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‘Retirement project’ construction firm keeps growing

By Rachel Martin

A Northern Ireland construction firm founded as a small family “retirement project” 10 years ago is hoping to turn over £10m by the end of this year.

Larne business Martin Contracting Services Limited (Martin CSL) started off as a two-man band founded by quantity surveyors Wissie and Molly Martin, but is now a major player in the UK construction market, taking on several multi-million pound projects.

Now rebranded Martin, the firm is currently ramping up to take on a £2.8m project for Volvo in Stockport.

And it has also just won a contract for the new a £1.75m Volkswagen showroom and van centre at Mallusk, and is tendering for projects worth as much as £5m. Martin built its reputation in the automotive sector — after a series of smaller jobs for Charles Hurst got it noticed in Scotland.

Today, Wissie’s daughter Dr Katie Martin (38) and her husband Michael Scullion (39) are company directors, and have branched the business into new markets, including public sector work in the Republic.

Dr Martin said: “My father set up the company as a retirement project after he left (construction giant) Northstone after 40 years.

“I happened to be on maternity leave at the time in 2007 and I was able to help them out with their accounts.

“So we have gone from a two-people company in 2007 to hoping to turn over £10m in 2017.”

One of the firm’s most memorable jobs saw it erect 294 signs along the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast, and similar on the Ancient East trail.

“Some of the trails include islands and everything,” Dr Martin added. “For one of the signs, we needed to get in a helicopter to place.  So my accountant will think I’m having a laugh when he sees I’ve paid €5,000 for an executive helicopter.” 

Martin employs 20 people, with plans to take on two more.

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