Northern Ireland-based construction firm FORRME has recently completed a £5m social housing project at Dromore Street, Banbridge, County Down.
Appointed by Clanmil Housing Association, FORRME have constructed 32 modern social housing units, made up of a mix of new-build houses, apartments and complex needs bungalows. The development has been designed to bring together clever space optimisation while retaining a sense of space and community with surrounding landscape design and multi-use green spaces.
Commenting on the project, FORRME’s MD, Mark Currie said:
“We are especially proud of the Dromore Street Housing Development which has been constructed to Lifetime Homes standard meaning it is a long-term housing solution that will support the local community for decades to come.
“The project is a regeneration success story where a heavily contaminated brownfield site was fully remediated to become an attractive housing commodity for a broad range of residents, ranging from families to the elderly and those in need of disabled-friendly amenities.”
Other key aspects of Dromore Street included:
- Remediation including a pump and treat system on free phase product, in-situ chemical oxidisation and enhanced bioremediation to reduce groundwater contaminant concentrations, management of heavy metals and PAH compounds within the soils, asbestos removal and eradication of invasive plant species;
- Extensive demolition and site clearance;
- Utility diversions including 33kVA and fibre optic cables;
- Significant contractor-designed elements;
- Completion of a brand new access road;
- Integrated parking, retaining walls and substation;
- Landscaping and associated works;
- Homes constructed to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 and Secure by Design standards.
According to Jonathan Diffin, FORRME’s Site Manager, working with the local community and wider stakeholders was key to the project’s success:
“At FORMME we believe that the local community are a valuable resource in the redevelopment process and we recognise the importance of keeping them informed on site developments and milestones. We also aim to add value to the community through responsible engagement with local charities, schools and communities.
“During the construction of Dromore Street our team actively raised money for Action Mental Health, Autism NI and Marie Curie by holding a car wash and coffee morning on site. We also engaged with younger members of the community by holding art competitions with local schools Banbridge Academy and St Patricks College, where the winning pupils had the opportunity to have their artwork displayed on FORRME’s site hoarding and Facebook page.”
Students from local colleges also took part in work experience on site at Dromore Street where they gained hands on experience of a regeneration construction project.”
Dromore Street forms part of FORRME’s £50m portfolio of social housing projects currently underway for numerous Housing Associations across NI and ROI. The company has secured a further £25m worth of social housing projects since January 2018, bringing the total value of current and future social housing contracts in at approximately £75m.
The firm attributes significant success in the social housing sector to increased demand for Design and Build and rapid delivery projects in light of social housing shortage issues. MD, Mark Currie commented:
“We are delighted to be working closely with Housing Associations across the island of Ireland to deliver much-needed quality social accommodation.
“With recent figures from the HomeLet Rental Index suggesting that social housing shortages in Northern Ireland are driving rental costs to rise at a higher rate than anywhere else in the UK and a startling 85,799 households in ROI currently sitting on social housing waiting lists, FORRME is steadfast when it comes to helping address social housing shortages across the region”
“Design and Build procurement routes are proving especially effective in this area, mostly due to the significant benefits presented compared to traditional procurement routes. Design and Build projects save a considerable amount of time by overlapping the design and construction phases. By fast-tracking projects in this way it is possible to meet high demands quickly within tight budgets.”