A North West Regional College graduate (NWRC) in Civil Engineering has been appointed Project Manager for the construction of the new North Wing Redevelopment at Altnagelvin Hospital.
Local man, Declan Doherty is heading up the project for Farrans – the Belfast-based building and civil engineering contractor with whom Declan has cut his teeth over the past 9 years.
The Altnagelvin project is one of Farrans’ flagship projects in Northern Ireland and marks a welcome rejuvenation of the construction sector across the North. The project will see the construction of a new ward block providing accommodation for 144 bed spaces and will change the face of the hospital.
Declan, who graduated from NWRC with a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Civil Engineering has spent the past decade working on health care construction projects across Northern Ireland and England. He praises a steep but beneficial learning curve as he progressed from young graduate at the college to Project Manager at Farrans – an achievement shaped through mentorship from experienced colleagues and exposure to a breadth of technically-challenging projects.
Those projects include the £13.5 million Accident and Emergency department at Antrim Area Hospital, the construction of a perinatal unit at Addenbrook hospital and the now-completed South Block at Altnagelvin Hospital.
Recently Declan shared his experience of working in the construction industry when Engineering students from North West Regional College made a site visit to Altnagelvin Hospital.
He believes having an Engineering background enables him to be a more efficient Project Manager and says his time spent at NWRC was pivotal to the success he has achieved to date.
“My time at NWRC was extremely important,” he said. “I would not be in the role I am today if I had not attended NWRC.
“It’s a career I would have no hesitation in recommending. There are various roles in construction such as Quantity Surveying, site managers, engineers, and there are various roles outside of the building aspect which people do not automatically think about such as: marketing, accountants, admin, BREEAM, design managers, bid managers, estimators and bid writers.
“My advice to anyone looking to go into construction is that every day is different and there are always new challenges, so if you want a job that has various roles and is continuously changing and is exciting, then construction is the job for you.”
John Logue, Curriculum Manager for the Built Environment at North West Regional College said, “It was clearly evident when Declan commenced his HND studies as a young mature man, that he had a quiet determination to succeed. Declan performed very well in all his studies and emerged as a top student with a practical approach to all tasks. The industry in the UK and Ireland urgently needs more people like Declan. ”
Declan describes Farrans’ core value of delivering projects which fully meet the needs of the Client and the end-user as something which has shaped his focused approach to work.
Last year Declan made the finals of the Construction Manager of the Year awards where he was recognised for his “professionalism, personality, coordination abilities and experience of tight sites and fast-paced programmes”.
His employers, Farrans Construction, highlighted Declan’s work as project manager on the construction of the new build Edgewick Community Primary School, Coventry and his determination to always get things right, first time, in line with Farrans’ work ethic.
Farrans Operations Director, Darrell McGuckin, commented, “There aren’t many construction managers who hand over their project with zero snags and zero defects, but Declan did.”
Declan says he was inspired to a career in the construction industry by his father, who has been and still remains in the construction industry.
After finishing his post primary education at Oakgrove Integrated College, Declan took a job as a labourer where he forged an interest in Engineering and Site Management
“I enrolled at North West Regional College to upgrade my training and qualifications,” explained Declan, who initially completed an Access Foundation course in Humanities.
“I completed my HND in Civil Engineering and won the Brian Mullen crystal award which was for completing the course at the top of my class. During this period, I started with Farrans during my second year at the NWRC on a one day student placement.
“This was facilitated through Farrans’ ongoing relationship with NWRC. During this placement, my knowledge grew due to the fact that there were so many talented individuals on the team who were keen to provide me with knowledge and ensure I was wholly involved in the learning process.
“I then started back in the construction industry on a full-time basis in 2008 as a graduate site engineer for Farrans within the healthcare team, working on the South Wing of Altnagelvin hospital under the careful eye of the Project Manager (now Operations Director) Darrell McGuckian who was inspirational to my career development.”
Since then Declan has gained valuable experience in the industry and has worked his way up through various roles in Farrans to his current post as Project Manager.
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