialist trade contracting firm which undertakes construction of concrete basements and reinforced concrete frames in the greater London area. It’s headed up by Mayo native John Barrett and his son Brendan.
The company was set up a decade ago as JB Developments & Construction Ltd, but was rebranded JB Structures last year to reflect its specialist areas of groundworks, basements and RC frames. “The old name might have given some people the impression that we are a general builder contractor, which we are not,” explains John, who emigrated from Bangor Erris 37 years ago.
John has been involved in a number of construction-related businesses since he arrived in the English capital, but none have been as successful as his current venture whose annual turnover has jumped from £13 million to £22 million in the past year. JB Structures employs 13 staff at its new office in Watford and a further 250 onsite. It employs many Irish, ranging from block-layers to architects and engineers. The company’s commercial director is another Mayo man, Mark Sweeney, from Achill.
The company undertakes all aspects of sub-structure and super-structure works on projects with values ranging from £250,000 up to £5 million across London and the Home Counties. The JB Structures team has many years of combined construction experience, knowledge and processes. They are extremely professional and take great pride in delivering contracts successfully, safely, on time, within budget and to the highest quality for all their clients.
JB Structures believes that its strong ongoing relationships with contractors, developers, structural engineers, architects, surveyors and suppliers ensure that its work portfolio continues to grow. With the expertise gained, it can offer clients a complete groundworks, basements and reinforced concrete frame solution for any of their project requirements.
JB Structures employs a workforce with a reputation of experience and professionalism, which has enabled it to successfully complete many different types of contracts, each of which has given the company the opportunity to evolve the core elements of its business, and continues to strive to improve the services it offers through this process of evolution. It goes without saying that each individual within the JB Structures team is committed to providing a high quality and professional service.
The basement division has developed expertise to undertake any size of basement construction with innovate construction methodology and construction techniques. This has allowed the company to execute new engineering, construction and underpinning methods, to maximum space. Traditional underpinning techniques can be supplemented by other engineering methods such as contiguous bored piles, reinforced concrete walls and slabs to allow multiple level basements be constructed with various waterproofing solutions and techniques.
The reinforced concrete division of the business has developed to cover all aspects of this specialised construction sector. JB Structures continually strives to incorporate innovative products, designs and processes into the business which has seen it develop into one of the leading specialist concrete contractors in the London area. By utilising its in-house experience, the company is able to produce efficient designs tailored to its clients’ specific needs, and this is further supported by the use of an extensive range of proprietary formwork and plant equipment. The Ashbourne, Co. Meath-based company, Gael Form Ltd, is the main supplier of formwork materials to JB Structures.
JB Structures’ flexible and proactive approach and commitment to delivering a quality product has allowed it to create a client portfolio, based on repeat business, building a variety of structures in multi-storey residential and commercial markets.
The groundworks division has completed groundworks contracts ranging from strip foundations to pile cap and ground beam arrangements for multi-storey basements on challenging sites. JB Structures offers sheet and bored piling, design and supply of temporary works, bulk excavations and specialist dewatering to name but a few. Its range of groundwork specific plant such as excavators, dumpers, breakers and rollers are all continually serviced and regularly maintained to ensure they all remain fully certified, efficient and compliant.
JB Structures has successfully completed many projects in the residential, commercial, health, education and research sectors at locations such as Royal Wells Park, Putney Green and Westbourne Grove. Working for clients like Telford Homes, Jaysam, Bellway, Durkan Homes and Countryside Properties, it is currently involved in major contracts at Riverside Barkley, Putney Common, Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Cambridge.
“If you provide a service and provide it well, you will always have work in London,” John says.
“There is an abundance of work and population is the main driver. The population of London is heading for 10 million and all those people need somewhere to live. There is a big demand for high-rise buildings and the formwork systems we use are very good. The British prefer concrete frames to steel. We are also putting in a lot of basements because of the space restrictions.”
The affable managing director is proud to be a part of a thriving Irish business and culture community in North London: “When I first came here, most of the Irish worked as labourers and bricklayers. But that is no longer the case with many of them having moved up to management positions within the construction industry, which is great to see.”
John’s wife Anne is also involved in the family business. His only daughter Kate works as a teacher.
He has never lost touch with his roots and continues to support Kiltaine GAA, Geesala Boxing Club and the Mayo footballers.
“I’ve been involved in fundraising over here for Kiltaine and Geesala, and go home as often as I can to support the Mayo football team. While the Sam Maguire has continued to elude them, no-one can say they don’t provide us with great entertainment. I always look forward to going to Croke Park to see them play every summer,” he continues.
Last August, Brendan Barrett and his friend Gerry ‘Boots’ Powell cycled 1,700 miles along the west coast of Ireland in just 12 days to raise money for the London Air Ambulance ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’. They started their ‘Wild Atlantic Way Charity Cycle Challenge’ on August 10 in Kinsale, Co. Cork and finished in Derry on August 21.
The friends succeeded in raising £35,000 for the Air Ambulance which is a charity that delivers an advanced trauma team to London’s most critically ill. After a serious road accident in 2013, Brendan himself had the help of an air ambulance in saving his life. Brendan and Gerry also raised money for wellbeing support group charity, ‘Mind Yourself’.
(JB Developments & Construction Ltd)
16 Station Road,
Hertfordshire WD17 1EG.
Telephone: 0044 1923 447435
Taken from Building Ireland magazine, May/June 2016, Vol 2, No 2