Dowds Group appointed for new PPI Cancer Treatment Centre

Dowds Group are delighted to be working again with main contractor Graham Construction on the new Cancer Treatment Centre in Reading. Our previous experience gained from highly complex installation projects such as Altnagelvin Radiotherapy Unit and Omagh Hospital & Primary Care Complex assured Proton Partners International of our capabilities and that we are the ideal M&E contractor for this £30M project.

After working closely with the client and design team, construction works are now underway on this project with an estimated completion date of March 2018.

The cancer centre is located within the Thames Valley Science Park, which is part of the University of Reading, and this facility will be the third of it’s kind built in the UK by Proton Partners International. It is located just off the M4 corridor and will have connections to Heathrow making it available to South of England and International patients.

Amongst other conventional cancer therapies, this centre will offer proton beam therapy which is a specialised type of cancer treatment not available yet in the UK. The centre will include facilities for proton beam therapy, a linear accelerator, as well as a CT suite and an MRI. It is expected that the centre will be able to treat up to 500 patients a year and will also offer imaging, chemotherapy and traditional radiotherapy.


Dowds Shortlisted for 3 NI Electrical Awards

Dowds Group are hoping to continue their winning ways at the Northern Ireland’s Electrical Awards 2017, where we are finalists for ‘Large Contractor of the Year’, as well as having double shortlisting’s in the ‘Commercial Project of the Year’ and ‘Apprentice of the Year’ categories.

This is a tremendous achievement, with the panel of judges commenting on the very high calibre of entries received.



Large Contractor of the Year:

Over the past two year, we have experienced unprecedented growth at Dowds Group, doubling both our turnover and employee numbers as well as expanding into new markets.  While this has created challenges, it has also presented many opportunities to become a better company by encouraging initiatives to improve Health and Safety Management, Training and Development, and heavier investment in and utilisation of BIM technologies to increase our efficiency.

Commercial Project of the Year

Two of our outstanding projects completed over the last two years have made the shortlist:

  • Omagh Hospital

We managed the £12.7m electrical contract on the new build, state-of-the-art Omagh Hospital – it has been our largest solely electrical contract to date and one of the largest public sector construction projects within Northern Ireland in recent years.  To read more on this project click here.

  • Craigavon Area Hospital, Infrastructure Project

Teamwork, Co-operation and excellent Planning were the key elements to the successful completion of this £2.3m HV Infrastructure project.  The complete installation, carried out on a live Acute Hospital site included the installation of over 3.5Km of HV cabling, 6 no 11000/400 step down transformers, 1 No 400/11000 step up transformer, all associated ring main units 1 No 9 panel HV switchboard, numerous LV switchboard additions and modification ranging from 400 amp to 3200 amp and all associated LV cabling and connections.

Apprentice of the Year

Dowds have a long tradition of supporting apprenticeships, with many of our management team today having begun their careers as apprentices.  Following the success of Aaron Corr, last year’s Plumbing and Heating Apprentice of the Year, we are delighted to have two of our electrical apprentices, Connor Hyland and Paul Higgins in the running for this year’s award.  Both Connor and Paul continue to impress at college and on-site and look to have very bright futures ahead in the electrical industry.

This year’s winners will be announced at the Gala Awards Ceremony which takes place on Friday 15th September, 2017 at Titanic, Belfast.

For more details or to view all shortlisted companies click here.


2017 CEF Finalists Announced

The finalists for 2017 CEF Construction Excellence Awards have been announced and amongst them are three outstanding Dowds projects.

The fit-out of Dunnes Flagship store in Forestside Shopping Centre has saw Graham Interior Fit-Out shortlisted in the ‘Fit-Out Award’ category.   Our Integrated Services team worked closely with Grahams providing the Mechanical & Electrical installations on the refurbished store.   The project for Dunnes comprise the phased enabling, alterations and refurbishment works to the existing department store including the complete refurbishment of the front of house shop floor areas and alterations and extensions to the existing back of house areas.

