Tom’s Journey to Qualify as an Accountant – Well Done Tom Daly!

Tom has worked for O’Brien’s for 5 years and has been working towards his goal of becoming an accountant, undertaking an exam every 3 months for a period of studies spanning 3 years. Tom undertook evening studies whilst working full time, with the support of the finance team to achieve his goal and is currently in the final stages of documenting his record of experience to submit to CIMA, in order to obtain associate status, having recently passed his final examination.

O’Brien’s are massively proud of Tom’s hard work and his achievement to qualify as an accountant, having managed to achieve first time passes in all of his final year examinations.

Tom is now trying to decide what to do with all that spare time he has, now he has completed his studies!

Tom said of his achievement

“I’m pleased to confirm that I’ve recently received confirmation on the passing of my Strategic Case Study examination and in doing so, have now completed all CIMA examinations.

I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone at O’Brien Contractors Ltd (past and present) for providing me with a platform, which has allowed me to grow in knowledge of both Accountancy and the Construction Industry.

I’m fairly proud to be the first employee within O’Brien’s 63 year trading history to qualify as an Accountant, with the company more traditionally funding commercial qualifications, such as Quantity Surveying and Engineering degrees.

Finally, I would like to say a massive thank you to those who have personally mentored me throughout my career to date. Your guidance, encouragement and support has not gone unnoticed and I will be forever grateful.”

Well done and Congratulations Tom,  from all of the O’Brien Team!


Director Stuart Chamberlain to take on the LEJOG Lands End to John O’Groats Cycling Challenge for Charity

Executive Director Stuart is taking on the epic 1,009 mile cycling challenge over 14 days in June 2021 to raise money for 2 charities that the O’Brien Trust donate to every year.

Stuart chose Molly Ollie’s Wishes and Freddie’s Wish to dedicate as his two charities to support on this very arduous and personal challenge.

The Challenge!

To cycle from Land’s End following the south Cornish coast, riding over the wilds of Dartmoor, and over the Severn Bridge into Wales. Following the River Wye on the Welsh border through the stunning rural landscapes of Hereford and Shropshire.  Heading further north we discover the amazing Forest of Bowland then into the Lake District and cross the border into Scotland. Before long we’re passing through the Trossachs, Loch Lomond and Grampian Mountains to Inverness, then the experience wilderness of the Scottish Highlands en-route to our final destination John O’Groats. Distance 1009 miles, Ascent 55,310ft!

To donate to Stuart’s challenge, please visit the Just Giving link below:

Good Luck Stuart!!!


The O’Brien Charity Golf Day is back on!  After having to cancel the event earlier in the year, we have rearranged the day and it will now take place on Friday 16 October.

Our annual ‘Golf Day’, is a massively popular event so book early!

A light hearted fun day out, starting with a nice breakfast bap before heading out onto the golf course to get down to the serious business of trying to win the competition (all in good spirits and the best possible taste of course)!  We have a staggered start this year, to ensure we comply with the necessary COVID guidelines and advice.

Buggies are available as well as the opportunity to stay over at the course hotel for the night after an evening of auction action, winners announcements and dinner!

We have individual tickets as well as team sponsorship packages.



O’Brien Charitable Trust Donate £4,000 to Coventry Cyrenians Society

O’Brien are very please to donate £4,000 from our 2019 fundraising to The Cyrenians Society, Coventry, who provide a fantastic service for homeless and vulnerable people.

Established in 1973, Cyrenians provide a comprehensive range of services to homeless and vulnerably housed people in Coventry and Warwickshire. Providing individualised support to promote and enhance the life chances of people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and empower them to live as independently as possible.

The charity provides accommodation to the homeless people of Coventry and Warwickshire, providing more supported accommodation for single homeless adults than any other single agency in Coventry. They also provide considerable assistance in getting people back on the right path.

Services currently include the Coventry Supported Accommodation Service, Stratford Upon Avon Temporary Accommodation for Single Adults and Young Person’s Alcohol Intervention & Mediation Service. Providing nearly 200 units of accommodation within Coventry and Warwickshire for those in need.

  • Over two thirds of the people they see are experiencing mental health challenges and more than one in five are     sleeping rough when we accommodate them.
  • Over 90% of people leaving the Cyrenians service report improvements in one or more areas of their life.
  • About one in five of their residents obtain paid employment by the time they move on from them, many benefiting from Cyrenians own employment and training opportunities.
  • They generate 80% of income from accommodation charges but rely on public support and donations to enable us to continue their work.

