Pitch Perfect


The England Rugby World Cup 2015 provides the perfect opportunity to deliver a lasting legacy and to raise the profile of sport in our schools and the wider community.

In order to capitalise on the interest in sport generated, the availability of referees, coaches and quality sports facilities, to enable the next budding sportsmen and women to achieve their ambitions and succeed in their chosen field, will be high on the agenda.

Sports Pitch Specialists

The O’Brien Sports management team has over 55 years’ experience in sports pitch construction and we are one of the first large civil engineering firms able to offer turnkey solutions for a range of sports facilities, delivering projects ranging from stadiums and arenas through to rugby, football and hockey pitches. This capability is all maintained in house – with no outsourcing required – by a team of experts with a proven track record of delivering design and build sports projects to a diverse range of exacting client specifications.

The sports installations that we deliver include synthetic and Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) pitches with surfaces suitable for just about every sport and user, from professional sports teams to schools and communities, and natural sports pitches, such as those used for rugby, football and cricket.

Recent projects have included the construction of a FIFA-compliant football pitch, an Olympic-standard, eight lane athletics track (complete with long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault) and a football club (complete with 11 natural turf pitches, changing facilities, entrance road and car park). All elements of these projects were handled in house and to our uncompromising standards.

Oswestry School
O’Brien Sports constructed a synthetic grass hockey pitch for Oswestry School in Shropshire.

The design and build contract involved the construction of a full size sand dressed synthetic grass hockey pitch, installed upon an insitu rubber shock pad, on an engineered base.

The project included approximately 4500 m3 of earthwork remodelling, the construction of a spectator area, fencing and floodlighting. Additional works included: access roads and car parking facilities with bollard lighting.
The new pitch was completed within the 12 week time-frame and was handed over to the school ready for its new term.

“From my perspective, it was a delight to work with O’Brien and would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone. One of the reasons for choosing O’Brien was the fact that we were dealing with the top management from the start.”
Phil Bowd – Bursar at Oswestry School

Wasps Rugby Club
O’Brien Sports partnered with GreenFields UK for the installation of a new playing surface at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

The project involved site preparation works to remove the existing 8000m2 playing surface before the installation of a new natural turf surface, farmed in the Netherlands, could be installed. Works started on 5th December and was completed ready for Coventry City’s home league game with Fleetwood Town on 20th December.

O’Brien offers a full range of sports pitch services, including:

  • Full design and build construction projects
  • Synthetic and multi-use games area (MUGA) pitches
  • Pitch renovations
  • Natural sports pitches
  • Total solutions for sports pitches

The total solution…from concept to construction, we design and build all Synthetic and Natural Sports Surfaces.

T: 01926 423918
E: info@obriencontractors.co.uk

O’Brien Contractors crowned Specialist Contractor of the Year 2015

Our commitment to the construction industry and the Midlands has seen us awarded Specialist Contractor of the Year at the Construction News Specialist Awards.

Leading groundworks and civil engineering contractor, O’Brien, has been awarded the prestigious Specialist Contractor of the Year (turnover up to £25m) prize at the Construction News Specialists Awards.

The title is awarded for creating an impressive strategic plan in response to the recent economic downturn, diversifying into new work streams and targeting higher value projects.

The Awards judges said, “O’Brien Contractors were able to demonstrate that they are successfully implementing a plan through investment in training and development.”

In 2009, the company’s turnover was £11m with profit only £73k. Its plan to invest, diversify, train, overhaul processes and focus on risks and opportunities has increased average project value from £463,000 to £874,000 during 2014 and turnover up by 68% over 5 years.

The judges were particularly impressed with the level of investment in new and innovative plant and equipment to support the productivity of the business. O’Brien has invested over £4 million in new plant, technology and training programmes, delivering on its commitment to improve efficiency and reduce ongoing costs.

O’Brien were also commended for the results of the strategic plan which led to a strong portfolio of projects and customers as well as an impressive improvement in both top line and bottom line performance – major projects include: Marks and Spencer in Longbridge, Birmingham for Morgan Sindall, New Cross Hospital Emergency Centre in Wolverhampton for Kier Construction and Jaguar Land Rover’s Engineering Facility for Galliford Try in Gaydon.

Peter O’Brien, managing director, O’Brien Contractors, said: “We have always believed that a strong investment in our people and technology are important in helping to stand out from the crowd and be recognised as a leader in our field. This has proven to be a winning approach and this national Award recognises the hard work, commitment and dedication of the whole O’Brien team.”

Read the Construction News Specialist Awards 2015 judges write-up, click here.

