Export focus enables building experts Delap and Waller to beat UK recession

Delap and Waller, the Londonderry-based mechanical, electrical and sustainability design consultancy, has won around £1 million worth of new business in Romania and Poland over the past month.

The company, which was assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to develop business in Eastern Europe last year, is now involved in a series of contracts for shopping centres, office fit-outs, residential accommodation and retirement homes in both markets.

Among the six substantial contacts recently secured by Delap and Waller is design work on a new shopping complex at Lasi in North East Romania. The company set up an office in Bucharest, the Romanian capital, six years ago and has also carried out work in neighbouring Albania. It also opened an office recently in Abu Dhabi.

The projects in Poland also include work on buildings that will be at the leading edge of sustainability, one of the company’s areas of expertise.

Liam O’Hagan, Delap and Waller’s Managing Director, said: “Our decision to focus resources on business opportunities in eastern and central Europe has been vindicated and is now producing significant benefits for the company.

“As a result of this strategic focus, it is anticipated from market analysis that up to 40 per cent of our work on building projects will be outside of Northern Ireland within the next financial year.  Based on market research we have identified these markets as offering substantial potential for growth.  Among the six major projects recently procured by Delap & Waller is the design work on two major shopping centres, one on Romania and one in Poland.

“This strategy has involved regular visits to our target markets over the past few years.  For instance, I am in Poland at least once a month and in Romania every two months. In between these visits, I am involved in researching other developing opportunities particularly in the Middle East.

“Invest Northern Ireland has assisted us to set up in markets including Poland. I’ve also made good use of Invest NI trade missions to develop business in established markets and to explore new ones,” he added

Des Gartland, Manager of Invest NI’s North West Regional Office in Derry, said: “Delap and Waller is a tremendously successful role model for other businesses in Northern Ireland and especially those in the building and construction industries.

“The company has successfully diversified its business base and this has enabled it to weather the difficulties in Northern Ireland. It’s now widely recognised and respected as an entrepreneurial business with a sharp focus on profitable growth through the export of its expert services. It has achieved this through a visionary approach to business growth.”

In 2011 Delap & Waller will celebrate its centenary year and has from small beginnings flourished into Ireland’s largest privately owned mechanical, electrical and sustainability practice. It has been involved with some of Ireland’s largest projects including Titanic Quarter, Odyssey Arena, Sprucefield Development and Pelletstown and Abbotstown in Dublin.  It employs almost 150 fully qualified engineers throughout its offices in Ireland, UK, London, Poland, Romania and Abu Dhabi.