A Cyrenian spokesman commented on the donation, “A sincere thank you for selecting us as one of your chosen charities for the foundation, we would be delighted to accept your donation and the amazing sum of money offered. I understand that you are one of our partners at Christmas time, where your organisation creates shoeboxes for the Christmas Appeal – it’s great to see that the relationship has developed into a financial donation.”

O’Brien Contractors Awarded 7th Consecutive RoSPA Gold Award and (3rd Gold Medal Award)

O’Brien Contractors has been awarded the RoSPA Gold Medal Award, which is our 7th consecutive RoSPA Gold Award and our 3rd Gold Medal Award!

The internationally-renowned RoSPA Health and Safety Awards, are the longest-running industry awards scheme in the UK and has been awarded to us in recognition of our practices and achievements, in helping staff and clients and stakeholders get home safely at the end of the working day.

The RoSPA Awards scheme, which receives entries from organisations around the world, recognises achievement in health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement.

Managing Director, Peter O’Brien, said: We are delighted to have been recognised with a RoSPA Gold Medal Award again for 2020. As a company we are dedicated to making sure that all of our sites are safe both for everyone working on them and for members of the public. Receiving this award again is testament to how hard we all work to achieve that.”

O’Brien Contractors is committed to providing safe and healthy working environments for all of our staff. O’Brien provides ongoing training, information, supervision and advice so that all of our employees are competent to work safely and are committed to providing the resources necessary to support this provision.

Our industry-leading standards have also been recognised with many other occupational health and safety accreditations ranging from ISO45001 to CHAS, Achilles Building Confidence and RISQS.

Dudley Very Light Railway (VLR) Project Progressing at a Pace and Exciting Discoveries!

Our project to build a 150 metre long by up to 11 metre high retaining wall, in readiness for the VLR project in Dudley is progressing at a pace.

On a very exciting note, the borough geologist discovered that the original land surface was from the last Ice Age 15,000 years ago and also that lower surfaces were made up of White bentonite clay (Volcanic ash) layers!

The works are being carried out in preparation for the VLR (very light railway) track to be installed on one side of the wall, whilst a building will be constructed on the other side of the wall.  When we visited the site this week, the works had progressed at quite a pace since our last report.

O’Brien Contractors were awarded the enabling contract on the project in Dudley next to the zoo to construct the retaining wall and carry out associated bulk earthworks.

O’Brien are acting as Principal Contractor on the project which is being carried out over a 35 week programme and our works are due to be completed by the end of May.

Creative Solutions

The client was looking for a contractor who could deliver creative solutions to provide an affordable scheme in line with their programme. The client also required a company with a robust supply chain procurement.

Having traded for over 60 years we have developed our supply chain to provide our business with the service required to meet our commitments to our clients. With long term trading relationships with suppliers of construction materials, aggregates, concrete, muckaway and recycling companies, we are able to select the most suitable option for each specific contract and operation which may not always be based on price, factors such as quality and performance also need to be considered.

O’Brien Contractors Presents £4,000 to Helping Hands Community Project

O’Brien were delighted to present a cheque for £4,000 to the Helping Hands Community Project this morning, as we continue to disburse the £30,000 raised in 2019 to good causes.

The Helping Hands Project is one which gets right to the heart of the community in Warwickshire, who work tirelessly to help the homeless and those less fortunate. This is a charity we have supported in previous years and we are delighted to donate to this great cause again this year.


We believe
There is always hope for a better future
Everyone has a unique purpose
It feels good to do good
We’re in this with you for the whole journey
These are complex issues

The Helping Hands charity is all about local people helping local people in need. The charity gives people the support and opportunities to feel better about themselves, be more active in the community and get back into work.

Hand Up

The charity run a soup kitchen offering hot food and a listening ear. They like to give a hand up not just a handout through new skills, experience and qualifications.

House 2 Home Project

The volunteers for their ‘House 2 Home’ project support clients with goods, from fridges to furniture to recently homed and low-income families. People are referred to the charity by organisations like children’s centres, social services & domestic violence charities.

When people are re-homed, they are often given a place to stay but not all essentials like a fridge or bed. The generous community provides these goods that volunteers deliver to those who need it. This helps turn empty houses into homes!

Gateway Café

They run the Gateway Café where people can find a lovely welcome, and where they can enjoy coffee and cake to support the charity in helping people find a better future.

The Big Sleepout

The charity has organised the big sleep out for 5 years, with the latest taking place last month. ‘The Big Sleep Out’ helps the charity give the homeless and vulnerable adults in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth the chance of a better future.

