NHBC Awards

Gareth Flannigan claims first prize

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Upon receiving his first NHBC award for work on Pearlow Developments’ site The Cornmill, Gareth commented: “It’s nice to be recognised for the quality of work that we produce. It’s good that NHBC has acknowledged it.”

Like many of the other winners, Gareth notes that the competition for the awards and in the housing market is generally getting tougher. “I think that with the economic situation over the last three years or so we’ve all really had to up our game,” he told us. “Customers are becoming harder and harder to please and when you hand a house over the very last thing you want is any complaints. Everything has to be one hundred percent.”

He pointed out that, with all the choice available in the market, builders have to work extremely hard to get the details right in order to ensure that the crucial first impression of their development will stick in the mind of each prospective buyer.

Working on attention to detail on The Cornmill has been integral to impressing the NHBC inspectors, and Gareth notes that the trades have upped their game: ‘They’ve realised that if we don’t sell houses the jobs won’t be there much longer!”

The present team was brought together by Gareth, who took over the development four years ago. He told us that he’d made a few adjustments to get the project running smoothly and brought several new faces on board. The team now consistently produces their best. “Everyone feels that it’s a team effort,” he says. “There’s no sense that one labourer is doing a good job and another isn’t. We’ve certainly got a good team together.” He acknowledged that this is vital to the building industry today.

“You’ve really got to build a good team around you. In years gone by, when the market was at its peak, most people were concerned with getting the job done as quickly as possible. Now we’ve got to keep things steady and maintain quality – if we don’t all do a good job, there won’t be any house sales. Continuity is the key to success,” he concluded, saying he was pleased with how the development had kept momentum in terms of sales whilst many other sites are struggling.

The Cornmill is situated in the coastal village of Millisle, an extremely attractive setting just seven miles from Bangor. The site offers incorporated open spaces and beautiful architectural detailing, providing an ideal base for family living.

As it stands there are several units left to start, and when Gareth spoke to us it was undecided whether certain plots would be developed into townhouses or apartments.

Gareth and his team are also working on another site consisting of fourteen detached, energy efficient units in a unique woodland setting in Donaghadee. Despite attracting very positive feedback from viewers, only two of these units have been sold.  He commented that whilst the larger houses display an excellent quality of detailed brick and stonework, sales on these more expensive properties are currently slower due to the financial squeeze.

Gareth started out in the construction industry with a joinery apprenticeship. As he had always been a keen sailor, he initially hoped to be a carpenter in a shipyard, but the closure of the local shipyard and the increasing production of fibreglass boats put an end to this. Since then, Gareth has channelled his energy into quality housing – he set up his own joinery/carpentry business and was contracted by Pearlow.  After he had worked on their sites for several years, they directly employed him. Since then he has been appointed as a director, and he is looking forward to the future of the company and his career.

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