Leading construction firm ‘Western’ wins €8m schools contract.

Leading construction firm Western has won a contract worth €8m to build a number of new schools in Portlaoise, Co Laois under the Department of Education and Skills’ New Framework for Rapid Build Schools.

Martin McCloskey, chief executive of Western and Declan McCloskey, operations director.

This latest win brings the total value of schools contracts won by the Coalisland based company over the last year to €49m and cements its position as one of the leading builders of schools in Ireland. It also comes as Western celebrates 30 years in business.

Work on the new project will begin immediately and will involve the construction of two 16 classroom schools with a Sports Hall and Special Needs Units for Portlaoise Educate Together National School (ETNS) and Gaelscoil Portlaoise, and a new four classroom school for Maryborough National School.

Western is committed to using local resources and sub-contractors from the local area and estimates that around 70% of the contract value will be invested in local labour and services. Its rapid build techniques and unique off-site manufacturing facilities will enable the entire campus to be delivered within a 36 week programme – ahead of the new school year in September 2013.

Commenting on the contract win, chief executive Martin McCloskey said:

“We are delighted to announce this further contract win with the Department of Education and Skills. The schools building sector is a core part of our business and we have built up solid expertise and skills in this area over the last 15 years. It is clear that we are delivering what schools need – functional, solid and inspirational buildings delivered within tight time scales and budgets and with minimal disruption to the pupils and staff.”

Western has a solid track record in delivering major construction projects ahead of schedule. The company completed a new school at Lucan 20 weeks ahead of schedule in August this year, and handed over the Flemington School and Fingal Community Centre project 10 weeks ahead of schedule in early September. It also delivered two further schools projects on schedule in 2012 – Portarlington National School and Muhuddart National School.

“We are very much focused on building on our recent successes and winning more contracts over the next three years under the current Framework for Rapid Build Schools. We are also extremely well-placed to deliver more schools building projects for the Department of Education in Northern Ireland, and will be exploring further opportunities to utilise our expertise in the local market,” Martin concluded.

Western has continued to grow successfully during the recent economic downturn, with its turnover doubling from £11.5m (€14m) in 2010 to £26m (€32m) in 2011. The company is on track to increase this figure to £40m (€48m) in 2012.