Established in 1810, Collen Construction is one of the longest standing construction firms in Ireland and a leader in today’s construction industry. Collen has a strong reputation for building quality and excellence. The company – which had a turnover of over €270 million last year – has successfully tendered and negotiated projects for a range of clients, including multinational corporations, private companies, local authorities and state authorities. Completing projects within programme, meeting budget constraints and providing a quality service has seen Collen forge strong relationships with a wide range of clients.
Forging lasting relationships
Repeat business accounts for over 50% of the 210-year-old company’s workload. Commenting on this Tommy Drumm, Managing Director of Collen Construction says “Our main focus is to do a great job for our clients and to finish it in such a manner that there has been a great experience. Repeat clients are key to the development of Collen and our goal is to find long-term relationships.”
One such relationship includes Green Property with whom Collen have worked for over 20 years on projects ranging from award winning commercial offices to industrial warehouses. One of Collen’s most recently completed projects for the property firm is Block I, Central Park. This 150,000sq ft office building located in Leopardstown is spread over 7 floors and achieved LEED Gold accreditation. The newly completed building sits next to Block H, also constructed by Collen for Green Property, which took home the Irish Construction Industry Award for Commercial Building of the Year in 2018.
Since 2015 Collen has completed over 1.25 million sq ft of office space and has established a strong presence within the Sandyford Business District. In June 2019 Collen completed the construction of One South County, a landmark office development for Cyril Maguire. The 5-storey LEED Gold office building spread over 149,000sq ft features a unique curved façade on the north western side which is highlighted by the backdrop of the counter-cyclical high-level curved LUAS line. Inside the building, a uniquely placed meeting room pod can be seen suspended at 4th floor level over the central atrium. One South County became Collen’s first Wired Platinum certified building meaning the building offers best-in-class connectivity for tenants. Collen is now preparing to commence works on Two South County in early 2020.
The Hive, Sandyford strategically located at the edge of Sandyford Business Park in close proximity to Stillorgan Luas stop, was recently refurbished by Collen for repeat client U&I Plc. This 4-storey office development contains 73,000 sq ft of prime office space refurbished to LEED Gold and Wired Platinum specification. The project involved the construction of a roof over an existing landscaped courtyard creating an enclosed 4-storey atrium in the heart of the building. A new 4-storey glazed façade was installed at the entrance modernizing the almost 20-year-old building.
One of Collen’s more challenging office projects completed in 2019 involved the re-purposing of 86000 sq ft of redundant laboratory, production and plantroom space within a live pharmaceutical facility into state-of-the-art office facilities. The facility was transformed into a vibrant, modern workplace and boasts a new atrium, open plan and cellular offices, canteen facilities, locker areas and a gym.
Collen also has significant experience in the residential sector. The company has delivered 650 beds of student accommodation on campus at UCD. More recently Collen completed the construction and fit-out of Brickfield Lane, Student Accommodation. This new 5-storey building provides modern student living facilities and includes 276 bedrooms, communal areas, a gym and landscaped rooftop.
Taking the reins of Ireland’s data centre industry
Collen is widely acknowledged as leading the way in Ireland’s data centre industry. The 2019 Mitchell McDermott report shows Collen as the leading provider of data centres in Ireland. Since 2009 the company has delivered 229mw of data centres with another 188mw under construction in Ireland, Germany and Sweden. Initial projects were secured through competitive tender but as a direct result of Collen’s successful delivery of fast-track projects on time, within budget and to the highest safety, quality and environmental standards as stipulated by the Client, over 75% of projects completed to date have been negotiated. The company began working with its first confidential multinational data centre client back in 2009 and has forged a lasting relationship over the last 10 years. Since then Collen has secured contracts with two other multinational data centre clients building hyperscale data centres in Ireland, Germany and Sweden.
“Ireland is ahead of the curve in the data centre sector with global data centre companies investing heavily here.” says Tommy Drumm. “Developing relationships in this sector has been fundamental to the growth of our business in recent years. We moved overseas with existing clients and are happy to work anywhere in Europe for them.”
Transforming a Dublin suburb
Collen is currently transforming the commercial heart of south Dublin village Blackrock. The company recently added a major extension to the busy Frascati Shopping Centre, as well as two other commercial projects, Enterprise House and Blackrock Shopping Centre. There were five Collen cranes in Blackrock at one stage and, when it is finished, Collen will have created an unparalleled experience for shoppers and residents of Blackrock.
