Dowds Group shortlisted for the NI Plumbing & Heating Awards 2016


We are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted in three categories in this year’s NI Plumbing & Heating Awards 2016.

The biennial awards were established in 2012 to find the province’s top plumbing and heating installers, contractors, merchants, people, projects and products.

We have been shortlisted for the ‘Contractor of the Year’ award – the accolade is presented to the company that best demonstrates their solutions to overcoming recent challenges.

In addition, our work on Finnebrogue Factory in Downpatrick for artisan food producers, Lynn Country Foods has been recognised in the Commercial Project of the Year category.

We are also pleased to report that our 3rd Year Mechanical Apprentice, Aaron Corr, has been shortlisted in the Apprentice of the Year Category.  This category seeks to acknowledge and celebrate an apprentice’s outstanding contribution to their workplace. 

The awards will take place at a gala ceremony in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast on the 9th June 2016.

For further details of the awards – please see:


Dowds are Perfect Fit for Finnebrogue.

Dowds Group have recently completed construction on the impressive new factory for Finnebrogue, the artisan food factory in Downpatrick, including the fit-out of their stunning office suite .  Dowds were appointed by the Client, Lynn’s Country Foods, to complete the works on the major new manufacturing facility.

The Dowds Integrated Services team was established to provide clients with a tailored service, bringing together construction, fit-out, maintenance and mechanical and electrical services under the umbrella of one dedicated skilled team. For the new office block at Finnebrogue the team provided the full mechanical and electrical design and installation of the services as well as the interior fit-out.

The Integrated Services team had to utilise their many years of experience to manage the coordination of the many different work packages operating on site as one.  As Nigel Connolly, Divisional Manager explains:

“This was a challenging project due to the extremely tight time scale of 12 weeks, and the fact the factory had to remain operational throughout. We had to coordinate the activities of 40 site operatives and ensure that works were completed to Dowds exacting standards.  We are delighted with the end result, the high spec offices have been delivered to the delight of Lynn Country Foods and importantly with an excellent quality of finish.” 

The offices are fully equipped with general and specialist lighting, general and underfloor heating, air-conditioning and heat recovery systems, rain water harvesting, access control systems, IT/Data systems and BMS controls.

The design of new offices combines contemporary detailing with a classic approach to space configuration, optimising working, social and meetings areas.  The open plan reception and visitor waiting areas are central to the design scheme using neutrals and vibrant contrasting colours to create a stylish and modern finish, a theme which is carried through to the ‘back of house’ areas.

Omagh Hospital Update: February 2016

Working in conjunction wiSite Photo 1 (2)th main contractor, McLaughlin & Harvey, Dowds Group are currently completing the electrical contract on the new Omagh Enhanced Hospital.

Overall the main construction is progressing well on-site, as can be seen from the progress shots.  The concrete frame complete for all of the eight blocks and work well underway on the structural steel framework, external car park construction and landscaping.

In terms of the electrical installation, the 1st fix stage is nearing completion with 2nd fix wiring ongoing to three of the buildings.  It is anticipated that fitting out will commence in February/March 2016.

Following the 850KVA transformers and HV switchgear installation into the energy centre in December 2015, two further 850KVA transformers (which will service half of the building) will be lifted into position on the roof in February.

Site Photo 2

Please see the flythrough video below or follow the link for more information:

DETI Minister Jonathan Bell visits Dowds Group

GK6A4435 (2)Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell has welcomed the creation of 46 new skilled jobs by Dowds Group.

Dowds Group specialises in the design and build of mechanical and electrical services within large-scale education, healthcare, industrial and commercial facilities. To accommodate its growth in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, the M&E contractor has recently opened a second office in Belfast.

Jonathan Bell said: “Dowds Group is an ambitious, export focused business which has significantly built up its technical capabilities and personnel to continue their growth in new markets. I am pleased Invest Northern Ireland has been able to support the growth of the company through the offer of £192,000 enabling the creation of 32 of the 46 jobs. The new jobs will include management, technical and business development roles, as well as electrician and plumbing positions.