To find out more about the Helping Hands Project:




Helping Hands said of the donation:

“A HUGE thank you to O’Brien who have presented us with a cheque for £4,000 for the second year running following all their fantastic fundraising efforts throughout the year. Their support in helping us to make a difference to local people in need has been phenomenal.  Thank you

O’Brien and the Next Generation of Construction Workers – 2019 Placements

O’Brien Contractors are very passionate about giving new generations of construction workers the opportunity to spend time with us, to see what the construction industry is all about in a practical sense whilst they study.  Some of our work experience candidates haven’t made a final decision on what they want to do and work experience gives them a better idea about the work involved in various areas of the civil engineering and construction industry and gives them a better idea of the direction in which they want to go with their future career path.

We  operate an apprentice training scheme and we are happy to discuss our scheme with those who are dedicated, passionate and have a keen interest in growing and developing themselves within our company.  On average we provide 2 apprenticeship placements each year to support the next generation of construction specialists.

In 2019 we had 4 students who took part in work experience placements and we look forward to welcoming more during 2020.

When Nick Drew and Earthmovers Magazine Came to Site…

Credit to: Nick Drew and Earthmovers Magazine for Article and Photos

Digital Digging

Leamington Spa based family run business O’Brien Contractors Ltd have been at the forefront of innovative technology in the construction industry since the company was first formed in 1958 by Tom O’Brien, the father of the current directors Peter & Mick O’Brien who are also joined by fellow director Stuart Chamberlain.

Of course, in recent years technology involving state-of-the-art GPS guidance systems has really taken off and we are seeing a massive uptake in machine guidance set ups. O’Brien Contractors have been embracing the concept since it was first introduced into the UK market and as trailblazers fully understand the benefits that Machine Control (3DMC) systems can offer their business. Managing Engineering Surveyor for O’Brien Contractors Gareth Price said, “3D machine control technology not only makes our sites, or in fact any construction site, operate more efficiently and effectively, but also improves safety for our operatives on the ground and around the machine”.

O’Brien Contractors run a diverse fleet of machines from a wide range of manufacturers with an impressive 29 items of plant already running machine controls systems, these include excavators, dozers and even rollers. The company have always had a strong relationship with Takeuchi, primarily for the products well proven, tried and tested reliability. They have been running the distinctive red and grey Japanese built excavators on the fleet for well over 15 years now ranging from 1.5 tonne class TB216’s and nine tonne class TB290’s right up to the 15 tonne TB2150’s with offset booms. The most recent addition to the fleet is a TB2150R which features a conventional fixed boom which is said to be the first of its kind to be fitted with 3D machine control. Talking about the machine Gareth Price said, “The natural evolution of our relationship with Takeuchi was to marry a Topcon 3DMC system to the new TB2150R, we have looked into fitting the systems to our offset boom versions but that’s still a bit complicated at the moment, but I’m confident a solution will be found, but for now we are happy to have the system on the new fixed boom model”.

We caught up with the new machine on a site in Worcester, where O’Brien’s are tackling the work for Stoford Developments Limited forming part of the next phase of expansion for the Worcester Six Industrial Estate. This work includes but is not limited to 5,600m2 of site strip under an archaeological watching brief, 500m of watercourse diversion, and 1300m of bund construction all involving circa 12,000m3 of earthworks. On the day of our visit the Takeuchi was excavating part of the site for the archaeologists who are performing a survey of the area ahead of the main excavation works and the operator had pre-mapped out the excavation including shelving levels before digging commenced.

At the controls was long term operator John Neeson, who has been driving excavators for over 32 years. Until he joined O’Brien Contractor’s John, like many an old school operator, had never used a machine control system before, but after a few hours of training he is now fully confident in the use and application of the Topcon 3DMC. At the time of our visit John had been using the GPS system for a couple of weeks and he was keen to talk to us about his experience with it so far, John said, “I was sceptical at first, but I have to say that since using the Topcon system for a short period of time, I wouldn’t want to be without it now, it’s just a fantastic piece of kit and from an operators point of view, it just makes my life a lot easier”.

John continued, “As I said previously, I’d never used one before and initially it was a bit daunting, but I have found it very easy to use and of course we are lucky to have a very good engineering back up team on the end of the phone if there are ever any problems. Also, from an ease of use and safety perspective, it means we only require minimal groundcrew around us which is reassuring and it also eliminates the need for any spray paint lines so that’s one more thing less to have to worry about as the dig is all mapped out in the GPS system”. Explaining how the back-up works Gareth Price said, “We can offer John all our other GPS operators full support from the office via our remote support system our Engineering Surveyors to remotely access and control the 3DMC system from any internet-connected device. This support network is invaluable in reducing down time, remotely updating models and offering continued support for our drivers”.

