The UK infrastructure specialist with Irish roots

8 Aug , 2016  

Synonymous with high-quality construction projects across the UK, The Kelly Group in London can trace its origins back to County Westmeath. We caught up with chairman Daryll Kelly on a recent trip to Ireland to find out more about this outstanding second-generation family operation, which is renowned for its expertise in an array of sectors, including Crossrail infrastructure work.

The Kelly Group is a well-established, UK-based construction company with a wealth of proven expertise and experience. Kelly Formwork Civils Ltd. encompasses all civil engineering works including highly-specified Crossrail projects, whilst Kelly Formwork (UK) Ltd. specialises in reinforced concrete frames and groundworks. Both have been engaged on multiple high-profile, prestigious projects throughout the United Kingdom.

Renowned for delivering high-quality work safely, on time and to budget, the Group offers build solutions in a number of sectors including: RC Frame Construction & Concrete Structures; Top Down Construction; Crossrail Infrastructure; Highways & Bridge Structures; Groundworks & Drainage Installations; and Substations

The Kelly Group can undertake all aspects of underground and overground Crossrail infrastructure. They have amassed a wealth of experience constructing Crossrail projects and have worked alongside many of the top contractors in the world including, Skanska PLC, Costain PLC, Hochtief UK Construction and J Murphy & Sons Ltd.

Kelly Formwork Civils Ltd takes advantage of every innovative system of work to achieve safe and efficient concrete construction for the benefit of clients, the public and the company. The company can advise clients and designers on the most appropriate construction systems, offering value engineering to best suit their project requirements.

Every Crossrail project the company undertakes is carried out is to the highest of quality adapting to client needs. The group’s safety record is impeccable showing a million man hours RIDDOR-free on the recent Western Ticket Hall, London Crossrail project.

“Kelly Formwork (UK) Ltd. started as part of The Kelly Group in 2004 and spent the first three years as labour supply for contractors,” Group chairman Daryll Kelly notes. “We did our first civil job for Skanska on a bridge in Weymouth and it developed from there.”

The 50-week Weymouth Relief Road relief project referred to was valued at £4.5m, comprising the building of various bridge structures and retaining walls to serve Weymouth for the 2012 Olympics and into the future thereafter. Many construction techniques were used, including traditional insitu, precast concrete combined with insitu concrete and structural steel and precast concrete. Part of the works involved working beside a live railway track involving night closure working plus the rigours of trackside Health and Safety.

Kelly Formwork has been working in Bond Street, Central London for Crossrail for three-and-a-half years, with another twelve months of work there guaranteed. Kelly Formwork are proud to be part of the team building Crossrail, Europe’s largest construction project. In mid-2014, they completed the first of the two planned ticket halls – the Western Ticket Hall – six weeks ahead of schedule, utilising top down construction techniques for this 2- metre deep reinforced concrete structure.

In 2015, Kelly Formwork (UK) Ltd. set a new UK concrete pumping record for a single line push, when they pushed concrete 1.31km as part of the C310 Thames Tunnel project.

Meanwhile, Kelly Civils have won the contract to deliver the civil infastructure works for client Wessex Capacity Alliance at Waterloo Station and its outlying stations. The contract is worth over £10m and is due to start in early 2016 and could last for two years approximately.

Waterloo International Terminal was originally used for Eurostar journeys to France and Belgium. The Wessex Capacity Programme will bring it back into use for domestic services. The work will include increasing the length of some platforms on the Wessex route, as well as upgrading its track, signalling, communications, buildings and civils infrastructure.

Kelly Formwork, who will also be working with Bechtel on HS2,  have also secured a new contract with prestige developers, Berkeley – one of the UK’s best-known developers of new homes. This £4m project consists of an eight-storey RC Frame named as Brunswick Square and is due to start in 2016. Upon completion, it will feature a collection of luxury one- and two-bedroom private apartments in the very heart of Orpington’s town centre, providing a centrepiece for the regeneration of the town.

Needless to say, Daryll is delighted with how the Group is progressing. But he isn’t going to become complacent or greedy: “It’s going well and we are very busy. We could quite easily pick up another £40m of work but you have to be sensible about it. We don’t want to overextend.
“We enjoy a very good reputation and we tend to stick to three or four long-term, high-profile jobs at a time. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. We’re fortunate in that we are now able to pick and choose our work, so we will look at jobs and pick nice contracts. You know what you are comfortable with.”
As for the ethos of The Kelly Group, the chairman reveals: “We think outside the box and bring something different, especially in Health & Safety, which is everything on these big jobs. You can’t hold back when it comes to H&S and you have to be thinking about your men – and the public – all the time. It’s not all about money and we have no problem spending a bit extra to ensure absolute Health & Safety for everybody.

“The family aspect of the business is also important. It’s a family-orientated business and there are many members of my own family and my wife’s family working here. You can trust them to put everything into their work because they treat it as personal.

“There are three generations of the Kelly family here. My dad Brendan and my mum Mary are both from Westmeath. Dad did his time in Athlone and came over here in 1965. I started working for him in 1988. My brother, Raymond, is Health & Safety manager and my son, Ciaran Kelly, who’s 28, is a director.

“I also have four grandchildren and, if we get it right, it would be nice to have something to hand over to them. In many respects, that’s the whole point of the business, to keep it going long-term for our family.”

As a second-generation Irishman, Daryll will always feel a certain affinity to the Emerald Isle. “I spent my summers in Ireland and hung about with the same cousins doing the same no-good things,” he concludes. “Those were good times and you never lose that Irish side of you. My wife Joanne’s family are from Letterkenny, so we go back to Ireland regularly and we always enjoy those trips.”

Kelly Formwork (UK) Ltd
Brook Lane House,
Peeksbrook Lane,
Horley, Surrey,
Tel: 01293 772261
Email: [email protected]

Taken from Building Ireland magazine, Spring 2016, Vol 2, No 1