“The enhancement of their workforce will enable Dowds Group to secure additional large projects. The new positions will contribute over £980,000 annually in salaries to the Northern Ireland economy and signals encouraging growth in the construction sector.”

“Dowds Group has devoted significant resources to their expansion including strengthening their BIM/CAD facilities through the introduction of new staff and a major upgrade of 3D modelling Revit software and associated hardware. They have also established a new ‘Integrated Services’ division to expand their range of services to include construction, fit out and facilities management.”

Managing Director James Dowds added: “In addition to Invest NI’s contribution, we have committed circa £1million to expand our presence in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. The introduction of new staff gives us greater capacity and enhanced confidence to deliver on our strategy of long term growth.

“We have secured contracts which will see our turnover increase by 35% for 2016 and we will continue our investment in new talent to build a stronger company and further develop our customer base.”

DETI Ballymoney 2GK6A4427 (2)

London Schools Update: January 2016

As reported in October 2015, Dowds Group are currently on-site on a number of education projects throughout London.  Below we have provided a brief update on progress on-site:

Harris 6th Form Academy

Following the handover of the completed project in December 2014, Dowds Group Integrated Services Team have remained on-site carrying out planned preventative maintenance (PPM) and minor works for the School.  This service has proved a great success and we have been contracted to continue the partnership until at least December 2016.


The foundations at Northwood School were completed in August 2015 and construction is continuing to deliver the new 1,080 capacity school by September 2016. The school’s superstructure and roof were in place by December 2015 and the internal works including the main mechanical and electrical systems installations will continue throughout Spring and early Summer 2016.

Harris Primary Academy, Chafford Hundred

Construction works are well underway in the new build Harris Primary Academy as can be seen in the progress shots below.  Dowds Group joined the site to begin the services installations in December 2015.

2016-01-06 15.29.51      2016-01-06 15.30.02

The finished project will see a five form entry primary school involving the erection of three storey building with new roadway access cycle and pedestrian access, as well as, the creation of parking areas and all landscaping works.

Harris Primary Academy in Shortlands, Bromley

We are also now on-site in Shortlands, following the demolition of the previously existing building and the construction of the mainframe for the new two-storey school.

IMG_0015    IMG_0018

The project entails the construction of a new build primary school for the catering for 420 pupils and associated new provisions constructed for car parking, vehicular access, playground sports pitches and landscaping.

Dowds Group will start on a further 5 school sites across London in 2016 and we will continue to provide progress reports throughout the year.

Highlights of 2015

2015 was another successful year for Dowds Group, not only did we celebrate receiving the Electrical Contractor of the Year at the NI Electrical Awards, but our work in Craigavon Area Hospital was recognised in the Project of the Year Category.

Work progressed well on key site in Northern Ireland including Omagh Hospital, Altnagelvin Hospital and at Finnebrogue Artisan Food Factory in County Down.  We have expanded our presence in London and the South East with works underway on a further two major schools projects and initial work is underway on Aberdeen Art Gallery.

In addition, we were singled out for our on-going Apprenticeship programme run in conjunction with ETT.

See below for press clippings for some of our 2015 good news stories

Electrical Contractor of the Year

Highly Commended – Craigavon Area Hospital

Highlighting the Benefits of Apprenticeships

Building the Future through BIM

While DRiser 4 3dowds Group have for many years embraced the concepts of partnering and collaborative working, we have recently taken further steps to ensure we stay at the forefront of modern building services in the UK.

Having recognised the shift from traditional design, procurement and delivery of M&E projects towards Building Information Modelling (BIM), we have made substantial developments to meet future demands – more specifically, we have, over the last 12 months:

  • Expanded our CAD/Coordination department by 4 persons, including a BIM Manager, Rory O’Hara
  • Significantly invested in 3D modelling Revit software & associated hardware; and
  • Established a Belfast office to give us a more central base for attracting the best talent and to act as a hub for their CAD/Co-ordination and BIM team activities.

