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From humble beginnings in 1991, acol ltd has grown to become one of Ireland’s leading building restoration services and facade cleaning company. CEO and Founder Dermot Collier tells us how the company has earned a reputation for excellence and stepping into projects at critical junctures.
Acol’s first contract was for window repairs at Crumlin Hospital. The company was then asked to clean walls at the hospital and from this first contract, Acol has since grown into one of the Ireland’s most successful building restoration and façade cleaning specialists.
“Over the years we have tested and introduced new processes and practices to meet client needs, while at the same time championing traditional building skills such as pointing, window repair, stonemasonry and metalwork,” Dermot Collier explains. “Working first as a sub-contractor, learning from experts in different fields, I built a strong team around me and later as main contractor, we worked directly with architects, engineers and clients to devise and execute cost effective and sympathetic restoration and cleaning Best Practice solutions.”
Today, Dermot is recognised as one of the country’s leading experts in the restoration and cleaning of buildings and structures, particularly when it comes to emergency works.
“In recent times, a new generation of clients has challenged Irish contractors operating in the building restoration sector to come up with creative solutions in realising their vision and re-imagining our historical buildings to meet the needs of a new generation of entrepreneur and business,” says Dermot. “The time has never been better for clients and contractors, as new building regulations, systems and adopted codes of practice by members of the Register of Heritage Contractors and CIRI mean that the quality of workmanship is exceptional.”
As a result of acol’s building restoration expertise the company has been appointed lead contractor on the restoration of many of Ireland’s most iconic buildings including major works on the Shelbourne Hotel, Weirs of Grafton Street, Hamilton House Office Centre, Dublin, St John’s Cathedral, Limerick, Cork City Hall and Nenagh Courthouse.
However, the recent restoration of the external façade of the Shelbourne Hotel was the largest project undertaken by the acol team to date; carried out over 14 months with a team of 50 craftspeople, who amongst other jobs cleaned, repaired and repointed over 90,000 bricks, 312 timber windows and 170 chimney pots.
“Like many other firms acol struggled through the difficult years,” Dermot Collier says. “But we have come out the other side evolved into a modern, agile and responsive company that not only provides a complete building and structural repair and restoration service, but also champions Best Practice in the industry by organising seminars for networking industry professionals and training a new generation of traditional craftspeople to meet client needs.”
CIRI registration, new management structures and the recruitment of a number of specialist tradespeople means that acol now has the capacity to take on and move quickly on projects of any scale.
In 2016, Commercial manager Neil Colin joined acol from Sweett Group, bringing an extra dimension to acol’s management structure and overseeing acol’s expansion into the fit-out sector.
“We now provide the full range of building and structural repair services as well as façade cleaning services,” Dermot explains. “We developed the fit-out service to help new businesses, and old, to sympathetically fit-out older building interiors, making them more conducive to staff needs without losing the historical essence of the space.”