Working for U.S. multinationals in Ireland has been a hugely positive experience for John Paul Construction. Development of a diverse project portfolio, covering sectors such as life sciences, data centres, and manufacturing has provided great benefit to our business.
Delivering projects for world-class companies has exposed us to industry-leading safety protocols, engineering innovation and project management techniques. The expertise acquired has assisted in our growth and contributed to performance improvement within our business in Ireland and supported us as we expanded internationally in recent years.
If further evidence was required to prove the benefits of having a diverse project portfolio or indeed working for U.S. multinationals, it certainly presented in 2020. As Covid restrictions brought the economy and the construction industry to a halt in March we found ourselves in the privileged position of being able to continue working on projects deemed ‘essential’ to global supply chains and indeed the pandemic effort itself.
Although some uncertainty lingers in the economy, we are delighted to see our FDI clients not only continue to invest in Ireland but continue to trust John Paul Construction to be their partner in construction. This allows us to be cautiously optimistic for the future and while certainly not complacent we believe we are well placed to deal with whatever challenges lie ahead.
Our optimism is to some extent based on our 2020 turnover figure, which at €448m, was our highest to date. Of this €363m was generated through our Irish operations, with the remainder through operations in the UK and the Middle East.
Our sectoral and regional diversification strategy in Ireland gained further momentum with major projects in the industrial, civils, data, life sciences and technology sectors across the country.
Our Ireland South team are on-site in Regeneron in Raheen, Limerick, where we have completed a multi-storey carpark and we continue to work there with PM Group, delivering additional administration and research buildings. Also, in Limerick we are working with Jacobs Engineering on the new Edwards Life Sciences technology manufacturing plant in Plassey.
After completing a substantial project for Bausch and Lomb in Waterford in 2017, it was a massive boost for the John Paul’s Ireland South team to win the next major capital investment project on their facility last year which is due to be complete in the next few months. This proved to us that safely delivering a quality product through collaborative engagement is key to winning repeat business with world-class clients.
Recent project wins in the Southern region include an extension to one of Eli Lilly’s manufacturing buildings in Dunderrow, Kinsale with the BioPharma Team which is about to commence in the coming weeks. We are also commencing construction on a new 280 student bed scheme on the former Square Deal site on Washington Street for Round Hill Capital. Our Civils Team are about to commence road upgrade works for the IDA at Carrigtohill Business and Technology Park.
In the West, our team completed projects for Abbott in Longford and more recently for in Abbott Donegal. In the last few months, the team has built on these successes after being awarded the new Radiation Oncology Building at University Hospital Galway, a much-needed facility in the region.
John Paul Construction continues to work for some of the world’s leading cloud storage providers on their major data centre projects and campus in Ireland and abroad. Our civils division completed a 220kv substation with Gaeltec Utilities on the Dublin Meath border and is undertaking the design and construction of a turnkey 110kv substation in south Dublin. Both of these projects are facilitating hyperscale data centre projects.
Other projects underway outside of Dublin includes a large extension to the Kildare Village Centre and a new beverage concentrate plant in Newbridge through our alliance with Gray Construction (USA). We are working with Exyte on a major technology manufacturing facility where our building and civils teams have joined forces to deliver a fast-track infrastructure package.
This is an example of where the technical and operational capability of our civils division has brought unique value to a major building project. This was also evidenced last year when our civils division worked closely with their building colleagues to deliver a unique geotechnical solution to Lidl’s latest logistics hub in Newbridge, a 58,000 sq.m. building and associated infrastructure.
More traditional type projects include large apartment schemes for US multi-national Kennedy Wilson – last year we handed over the last phase of 250 apartments at their successful Clancy Quay development and have commenced work on a design and build basis on the next phase of The Grange Development, consisting of an additional 287 apartments, across six blocks. The PRS sector, which remains extremely busy and the developer’s success in getting these projects to construction stage is related to good locations with links to public transport, access to infrastructure and availability of local amenities.
In 2011 John Paul Construction first started to look at the Middle East and since then have established a successful presence in that market through our sister company Absal Paul Contracting. The company is now very active in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and more recently the UAE.
We have successfully constructed projects for an array of ‘Fortune 500’ companies, as well as blue-chip local organisations, such as Aramco in Saudi Arabia. Some of our key projects ongoing are Bahrain International Airport – New Terminal Fitout, and the €70m refurbishment of the Saudi Arabian Central Bank in Riyadh. Our involvement in the business there has proved to us how small a place the world has become, given that we have delivered for several of the same clients both here in Ireland and the Middle East. Currently, we are delivering data centre projects for the same client in Ireland, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.
Providing delivery excellence for our clients in different markets to the same exacting standards is a key part of our strategic plan. Aligning with that plan, the company has identified Northern Europe as our next area of focus. A significant number of our existing clients have operations in the region, as well as several of our supply chain partners. We feel that our experience of delivering data centres, electrical substations, logistics and life sciences projects aligns with the current requirements of this marketplace, and we look forward to commencing operations there this year.
With nobody knowing for sure what the short to medium term impact of Covid-19 will be on the construction and property industries, the outlook for John Paul Construction is one of cautious optimism. The only way we can assess the short term is by looking at our secured workload and opportunities pipeline. At the moment, this is reasonably positive. We see our regional and sectoral diversification strategy specifically as being central to mitigating some of the impacts that Covid-19 will ultimately have on the business.