The infrastructure specialist, Barhale, shares the story of its success 

Barhale is a renowned name in the field of civil engineering and infrastructure, known for its expertise and innovation throughout the UK. With a rich history and a strong track record spanning 43 years, Barhale has established itself as a specialist in delivering complex projects across various sectors including water, transport, built environment and energy. From major infrastructure developments to water and wastewater management systems, the company’s capabilities are vast and diverse.

Shane Gorman, Water Director for the Southern Region, talks us through the company’s activities within the last 12 months. “It has been a highly positive year for Barhale thus far. We are currently executing a five-year strategy plan led by our CEO, Martin Brown, who joined in 2021. We are now in the second year of this plan, which involves successful leadership, people development, and robust engineering assurance, as well as implementing new systems and processes to digitalise our entire company.

Shane Gorman, Water Director for the Southern Region

“In terms of financial performance, our pre-tax profit for the year ending June 2023 increased by 33 per cent to £4.2 million, and our turnover rose by 22.1 per cent from £109 million to £133 million. These figures demonstrate the success of our plan and the commitment of everyone in the company,” he informs.

“Digitalisation has already shown significant benefits: we are rapidly reducing our site teams’ reliance on paper-based systems; digital twin and 4D BIM modelling is fully embedded in project planning and delivery, and we are deploying ambitious long-term thinking into how digital capabilities can benefit some of the huge assets we work on.”

Robust succession planning
Shane also highlights the introduction of AI-supported Human Form Recognition (HFR) technology to improve safety around the people/plant interface.

Turning to the question of people, Shane acknowledges that retaining and bringing in the best talent has been a large part of strategic development over the last 12 months.

“This is a challenge facing the entire sector,” he says. “We are a very people-centric company and we want our teams to know they can build long-term careers with the business. That has meant sustained investment in our employment strategy to provide a framework that offers training, support, and meaningful progression for the whole workforce and attracts the right new people.

“There is a real passion to promote talent from within the company and to ensure that, through robust succession planning, people have clear career pathways. Many of the team who are now in key positions have progressed through the ranks. That’s been supported by some excellent new additions to bolster our senior management and executive teams.

“We support an active STEM outreach programme to encourage students to consider careers in engineering and are actively developing new points of entry including through graduate apprentices, the armed forces and our ex-offender programmes.”

Strong partnerships
Barhale has achieved remarkable success in AMP7 thanks to its continuous nurturing and expansion of key relationships. “Thames Water, Anglian Water, Yorkshire Water, Severn Trent and Southern Water are all important clients and water-related projects make up a significant proportion of our work.” Shane reveals.

“Through our commitment to collaboration and to delivering exceptional work, we have successfully extended our AMP7 contracts with Thames Water, Anglian Water, and Severn Trent into AMP8. The AMP8 success has contributed to a very strong forward order book of £886 million”


With meaningful partnerships playing a significant role in the company’s growth, Shane reveals the reasons why such important organisations choose to work with Barhale. “There are undoubtedly a number of factors – we like to operate alongside clients in a highly collaborative fashion and I think that fosters a sense of common purpose and a “one team” ethos. The business has outstanding experience of working across some of the UK’s most important utility assets, meaning we are trusted to deliver on time and on budget. We are proud of our engineering heritage and place a premium on innovation, smart thinking, and problem solving, and our direct delivery model ensures high standards of work and a level of resource availability and quality that cannot be consistently achieved with other approaches.”

Sustainability strategy
Looking ahead, Shane states that the company aims to build its sustainability in the broadest terms. “We are working very hard towards a greener, more sustainable future as evidenced by our commitment to carbon reduction measures on site. While there are solar powered welfare facilities and EV charging points on-site, there are other important measures which the business has taken a forward stand on. At one of our recent projects, for example, we decided to run all on site plant on HVO fuel. That cost us money but it was the right thing to do and a good illustration of how the business is not afraid of making difficult commercial decisions to get a better result.

“For us, working towards zero carbon is an important, but not exclusive, element in building broader business sustainability. Martin Brown, our CEO, has declared a very clear vision of the future with his five-year plan which is predicated upon managed growth to a target turnover delivering us consistent profit. That will provide commercial stability, job security, and protect the company from market variability. We will do that through increased, sustainable turnover in the water sector, and by engaging and targeting work with clients like Network Rail, West Midlands Combined Authority, Manchester Airport Group and large infrastructure projects,” he ends.