McLaughlin and Harvey have earned a double nomination for the ‘Health Infrastructure Award’ as main contractors on both the new Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin and the new Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex.  Dowds Group were employed on both of these high profile schemes.

Dowds acted as the electrical contractor on the £105m Omagh Hospital, responsible for all electrical installations on the huge 22,900 sq m complex. The highly serviced nature of the project involved a number of specialist installations including high-end HV equipment to service 4no HV departments and sophisticated M&E services for the Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD), an integrated room that performs disinfection on medical devices, equipment and consumables, necessitating a highly sterile environment.

In addition, we also assumed responsibility for the £11m+ M&E contract on the new Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin Hospital, which is already changing the life of thousands of cancer patients in the North West.  The unit consists of a 6 floor structure with services, a plant area, car parking for staff and patients, ambulance drop of point, Electrical LV and HV rooms, a new Radiotherapy unit with Linear Accelerator Bunkers and MRI scanner suites, refurbished and extended Chemotherapy area, Radiotherapy Bed area, admin area and roof top plant rooms.

To read more on the 2017 CEF Awards follow the link below:

We’d like to wish Graham Interior Fit-Out and McLaughlin & Harvey good luck for the final on 13th September 2017.




Bright Spark Connor wins NI Apprentice of the Year

Dowds Group 1st year electrical apprentice, Connor Hyland, has won Northern Ireland’s first regional heat for the SPARKS UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year 2017 – a competition established to recognise the skills and hard work of electrical students across the UK.

Connor went forward to compete as the NI representative in the National Finals at the 3M Customer Innovation Centre in Bracknell.  Bob Stokes from Northern Regional College expressed his pride in Connor’s achievement;

“The standard of work was extremely high at the UK Finals. Although Connor did not pick up an award, we are extremely proud of the very positive and professional manner in which he represented both the College and his employer, Dowds Group, throughout the journey of this competition.”

Speaking on his experience in the competition, Connor said;

It was overwhelming being the first ever regional winner from Northern Ireland and going forward to represent my country in the final.  The experience was amazing and I aim to take part in next year’s event. I absolutely love what I do and always strive to put 100% into everything I do.”


Site Supervisor Martin Cassidy, has found Connor an eager, well-mannered young man who is keen to learn the trade. He said;

“Connor is a pleasure to work with and takes on any task asked of him with confidence and ease. He has excelled greatly during the first year of his apprenticeship and has a bright future ahead of him.”  

Managing Director, James Dowds, also remarked:

“Connor is a conscientious and hard-working young man. I have excellent reports from all his colleagues on-site and he continues to impress with a steadily high performance both at college and at work.

Dowds Group are proud to continue their tradition of helping to produce a high standard of hard working apprentices and would like to congratulate Connor on this prestigious accolade.


Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex handed over

Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex was successfully handed over at the end of April 2017, this was a complete new-build project, aimed at creating a facility that will cater for the vast majority of health needs for generations to come.

Dowds Group managed the electrical contract on the new build, state-of-the-art hospital – it has been our largest solely electrical contract to date and one of the largest public sector construction projects within Northern Ireland in recent years. We are extremely proud to have been integral in providing a new facility that has set a bench mark for healthcare in Northern Ireland.

The colossal 22,900 sq m complex is set on a brownfield site and hosts a range of co-located services under the one roof. This entire hospital is newly built and consists of 6 blocks housing services including a 40 single en-suite bedrooms unit for in-patients for Rehabilitation and Palliative Care patients, a 24 place renal dialysis unit, a Health and Care Centre including modern GP practices and an Urgent Care and Treatment Centre. In addition it will also provide advanced diagnostic services including a CT scanner and endoscopy services. There are also 3 day surgery operating theatres and 22 recovery beds, specialised AHP, Women’s & Family Health and Children’s Services. The external areas consist of staff and visitors parking, play areas, viewing gardens and a Heli pad for emergency services. Such is the scale of the building that it required a purpose-built energy centre, complete with generators and CHP.



