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 kick off 2015 with £7m in new contract wins

Civil engineering and groundworks contractor provides earthworks and groundworks services at John Sisk and Son’s Lyons Park scheme in Coventry, West Midlands

Leading groundworks and civil engineering contractor, O’Brien, is celebrating the start of 2015 with a hat-trick of high-profile project wins valued in the region of £7m.

The contractor has also been shortlisted in four categories of the 2015 Construction News Specialist Awards: Specialist Contractor of the Year (turnover up to £25m), Sustainable Project of the Year, Project of the Year (subcontract over £2m) and Ground Engineering Specialist of the Year.

Appointed by principal contractor, Sir Robert McAlpine, O’Brien will deliver a host of groundworks on LondonMetric Property’s £77m Thunderbird 2 scheme – a 90,000 m2 floor distribution centre near Thrapston. The project marks the start of a new relationship with Sir Robert McAlpine.

The partnership formed at Nestle’s new £200m coffee production facility has helped secure two further schemes 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.

The wins come on the back of a successful 2014 in which O’Brien Contractors picked up a number of flagship projects, including: a £6.5m Marks and Spencer civil engineering and groundworks package with Morgan Sindall at Longbridge in Birmingham; a £5.5m roads and sewers contract for new service personnel housing at MOD Stafford with Lovell Partnership; and a £2.5m groundworks for Kier Construction at the New Cross Hospital Emergency Department, Wolverhampton.

Managing Director, Peter O’Brien said: “In 2009, instead of seeing the financial crisis as a negative, we embarked on a 5 year diversification strategy turning the company from a groundworks specialist to a principal contractor offering pre-construction services, design and build, sport pitch construction, traditional contracting and plant hire.”

“We also invested more than £4m in training, plant, equipment and technology – £2m during 2014 – and have retained our directly-employed labour force.”

“This success demonstrates the hard work, commitment and dedication everyone at O’Brien Contractors has shown in implementing our business strategy: to deliver the best service to our customers and to improve the efficiency and environmental impact of construction projects.

“We are of course delighted to be recognised for our achievements: by being appointed onto some of the most high-profile developments across the midlands and shortlisted on the 2015 Construction News Specialist Awards in four categories.”

O’Brien Contractors buzzing after London Wasps pitch success


O’Brien Contractors, winner of Construction News Awards 2014: Tomorrow’s Company, has partnered with leading European sports pitch specialist, GreenFields UK, for the installation of a new playing surface at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

The sports contractor secured the contract with GreenFields UK through its track-record of providing successful pitch installations for organisations, including: Oswestry School, Eastbourne Hockey Club, Kewford Eagles FC and Aston University.

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

Aviva Premier League side, London Wasps, had initially announced its intentions to replace the current pitch during the summer to provide a playing surface suitable for the demands of both rugby and football matches, however, following a consultation, the rugby club decided to lay an interim pitch to ensure both Coventry City and London Wasps had a surface required to give them the best chance of success.

O’Brien Contractors is the first and only large civil engineering firm able to offer turnkey solutions for a range of sports pitch installations, delivering projects ranging from athletics tracks, football pitches though to hockey and rugby 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 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.

O’Brien Contractors appointed 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

Leading groundworks and civil engineering contractor, O’Brien, has been appointed to work on the second phase of St. Modwen’s regeneration of Longbridge.

In the second phase of the masterplan for the delivery of a £100 million town centre at the former MG Rover site, the development will feature the Midlands’ largest Marks & Spencer store comprising 150,000 sq ft, a six floor multi storey and 500 space car park and an additional 45,000sq ft of retail, restaurant and café space.

Appointed by principal contractor, Morgan Sindall, O’Brien will deliver a host of ground works – including construction of access roads, in situ concrete retaining walls, gabion walls and public realm works.
Phil Griffiths, Director, O’Brien, said: “The Longbridge redevelopment is one of the most high profile schemes currently taking place in the region and we are naturally very pleased to be chosen to deliver enabling and ground works to St. Modwen on this project.

Click below to watch our progress footage

“We are working to a really tight delivery programme to ensure that the Marks & Spencer store opens on time and it is paramount to the success of the scheme that our tasks are completed on programme.”

Mark Batchelor, St. Modwen construction manager, said: “Construction on phase two of Longbridge Town Centre is in full swing with 3,745 tonnes of steelwork going up for the new M&S store which is on track to open in time for Christmas 2015.

“More than 500 jobs will be created with the construction and opening of this second phase, adding to the 3,500 jobs that have already been created since we began regenerating Longbridge in 2003.”

Established in 1958, O’Brien Contractors is a second generation, family-run business that has gone from strength to strength and expanded into a range of new sectors.

From commercial units and Olympic-standard sports facilities, to railway stations, hospitals, universities, highways and commercial housing developments, O’Brien’s extensive experience consistently leads to the delivery of class-leading solutions.

Phil Griffiths added: “Some 85% of our work is repeat business and many of our new contracts come about because of referrals so it’s vital that we deliver the very best solutions at all times, either as principal or sub-contractor.”
To date, O’Brien has delivered projects for a range of top quality clients, including Jaguar Land Rover, Nestle, the National Trust, Morrisons, Aston University, Kier Construction, Wates and John Sisk.

St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, aspires to create 10,000 jobs through the £1 billion Longbridge project which covers 468 acres.