We are actively implementing this cutting edge design software on a number of on-going key projects.  Adopting this strategy going forward allows us to take a holistic approach to the design, coordination and installation of M&E projects.

pumpsetplantroom high level

However, as Rory O’Hara, Dowds Group BIM Manager explains, merely utilising BIM software is not enough.

“To truly adopt a BIM based approach to project delivery it is vital that we encourage collaborative working – key to this process are early engagement of the entire design team, and the establishment of agreed working practices.

 We see ourselves as an integral part of the overall team; early involvement by all team members into design development and value engineering workshops will maximise the build quality of the project.  We use BIM to facilitate our M&E co-ordination workshops to determine how the services should work within the structure of the building, highlighting any problems or pinch points and allowing for the realignment or re-engineering of workable solutions.

We feel the resources we have put in place will facilitate both the increased demand for Design & Build projects, and the governments drive for BIM implementation by 2016.”BIM

M&E services are all critical to the effective operation of buildings, as such we focus not only on ‘buildability’ but the long term life cycle of the buildings.  Through our adoption of BIM, we can ensure high-quality design and installation, informed programming, effective coordination and thorough commissioning resulting in long-term, efficient operation of our completed building services.

Please download our BIM Flyer flyer here – and see our Youtube video below:


Dowds Group continue their partnership with Farrans in London.

Following the success of our partnership with Farran’s on the recent refurbishment of Harris Westminster 6th Form Academy, we have been appointed as Farran’s preferred M&E contractor on a further 5 education projects in London.

We are currently on site at Northwood School in Greater London. The project involves the construction of a new school and demolition of the existing school, with the former school site being converted into playing fields.  The new school will accommodate 1080 pupils and the anticipated completion is September 2016.

We are also about to commence M&E works on Harris Primary Academy, in Chafford London.  A temporary building has been completed on the site to house the school while construction of the new facility takes place.  Again it is anticipated that the new 5 form primary School will be complete in September 2016.

Three further projects are in the pipeline:

  • The East London Arts & Music school, which will see the construction of a 3150m2 teaching space for 300 trainees and will include live recording studios and digital arts studios;
  • Harris Primary Academy in Shortlands, Bromley, the £4.5 million new build primary school will help ease the lack of school places in the area.
  • Harris Primary School, East Dulwich, will involve the redevelopment of a former police station to provide a new two form entry primary school which will cater for 420 pupils.

To facilitate these projects and to continue growing our quality workforce we have recently employed a number of Junior Contracts Managers and initiated a recruitment scheme for mechanical and electrical apprentices in the London area.


Dowds Group win ‘Contractor of the Year’ at NI Electrical Awards

Dowds Group Awards WinDowds Group are delighted to have received the top honour at the NI Electrical Awards gala on 10th September 2015.

The overall Contractor of the Year award is presented to the company that best demonstrates their solutions to overcoming challenging projects throughout 2014/15.

We were awarded for our investment in new technology, enhancement of in-house design and build capabilities and establishment of our Integrated Services division, all of which have led to our involvement on significant local projects such as Omagh Hospital and the Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin Hospital, as well as, work outside NI including a complete refurbishment of the prestigious Aberdeen Art Gallery and the London Schools Framework, which will see the concurrent completion of five schools in Central London.

In addition to ‘Contractor of the Year’, our work on the Craigavon Area Hospital Framework was highly commended in the ‘Commercial Installation of the Year’ for the high standards of finish and the complexity of the electrical contract carried out within a live hospital environment.

Four other Dowds Group projects were shortlisted in the commercial installation category, namely, Old See House Belfast, Mersey Care TIME, Liverpool, Finnebrogue Factory Refurbishment and Extension and Harris Westminster 6th Form College.