Featuring McAleer and Rushe: Interview with Conor Feeney, Senior Site Manager


The image of the construction industry has long been challenged by unsightly, ungainly or noisy site works – often, presenting inconveniences to those living and working nearby. With a radically different approach that places due consideration at its centre, McAleer and Rushe continues to maximise property assets with minimal disruption.

With almost 50 years’ experience in all aspects of property, McAleer and Rushe has established itself as a leader in design-and-build construction, quickly picking up awards in anything from design excellence, to NHBC’s much-revered Pride in the Job accolade. Working across the student, residential, office and hotel sectors, the company has offices in London, Belfast, Dublin and Cookstown, and has been part of some of the largest, and most well-known development projects of the new millennia.

What’s most notable about McAleer and Rushe however, is neither its size nor its scope but the reputation it has built as a considerate constructor. Since becoming a member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS), the company has incorporated the body’s ethics of responsible, attentive site works wholeheartedly. Indeed, at the end of last year, McAleer and Rushe earned a Considerate Contractor Scheme Gold Award for the London-based development for a leading German hotel chain. The construction of a 291-bedroom, to be owned by Motel One, was not without challenge – not least in view of its busy, central location. “From a site point of view, the biggest issue was our proximity to live roads and live traffic,” explains Conor Feeney, Site Manager at McAleer and Rushe. “That presents difficulties to both carrying out structural works in general, and maintaining considerate practice. Whilst such problems are fairly standard in the sector, the lengths we go to, as a company, in order to combat those potential issues is where standard practice becomes exceptional.”

By opening up dialogue with neighbouring properties, businesses and facilities during the early stages of development, the company streamlined the build considerably – posing little to no impact on either private or public services. And it was no mean feat when one takes into account the major gas works replacement taking place at the same time. In fact, what began as a one-way street at the commencement of the contract was, part-way through the hotel construction, restored to a two-way through-road following work on the gas mains. The facilities maintenance, carried out by the City of London was nevertheless uninterrupted by McAleer and Rushe’s project thanks to intelligent planning and a proactive approach.

Putting in place a dedicated environmental officer as well as a health and safety officer at each active site, McAleer and Rushe has a clear vision from the outset and one by which subcontractors and suppliers have to abide. “All our partners have to buy into our ethos as a Considerate Constructor,” insists Feeney. “At the bottom line, it’s about good communication. Motel One was situated on a busy street local to Liverpool Street where London’s commercial district is. Most of our deliveries were arriving at peak commuting time, and adequate signage and diversions were really important. We see sub-contracting as an ongoing process that has to be negotiated and re-negotiated as a project develops. It might take time and effort but, once the considerate practice system is in place and working properly, they appreciate why it’s needed.”

Of course, before inspiring best practice from sub-contractors and suppliers, operatives have to be on side. Acknowledging that a positive culture is best fostered from the bottom up, McAleer and Rushe has invested heavily in education and training for its staff so as to inspire pride and confidence in the job. And, in what Feeney describes as the biggest change to the company’s outlook, McAleer and Rushe now holds regular toolbox talks across sites up and down the country, many led by its newly-appointed environmental manager. Amongst covering environmental aspects with a Considerate Constructor crossover (such as waste management and transport), the company has also strived to give voice to the concerns of civil, electrical and construction specialists, inviting a host of different speakers to deliver its talks. McAleer and Rushe is therefore at the forefront of developing best practice models that are not only more in-tune with each other, but are most closely aligned with the needs of the modern construction industry.

What boils down to an ethic of communication and responsibility has also given a competitive edge to the well-accomplished company. As Feeney explains, “Membership with the Considerate Constructors Scheme is increasingly something that clients look for during procurement. Alongside price and specification, it’s one of the leading ways to establish yourself above others. The Gold Award is the pinnacle of all that the organisation stands for and, for that, our team’s hard work and dedication has to be applauded.”

With sights set on further accolades this year, and highly complimentary feedback thus far, McAleer and Rushe is set to remain the people’s contractor. Determinedly in-step with both clients and the neighbourhood, this is one company that not only gets it, but gets it right.


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BDC 317 : Jun 2024