Top 5 Women in Construction
SET IN STONE
Established in 1976, Creagh Concrete has grown to become one of the largest and most innovative producers of concrete products for a diverse range of market sectors throughout Ireland and the UK.
The company designs, manufactures and supplies an extensive range of concrete products operating from its head office in Toomebridge, Northern Ireland with bases in Ardboe, Dunloy, Draperstown and Magheraglass and also at Nottingham, England and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Creagh design, manufacture and install a wide range of concrete products into the infrastructure, agricultural, commercial and residential markets. It’s core business is the supply and fit of hollow core flooring, manufacturing a large range of products for residential and commercial application. Recent projects include Manchester Metropolitan University, Roehampton Library, Fetal Medicine Research Institute and Wilnecote Railway Platform 7.
The current pace of change in off-site technology and the emergence of new construction options is unprecedented. Creagh Concrete is in that mix, representing a combination of innovation with a solid track record in offsite manufacturing. The company is very much a family affair and was joined in 2011 by Catherine McKeague who qualified in 2009 as a solicitor. Here Catherine works alongside her father, three uncles, several cousins and her brother-in-law. Catherine’s role here is as a solicitor and Company Secretary and her work is varied, involving commercial, debt, property, planning, transport and compliance matters. She is also involved in the management of the company’s Irish sales department, a role she enjoys as it encompasses a wide range of products and sub departments and includes the company’s Ireland flooring and local aggregates, blocks and concrete division.
“Working with colleagues, customers and drivers regarding a wide range of issues in particular health and safety on a daily basis no two days are the same!” she exclaims.
It seems that Catherine was destined to go into the construction industry despite having chosen law as her profession. Prior to joining Creagh she worked for a firm of solicitors specialising in construction, commercial and property matters so her knowledge of the industry is pretty much set in stone. It is a busy time for the industry and in the current market she says, contracts are being signed at a rate not previously experienced by the industry. “The acceleration in this market is partly explained by the well reported pressures in housing, driving continued growth in the pool of investment available for apartment schemes in the private rental sector. Add to that the nationwide demand for new-build student accommodation, and you begin to understand why off-site construction in the multi-storey residential market has established such a solid base.”
Creagh are championing the use of precast concrete through the application of their Rapidres fastrack build system, which is currently winning residential apartment projects of up to 22 storeys. Rapidres is a good example of the application of structural cross wall design, which is ideally suited to multi-storey projects where the layout is replicated consistently across each floor. While most projects will have variation of layout in mixed use spaces on the ground floor, this is routinely dealt with by the use of a structural podium which forms the base for the off-site structure.
Creagh Concrete’s latest Rapidres projects in construction include several large residential developments such as Arena Central in
Birmingham, the second application of Rapidres on a project for Dandara Group / Galliford Try, following a highly successful build on the Forbes Place apartment development in Aberdeen. Two further apartment blocks, at Glasgow Harbour went on site this summer.
While for many it may seem that the construction business is male dominated, for Catherine McKeague there are no limits in terms of opportunity or upward trajectory in her environment. Asked if she thinks that this is a particularly challenging industry for women, she replies:
“This is a difficult question to answer. I think times have moved on and more and more woman are involved in the industry particularly in high ranking positions. It very much depends on the specific company.
At Creagh female leadership is very much encouraged and we have many female employees in managerial positions including on the Board of Directors.”
A natural next stop perhaps for McKeague, but for now she has plenty on her plate which she handles with incredible ease.