Belfast Telegraph

Cundall continues to grow as projects pass £2bn mark

From left: Cundall associate Chris McAnearney, mechanical associate Yvonne McNally and global managing partner Tomas Neeson
From left: Cundall associate Chris McAnearney, mechanical associate Yvonne McNally and global managing partner Tomas Neeson
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

A major UK engineering consultancy firm headed by a Co Tyrone man has passed the £2bn mark for construction projects in Northern Ireland since setting up in Belfast 10 years ago.

Cundall now employs 900 people across 21 offices, working in 11 countries. It was set up in the north east of England in 1976.

It first expanded into Northern Ireland in 2008, but since the appointment of Cookstown man Tomas Neeson as managing partner in 2014, the firm has rapidly grown here.

In the past three years alone, Cundall's workforce has increased four-fold, with its project portfolio including the £220m upgrade of Ulster Hospital, Queen's University's new Institute of Maths and Physics and recent renovations at entertainment and education attraction W5.

The company specialises in mechanical, electrical, civil and structural engineering.

Speaking about the growth, Mr Neeson said: "Cundall was originally asked to come to Northern Ireland to support major healthcare projects.

"We knew from the start, however, that there were more opportunities and we came with a view to recruit local talent."

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The managing partner said engineering talent from Northern Ireland has played a key role in its success, not just in the Belfast office, but in its offices across the world, including Melbourne.

"In the past 25 years they have helped lead and grow our international business and we remain committed to providing opportunities for as many graduates and trainees as possible to develop long-term careers in the built environment," Mr Neeson said.

"We are constantly striving to offer more to clients and the recent expansion of our local offering to include fire engineering consultancy demonstrates this commitment."

Recent accounts for Cundall showed its annual turnover has now passed £60m. Clients include Rolls-Royce, Jaguar Land Rover, Sainsbury's, Facebook and John Lewis Partnership.

"We are constantly asking what more we can do, and are heavily invested in both the increasing health and wellbeing agenda in all occupied spaces, and in digital engineering, which will be transformational in our sector," Mr Neeson added.

"Our success in Belfast is based on our practice-wide ethos of providing 'clever friendly engineers' who deliver innovative solutions and exemplary service. Our aim is to ensure clients receive an end product that is aligned to their brand aspirations and culture."

Belfast-based mechanical associate Yvonne McNally said Cundall has worked across a range of major health, commercial, residential and education construction projects.

"Recent growth in Belfast has been exceptional and headcount has increased to help meet demand," she said. "We also collaborate closely with the wider Cundall business, particularly our Dublin office, on projects for global brand clients.

"Further growth is anticipated locally, especially in the residential and commercial sectors. All of Cundall's projects are led by our partners who are fully involved from conception to handover.

"The firm has also invested heavily in IT to ensure that staff and clients can fully access the talent available in our global network."

According to Cundall, sustainability is at the core of its operation. In 2012 it became the world's first consultancy to be formally endorsed as a 'One Planet Company' by the sustainability charity Bioregional.

"We provide our clients with practical advice and solutions, which reduce the environmental impact of developments, and provide better spaces for building users and occupiers, as well as for the wider community," the firm said.

Belfast Telegraph