As an example of how easy it is, John said he had arrived in the corner of the green field, and marked out the plan of the dig using the GPS unit, which mapped it all out for him on the screen without him having to leave his cab. Gareth demonstrated how the system can be accessed remotely via a mobile phone or tablet at any time of the day or night, incredible technology! The company operate a policy of one machine, one operator, and his GPS system which is dedicated to that machine for its entire working life on the fleet, when machines are traded-in they are generally sold with the GPS system intact as part of the machine. For security reasons the Topcon screen and receiver pods are easily removed at the end of the shift and can be taken off site for safe keeping overnight. The movement sensors are mounted on the upper-structure, boom, dipper and bucket tipping link and are securely bolted on.

Due to the intricate nature of the works to be carried out on this project shaping the watercourse this site was identified as the ideal application for the Takeuchi excavator combined with the Topcon 3DMC system. Operator John is normally found at the controls of one of O’Brien’s new Caterpillar 320 next generation 20 tonne class excavators, but in the early stages of this job he was trying out the new Takeuchi and had plenty of praise for it saying, “I must say it’s a nice piece of kit, very smooth and precise on the sticks and with plenty of speed and power, it’s a good all-round package really”.

Photo: John Neeson’s regular mount the Caterpillar 320 Next Generation excavator. The machine itself tips the scales at 15.6 tonnes and like its off-set boom style counterpart the TB2150, it retains the German built 4-cylinder Deutz TCD3.6L4 engine which is a Stage 4 Final emissions compliant unit complete with AdBlue system and DOC unit to achieve the required emissions levels. This engine has a rated power output of 85kw (115hp) @2000rpm.

This example was fitted with the standard 700mm UK spec steel triple grouser track pads. The undercarriage has an overall length of 3750mm and measures 2690mm in width which gives the machine a good footprint and offering extremely good balance throughout the working arc. Forward and centrally mounted track guides help to keep everything in place even in the toughest of terrains, and twin speed track motors with auto step down function provide torque on demand when pushing, climbing slopes or when turning in high speed mode.


The mono boom features check valves which are located behind the boom lift rams for protection from accidental damage and a check valve is also fitted on the dipper ram. There are 3 x auxiliary hydraulic circuits fitted as standard.


The TB2150R is still being rolled out with a relatively short 2.3m dipper arm, but there has since been an upgrade to a new dipper size of 2.85m, not far short of the standard preferred UK spec of 3m. As we understood previously, following consultation between UK dealers and Takeuchi designers in Japan they plan to re-design the dipper and fit a larger top ram to offer the same breakout force as is currently achievable with the shorter dipper. At the business end on this example a Tefra automatic hydraulic quick coupler from Hill Engineering was fitted.


Its down to forward thinking companies such as O’Brien Contractors that we are now seeing much more of this GPS kit being used, its only going to be a matter of time before this digital digging technology becomes the industry standard.,digital-digging_2357.htm

Vision Beyond the Ordinary, with O’Brien’s New Site Vision Technology!

Continuous Investment

O’Brien Contractors have made our latest investment in technology with Trimble’s new in-field visualisation system, SiteVision. Thanks to KOREC, we have been very fortunate to have the first unit in the country outside the beta testing group. We feel this new technology is going to be of great benefit to us with a wide range of on-site applications. Realising the potential of new technology and investing early in such systems has given us a proven strategic advantage in terms of quality, programme and cost.

Providing Our Clients’ and Prospective Client’s with a Vision! 

SiteVision gives us the ability to communicate Designs with our Clients (contracted or prospective), stakeholders, management and operatives by visualising a design in real time, in the real world rather than pondering over paper drawings or reviewing 3D models on a computer.

Improved Safety on Buried Services

It also enables us to highlight any existing buried services prior to breaking ground, helping us to improve the safety of our operatives. As well as promoting safety, it enables us to understand the possible implications and interaction our works will have with existing services and avoid any potential issues or clashes before we commence.

O’Brien and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council Experiencing the Benefits of Site Vision

The benefits of SiteVision have already been capitalised on in our new job in Dudley, facilitating the enabling works for the Dudley Very Light Railway Innovation Centre. SiteVision enabled us to easily communicate the design to directors, engineers and operatives alike, making visualising the site much easier than it would be using traditional methods. As well as this, SiteVision enabled visual validation of the works being carried out by our 3D Machine Controlled (3DMC) plant. Due to the same 3D model and coordinate system being used in both the 3DMC machines and SiteVision, it was very straightforward to compare exactly where the machine operators had constructed elements on site in comparison to where they should be according to the design.

All in all we feel our new SiteVision will be a valuable asset to the company, and are confident there will be many new and interesting opportunities it will assist us on in the future.