Works began on-site for Dowds Group in August 2015 with an initial skeleton staff, which grew to a team of approximately 120 site operatives.  The new-build facility was fully operational within a week of handover which is testament to the expertise of the service providers involved in the project.  Working alongside Main Contracts, McLaughlin & Harvey and Consultant Engineers, White Young Green (WYG), we were fully committed to the two and a half year project.  Chris Reid, Principal Electrical Engineer of WYG, spoke of his experience working with Dowds;

“Dowds Group have shown and maintained a very high standard of diligence and professionalism throughout the project.  As the company increases penetration into the GB marketplace, this level of professionalism will ensure that they can meet the challenge to match any of the leading M&E services contractors and still maintain a level of care which is sometimes lost in our industry.”

Due to the sheer magnitude of the project it is unlikely that any other electrical contractor in Northern Ireland would have had the specialist knowledge or years of expertise in healthcare installations that it took to successfully manage this electrical contract.


Special Educational Needs Schools (SENs) – West London

Dowds Group are delighted to be teaming up once again with Farrans Construction to deliver two Special Education Needs schools in Hounslow in West London.  M&E works for the schools started on site in April 2017 after an intensive design period. Both are scheduled for completion in September 2018.

Marjory Kinnon
The new £29.3M Marjory Kinnon primary and secondary school will be built in Feltham close to Heathrow Airport.  The completed project will see the creation of a two-storey school with over 9,500m² of teaching space to cater for 288 pupils. It will feature an array of therapy and physical activity spaces geared towards quality learning in a safe, flexible environment.

Gresham Road
Gresham Road School is being built on a greenfield site and will have a floor area of 8,500m² over three storeys and has a construction value of £32.6M, The building will house bespoke teaching spaces, hydrotherapy and warm pools, a gym, running track and recording studio. It will cater for 224 pupils with severe and multiple learning difficulties.

Both schemes are on target to meet the environmental standard of BREEAM ‘excellent’. They are also being designed and delivered to meet BIM level 2.


Altnagelvin Hospital – Radiotherapy Unit

The successful completion of the New Radiotherapy Treatment Unit at Altnagelvin Hospital has sustained our long standing presence on this acute hospital site and further enhanced our ongoing relationship with the Western Health and Social Care Trust. The project consists of all mechanical, electrical and medical gas installations necessary in the construction of a new Radiotherapy Unit on a brownfield site within a live hospital campus.

The new building provides ground floor treatment rooms including 4 linear accelerator bunkers, MRI scanner suites, CT scanner suites, and plain x-ray, as well as first and second floor offices and respite care, bed wards and isolation suites. Works also included the extension and refurbishment of the existing Chemotherapy Suite, the refurbishment of the ground floor of the Tower Block, and the construction of an underground car park. The new unit links to the existing hospital via underground service tunnels and new link corridors.

On Altnagelvin Radiotherapy Unit we utilised our in-house BIM/CAD facilities to encourage early integration of the client, design and build teams to facilitate better decision-making in regards to the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of mechanical installations.


Northwood School, London Borough of Hillingdon

Dowds Group have recently completed the construction on the remarkable new building for Northwood Secondary School in Hillingdon, London. The London Borough of Hillingdon and the Education Funding Agency funded this £35 million development.

The new school building accommodates 1,050 pupils, it has three storeys and measures 9,800 square metres in size. In total there is 53 classrooms which include, science rooms, a science garden, specialist design and technology rooms, a large library, a large art room, sixth form study and social areas, special education needs room, a spacious sports hall and an outdoor learning terrace. Northwood School promotes an academic focus on performing arts with a stage area with retractable seating, an outdoor amphitheatre and performing arts/music specialist rooms.

In a collaborated approach, Farrans along with Dowds Group successfully completed Phase 1 of the development within 18 months giving an ideal environment for the continued delivery of top quality teaching and learning for the students of Northwood.  We completed M&E installations within the main school building and fitted out the classrooms, labs and office accommodation.

Check out Northwood School in our fly-through video below: