Work Begins on the Ulster Hospital

Dowds Group are proud to be working alongside the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust on the Theatre 8 Project. This project involves the strip out and reconfiguration of the existing Endoscopy Suite to provide the new Theatre 8 and associated procedure rooms.

The works will begin with building demolition works along with the removal of redundant mechanical and electrical services. All work on this project will be carried out in a live hospital environment which requires extra care and attention.

The SE Trust have worked closely with Dowds Group in the implementation of an access and segregation strategy to help provide additional protection to the hospital staff and patients during the current Covid-19 crisis. We have also put in place additional measures to further protect our Site Teams from Covid-19.

Remaining works will include internal drainage connections, structural support works, floor leveling, formation of new partition walls, decoration and finishes, new internal doors and screens, new mechanical and electrical systems, provision for new fixed furniture and provision of new flooring and new ceilings throughout.

Our Build Department is growing from strength to strength with every project they take on. They are a one stop shop as such with our build team providing not only the build side of the project but also the M&E aspect also. Our clients are only having to deal with one point of contact throughout the project, and they are guaranteed the quality that we offer from the start right through to the finish. We have had great feedback from our build clients and can only hope that the success of our build department continues to grow.

We are looking forward to taking on this challenging project at the Ulster Hospital and aim for completion at the beginning of February 2021.

Dowds Group end 555 Challenge!

At the end of May, 69 of our employees took part in our 555 Challenge to help raise some money for Charity during lock down but also to help keep up the camaraderie that runs throughout our company even though we are working from home.

We are pleased to reveal that our overall total raised was £9000 which was split equally between our four charities:

  • Marie Curie
  • Tiny Life
  • Mid Ulster Agewell
  • Kenya Missionary Work

Unfortunately, we were unable to meet with all our charities, however they have each sent acknowledgement of thanks for our donations.

Each of the four charities that were chosen are closely linked to our own employees and we wanted to help support them the same way they supported either our employees themselves or their families during a time they needed it.

Our Managing Director James had this to say about the 555 Challenge, “It was a brilliant event! A lot of people pushed themselves, possibly even surprising themselves how much they could do. A good bit of healthy competition and just all-round good fun with hopefully a good few habits coming out of it for people to continue.”

We want to give a massive thank you to everyone who donated money towards our challenge, we know from talking firsthand with the charities that they appreciate every single penny!

We are hoping to hold an event similar later in the year after the success of this challenge so keep your eyes peeled!

Dowds Group awarded a place on the London & Quadrant Housing Trust Framework

Dowds Group are pleased to have been awarded a place on the London & Quadrant framework. This award is for specialist MEP package of works to a value of £8m-£16m, running from 2020 to 2024.

The L&Q Housing Trust framework is estimated to comprise of £800m – £900m worth of housing projects, involving an annual £80m of MEP works between the respective MEP specialists awarded a place on the framework.

“With over 50 years M&E experience, being recognized as a leading MEP specialist is truly a testament to our expertise within the industry.” – Bryan Armstrong, Estimating Director at Dowds Group.

Since establishing our presence in London in 2010, we have been working towards such an opportunity to aid our strategic growth within the region.

We pride ourselves on our partnering philosophy, building key relationships and maintaining a “whole team” ethos, this was reflected in the notable team effort throughout the bid process.

“Fantastic achievement by all involved with the bid process, we are confident our approach and innovation not only meets but surpasses the L&Q expectation”    -Wayne Kemp, London Operations Manager at Dowds Group

We look forward to working with L&Q on this new venture.

Team John Up-Date: 555 Challenge

With the launch of our 555 Challenge on the Wednesday, the notifications started in Team John’s WhatsApp group on Tuesday evening with David Porter, our Commercial Director announcing that he had injured himself and pulled a muscle! It wasn’t a great start for the team but that didn’t stop Jack Gourley being the first out on Wednesday morning at 7am to do a 4.34 mile run, quickly followed by Kevin Doherty at 8:30am

Wednesday evening also saw the start of the cycling miles with Bryan Armstrong, Kevin McNulty and Barry McAleese taking to the tarmac. Barry’s miles were slightly tougher than they usually would be with him having a little passenger on the back of his bike chilling with sunglasses and a dummy! He was relaxed not breaking a sweat, Barry on the other hand was a different story! Martin Brogan, Jude McAllister, Cathaoir Heaney and Gemma O’Kane also headed out that evening, helping to clock up the miles for their team. By the end of the first day, Team John had made a good dent in the 555 miles with an amazing 160 miles in the bag.

Thursday saw the introduction of John J Dowds and David Coffey who proved his loyalty and commitment to his team by going out and doing something every day. Tiernan O’Mullan came under duress from his Line Manager Bryan and started off well with a downhill cycle after first getting a lift to the top of the hill. In true estimator style, he requested a spreadsheet on several occasions from John with the breakdown of everyone’s miles to see how many miles he actually was going to have to do!

Everyone headed out on Thursday to help build up some more miles, however due to the overcast weather and the slim chance of getting his tan topped up, Jack Gourley decided to take a day of rest. Despite this, Jack did manage to win bragging rights for completing the longest run for his team with a 10 miler.

With the weather against everyone on Friday, Team John didn’t allow this to stop them from getting out. David Porter made his return from the sub bench with a 10 mile walk around the Portstewart Coastline and Martin Kane joined the team to help them bank some more miles; John knew he was a secret weapon with his athleticism. Martin did get some stick however with his cycle on Friday that started at his own house and ended at someone else’s’. He claims he had a hot whiskey and had to get left home and that it was absolutely nothing to do with that fact that he is currently out of training.

Also knocking out miles every day was our oldest and wisest team member Martin Brogan. His words of wisdom sent into the team WhatsApp to keep them motivated and happy and sometimes to just give them a laugh, “No cars, just the singing of the blackbird, robin, chaffinch, the squirrels gathering breakfast, the cows and horses resting at the ditch back, a grey but beautiful morning, counting my Blessings and giving thanks for the gift of you all and this new day, Stay safe on the roads and get out there and whip some ass.”

The three ladies of the group clocked up an amazing near 50 miles, but unfortunately due to unknown circumstances though strong speculation of having a comfy bed, none of these miles were Kathryn McKendry’s! She waited until the finish line had been crossed and the hard work was done before she headed out on a 5km walk on Sunday afternoon. Gemma O’Kane blasted miles out nearly every day even while she is on maternity leave with three beautiful kiddies. Carolyn wasn’t far behind her with Maggie in toe taking scenic walks to see the local farm life. The jury is out as to whether Nicholas McKee has a secret boat that he goes fishing on as every walk, run or cycle is done over the five days, he always seemed to find himself along a river or piece of water!.

On the Saturday evening while everyone was enjoying a cold beverage, and Martin Brogan was enjoying his apple tart and cream, John McAllister realised his team were nearly at the finish line so there was an alert sent out to get the walking boots and bikes at the ready for the final push on Sunday

Bryan Armstrong got everyone up with his 6:44am morning text into the group chat, “who’s up, let’s get it done folks!” With final checks done on tire pressure and the brakes, the big guns John, Kevin McNulty, Bryan, Kevin Doherty and Martin Kane all went out in force to clock the final miles. Most of the other team members put in a final good shift to get them over the finish line before lunch. Now it’s just a waiting game.

Kevin Doherty triumphed with most miles clocked in his team hitting nearly 120 miles! Bryan Armstrong was just pipped to the post following very closely behind him. Safe to say that Bryan’s dog Barney is raging at him for not coming out top but is very glad that the challenge is over, and he can now be left in peace to do what a dog does best; sleep!

Captain John was over the moon at the efforts of all his team members and regardless of the outcome, feels that the mechanical, build and ladies team are the true winners!

Team Damian Up-Date: 555 Challenge

Séan Kelly, one of our Northern Ireland electricians who lives in London, kicked started the miles for Team Damian with a 6am early morning run on Wednesday morning. He was not the only team member to clock miles on his way to work with Barry McAleese cycling his way to work at our University of Ulster site in Belfast. Team captain Damian also clocked some miles before work on his Wattbike, however it wasn’t long before the captains started complaining and a new rule was enforced; all miles had to be tarmac miles, no static cycling or running equipment, not even a ride on lawn mower!

Wednesday evening saw the warm up round for George Young, Malachy Molloy, Oran Watson, Johnny Wallace and Gareth Evans (London based teammate) walking and running up a further 24.2 miles for their team. Oran Watson was seen walking the roads of Dunloy, passing a member of an opposing team four times. You would have thought there was a race to the finish, trying to clock as many miles as they could!

The cyclists also kicked off on Wednesday evening with Gavin Scullion, Julian McCamphill, Conor Higgins, Colm McAllister, Rory Quigg and Kieran McWilliams stacking up an impressive 145 miles of the 333 miles on day one. If we had not have put a cap of 333 miles on the cycling, Team Damian would have been finished on the Thursday. All team members continued to put in their shift and momentum continued over Thursday and Friday with the addition of a new member, Ian Craig who helped with the foot miles.

With Friday’s update released, to Team Damian’s delight, they were in pole position, 58.55 miles ahead of Team Maura who were in second place. The results showed that their lead was only due to their cycling miles and revealed an Achilles heel that they had the least foot miles. The race was wide open again and Team Damian needed to come up with a good foot plan. Gavin and Damian took to the road on Saturday morning to polish off the remaining cycle miles, with a few of the other guys heading out for walks and runs – there were a few long faced selfies sent in to the team WhatsApp of the guys standing outside their local pub. When all calculations were done on Saturday evening, Team Damian still needed 64 foot miles to cross the finish line and with that the alerts started that there was a possibility of some of the other teams finishing on Sunday!

Gavin Scullion rose to the occasion again and headed out at 9:40pm on Saturday night and walked 13.03 miles, leaving him back home shortly after 1:00am. This set the bar high for the rest of the team and at first light Séan, Barry and Damian got their walking shoes on and set off adding a combined 45 miles. Some of the other guys blitzed the remaining few miles but they had a feeling it was too late! Reports were coming in that another team had crossed the finish line, but had they? Despite having all their cycle miles reached on Saturday, they mustn’t have told George as he headed out and clocked his longest cycle of 21.4 miles, pity they didn’t count!

Damian wanted to award Gavin Scullion with Athlete of the Challenge for his team after stacking up a phenomenal 168 miles! He was so impressed with the efforts of all his team members and now sits patiently waiting while the data is being analysed to see who will triumph!

Team Maura Up-Date: 555 Challenge

Team Maura started strong on Wednesday with nearly all their members going out for walk, run or cycle, some even doing both! Dowds Group’s and Team Maura’s very own Action Man Liam Doherty cycled to work on Thursday morning clocking 32.43 miles for his team, understandably, he decided to get a lift back home! Michael Mahon went out especially for the challenge and bought himself a new bike, aside from having a very sore behind for a few days, he managed to cycle his way to 21.71 miles. Our own Divisional Director Nigel Connolly ended up walking the little legs off his dachshund dogs who surprisingly were not all that keen and ended up taking huff with him.

With Team Maura placing second in the Friday up-date, they did not let the weather stop them from trying to catch up to the current leaders at the time, Team Damian. With a bit of friendly banter between Team Maura and Team Damian, she was determined not to let her team be beaten. Despite the weather, Maura and some of her teammates managed to add a further 99.28 miles to the overall total, with cycled miles from Allan Guthrie, Ryan Alexander, Neale Archibald, Liam Doherty and Jonnie Boreland.

Saturday saw Colin Finlay considering a move back to high level football after he surprised himself and ran 5 miles for his team! James Thompson along with his son ran from our Belfast office in Dargan Crescent to Carrickfergus in a joint effort for our 555 challenge and his local Peace Project Fundraiser! Despite cycling 32.9 miles for his team, captain Maura claims that Allan Guthrie did not clock any walking miles, except to get 20 Kit-Kats from the fridge. Momentum continued on Saturday with Davy Gordon doing his longest run of 7.46 miles in an impressive time of 1 hour and 1 minute! Mark Lagan and Johnnie Millar despite injuries still managed to clock up 30.76 miles between them even if it was around a golf course!

Competition within their own team was soon apparent once captain Maura highlighted than Ryan Doak was sitting on more miles than Liam Doherty. Jonnie Boreland got in on the competition too, putting a big push on both his cycling and walking, beating Ryan to second place, but just being pipped at the post by Liam with only 5.6 miles between them. Team Maura had to put their internal competition to the side if they wanted to be within the chance of beating the other three teams. Aside from Jonnie’s weird contributions to the team WhatsApp, the Sunday plan was agreed to get out early and clock the remaining miles, however controversy arose within the captains when Ivan Dunlop was questioned about a cycle that he had recorded as a run, turns out not even Ivan can run 32 miles in 2 hours 20 minutes!

