Belfast Telegraph

£17m Belfast Erskine House project started

Graham Construction has started work on redeveloping Erskine House, where HMRC is set to occupy seven floors
Graham Construction has started work on redeveloping Erskine House, where HMRC is set to occupy seven floors
Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

Co Down-based building firm Graham Construction has started work on the £17m Erskine House development in Belfast city centre.

Upon completion, HMRC is set to occupy seven floors of office space in the building for at least 25 years.

The scheme is led by property developers Orby Investment, which awarded Graham the contract to build the eight storey building.

Graham, which is based in Hillsborough, said up to 175 workers will be employed either directly or indirectly during the build at the corner of Arthur Street and Chichester Street.

Eskine House will be made up of ground floor retail units and around 100,000 sq ft of office accommodation, which will house around 1,600 workers.

Jonathan Hall, regional managing director at Graham, said winning the contract is a "major endorsement" of the firm as one of the UK's leading construction companies.

"Erskine House is an iconic Belfast project and we are delighted to be playing a part in reinvigorating this city centre space," he added.

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Last month, the Graham Group announced it saw turnover for the year 2016 to 2017 rise by 11% to £565m (£508m a year earlier), and profits of £16m.

The group said it's to hit a record £400m worth of construction projects here, despite concerns among some firms in the construction sector over the lack of an Executive at Stormont.

Graham is now Northern Ireland's biggest construction firm, with a £1bn order book and around 2,100 employees across the UK.

Major contracts here include £180m work on an acute services block at the Ulster Hospital, a £130m project on the A6 between Randalstown and Castledawson, the £53m construction of the new Grand Central Hotel in Belfast, and work worth £21.6m on student accommodation at Little Patrick Street in the city.

The news comes during an uncertain time for the construction sector and the group's executive chairman, Michael Graham, has spoken out about the impact of a lack of an Executive on routine construction and roads projects.

"While our turnover in Northern Ireland has continued to grow, we would welcome budget certainty to increase confidence in the delivery of key projects," he said.

The firm said that 1,100 of its employees are from Northern Ireland, with many travelling to projects in Britain. There are around 300 workers at its headquarters in Hillsborough.

Belfast Telegraph