NI - Graham gets green light to £10m eco-friendly HQ


Co Down construction company - GRAHAM - has been given the green light to build its new £10 million eco-friendly headquarters.

Approval was given by Northern Ireland's Planning Service's new Strategic Projects Unit (SPU)

The company, which employs close to 1000 employees, has also announced that the new HQ facility will allow the company to create a further 200 jobs over the next 2 years.

The eco-friendly HQ will be based just off the A1 dual carriageway beside Hillsborough. It will use a biomass boiler, collect rainwater and the company is hopeful it will receive the highest award level for sustainable buildings - the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) 'Excellent' rating.

The project-team for the new GRAHAM site also includes architects Building Design Partnership (BDP), planning consultants White Young Green and public relations consultants Strategic Planning.

Of some significance is the processing of the planning application within 6 months, by Northern Ireland's Planning Service's new Strategic Projects Unit (SPU) - the GRAHAM application is one of the first to be processed by the unit.

Executive Chairman, Mr Michael Graham said - "This planning approval allows us to forge ahead with the construction of our new HQ on schedule. It is no secret that we have outgrown our historic HQ base in Dromore and we had feared the new planning application would take longer to process and, thus, impact upon our business development plans.

"Significant time and resources have been invested into the design of the new building to make sure it incorporates key environmental features - and this, of course, is positive" - he added.

Graham said that the 3,000 square metre, three-storey, glass-fronted building would showcase GRAHAMís Ďgreení design and construction techniques - including natural air circulation, a biomass woodchip burner, sustainable urban drainage system and use of appropriate landscaping.

"The centre of the building has a full height atrium that helps with natural ventilation and spreads daylight throughout the building" - he said. "All the building materials are sourced locally from sustainable sources and we will have computerised co-ordination of all the various systems, to make sure that everything is managed to keep the building at the right temperature and light levels."