Frascati Shopping Centre involved a highly complex and exciting retail refurbishment requiring a complete revamp of the existing South Dublin Shopping Centre whilst the busy retail hub remained operational. The project included construction of a new 3-storey 130,000 sq ft extension in multiple phases and refurbishment of the existing mall. Early phased handovers included the new basement carpark, a large retail unit, extensions to the North East (Frascati Road) and several new smaller units including restaurants in addition to considerable drainage diversions and external landscaping and new paths and pavings. Following the successful completion of the Frascati Shopping Centre Collen secured the contract to construct 45 luxury apartments on top of the newly refurbished shopping centre.
Across the road from the Frascati Shopping Centre, demolition of the 1980’s Enterprise House building provided an opportunity to create a dynamic new LEED Gold office development that would add to the transformation of Blackrock village. The new state-of-the-art 5 storey CAT A office development incorporated phased balcony and underground parking handovers to facilitate the redevelopment of the adjacent Blackrock Shopping Centre, also by Collen.
As work on Enterprise House progressed Collen was appointed main contractor by client Friends First for the refurbishment of the existing Blackrock Shopping Centre adjoining Enterprise House. Another transformative project which will breathe new life into Blackrock, the project requires external and internal alterations to an existing and operational shopping centre including new entrance façade, internal reconfiguration, new look façades for existing units, the creation of additional retail floor space and new office accommodation.
Immersing in Safety, Quality and Environmental cultures
Collen has no doubt been leading the way in Health and Safety in Ireland’s construction industry. In 2019 the company, who was key sponsor for this year’s CIF Construction Safety Week, received several accolades in recognition of its commitment to health and safety over the past few years.
Collen had already become one of the first companies globally to attain ISO 45001 accreditation, the world’s first international Occupational Health and Safety standard. In March 2019 Collen received the Excellence in Health, Safety and Wellbeing Award at the Irish Construction Excellence Awards. With growing Collen expansion into Europe, the firm decided to enter the RoSPA Awards for the first-time last July. They are an internationally recognised organisation, established over 100 years ago and their safety awards are the most sought-after accolade by organisations from every sector. Collen was very pleased to receive a RoSPA Bronze Award for Health & Safety performance during the period of 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018.
At this year’s NISO/NISG All-Ireland Occupational Safety Awards Collen was presented with the Commercial/Industrial Award and the Superior Performance Award. The Superior Performance Award is presented to the company that best demonstrates evidence that they have introduced proactive measures over and above the legal requirement to provide a superior safety working environment for all.
Adding to an already impressive list, Collen attended the Construction Safety Partnerships Advisory Committee Annual Forum which took place at the CIF, Construction House where Collen won the award for Innovation in Safety and Health in Products or Services for their submission on Health & Safety Building Information Modelling. Collen employee Daniel Fowkes was awarded Safety Representative of the Year 2019.
Collen since has become one of the first Irish construction companies to achieve ISO 50001 accreditation. This journey was led by its Health, Safety, Environmental, Quality and Sustainability department in conjunction with its Building Services Department and resulted in the company pushing boundaries to identify, manage, monitor and implement a continuous standard of energy reduction across all of its company offices, vehicle fleet and construction sites. The accreditation underpins Collen’s strategy of Building Excellence since 1810, ensuring that they explore every facet of their business to deliver the highest standards for their clients, using the most sustainable and environmentally responsible methods possible.
With Collen operations in both Ireland and Europe complying with ISO 9001, ISO 45001 and Iso 14001, with the latter branding its business as environmentally responsible, the pursuit of ISO 50001 was the next natural step and suited the Company’s well-established integrated management system and business model.
Connecting with the Community
Currently Irish Construction Industry Awards Contractor of the Year 2019, Collen has been headquartered in East Wall in Dublin since 1890 and being a family run business, the company has a tradition of giving back and connecting with the local community. This year Collen held its 4th Annual Collen Charity Cycle in conjunction with the Great Dublin Bike Ride. The team which was made up of Collen employees and their family members, clients, charity representatives, sponsors and supply chain raised €18,000 to be split evenly between The Light House, Aoibhneas and the Sean O’Casey Community Centre. Over the past 4 years the company has now raised a grand total of €55,500 for the local charities.
Their charitable ethos spreads far beyond the boundaries of East Wall as their European counterparts continue the tradition. Their Swedish division, Collen Aktiebolag, completed their 2nd annual charity cycle in Sweden this year in support of local charities.
As the company turns 210 years old it now employs over 250 people directly with offices in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Frankfurt and Stockholm. Tommy Drumm says, “while we maintain our core business in Ireland, we believe that our strategic partnerships across Europe will strengthen our market position as we continue our relationship with current and new clients. Some of our key priorities going forward are IT standardisation, project controls, pre-construction management, off site modular construction and the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) which allows greater collaboration on our project between all stakeholders, resulting in projects being delivered faster and with greater cost efficiency”.