Stephen O’Neill who is just recently joined the company and Kyle Moore both put their equal shifts in throughout the 5 days helping to clock up the miles for their team. Captain Maura claims that they would have reached the finish line a lot sooner on Sunday if Neale Archibald had not decided to make a batch of pancakes before doing his cycle. Safe to say Maura let him know about it! Can we all keep an eye out for Michael Church as we have just discovered that he is still walking!

Team Captain Maura was delighted with the efforts of her team and is apparently confirmed to be the best and most inspirational team captain; however, her sources are questionable!

Team James Up-Date: 555 Challenge

Captained by the Managing Director James, his team was made up of 16 employees, most of which are based in the offices of Ballymoney, Belfast and London. Team James started off strong on Wednesday morning at 7:10am with a 3.47 mile run from our newest employee George Mimnagh, who only started with the company two days prior to the launch! Momentum continued through to Thursday with all team members putting in a great effort to clock up the miles.

On the Friday up-date, James and his team did not let the fact that they were in fourth position get them down, and even though the weather was horrendous, we had 7 team members brave the wind and the rain to build up those miles, including Emma McFarland who walked the beautiful coast line of Ballycastle. Alan Smy, who has not been on a bike in numerous years, managed to cycle a phenomenal 22.15 miles!

Pressure was back on Saturday when the weather eased slightly, with all team members giving a big push! Amy Watt walked every single day without fail, clocking an astounding 35.54 miles over 5 days, with her longest walk being 10.57 miles on Saturday. Melissa Cunning who has only started running a week before the launch of our challenge, ran her longest run at 6.29 miles, pretty good for a beginner! Aideen McMichael along with her 18-week baby bump, managed to walk 16.08 miles around the roads of Armoy, even managing a socially distanced walk her dad who was on an opposing team. John Reid, our Non-Executive Director even got on his walking shoes in Scotland to help Team James!

With a few ropey calculations done on Saturday evening and an even ropier plan discussed amongst the team Whats App, the big aim was to get out early on Sunday morning to get us over the finish line. Joanne McCamphill, Ann Wales, Mark Blair, Brian Cunning, Conor McIntyre, Josie Hardy and Niall Dowds headed out early to help clock up the remaining miles. Niall McCamphill put in some hard graft in his last cycle, with a round trip of 100.28 miles which was the final miles we needed to get over the line!

Captain James was so impressed with the efforts of his team and how they all came together! He wasn’t so impressed at Aideen’s calculations on Saturday night which had him doing an 8-mile run, to which only 4 miles were needed! Whoops!

555 Challenge – Dowds Race to the Finish Line!

With this being Mental Health Awareness Week with the theme of “Kindness,” we thought it would be a good time to launch our 555 challenge for charity as well as keeping a togetherness with our employees during this uncertain time.

Four teams made up of Dowds Group employees will each be racing to complete a circuit, starting from our Ballymoney office and finishing at our London office (via our Belfast office), clocking up a staggering 555 miles per team – not literally of course!

Our teams will be made up of cyclists, runners and walkers, all doing their best to help their team reach the finish line. With every mile they complete, they donate £1, however we would love if their friends and family would help support them!

All money donated will be matched by Dowds Group and split evenly amongst the four charities.
We will keep you all up to date with each teams’ progress throughout the journey!

Thank you in advance for all donations.

Works complete at Holywell Hospital

Holywell Hospital caters for acute admission, dementia assessment, intensive care, continuing care and rehabilitation.

The Covid-19 situation has been very difficult for everyone, but it has put extra strain on our NHS and the wards within a number of hospitals. Dowds Group stepped up to the mark on the Holywell Hospital site to complete works within one ward to free it up another ward that had the possibility of being used for Covid patients.

The NHS approached Dowds Group and within two days the site was inspected, necessary safety measures were put into place to ensure safe working for our employees and those around them, and our operatives were on site to complete the works.

Scott Corkin, the Deputy Head of Operations for the Ballymena, Antrim, Whiteabbey & Larne Localities NHS said, “I would like to thank you for helping the Trust during this difficult time on this scheme. The quality of the work has been excellent.”

We are extremely proud of our team who reacted so quickly and efficiently during this crisis.