The McAllister Group in the Community

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The McAllister Group was proud to support the Eoin Farrell and James Miskelly Memorial 5k which was held on Saturday 29th July in Rostrevor. The event which was hosted by The Rossi Sports Club –, was organised by friends and families of the friends who were tragically killed in a traffic accident several years ago. Eoin was an apprentice mechanic in the McAllister Group’s garage in Newry where he worked alongside his grandfather Alan Fearon. James worked for Seatruck. Proceeds from the event would be donated to local charity, Cruse Bereavement Care which provides a free and confidential support service for people who have been bereaved, to help them understand their grief and learn how to cope with their loss – Throughout the year, the McAllister Group as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility programme supports a number of charities and events with either a community, arts or educational focus.

Over 500 walkers and 268 competitive runners took part in the event from across Meath, Louth, Dublin, Down, Armagh, Tyrone and Antrim. The winners (in a very competitive field) of the Male and Female adult categories were brother and sister duo, David and Kerry O’ Flaherty. Kerry just happens to be a member of the Irish Olympic Team – so hardly a surprise that she collected silverware.

In the Juvenile categories, the winners were:

Under 12: Boys – Joshua Muckin

Under 12: Girls – Aoife Greaney

Under 14: Boys – Leo Magee

Under 14: Girls – Annie Farrell (who is Eoin’s sister)

Under 16: Boys – No entries in this category

Under 16: Girls – Aoife McGreevy

Under 18: Boys – Thomas Nixon

Under 18: Girls – Chloe Cooper

Prizes were given out by Eoin’s grandfather Alan Fearon (the Group’s longest serving employee) and Foreman Eugene “Gingos” Quinn. Competitors, spectators and organisers had a great day. Members of the McAllister Group took part in the walk and race. The event was a huge draw with some suggestions by participants that it was the best 5K event in the Calendar!

Frontline – The Roddens, Larne, Co. Antrim

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The McAllister Group’s Environmental Teams were recently on site at The Roddens in Larne tasked with cleaning debris from three tank sewers which were clogged up. The flow of waste materials within the three 2.2m circular concrete tank sewers was impeded by the debris as it made its downward descent into the sewer network. The slowing down of the flow created a bottleneck which in turn caused blockages in the system.

At the end of each tank chamber there was a valve which could be used to either increase or decrease the flows. Unfortunately, over time the valves had corroded necessitating their replacement. This exercise could not be completed until each chamber was successfully cleaned.

Our JetVac and Tanker Teams were on site for two weeks cleaning debris from the 6 tanks. In total, more than 250 tonnes of waste materials including discarded cleaning and sanitary products were removed from the 225mm concrete channels much to the complete satisfaction of our client.

Frontline Newsletter – Summer Edition, Edition 1

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The McAllister Group is delighted to present the inaugural Summer edition of our New Corporate Newsletter – Frontline. We hope that the Newsletter provides a 360 overview of the Group through reviews of projects completed, stories about our operations and people as well as a presentation of our services offered to customers.

To download a copy of Frontline, please click here – McA – Frontline – Edition 1 – Summer 2017

Frontline – Shanganagh Cliffs, Shankill, Dublin

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Our Rehabilitation Team was on site recently in Shankill, Dublin tasked with removing roots before relining on 180 metres of Sewer Trunk main line on behalf of Irish Water. This particular road is lined with trees which lie above the sewer pipe and which run parallel for its entire length. Unsurprisingly one would expect to have a huge risk of root ingress.

Alongside deposits, the ingress of roots into sewer systems creates flow obstacles and can over time cause significant damage to the integrity of the pipes. This problem occurs almost exclusively in sewer pipes which are permanently or partly lie above groundwater or in soil with a limited amount of water. Why? Sewage exfiltrating (leakage) from the pipe will stimulate the outer ends of the roots (a process called hydrotropism) causing them to form new cells in order to grow towards the source of this stimulation. These cells are minute allowing them to easily enter through the smallest cracks, joints and holes in the sewer pipe. Once inside the roots will grow until they block the sewer pipe with lengths of up to several metres. There is a danger that the expanding roots will destroy the immediate area surrounding the original entry point.

Our Rehabilitation Team working on site reported significant root ingress necessitating the use of both the IBG Chain cutting tool and the Group’s robotic cutting equipment. Once the roots were cleared, our team installed 28 CIPP patches and relined 180m of 525mm diameter pipe.

