O’Brien Contractors appointed to Perry Beeches V scheme


We have  been appointed to work on Perry Beeches the Academy Trust’s fifth highly-acclaimed free school in Small Heath, Birmingham.

The delivery of a £10 million primary and secondary school facility at the former Virgin Media Office Building and adjacent industrial units will feature a 3 storey extension, sports hall, football pitch, MUGA and car parking.

Appointed by principal contractor, Morgan Sindall, we will deliver earthworks and a host of ground works – including foundations, drainage and associated works.

Morgan Sindall is a leading UK construction, infrastructure and design company and our Operations Manager, Tony Mitchell, sees the new contract as an endorsement of the services provided to them at St. Modwen’s Longbridge Town Centre Phase 2 in Birmingham: “We are delighted to be working with Morgan Sindall on this important education project in Birmingham. The past year has seen us work closely with Morgan Sindall, fully understanding their standards, philosophy and objectives and we hope Perry Beeches V will strengthen our relationship further.”

We will draw on our technical expertise, which includes state-of-the-art GPS controlled surveying equipment and machinery, to deliver groundworks services in the most efficient method possible and with minimal waste.

“Our team is well-versed at delivering high-grade education facilities in a live environment having provided civil engineering services on 9 schools as part of the Priority School Building Programme in Coventry and this experience will be pivotal in the execution of the scheme.”

Established in 1958, O’Brien Contractors is a Midlands-based provider of civil engineering, design and build and groundworks services, as well as turnkey sports pitch solutions. Receiving the prestigious five star rating for Achilles BuildingConfidence accreditation in 2014 means O’Brien sits alongside leading names in the construction sector as suppliers of excellent quality work with a commitment to growth and sustainability.

Key projects and customers include the Nestlé factory and Number One City Locks residential building both with John Sisk & Son; Longbridge Town Centre Phase 2 with Morgan Sindall; Aston Student Village for Aston University; and the Primark retail distribution centre with Sir Robert McAlpine.

Picture Caption: Perdip Mann, Secondary Headteacher, Perry Beeches V School, Caz Brasenell, Primary Headteacher, Perry Beeches V School and Tony Fitzgerald, Project Manager, Morgan Sindall.

Compactor machine control as O’Brien Contractors increase capabilities


Since its formation in 1958 by Tom O’Brien, the father of current directors Peter and Mick, specialist civil engineering and groundworks company O’Brien Contractors, based in Leamington Spa has been at the forefront of embracing new technology.

For Peter and Mick O’Brien, a focus on developing the use of Trimble machine control systems since the late 1990s, has seen the business grow its capabilities across its mixed fleet of excavators and dozers.

Having recently trialled the latest machine control technology on a compactor with Trimble solutions provider SITECH UK and Ireland, Mick O’Brien has a clear focus on how O’Brien Contractors will continue to take advantage of the technology to maximise productivity, as he explains: “From the very early stages of machine control, we recognised the commercial advantages it could offer us as a business, investing time with Trimble to develop the early solutions.

“It has been this long term journey, now continuing with Trimble dealer, SITECH which has seen us build our fleet to incorporate six dozers, twelve excavators and more recently trial the latest in compactor technology.

“For me, most people looking at machine control tend to focus onsite, whereas through our experience we know the real value lies in preparation in the office, prior to starting a job. This is why a few years ago we employed a dedicated machine control specialist. From tender stage, he liaises with our estimating team to work out volumes and look at the overall project, to see where value-engineering opportunities exist, carrying this work through when the project starts.

Even though this is a lot of investment in time before you are even awarded a job, it ultimately contributes towards a greater understanding of the project which leads to improved planning. With clients also wanting us to react very quickly when we are awarded projects, our machine control expert has the capabilities to model the earthworks required and feed this information directly into the machines, even when they are on route to site.

“So instead of engineers being dispatched to do the setting out, the machines can be operating within minutes of arriving at the job.  Even if the earthworks models change as the project moves forward, we can send the updated drawings and technical data straight to the machine.

“Of course the key to making this work is the interaction between operator and machine and this is why our expert is also tasked with training and supporting our drivers, with help from SITECH. Interestingly, you may think that machine control would be harder to introduce to older operators, but this is just not the case, as our most experienced people are in their 60’s and have found it very simple to make the transition.

“Having recently worked with SITECH to trial a compactor with machine control, I can definitely see how we can continue to expand our machine control fleet and capabilities. But for me the next step is all about utilising two-way communications, by receiving and processing data from individual machines activities.

“For our business this will be extremely important, as our clients expect us to report on site progress and this can be done in the future without leaving the office. For example, in the last 12 months we have kitted out eight excavators with machine control and can now receive data from the machines activity.

By knowing just how much of the workload each machine has achieved and the time taken, we can plan activity much better, keeping the job on track. Equally because of the partnership we have with SITECH, for certain jobs, we may choose to hire in equipment for the duration. The benefit of this approach is that we can still integrate these machines with our head office, by hiring equipment from SITECH and fitting it to the hired machine.

“I definitely think we will now see much more demand for information on earthworks from main contractors, especially as more people are challenged to meet carbon targets. In my opinion, even when you compare older machines with newer fuel efficient models, if you get machine control right and therefore the job right, it will have a much bigger impact on fuel efficiency than simply operating a new machine.”

Wootton Bassett Sports Association opens new £6m hub

Civil engineering and groundworks contractor provides earthworks and sports pitch installation services at Burton Hockey Club in the West Midlands

After 10 years in the making, the Gerard Buxton Sports Hub, owned by the Royal Wootton Bassett Sports Association (RWBSA), has been officially opened.

The new complex boasts a full size third generation (3G) FIFA 1 Star Football Pitch, eight floodlit macadam surfaced tennis courts – installed by O’Brien Sports and Greenfields UK – along with two cricket pitches and a new ground with spectator stands for Royal Wootton Bassett Town Football Club.

We secured the 3G pitch and tennis courts phase of the project through our ongoing investment in state-of-the-art 3D earthworks modelling software and GPS controlled excavators and bulldozers. This technical capability was pivotal in creating the earthworks concept and reproducing the design to the precise specification and in the most efficient method possible.

It also enabled excavated earth to be recycled back into the scheme helping the client reduce overall spend, by preventing material from being taken to landfill and also decreasing lorry haulage movements leading to less pollution in the atmosphere.

Steve Hillman, General Manager, O’Brien Sports, said: “We are delighted to have once again partnered with Greenfeilds UK and look forward to developing a successful relationship.”

“We are continually investing in our people and technology so that we can provide our customers with the highest standard of customer service, a strategy that has paid off as we continue to be awarded sports pitch contracts of this high calibre.”

Royal Wootton Bassett Sports Association Chairman, Peter Yeardley, said: “This journey started more than 10 years ago, at a time when demand for sports facilities could not be met by the original grounds bequeathed to the town in the 1930s by Major Gerard Buxton.

“To see sporting activity on the new site is simply fantastic and we are proud to continue the legacy of Major Buxton.”

The O’Brien Sports management team has over 55 years’ experience in sports pitch construction and have delivered schemes throughout the UK, including: a 3G football pitch at Worthing FC, a Lano 3G synthetic pitch at Westfield Academy, a sand dressed hockey pitch at Burton Hockey Club and two natural turf pitches for Rugby Town Junior Football Club.

The sports installations delivered include natural sports pitches, such as those used for rugby, football and cricket, and 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.