Peter Duffy Ltd

A steady flow

Peter Duffy’s extensive civil engineering expertise is being put to good use as it looks to expand its market footprint

Now under second-generation family management, Peter Duffy Ltd was first established back in 1972 and has spent its time since providing general civil engineering solutions to a range of clients up and down the country. Over its history the business has undertaken groundwork and general civil engineering activities, roads, concrete structures and drainage. Over the last few years a strong performance from Peter Duffy Limited has secured it a number of accolades including the Safety Innovation award from Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, and being named in the LSE’s Top 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain list for 2015, following three consecutive years of continual demonstrable growth and profit.

Peter Duffy Issue 123bOne of Peter Duffy Limited’s major strengths is its specialism in drainage solutions and as a result in 2001 the company set up the DrainsAid brand, through which it provides repair and sewer rehabilitation services to a range of clients. “Although the company has provided drainage solutions since its formation, this division was established to identify the specific service that we offer to the sector and it has been a great success,” explains MD, Peter Duffy. “We provide 24/7 service to private and commercial clients as well as the sewerage and water industry, and we have invested heavily in innovative solutions to offer them. There are few competitors in the UK who offer the range of technical solutions that DrainsAid does and we are gaining a growing reputation for quality, reliability and technical solutions as a result. Drain and sewer rehabilitation is a dynamic sector with innovative solutions regularly being developed and introduced into the field, we see a lot of potential in these being brought to our clients.”

As an example of DrainsAid’s competitive services, earlier this year the company completed a complex underwater sewer repair and rehabilitation project on a 200-metre section of cast iron 375mm diameter combined sewer, which is attached to the wall of the River Ouse in York. Working for client, Yorkshire Water, and by using divers and a specialist river vessel, the team worked to clear a potential concrete blockage, which had started to interrupt the flow and was becoming a pollution risk to the busy city centre, and complete subsequent relining work. Unpredictable and challenging weather conditions and complex access required the firm to deploy its propensity for innovation to successfully complete the work in five days.

Despite this high level of service to the water industry, earlier this year Peter Duffy Limited lost out competitively to Amey on a £20 million repair and maintenance contract for Yorkshire Water. “Following this we still offer the specialist drainage solution nationally, but the loss of this contract has forced us to look harder at opportunities in other sectors and increase our activities in different areas,” says Peter. “In particular, anticipating the loss, over the past 18 months we have been developing our activities in rail and after a slow start we are now working with a number of framework contractors in CP5. We have even been successful with DrainsAid here, winning a drainage maintenance contract direct with Network Rail on the West Cost line.”

Demonstrating both the company’s breadth of services outside of drainage repair and its recent entry into the rail industry, Peter Duffy Limited recently completed the platform extension project at South Hampstead station, installing the Megatech EPS system. Network Rail and London Overground needed to look at reinstatement after stability issues on a 50-metre stretch of decommissioned platform had been rectified. “The challenge here was the extremely tight working window and having no impact on the network,” highlights Peter. “Due to massively tight possession availability – around three hours a night – most systems of reconstruction were not suitable, particularly when excavations within the track support zone were required for foundations. The Megatech EPS system was selected due to its ease of installation and limited excavation requirements.”

Other recent successes include Peter Duffy Limited’s first entry into the renewable sector, when it designed and installed the piled foundations for a wind turbine at the Knostrop WwTW treatment works. Alongside this, the company also carried out associated access and site infrastructure works, all whilst having no impact on the operational site.

Health and safety is clearly a major focus for any civil engineering operator, and Peter Duffy Limited’s approach to ensuring this is as high as it can be is no exception. “We are working on an interdependent culture within our business and with our clients, where we collectively work together to improve health, safety and wellbeing,” says Peter. “This has involved behavioural safety training where employees engage with scenarios to develop their confidence to discuss improvements with peers. The company has been recognised over the years by clients and industry bodies for its excellent performance in health and safety. In 2014, after five years of successive RoSPA gold awards, Peter Duffy Limited received the RoSPA Gold Medal, which was re-awarded again this year.”

As it looks ahead, maintaining this focus on health and safety will be key to the company’s success in achieving its ambitions. “We will be focusing on building our business back up after the Yorkshire Water contract loss,” concludes Peter. “This will involve pushing harder for wider opportunities in civil engineering, developing the recent new market of rail and continuing providing innovative sewer rehabilitation solutions across the UK. The aim for the business over the next three years is to return to the level of turnover that we have seen in 2014/15, but at the same time to consider new markets and sectors where our current skills can be used and become more diverse within the construction sector.”

Peter Duffy Ltd

Services: Civil engineering and utility contractors specialising in drainage repair