New CAT D6T takes the highway to St. Modwen’s Longbridge scheme

Civil engineering and groundworks company provides earthworks, groundworks and infrastructure services at Morgan Sindall’s regeneration of Longbridge town centre in Birmingham, West Midlands

We’ve recently strengthened our earthworks service and plant hire division with the acquisition of a new GPS controlled CAT D6T dozer.

The new D6T will be put to the test at St. Modwen’s £100 million town centre masterplan at the former MG Rover site. This development will feature the Midlands’ largest Marks & Spencer store comprising 150,000 sq ft, a six floor multi storey, 500 space car park and an additional 45,000sq ft of retail, restaurant and café space.

We have been appointed by principal contractor, Morgan Sindall, to deliver a highways package – including earthworks, 1606m of drainage up to 6m deep and 4500m of kerbs and edgings.

The new CAT D6T takes our investment in state-of-the-art equipment and machinery up to an impressive £2.2m during the last 12 months, including: two new Volvo A25G articulated haulers, three Volvo EC140DL excavators and a CAT D6N GPS controlled dozer.

Mick O’Brien our Director, said: “Throughout the years, our expertise has grown but our aims remain much the same – to work with our clients as an expert partner and provide industry-leading staff, technology and skills to deliver end results that exceed expectations.”

“To achieve our goals, we believe we must continue to invest in our people, software and machinery to ensure we continually improve the quality of our work and the speed of installation, saving our clients both time and money.”

This latest investment is part of an ongoing diversification strategy that is transforming our business and seen us win countless awards in recognition of our innovation, including ‘Tomorrow’s Company’ and ‘Specialist Contractor of the Year’ by Construction News and ‘Contractor of the Year up to £300 million by Building Magazine.

As the industry prepares for its annual celebration at the Construction News Awards on 30 June 2015, the recognition we’ve received at previous awards has prompted us to proudly sponsor this year’s event.

O’Brien Contractors launch work experience initiative for school-leavers


Leading civil engineering and groundworks company, O’Brien Contractors, has launched a work experience programme to provide school-leavers with an insight into careers in the construction industry.

The new scheme is designed to provide young local job seekers with practical experience and skills that cannot be taught in a classroom. It will also offer them a sense of belief, demonstrate that they can be valuable members of a working team, but most importantly, provide them with a passage into an apprenticeship scheme or employment.

The latest Government statistics have found that across the UK, 963,000 people aged 16-24 are not in employment, education or attending a training scheme, with 61% classed as unemployed. It has therefore never been more important to help younger people get a foot on the employment ladder, through work experience and apprenticeship schemes.

Tony Mitchell, Operations Manager, O’Brien Contractors, said: “The company has been fortunate to have great success over the years and we are keen to ensure we give back to the community whenever possible.”

“We have set up the programme to help and inspire young job seekers in their pursuit of employment. Employers look at experience gained when interviewing potential new members of staff and attending a work experience programme will make their credentials stand out.” said Tony Mitchell.

Each placement delivers high quality on-site experience related to the person’s training requirements. They are assigned to a site supervisor, who mentors them passing on the relevant skills, introduces them to the structure of working life and demonstrates the value of working in this sector.

At the end of the week, trainees come away with a genuine learning experience, highly motivated and a better awareness of their career aspirations.

Tony Mitchell, Operations Manager, O’Brien Contractors, said: “During the recession, 400,000 skilled jobs were lost in the construction industry and an estimated 400,000 are due to go through retirement over the next five years.”

“We feel it is crucial that the industry creates more schemes, like our work experience programme, to offer hands on experience to younger people at the grassroots level and get them interested in a career in construction.”

Louis Gray from Central Construction Training was the first pupil enrolled on the scheme and experienced a week on-site at the Accident and Emergency development at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton. Louis said: “I found the work experience programme very helpful and it gave me a better understanding of what I can expect from a career in construction.  I have learnt so much from my site supervisor in just one week and I feel inspired to continue developing my skills and apply them in a career in construction.”

At the heart of the Midlands regeneration

Civil engineering and groundworks company provides earthworks, groundworks and infrastructure services at Morgan Sindall’s regeneration of Longbridge town centre in Birmingham, West Midlands

A second-generation, family-run business with close to 60 years of experience in civil engineering and groundworks, O’Brien Contractors is a trusted name in the Midlands construction industry.

Ambitious and forward-thinking, O’Brien believes that a strong investment in its people and technology are vital to help it to stand out from the crowd and be recognised as a leader in its field.

This has proven to be a winning approach, as O’Brien has been recognised with a host of national industry awards, including most recently being named ‘Specialist Contractor of the Year (turnover up to £25m)’ and ‘Tomorrow’s Company’ by Construction News; and ‘Contractor of the Year up to £300 million’ by Building Magazine.

O’Brien provides a catalogue of construction facilities, ranging from full design and build capabilities for projects up to £11 million, 3G sports pitches and specialist plant hire.

Over the last 12 months, O’Brien has completed 29 projects across the Midlands and continues to grow its portfolio on high-profile schemes, including the £200 million Nestlé Factory in Derbyshire and a £7 million project for Jaguar Land Rover.

New partnerships have strengthened the business and during 2014, O’Brien Contractors were appointed by principal contractor, Morgan Sindall, to deliver groundworks for the second phase of St. Modwen’s £100m regeneration of Longbridge; and also partnered with Sir Robert McAlpine for groundworks at LondonMetric Property’s £77m Thunderbird 2 scheme – a 98,700 m2 distribution centre near Kettering.

The relationship formed at Nestle’s new £200m coffee production facility has helped secure two further projects with John Sisk: a groundworks package at Alumno Developments’ £30m Student Accommodation at Eastside Locks in Birmingham; and an additional groundworks contract for three distribution units at Goodman’s Lyons Park scheme in Coventry.

These successes follow on the back of a five year initiative to place the company on a sounder footing. In 2009, with the recession taking hold and the company retracting by 40%, the directors embarked on developing a strategy to enable the business to see unimaginable growth: Principal Contractor contracts accounting for between 30% and 40% of turnover and £3m worth of secured sports pitch contracts, are just a couple of examples.

O’Brien also strengthened customer relationships by ensuring on every project, a Director has an overseeing role and assists the project delivery team.

The diversification initiatives took considerable planning and analysis with close to £1m of company money being invested, but it paid off and O’Brien is now achieving record-breaking levels of turnover. With an order book of £15m already secured for 2015, the outlook looks even brighter, with turnover set to increase to £26.6m for 2014/2015.

Peter O’Brien, Managing Director, O’Brien Contractors, said: “We viewed the recession as an opportunity and planned for the subsequent upturn. In a downturn, clients are less active, they are more receptive to changes in their supply chain as they are more focused on value.”

“We found out what organisations didn’t like about their supply chains and repositioned our business approach, aligned with their requirements. This has enabled us to understand their needs and challenges better, so that we can provide them with tailored solutions, greater operational efficiency and a higher return on investment. In many ways, the recession was good for us.”

Design and build contractors:

Specialists in:
• Civil Engineering
• Pre-construction services
• Groundworks
• Infrastructure developments
• Sports pitch construction
• Plant hire

When planning a construction project, make O’Brien Contractors your first choice:
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