Glasgiven Contracts building a sound legacy

12 Feb , 2024  

Delivering high quality construction projects across a range of public and private sectors, both north and south of the border, for coming up on four decades, County Down headquartered Glasgiven Contracts was shortlisted for the Contractor Health / Education Project of the Year at the 2023 Irish Construction Industry Awards in recognition of their outstanding workmanship at Whitecross National School, Julianstown, County Meath.

Glasgiven Contacts is an industry-leading, family-run building contracting firm that has been delivering construction excellence across all sectors throughout Ireland for more than 35 years, specialising in the healthcare, education, sport and leisure, retail and office blocks, arts and culture, social and private housing, ecclesiastical, transport and tourism markets.

Strategically located in counties Down and Dublin, Glasgiven – founded in Glasdrumman by Liam Murphy and William Smith and with a second office opened in Clonee, Dublin 15 a decade ago – is perfectly placed to serve the public and private sectors in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Renowned for consistently completing every project on time, within budget and to the most exacting standards, the vastly-experienced and highly-skilled Glasgiven Contracts team are passionate about their work and unswervingly dedicated to invariably delivering innovative solutions that meet (if not exceed) client expectations.

Contracts director Cormac Murphy, son of co-founder and MD Liam Murphy, is delighted that the multi-award-winning, standard-setting business was nominated once more for an Irish Construction Industry Award, this time for their exceptional delivery of Whitecross National School:

“For the most part, Colm Rogers usually looks after the projects in the south and I contract-manage work in the north but, for this one, he started it and I took over halfway through and saw it through to completion,” Cormac reflects. “It was a multi-phase project that went on for between two-and-a-half and three years, with different phases required due to the limitations of the site and scope of the work.”

The brief at Whitescross NS was to deliver a new state-of-the-art primary school extension to blend in harmoniously with the existing school building on a site which dates back to 1842, when Whitecross National School first opened.

The Board of Management engaged with the design team to ensure the newly extended and refurbished school provided an ideal environment to nurture their junior infants right through to sixth class, while the new school facility also has two ASD classes catering for children with a diagnosis of autism.

The project was delivered in phases to facilitate phased handover and possession by Whitecross National

School’s staff and pupils, with Glasgiven Contracts proudly delivering the works on time and within budget whilst maintaining a positive relationship with the school principal, staff, parents, students and the client design team.

The €6.7m project comprised a single and two-storey extension to the existing school to provide twelve new classrooms. Works also included part demolition and extensive refurbishment and remodelling of the retained existing buildings and associated external works, with a requirement for prefabricated temporary buildings to be provided on-site to keep the school open during construction. The new build area is 2,015 square metres.

“The first phase was to set up a temporary school using modular units, then demolition, then the building itself. Once we moved the pupils and teaching staff in, there was car-parking and extensive public roadworks, which took on a life of its own. The school is situated on a very busy road and the roadworks were a major undertaking in their own right, with a lot of liaising with the local authority,” Cormac recounts.

Site works included provision of 32 car-parking spaces, bus set down, a new vehicular entrance and exit, new boundary wall to the R132, new public pavement, a pedestrian crossing, drainage works, a new surface water drainage connection, hard play areas, fencing, gates and landscape planting

At the peak of construction, coming towards the finish and handover, Glasgiven Contracts had up to 120 men on site at any one time. A busy site but not uncommon for an experienced contractor with a proven track record in delivering primary school, secondary school and third-level education buildings across the island.

“The project brought its challenges with the phasing and the fact that we were working beside a live school, as well as limitations with the road and access to the compound, but we found the right solutions and it was a resounding success.

“It was also a unique and interesting project to work on as parts of the original building were retained, refurbished and incorporated into the new school, which meant that we were merging an old existing building with a new one to retain its character.”

Specialising in Design & Build development and construction, traditional construction and project management services across a range of building and civil engineering projects within the public and private sectors, Glasgiven Contracts have offered a comprehensive array of solutions including rapid build projects, pre-cast concrete construction and several fast-track projects to meet clients’ needs and deadlines.

“School projects are our bread and butter at the moment, but we have also worked extensively in healthcare and have delivered leisure projects, office spaces and social housing,” Cormac continues. “For the time being at least, it’s nearly all education and that’s keeping us busy. We recently built a modern, high-end, multi-million-pound residential home on Shrewsbury Road in South Dublin – we don’t seek out one-off residential work but because of the scale and complexity of that project we were happy to take it on.

“We’re currently working on a £50m scheme at St Ronan’s College in Lurgan, County Armagh and a £20m project at Shimna Integrated College in Newcastle, County Down. In the South, we’re on the schools framework as part of a joint venture with BAM and have recently completed work on a new Design & Build school in Cherrywood, Dublin.

“Last year, we completed Maynooth Education Campus, comprising two new post-primary schools and a centrally-located sports hall on a 40-acre greenfield site. We cover all of Northern Ireland and in the south we generally focus on an area from North Wicklow over to Kildare and back to the border.”

Glasgiven Contracts currently generate direct employment for a crew of 60 full-time employees and, including subcontractors, would generally have in excess of 300 people on site most days. “We’d tend to take on five or six relatively large projects at any one time as a minimum, and you could be up to eight at busy times, with anywhere between 30 and 150 people on each site depending on the size of the project and the stage of the work.”

Looking to the future, Cormac confirms that the company is in a good place going forward: “Every contractor has just gone through a few difficult years, with the cost of living, inflation and Covid, but it’s the same in every industry and we have weathered the storm,” he concludes. “We have a healthy order book in front of us at the minute and we’re happy with where we are. We have enough work to see us through next year, which is a nice place to be in considering where we have all been over these past two-three years.

“Every industry is facing challenges with cost but, irrespective of that, you always try to deliver a very high standard of work. Every job you do is a legacy project because they are all permanent buildings and a lasting reminder of what you’ve done, so you make sure to always give the client the very best of what you can offer.”

And history shows that Glasgiven Contracts’ best is as good as it gets!

Glasgiven Contracts Ltd.,

16 Ashleigh Court,

Glasdrumman Road,


County Down.

Tel: +44 (0)28 43768824

Email: [email protected]

Web: glasgiven.com

This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, February 2024, Vol 10 No 2