September 21, 2018

Breheny Civil Engineering – A safe pair of hands

Since its establishment in 1963 Breheny Civil Engineering has developed a solid reputation for providing top quality services across the UK including infrastructure, drainage, building structures, retaining walls, roads, pavements and piling.

“We undertake almost all types of civil engineering work from our six offices,” says Steve Dighton, Business Development Manager. “The first office was set up in Needham Market, Suffolk, and we have since added sites in Huntington, Boston, Doncaster, Kingswood near Bicester and Addington in Kent.”

Breheny is supported by 350 employees and has heavily invested in its workforce, which consists of a number of qualified professionals that oversee the company’s projects. “We run our own engineering and land-surveying team within the organisation, so we are able to do all the land surveys and the engineering in-house,” explains Mr Dighton. “We are currently operating a scheme where we are looking to get all of our technical staff qualified with the Institution of Civil Engineers. This year we had four people go through and we have another ten working through the process. We are keen that our workforce is trained and professionally qualified.”

The family-owned business has recently been working on two of its largest projects. The A24 has seen the opening of a new road bridge and grade separated junction scheme that provides improved access into Broadbridge Heath near Horsham, West Sussex. The other project is the Bedford Western Bypass, which also includes a brand new bridge over the Midland Mainline railway and is scheduled to open mid-2016.

“We are currently operating a scheme where we are looking to get all of our technical staff qualified with the Institution of Civil Engineers. This year we had four people go through and we have another ten working through the process. We are keen that our workforce is trained and professionally qualified.”

Steve Dighton, Business Development Manager

“On jobs like these, we are operating as main contractors,” explains Mr Dighton. “The value is around £16m for both projects as they are at the higher end of the work we take on. It’s important to stress that we are big enough to deliver this kind of work but small enough to provide a personal touch as well. We hold a large fleet of our own plant with over 3,000 items of equipment and we have our own 360 excavators that we operate. We also do smaller jobs and we have a small framework contract with one of the local district councils doing their minor works. We can therefore cover all levels of contract up to and around £16m at present.”

Bedford bypass 3

The longevity and success of the business can be put down to the high standards its staff maintains on all its projects and the hard work and effort that goes into developing and completing them. The excellent work it carries out has seen it gain recognition from the industry. “We were recently awarded the Infrastructure Project of the Year award at the RICS Awards East of England along with Cambridgeshire County Council and SKANSKA, who we collaborated with on the project. The work is in Wisbech and is called Freedom Bridge. It took over four years to build a vehicle containment barrier and flood protection barrier for the town. The project will now go forward to the RICS Awards Grand Final in October.”

Even with the success the business has achieved over the years, it faces challenges on a daily basis. “There is an issue with recruitment and retention of staff and I’m sure the whole industry is experiencing the same at the moment,” adds Mr Dighton. “We are in the process of taking on up to 12 apprentices as site workers this Autumn. It’s ultimately about securing work and making sure we then have the resources to deliver it. The market is very buoyant at the moment and there are opportunities out there, a great deal more now than there were a few years ago.”

Looking at the year ahead and what Breheny hopes to achieve, Mr Dighton concludes: “I would like to see us securing and getting involved in more frameworks. We are currently working with the Environment Agency on some of their national frameworks but we want to secure other frameworks for local authorities as well. We also hope to secure some larger jobs like the ones we have already achieved for the business in order to keep growing and maturing.”