Now into its sixth decade in business, Thornton Roofing is firmly established as one of Ireland and the UK’s premier roofing and cladding contractors. As the Toomebridge, County Antrim headquartered company continues to go from strength to strength, we caught up with general manager Enda McGurk to get an update on the latest developments.
When last we featured Thornton Roofing in this very magazine in 2015 – to coincide with their 50th anniversary celebrations – the company was in fine fettle, having come through the economic downturn relatively unscathed to take its place at the forefront of its vital sector of the construction industry.
Specialising in providing a full range of high-quality roofing and cladding solutions, from small bespoke projects to largescale contract work, as well as overseeing a thriving metal works division, Thornton boasts an unrivalled reputation as the go-to, one-stop construction services company for building clients.
Covering everything from design and manufacturing through to installation, maintenance, refurbishments and repairs, Thornton has worked in tandem with a who’s who of industry-leading main contractors to deliver a steady flow of prestigious, high-profile projects across Northern Ireland, the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Generating gainful employment for in excess of 60 people directly as well as up to 50 subbies at any given time, Thornton Roofing prides itself on its ability to deliver high quality workmanship, exemplary customer service and excellent value for money.
Fully-certified to BS OHSAS 18001, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards, Thornton’s contract works team undertakes projects in the Commercial, Education, Leisure, Health and Residential sectors and have carried out contracts on some of the country’s most recognisable buildings, from new innovative designs to the restoration of listed buildings steeped in history.
Meanwhile, the small works team deals with smaller projects and refurbishmesnts, providing tailored proactive and reactive maintenance packages specific to client needs as well as a highly-responsive call-out service.
The metal works and fabrication division – creating outstanding, individually-designed and -manufactured architectural metal work from the finest materials – meets the growing need for specialised components required for the cladding industry, enabling shorter lead-in times whilst delivering consistent quality and negating reliance upon external suppliers.
Some of the notable roofing and cladding projects completed in the past include Antrim Area Hospital, Craigavon Hospital, Ravenhill Stadium, Bangor Aurora, Movianto, Queens Hub Building, The Waterfront in Belfast, Gallahers Ballymena and Torbank School, while galvanised and stainless steel works have been carried out for Strathearn School and Gallahers Ballymena (the manufacture and installation of a 45ft stainless steel lift shaft, fabricated and welded in one section), to mention just a couple.
Established in 1965 by James and Kathleen Thornton, the proud family business – which offers a keen personal touch and unrivalled levels of customer service – is today overseen by the founders’ son, Stephen (managing director), and daughter, Jenny Neeson (financial director). General manager Enda McGurk joined the progressive Thornton team during the summer of 2016 and is pleased to report that things are moving onwards and upwards (aptly!):
“Things have gone really well for the company in the past couple of years,” Enda confirms. “We’re streamlining and expanding the business and we’ve taken on more staff including more skilled personnel, more management and more design personnel.
“We’re also manufacturing metal accessories now as well as roofing and cladding. To this end, we have taken on more staff in the metal works side of the business. In our own fabrication shop, we manufacture all our own flashing, coving and capping, etc., which gives us the edge on our competitors. Apart from galvanising and powder coating, we can do everything else in-house.
“We’ve also started to manufacture a lot of internal accessories such as balustrades, stairs, balconies, rails and anything a customer or client might want made from both mild and stainless steels.”
Operating island-wide as well as in the UK, Thornton Roofing have never been busier. At the time of writing, they were working on a number of schools and colleges in Scotland as well as providing all the roofing and cladding on Luton Airport’s passenger terminal redevelopment.
For main contractor O’Hare & McGovern, eye-catching roofing and cladding solutions were provided in striking grey, black and white panelling on the stunning new North Foreshore Film Studios in Belfast Harbour. Ayrshire College in Scotland is another major job completed recently, while the new Foyle College in Derry – with primary and secondary schools on one campus – is also close to completion. We also finished Phase Two of Altnagelvin Area Hospital last year, having previously completed Phase One as well.
“Our maintenance division offers a maintenance package on any building as well as a reactive emergency response service for storm damage or the repair of leaks on roofs. Lidl and Tesco are amongt the clients we provide maintenance services for. We also do a lot of refurbs and have done two jobs in Magherafelt and Mallusk comprising asbestos removal and re-sheeting with a Kingspan product,” Enda notes.
To what would he attribute the success and popularity of Thornton Roofing? “Definitely our expertise,” comes the rapid response. “We have our own design team and if the client wants us in from the start then we can save them money. Contractors know they can depend on us and that’s why we benefit from such a large volume of repeat business. We also use only the best materials – Kingspan, EDM Systems in Carryduff, EcoMetal, etc.”
Thornton Roofing has a fleet of 25 vans on the road and the fleet has been getting a new look of late as MD Stephen Thornton took the opportunity to team up with the local Charis Integrated Cancer Care charity: “The Charis logo is being painted onto each new van we purchase and money goes towards the charity for each mile we cover in one of those new vans,” Enda explains. “This is a very important cause for local people and I know Stephen and Jennifer were very keen to get involved as it is very close to their hearts.”
Looking to the future, the general manager is confident that Thornton Roofing can continue to strengthen its place at the forefront of the roofing and cladding sector: “Quality has always been paramount here and that will continue to be the case,” he concludes. “Hopefully that will generate more business. The plan is to continue providing high-quality services and to expand more into both the Republic of Ireland and UK market, and also to develop our metal fabrication facility further, which gives us more scope.
“We’re not just a roofing and cladding contractor anymore but we also manufacture a lot of accessories as well, so we are in a very strong position going forward.”
43a Gallagh Road,
Tel: 028 79650368
Fax: 028 79650742
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, December 2017, Vol 3 No 11