Headquartered in Castlewellan, County Down, Maghera Developments Ltd boasts a wealth of experience in delivering high quality projects across a wide range of construction sectors including education, healthcare, commercial, leisure, historical, residential and modular buildings. We touched base with founder / MD Eugene Walker to get an update on this exceptional operation.
Concentrating on three main areas of business, Maghera Developments Ltd. continues to go from strength to strength three-and-a-half decades since its inception.
The three specific areas of expertise that exist under the Maghera Developments umbrella are: private property developments; commercial buildings for local government and the wider community; and pre-fabrication, which comprises the full design and build of modular buildings at Maghera’s own manufacturing facility, predominantly for the Education Authority but also for a wide range of other clients.
Originally operating as Maghera Construction from 1984, Maghera Developments Ltd. was founded in 2000 by Eugene Walker. Since then, the company has experienced significant growth delivering high-quality workmanship and bespoke solutions across multiple sectors.
While it is his own vision, energy and enthusiasm that drives Maghera Developments, Eugene is joined in day-to-day operations by a highly skilled and motivated workforce. At the time of writing, direct employment was generated for a team of 30 full-time employees, including office staff. “We also have a steady team of excellent subcontractors in our supply chain,” the founder notes. “At any given time, we’d be using up to 50 subbies from the wet trades right through to floor finishes, artwork and furniture manufacture.”
Specialists in the design and build of modular buildings throughout Northern Ireland, going forward – despite the obvious risk posed by Brexit – Eugene is hoping to be able to take on more and more work south of the border:
“We are on the local authority framework in Northern Ireland for commercial and pre-fabricated projects and our ambition would be to get on the framework in the South for bespoke pre-fabricated buildings,” confirms the Down man, who has been at the forefront of the construction industry all his life.
“Although we are doing limited work in the Republic at present, rest assured when their design and build frameworks open, we will be targeting them. Needless to say, we are keeping a close eye on what’s happening politically, and it would be fundamental to anybody in business that there is free travel across the border after Brexit.”
Having become an industry-leading specialist in manufacturing and delivering bespoke modular buildings, Eugene identifies this as a potential growth area for the business in the coming years.
“As Principal Contractor we are responsible for the design and construction of modular buildings, we manufacture the units in our factory and then transport to site offering the client a high-quality time-efficient building.
Sandelford Special School, Coleraine was a very interesting project we recently completed, this was built to a very high specification with a lot of extras such as sensory and hygiene rooms and I see this kind of work as a growth area in both education and healthcare. I’m very enthusiastic about this type of specialist, bespoke work and the building at Sandelford merely demonstrates our ability to deliver such quality projects”
“I suppose it would be fair to say that I have always worked at pre-fabrication to an extent as timber frames and enabling works fall into a similar category. When the recession hit, Commercial work slowed down while Private developments came to a halt. We had to explore new avenues and so we invested in our own design and build team; hiring our own architects, engineers and bid managers to help expand and continue the growth of the company.”
With innovative design, creative layouts and the highest standards of finishing, Maghera Developments Ltd. build exceptionally high-quality homes. Eugene and his team have returned to property developments since the downturn abated and The Corragh on Bryansford Road, Newcastle, County Down promises to be the most impressive development in the area for many years. The former home of the Annesleys, the site is steeped in local history and is located in the most prestigious residential area of Newcastle. Consequently, the development offers an extremely rare opportunity to obtain a new high-quality home in a much sought after area. With a wide variety of mature trees, attractive shrubs and river frontage, this superb site offers a degrees of maturity which is extremely rare in new developments.
“I’d rate this as the best development on the east coast,” says Eugene. “The old Annesleys Estate comprises 6.5 acres of prime development land and we’re building 25 state-of-the-art detached homes here. It’s going to be an award-winning development for sure. The first phase has sold out and I’m very proud to be associated with such a top-end private development.”
Maghera Developments also remain busy in the commercial sector. Orthoderm, Hillsborough is a new £2m private healthcare clinic, where, in conjunction with Alliance Medical, the company installed a state-of-the-art MRI machine imported from Nebraska. Ireland rugby internationals Rory Best and Tommy Bowe were on hand at the Orthoderm Clinic in Hillsborough to officially open Alliance Medical’s sixth scan centre in Northern Ireland.
Other recently delivered commercial projects include the new bowling pavilion in Newcastle for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council; an extension at Glas-Seal’s glass manufacturing facility in Ballynahinch; and a new
Healthy Business Centre for Taughmonagh Community Forum.
“Health & Safety is paramount in any construction project whether it is on site or on the factory floor.
We currently operate a Health & Safety Management System in accordance with Safe-T-Cert, recently being upgraded to the Grade A accreditation. We also operate Quality and Environmental Management Systems which meets the requirements of NVIRO-Cert and ISO 9001 respectively.
It’s vitally important to have these procedures in place to successfully bid for schemes and then to deliver the projects safely, on time and within budget”.
Eugene is a hands-on director, who keeps a close eye on every project and visits all sites regularly to monitor the progress being made and guarantee the quality of workmanship. “You could say I’m contracts manager as well as director,” he says. “I’m very proud of the success we’ve had over the years as well as the growth we’re experiencing, but this comes with its challenges.
“Since the downturn and the subsequent restructuring of the banks, securing construction finance is not easy,” the personably Down man concludes. “As a result, you need to be running a cash-rich company and we do that in so far as we reinvest all our profit back into the business. You have to be in a position to forward buy; spend on design and build; and also to take a risk on design and build. Furthermore, you need to be able to lay the money out for a significant period of time and that’s a big challenge for any contractor.”
Maghera Developments Ltd.,
21 Lower Square,
Tel: +44 (0)28 4377 8722
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, December 2019/January 2020, Vol 5 No 11