Investing for Success

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The McAllister Group, one of the UK and Ireland’s leading environmental solutions providers, has revealed a £2m investment in fleet and machinery over the past twelve months to allow the firm to respond proactively to client requirements on major infrastructure projects across GB and Ireland. Within the last year, the Group has also grown staff numbers to 100+ as the company seeks to further establish its position in the marketplace as one of the Industry’s trenchless technology specialists.

The McAllister Group  has undergone a phenomenal phase of growth in recent years as the company seeks to develop its service offer for major infrastructure, utility and transportation companies. The Group has in recent years established a reputation for the innovativeness of their No-Dig solutions and ability to deliver complex time-bound projects. This reputation has been honed in recent years across Britain and Ireland and has been reflected in the company’s success in winning multi-million major framework contracts both sterling and euro.

Established in 1971, the McAllister Group has evolved from its roots as a drain and cleaning specialist operating in Newry to become established as an UK expert in the application of No-Dig technologies garnered on projects for the UK’s major Water & Sewage Companies (WASCs) and Transportation Companies. The respect for the Group’s expertise resulted in an approach by clients to become involved at the Project Design stage for planned major sewer rehabilitation projects to be undertaken in London and surrounding areas.

To facilitate the delivery of major projects and contracts, the McAllister Group has provided additional support to its teams in Ireland and the UK through the acquisition of a top-of-the-line brand new RECycler® unit, a state-of-the-art Relining Truck, a new Robotic Cutting System, new Jetting Vans, JetVacs  and new CCTV Systems. The Group is working closely with Invest NI to upgrade the company’s IT Infrastructure, work processes and marketing/business development efforts to strengthen the Group’s ambitions for further growth.

The Group has recently moved its base of operations in the UK to Iver which is 15mins from Heathrow Airport so as to be closer to major customers and major ongoing rehabilitation works. In 2016, the Group also opened a North-West office in Eglinton to facilitate both commercial and residential customers in the North West and North Coast areas of Northern Ireland. Commenting on the company’s growth Managing Director Ireland, Peter McAllister said:

“The McAllister Group is very much focussed on building the business and securing further contracts through continuing investment in our people, products and services, building our relationships with existing/new clients and developing and positioning our brand as a market leader locally and internationally. The £2m investment in extending our fleet aligned to the rise in our staff numbers is evidence of our commitment to our customers”

Managing Director UK, Leo McAllister further added: – “Within the last decade, the McAllister Group has opened offices in London to facilitate the development of long-standing relationships with major clients including Thames Water, London Underground and Network Rail. Over the last 10 years, we have developed our experience curve and technical knowledge as a Group working on over 200 projects within London and the Greater London region. We have built a business which has been underscored by excellence in our products, client solutions, service delivery and in the expertise of our employees whose dedication and commitment have been instrumental in our growth”.

Frontline – Camlet Way, Hadley Wood, Hertfordshire

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The McAllister Group’s UK Rehabilitation team was on site in leafy Hertfordshire on the 20th June tasked with relining two sewers which lie above the Hadley Wood Tunnel. The tunnel lies on the route from King’s Cross to Shaftholme Junction where trains can reach speeds up to 115m per hour at this point. The two sewers lie just above the railway tunnels – one was a 225mm clay Surface Water sewer which crosses over the Great Northern Railway (East Coast Mail Line) Hadley Wood tunnel which was built in 1850. In 1959 the railway was widened from two to four tracks with the addition of a second tunnel. There is a parallel 225mm clay foul sewer which also crosses the track. Both sewers are 5m in depth but do not pass under the railway. Their proximity to the tunnels are perhaps the cause of the number of breaks, fractures and deformations in the sewers which have occurred from ground movement. The sewers were probably constructed after the original 1850 tunnel, perhaps from 1885 when the area development began but certainly before the commencement of the 1958 second tunnel construction works.

CCTV surveying of the sewers highlighted heavy build-up of calcium scale from the joints. If untreated this calcite build-up can cause multiple problems including reducing the diameter of the sewer by as much as 90% with the formation of both stalactites and stalagmites. In both sewers, the calcite build-up had hardened sufficiently for our team to deploy the robotic cutter. Once removed our team was able to swiftly install 70 m and 90m of 225mm CIPP liner to rehabilitate both sewers. In just over a decade the McAllister Group UK operation has firmly cemented its reputation as an Industry specialist in the rehabilitation of sewer networks for major utility and transport clients.

If not Drains, then why not Trains!

