Coalisland construction firm has 'one of busiest periods' during COVID-19

  • Photo: Western Building Systems' directors Martin and Declan McCloskey

    The Chief Executive has praised staff at Tyrone-based Western Building Systems have been praised for their dedication in ‘the most challenging’ of circumstances.

    Despite the construction sector’s struggles throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Western’s team has completed several major projects in the commercial, education, health, and housing sectors.

    Back in February, it was reported by the Belfast Telegraph that the firm’s turnover had dropped by around 27% to £24.8m.

    At the time, director Martin McCloskey said: "The financial results for the year ending April 30 were considered satisfactory, set against a background of increased competition in the market and reduced margins.”

    The company has been involved in the delivery of a major business concept called ‘Scale Space’ based within Imperial College London’s 23-acre White City campus.  

    The area will aim to bring together world-class researchers, businesses and partners to work, share ideas and turn cutting-edge research into benefits for society.

    Working alongside Blenheim Chalcot, a UK digital venture builder, businesses will have access to growth support. 

    When complete, Scale Space will comprise more than 200,000 sq. ft. of tailor-made space for high-growth enterprises.

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    Martin McCloskey continued: “We have created a design and build and delivery team that shares ideas between the client and the contractor in a true collaborative partnership that is aimed at achieving the best result possible for the client.

    “Phase One, called The Meanwhile Building, has been built using the latest modular design and build techniques. It’s an impressive structure that incorporates 120,000 sq. ft. of flexible office, R&D and laboratory space, complemented by around 2,300 sq. ft. of communal space on the ground floor.  Work on Phase Two is ongoing.”

    Western’s team has also been busy delivering a new 32-classroom, three-storey school at Greystones in Co Wicklow, and is continuing ongoing work at Limerick Hospital for the completion of 74 emergency bed wards and a number of projects for the Department of Education in Northern Ireland.

    The group’s housing division has completed a 50-unit housing social scheme at Dulleek, Co Meath and a 60-unit private housing development in Coalisland over the last few months too, while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

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    Martin McCloskey said Western had been enjoying one of its busiest periods for many years and praised the contribution of his team, many of whom hail from the Coalisland area.

    He added: “We are so mindful that none of this would have been achievable without the dedication and hard work of our staff who have continued to deliver even in the most challenging of circumstances.

    “The focus of our senior management team is now to concentrate on finding new work as we enter into what will be arguably an even more testing period with the possibility of public sector budgets slowing up and contracts being delayed as a result of key decision-makers within procurement teams having been off work as a result of Covid-19.”

    Western’s history goes back to 1982 when the firm initially began doing flat roofing projects before its expansion into offsite and traditional construction for projects within the health, education, commercial and housing sectors.

    In 2018, legal proceedings were started against the business by the Republic of Ireland's education minister, Joe McHugh over the cost of remediation works to 42 schools Western Building Systems had built.

    However, the company has since said that the schools were certified by the department as being free from defects and has taken subsequent legal action against the department for non-payment.

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    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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