Over the past decade-and-a-half, Tyrone Formwork has established itself as one of the premier formwork, reinforcement and concreting contractors operating in Northern Ireland and mainland UK. We travelled to their base in Coalisland and met up with founder / managing director Barry Donnelly to find out more about this highly-professional, dependable and safety-conscious operation.
Tyrone Formwork Ltd. is a leading concreting contractor offering a full range of reinforced concreting services, from small private construction projects to complex civil engineering programmes and everything in between. Specialising in reinforced concrete structures, the company has delivered many impressive projects – on time and within budget – across Ireland and the UK.
Operating out of Coalisland, County Tyrone, the management team at TFW boasts over 20 years’ experience in commercial and private construction and provides a reliable service to customers across Northern Ireland and the UK.
Possessing the skills to meet all Reinforced Concrete needs, they also have the expertise to ensure that projects run smoothly and are finished on time and within budget. Dedicated to upholding the highest Health & Safety standards, they are CSR-registered to provide clients with maximum peace of mind.
A very flexible and carefully-planned approach to each contract enables TFW to merge seamlessly into each project, with all work tailored specifically towards the client’s / project’s precise requirements, whether they need labour and materials or labour, materials, plant and vehicles.
Available either at a competitive hourly rate or on a fixed-price basis, a qualified team, meet all formwork and steel fixing needs installing reinforced bars (rebars) and concrete to precise specification, above or below ground, on site or using pre-fabricated structures.
Meanwhile, as experienced concrete contractors, Tyrone Formwork is a one-stop shop for a full range of concreting and reinforced concreting services, providing reinforced concrete for construction and civil engineering projects and specialising in concrete frame construction.
Tyrone Formwork has a proven track record as the concrete contractor of choice with the expertise to make all large or small commercial or private construction concreting projects a success.
As specialist reinforced concrete subcontractors, TFW carry out a variety of concreting, large floors, slabs, columns, etc., with all types of finishes for placed concrete.
Since its inception in 2003 (incorporated as a limited company in 2010), Tyrone Formwork has worked on a large number of major contracts for a who’s who of reputable main contractors in Northern Ireland and the UK. Some of these include the new North Wing at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry in conjunction with Farrans, a major extension to the Primark’s flagship Belfast store for Bennett, Cambridge Mosque with Gilbert-Ash and the £26.5m Chichester Free School on the site of a former Carmelite Convent.in South East England for Farrans / Newtownstewart Construction.
Quality lies at the heart of everything Tyrone Formwork does and has been a key driver in the success of the company to date. “The quality of the work is paramount as well as coordination and communication – the ability to work with men and to be able to talk with clients and with engineers and site managers on site,” notes MD Barry Donnelly. “We work hand-in-hand with all of those people and pride ourselves on having very good, well-mannered and professional foremen. Once everything is moving seamlessly, then high-quality workmanship will follow.
“We use good men. We’re lucky to have access to excellent men, although the supply of labour is a problem at the minute in this sector.” At the time of writing, gainful employment was being generated for a crew of 70. “We also use the best gear – all PERI formwork solutions,” Barry adds. “We provide the gear, the men, the equipment and the expertise.”
Although a crippling recession kicked in not long after Tyrone Formwork was established, the quality of the services provided has resulted in a steady flow of work. “Generally, we try to have four projects running at any given time,” the MD notes. “The programme is critical and it is absolutely imperative that these are all delivered on time and within budget.
“Health & Safety is another massive consideration and, to this end, we do our own site audits and keep up to date on all Health & Safety requirements.”
Barry has detected a noticeable pick-up in the economy of late and is pleased to report that things appear to be getting busier: “We are particularly busy in Belfast,” he reveals. “Belfast is very busy at the moment and we haven’t ventured down south at all yet, although this is something we will certainly consider.”
As for challenges, the pool of quality labour available to concrete contractors is modest, to say the least. “Labour is a big challenge,” Barry confirms. “There simply aren’t enough men, especially at home in Northern Ireland. When things went pear-shaped, a lot of people left shuttering and they never really came back; it’s never been as busy in Belfast but the men aren’t there anymore. So that’s something that could potentially hold us back.
“Skilled and experienced labour is a must in this line of work as you are working with large equipment in environments where you have to know what you are doing. There’s great money in it, too, if you can do it, so the shortage of men is hard to fathom. We’re always on the look-out for men but as a nation we are losing a lot of good steel-fixing men to places like Canada and Australia.”
As well as the likes of Bennett, Farrans, Gilbert-Ash, Kiers and Wilmott Dixon, TFW have also carried out a significant amount of concrete work on site for major UK-based quarrying company SRC Aggregates. North Foreshore Film Studios in Belfast – with O’Hare & McGovern is another prestigious contract worth mentioning.
Through constant investment in upgrading and improving the business so as to take the already exceptionally-high standards for which TFW are renowned to an even higher level, Barry is optimistic about the future:
“We’ve invested substantially in the PERI Formwork System and we’ve also added a couple of new vans to the fleet this year, taking the number of units on the road up to eleven,” he concludes. “Good clients are very important and we’ve been lucky enough to secure some very, very good ones. You could set your clock by them and I’ve never had any problem with any of them. We’re proud to work with the best in the industry.
“Looking ahead, we’re happy enough with where we are and with the size we are at. In four or five years, we may think of expanding but that’s not on our radar for the time being. We’ll continue to proceed cautiously and to provide a good service. If we keep at this level for the next few years, I’d be happy enough with that and then we can reassess where we are at.”
Tyrone Formwork Ltd.,
167 Washingbay Road,
Tel: 028 8774 9979
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, December 2017, Vol 3 No 11