Wicklow firm Oldstone Conservation Ltd has marked 10 years in business with digital innovation.
The firm, which works as both a main and sub-contractor, has invested in its online presence with the introduction of a new online archive and ‘how-to’ videos.
Like many other construction companies in Ireland, Oldstone’s construction sites were closed since before Christmas awaiting government reopening.
Covid safety has been its main priority during lockdown, though this period has allowed time to showcase works completed over the last decade online.
Oldstone is no stranger to troubling times, having been established in February 2011 during the recession by husband and wife team Jimmy O’Friel and Majella Walsh, pictured above.
“The continued safety and protection of staff and clients from Covid remains of the utmost importance,” said Managing Director O’Friel, who holds a degree in Civil Engineering.
“Dealing with the backlog of work on hold since Christmas and the management of new works will be a challenge, but one which we are all looking forward to.
“It has been a difficult period with sites closed for four months but we are positive about the year ahead and are confident that we can safely return to work, resume employment for our staff and meet the requirements of all our customers,” he added.
Among the key landmark sites the company has worked on previously are St Doulagh’s Church – a 12th Century medieval church in Balgriffin, Co. Dublin where conservation works were recently completed.
The project also won the 2020 John Betjemen Award acknowledging repair excellence to places of worship.
Other major works include Leinster House and the GPO’s Eastern Courtyard, where cleaning and repair to facades took place prior to construction of the new GPO Witness History Visitor Centre commemorating the 1916 Rising.
Façade cleaning, chimney repairs, reconstruction, balustrade works and the restoration of several decorative elements were also undertaken at Blackrock Further Education Institute.
This project was the joint winner of the Irish Georgian Society Conservation Project when completed in 2014.
Watch Oldstone at work below:
Majella Walsh, who is responsible for the company’s finance and administration, reflected on a decade of growth. “As you would imagine our team and the works undertaken in the early years were primarily small,” she said.
“We needed to demonstrate we had the right skillset and approach to undertake conservation works to the high standard required before being trusted to work on key landmark and historic buildings.
“This was achieved gradually, by completing projects, proving our ability and forging relationships with architects and clients.”
She added: “We’ve managed to grow and take on larger projects without compromising on the quality and the high standards of workmanship we pride ourselves in.
“Looking back over the 10 years we’re proud of the reputation we have built up, the projects we’ve completed and recognise the skillset and loyalty of our staff has been pivotal in our growth and the company’s success.”
The conservation contractor has a team of 25 employees including stone masons, bricklayers, lime renderers, façade cleaners and skilled conservation operatives.
With offices in west Wicklow and Kingswood Business Park, Dublin, the company is an approved installer of the helifix structural repair system. All its materials are sourced from suppliers across Ireland and the UK.
To mark its tenth anniversary, the firm also produced a new series of advice videos showing conservation work activities for use by architectural, heritage and educational organisations.
The first covers historical pointing styles, flush and wigging pointing.
Oldstone is an active member of the Construction Industry Federation, The Irish Georgian Society and The Building Lime Forum of Ireland.