About us

A 3rd generation, sustainably managed company, with a history dating back over 60 years. The business has survived four recessions over the years and has never had a year without profit.

Based in Cubbington near Leamington Spa, we have operated in the development and construction industry since 1958. Founded by Tom O’Brien, the company is now in the hands of a board of directors, headed by Peter O’Brien.

Throughout our history we’ve taken advantage of emerging technological advances to build on our extensive experience and provide a vast portfolio of quality services to clients in the civil engineering, construction and sports sectors.

With a turnover in the region of £35 million and individual contract values up to £15 million, we have seen considerable growth in recent years. This follows a successful diversification programme and drive to employ, retain and develop the best talent in the industry.

Our expertise and track record have seen us trusted by JLR, Aston Villa FC and universities across the UK to deliver a range of projects across multiple sectors. Find out more about our portfolio work on our projects page.

Our Vision

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Accreditations

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Awards

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Testimonials

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Directors Statement

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Careers

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Meet the Team

Meet the team

Why us?

A sustainable business since 1958​

Turnkey solutions for Civils, Building Construction and Sports Pitch Construction

Client focused and customer-centric business

Tailored, innovative project solutions

Continuous investment in staff and the business

Quality, Environmental and Safety commitment

History of O’Brien Contractors’

1940’s to 1950’s

Tom O’Brien arrives in England from Ireland in the 1940’s following an invite from farmer Tom Ellis in Cubbington to work on his farm. After working for Tom Ellis for a period of time he decided to become self employed as a sole trader, working for local farmers pulling sugar beet and other general jobs around local farms. Tom eventually progresses into driveway construction, tarmacking and concreting for local farmers and residential customers. This was the start of the journey for what would eventually become O’Brien Contractors Ltd.

1960’s

In the early 1960’s T O’Brien Contractor (as the company was named), formed a relationship with Thwaite’s Dumpers with the founder and owner Basil Thwaites and was employed to put road networks through Basil’s estates and by the late 1970’s had installed 7 miles of estate roads, built mainly with manual labour and the use of experimental machinery developed by Thwaites.

At some point in the 1960’s Tom went into supplying and laying turf mainly for private households and would buy the rights to cut the turf off the fields of the local farmers, which he would then sell on.

1970’s

In 1976 Peter joins his father having previously trained as a mechanic for Savills in Stratford, Peter formed a partnership with Tom. The equipment consisted of a tractor with a McConnell excavator linked to the rear, a Land Rover and 3 wheeled roller. The main source of work was hand lay tarmacking and construction of private driveways.

In 1978 the first excavator, a 6 year old JCB excavator costing £5k joins the fleet, having to pay 37% interest on a loan as we were considered high risk borrowers!

By the end of the 70’s the company’s turnover was £30k.

1980’s

In 1982 Mick O’Brien, one of Tom’s other sons joins Peter and Tom.

In 1986 the company purchases it’s first tracked excavator, a 5 year old Caterpillar EC 210.

Workload was evolving with us going more into groundworks on; “A learn as you go along basis”. Contracts included finishing works on a 25 house development in Kenilworth, which then started to expand taking on complete groundwork packages for 3 to 4 houses then multiple sites of this size.

Our first office and office staff! We gained our first office, a palatial 2 metre by 3.5 metre shed and employed our first business support employee in 1983, Margaret Arrowsmith a previous school secretary who remained with us for 20 years.

We commenced working for our first national contractor in 1988 Turriff Construction and our turnover in the 1980’s increased from £30k to £600k.

1990’s

Our first £1m contract and our first Quantity Surveyor! In 1990 we win our first £1m groundworks contract for a 98 house development site, with Turriff Construction, operating 3 project sites at a time, employing 20 men.

O’Brien Contractors Ltd is registered at companies house in 1995 and we purchase our first computer, operated by our then 70 year old secretary Margaret!

Our turnover increases to £3.2m per year and we get into the exciting world of machine automation. We form a pioneering relationship with Spectra Precision who specialise in geospatial technology and were the only company worldwide to develop such systems. Together we test and develop the machine automation systems on Dozers, with O’Brien becoming the first company in Europe to trial this system.

2000 to 2012

By 2000 we were now established as a significant earthworks and groundworks contractor with a good reputation. This enables us to win a contract with Sir Robert Mc Alpine worth £2.5m for a PFI hospital scheme, Russell’s Hall Hospital, Dudley. By 2002 our turnover was £4.8m.

After many years of developing machine automation, we decided to utilise this to diversify into high tolerance stone levelling to concrete floors in warehouses, working to tolerances of +0mm and -3mm, to make sure the most accurate depth of concrete possible is installed. This was followed by the creation of O’Brien Sports Division installing a wide range of sports pitches across the UK.

In 2012 turnover was £12m and for the first time in O’Brien’s history, 2 non-family members were appointed to the board of Directors. This included Stuart Chamberlain who is now an Executive Director, with the appointments bringing project and commercial management specialisms to the board.