O’Brien Contractors lock in at Alumno Developments’ Eastside scheme

Midlands based civil engineering specialist, providing land remediation, groundworks, enabling works and earthworks services at City Locks in Birmingham, West Midlands

Leading groundworks and civil engineering contractor, O’Brien, has been appointed to work on Alumno Developments’ £30m Eastside Locks residential development.

Located in Birmingham’s new science, technology and learning quarter, Number 1 City Locks will provide accommodation for 659 students, alongside Birmingham City University’s new £260m state-of-the-art facilities, forging a new vibrant and rejuvenated campus in the heart of the city centre.

The Eastside Locks contract, awarded by principal contractor, John Sisk, will see O’Brien deliver an array of groundworks, including: associated drainage, services and hard / soft landscaping, foundations with stepped ground beams and numerous insitu concrete columns up to podium slab level.

Tony Mitchell, Operations Manager, O’Brien Contractors, said: “Eastside is Birmingham’s largest physical regeneration scheme and we are very proud to be chosen to provide groundworks and enabling works for John Sisk, on such a flagship scheme.”

“We will be operating to a very tight programme, within a very constrained site and key to the overall success of the project, will be our philosophy of working openly and collaboratively with our clients, from the beginning, to ensure we identify and resolve any unforeseen problems which may lie ahead.”

Established in 1958 as a regional specialist contractor, O’Brien has built on decades of experience and has achieved preferred status with a number of industry-leading main contractors.

Over the years, O’Brien has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience in the education and residential sectors, having previously delivered: £5m of works for Aston University at the Aston Student Village in Birmingham and £6m of infrastructure works and groundworks for SDC as part of the construction of a new main campus building at Northampton College.

“Our key commitment has been to improve customer service through diversification and innovation and we continue to expand our range of services in line with our clients’ needs.”

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve and develop our people and our processes and challenge ourselves to constantly re-evaluate our core competencies. By doing this we ensure that we understand our clients’ drivers, concerns and pressures so that they will always receive the best service for the best value.” said Tony Mitchell.

Navigating the pitfalls of post-recessionary growth


Peter O'Brien Managing Director O'Brien Contractors

Construction News Magazine – SME Spotlight 13/03/2015

While the recession may officially be behind us, its echoes continue to reverberate through the industry with many companies facing unique and unprecedented challenges, particularly in the areas of talent, technology and resource.

While these three issues are interconnected and each has a significant role to play in the future of the UK construction sector, perhaps the most significant is the current problem of a diminished workforce. The sector suffered a significant blow during the recessionary years with 400,000 jobs lost and predictions that another 400,000 skilled employees will exit the industry through retirement by 2020.

This skills drought, which has been felt across all construction trades, has led to a deficit that has the potential to affect the continued growth of the industry as a contributor to the UK economy. Consequently in order to ensure that we can meet growing demand for delivery of construction projects, we need to demonstrate to school leavers that careers in construction can be rewarding.

A fully trained professional can earn £100,000 a year in this industry, a figure which is being driven up as businesses boost salaries in order to attract and retain the best talent from a dwindling talent pool.

A younger, more tech-savvy workforce will also be of great benefit to the construction industry, as technology plays an increasingly prevalent role.

In order to fully harness the benefits of innovations such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools – which help to reduce costs and increase efficiency of material use – companies may need to consider refocussing their investment strategies to grow their technology presence and experience.

Methodologies such as BIM are particularly useful at a time when the scarcity of resources required to meet the upturn in demand in the sector is providing a significant barrier to continued growth and expansion.

This has placed significant additional pressure on the sector, forcing companies to find alternative resourcing solutions. There is no ‘quick fix’ solution to this problem however businesses can insulate themselves by ensuring that they have a robust chain of trusted and experienced suppliers in place.

There are of course also a number of factors that are outside the control of the industry at large. Chief among these are the tightening rules being applied by lenders, and tax changes levied by the government. The double impact of reduced accessibility to funding, combined with increasing levels of corporate taxation could place an even tighter stranglehold on the viability of businesses to address the issues that have been outlined above.

Greater clarity from the Government on their promised increase in investment and policy on capital expenditure would go some way towards offering businesses a modicum of reassurance.

Ultimately, we need to ensure that we fully understand our customers’ needs and as an industry should be prepared to provide a more proactive advisory role if we feel that a solution that has been requested is really the right fit.

We believe that Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) is absolutely fundamental, enabling us to leverage our expertise and industry knowledge from the earliest possible stage in the process. In turn, this can lead to a more viable and cost-effective solution for a project, reducing waste material and driving down cost.

Put simply, those businesses that are confident enough to treat this post-recessionary period as an opportunity to reconsider and realign their core workplace functions will be the ones that will not only flourish during this current economic cycle, but will go on to weather the next dip far better than their competitors.