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Ground Engineering Specialist of the Year: Winner

Winner: M J Rooney Construction

This year’s winner M J Rooney is clearly one to watch in the industry – not just for clients and competitors but for prospective employees.

With the resources of a £4m-turnover business, it demonstrates outstanding dedication to staff training, with 100 hours per employee delivered in 2017 and 15 NVQs achieved.

Having staff off the tools has not dampened its growth, with turnover increasing by 20 per cent in its latest results.

Among the aspects of M J Rooney’s business that drew praise from the judges was its use of 4D modelling on even the smallest projects.

What particularly impressed the panel was an innovation that means each trade on a job receives a tailored version of the modelling that provides training for workers on smartphones or tablets. For a more immersive experience, the phones can be fitted to virtual reality headsets.

It’s an elegant but agile system that allows for on-the-fly rectification. This means that unexpected issues on a job can be fed back to head office so that the training package for what needs to be done next can be tweaked, with an updated version then rolled out for download.

“With limited resources, M J Rooney has demonstrated real out-of-the-box thinking in bringing digital technology to the sector, and is committed to sharing these learnings for the benefit of the industry”

Judges’ comment

Because the training is in the form of animations, it gets around the language barrier often encountered among operatives in this sector.

Site drawings for M J Rooney jobs also have a health and safety checklist driven by a QR code that delivers training specific to that part of the project.

The subcontractor is the first to acknowledge that these developments have changed it from being an inward-looking company to an outward-facing one, with leaders keen to share its developments for the betterment of the wider industry.

Another area of innovation was the firm’s efforts to research prefabricated elements it hopes will remove the need for workers to traverse underpinning shafts.

Its work has also resulted in the development of a bracket and ratchet system designed to prevent the collapse of brickwork that has been undermined during the underpinning process.

Despite its relatively small size, M J Rooney is taking proactive steps to improve diversity, including delivering a presentation on the merits of a career in the sector to all-girl schools. Judges similarly praised its understanding that diversity drives the levels of both quality and behaviour on sites.

All told, M J Rooney is an outstanding example of excellence in a demanding sector.


  • Aarsleff Ground Engineering
  • Bachy Soletanche
  • Bauer Technologies
  • Erith Contractors
  • Fugro Geoservices

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