2012 to 2019

Between 2012-2017 turnover grew to £35m. We worked on numerous multi-million pound contracts concurrently, which included Project Dove £11.5m and £35m worth of work on a number of Jaguar Land Rover projects. Our JLR work was the beginning of a 7 year relationship with JLR that continues to the present day.

In 2017 we diversified our business model from a subcontracting entity to main contracting and complete construction, providing a one stop shop for developers from concept to completion.

2020

In 2020 having over the last few years successfully strengthened the team with strategic appointments, we appointed three new directors from our staff to provide a sustainable long term future for the company with new ideas and skills through a younger group of directors, including Tom O’Brien now the third generation of O’Brien family Directors.

1940’s to 1950’s

Tom O’Brien arrives in England from Ireland in the 1940’s following an invite from farmer Tom Ellis in Cubbington to work on his farm. After working for Tom Ellis for a period of time he decided to become self employed as a sole trader, working for local farmers pulling sugar beet and other general jobs around local farms. Tom eventually progresses into driveway construction, tarmacking and concreting for local farmers and residential customers. This was the start of the journey for what would eventually become O’Brien Contractors Ltd.

1960’s

In the early 1960’s T O’Brien Contractor (as the company was named), formed a relationship with Thwaite’s Dumpers with the founder and owner Basil Thwaites and was employed to put road networks through Basil’s estates and by the late 1970’s had installed 7 miles of estate roads, built mainly with manual labour and the use of experimental machinery developed by Thwaites.

At some point in the 1960’s Tom went into supplying and laying turf mainly for private households and would buy the rights to cut the turf off the fields of the local farmers, which he would then sell on.

1970’s

In 1976 Peter joins his father having previously trained as a mechanic for Savills in Stratford, Peter formed a partnership with Tom. The equipment consisted of a tractor with a McConnell excavator linked to the rear, a Land Rover and 3 wheeled roller. The main source of work was hand lay tarmacking and construction of private driveways.

In 1978 the first excavator, a 6 year old JCB excavator costing £5k joins the fleet, having to pay 37% interest on a loan as we were considered high risk borrowers!

By the end of the 70’s the company’s turnover was £30k.

1980’s

In 1982 Mick O’Brien, one of Tom’s other sons joins Peter and Tom.

In 1986 the company purchases it’s first tracked excavator, a 5 year old Caterpillar EC 210.

Workload was evolving with us going more into groundworks on; “A learn as you go along basis”. Contracts included finishing works on a 25 house development in Kenilworth, which then started to expand taking on complete groundwork packages for 3 to 4 houses then multiple sites of this size.

Our first office and office staff! We gained our first office, a palatial 2 metre by 3.5 metre shed and employed our first business support employee in 1983, Margaret Arrowsmith a previous school secretary who remained with us for 20 years.

We commenced working for our first national contractor in 1988 Turriff Construction and our turnover in the 1980’s increased from £30k to £600k.

1990’s

Our first £1m contract and our first Quantity Surveyor! In 1990 we win our first £1m groundworks contract for a 98 house development site, with Turriff Construction, operating 3 project sites at a time, employing 20 men.

O’Brien Contractors Ltd is registered at companies house in 1995 and we purchase our first computer, operated by our then 70 year old secretary Margaret!

Our turnover increases to £3.2m per year and we get into the exciting world of machine automation. We form a pioneering relationship with Spectra Precision who specialise in geospatial technology and were the only company worldwide to develop such systems. Together we test and develop the machine automation systems on Dozers, with O’Brien becoming the first company in Europe to trial this system.

2000 to 2012

By 2000 we were now established as a significant earthworks and groundworks contractor with a good reputation. This enables us to win a contract with Sir Robert Mc Alpine worth £2.5m for a PFI hospital scheme, Russell’s Hall Hospital, Dudley. By 2002 our turnover was £4.8m.

After many years of developing machine automation, we decided to utilise this to diversify into high tolerance stone levelling to concrete floors in warehouses, working to tolerances of +0mm and -3mm, to make sure the most accurate depth of concrete possible is installed. This was followed by the creation of O’Brien Sports Division installing a wide range of sports pitches across the UK.

In 2012 turnover was £12m and for the first time in O’Brien’s history, 2 non-family members were appointed to the board of Directors. This included Stuart Chamberlain who is now an Executive Director, with the appointments bringing project and commercial management specialisms to the board.

2012 to 2019

Between 2012-2017 turnover grew to £35m. We worked on numerous multi-million pound contracts concurrently, which included Project Dove £11.5m and £35m worth of work on a number of Jaguar Land Rover projects. Our JLR work was the beginning of a 7 year relationship with JLR that continues to the present day.

In 2017 we diversified our business model from a subcontracting entity to main contracting and complete construction, providing a one stop shop for developers from concept to completion.

2020

In 2020 having over the last few years successfully strengthened the team with strategic appointments, we appointed three new directors from our staff to provide a sustainable long term future for the company with new ideas and skills through a younger group of directors, including Tom O’Brien now the third generation of O’Brien family Directors.