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The McAllister Group’s operations are broad and diverse – both in terms of our service offer and geographical coverage. The image depicted above highlights one of the more unusual tasks we undertake throughout the year and which also provides a glimpse into our Industrial past. The McAllister Group provides a tanker filled with water to the steam-hauled excursion train – The Portrush Flyer at Central Station in Belfast for its outbound and inbound journeys during the summer months. Looking not unlike the famed Thomas the Tank Engine, the 4-4-0 three-cylinder compound locomotive was built in 1932 in Manchester by Beyer, Peacock and Co. Ltd.

The blue steam-engine number 85 with factory plate number 6733 was named Merlin after a bird of prey by its operator the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) Ltd as were the other four V Class locomotives. The V Class was intended for use on the accelerated Dublin – Belfast route but experienced many teething troubles which ultimately caused its demise. In 1958, No. 85 Merlin was given to Córas Iompair Éireann following the split in the Great Northern Railway Board. Set to be scrapped like the other V Class engines, Merlin was rescued by the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in 1965. In the interim years, the engine has been housed in a number of different locations including Harland & Woolf. The engine was returned to active service in 2014 and is used by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland/Steam Trains Ireland for excursions during the summer for families and enthusiasts. Visit

Beware the FOG and the FATBERG!

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At some point, many of us have without thinking have emptied fat or grease down our kitchen sinks. Repeating this carelessness on a regular basis can over time restrict the flow of wastewater from our homes to sewer lines resulting in blockages and back-ups from the sewers. Fats, oils and grease (FOG) when poured or flushed down sinks, drains or toilets enter the sewer system where they cool, harden and subsequently stick to the inner walls of sewer pipes. If untreated, the build-up of FOG in a pipe can harden until it completely blocks the diameter of the pipe. When it hardens, it is both difficult and costly to remove FOG obstructions. The build-up of FOG can be a major problem in town centres or areas with multiple restaurants, takeaways or pubs since there is more grease heading down into the sewers to create the deposits. In some areas where the FOG build-up is extreme, Fatbergs can emerge.

In the sewer pipe, the fats in the grease get broken down into their component parts – glycerol and fatty acids. The fatty acids bind with calcium found in the sewers to create a compound which resembles a soap-like compound. This ‘soapy’ compound collects on the ceiling of the pipes when sewer levels rise to form stalactite structures. The net effect is extremely detrimental to the sewer network particularly when it ends up in Waste water Pumping Stations and Treatment Plants. Fatbergs can like their namesakes grow to a remarkable size. In recent years, reports suggest that two Fatbergs were discovered in London’s sewer network weighing 15 and 17 tonnes respectively.

Heavy rainfall will compound the problem of FOG build-up and result in flooding and extreme blockages. In one case, the build-up was so severe that it blew manholes covers upwards spewing sewage and waste outwards.

In simple terms, don’t empty fats, oils or grease down the sink or drain. If you are a food service operator, it is recommended to regularly check out the health of your drains through a CCTV survey and frequent cleaning. The McAllister Group is a drain specialist and have dealt with FOG problems across Ireland and the UK. If you have any concerns or problems, please call us today. The imagery below was recently taken at one of our out-of-hours call outs and was captured in the news: –

Frontline – Termon Road, Carrickmore, Co. Tyrone

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Frontline – Termon Road, Carrickmore, Omagh. Our rehabilitation team was on site yesterday at Termon Road in the townland of Carrickmore outside Omagh, Co. Tyrone working on behalf of the River’s Agency. The task was to reline a 20m pipe running under the road using 1200mm Cured in Place Pipe (CIPP) liner. The liner itself weighed approximately 2 tonnes which necessitated the liner in its packaging being craned into the immediate area where the work was to take place. The team overcame some access problems and managed to sandbag a river to allow the liner to be installed, inflated, cured and cut flush at both ends of the pipe. The images below depict the process involved. Rehabilitating pipes allows for defects to be corrected and the cured liner (using an Ultra-Violet lightrain) will extend the lifespan of the pipe by as much as 75 years. On the island of Ireland, the McAllister Group is one of the foremost specialists in the use of trenchless or No-Dig technologies such as CIPP lining. Our experience and client base extends across infratructure, industrial, commercial and residential applications.

High Risk Confined Space Rescue Training

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Employers must carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks for all work activities to decide what measures are necessary for safety (under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, regulation 3). When working in confined spaces this means identifying the hazards present, assessing the risks and determining what precautions to take. In most cases the assessment will include consideration of: the task; the working environment; working materials and tools; the suitability of those carrying out the task and the arrangements for emergency rescue.

Working in confined spaces exposes an employee to a range of potential hazards, some of which may threaten injury and in some instances may possibly lead to death. As a consequence, specialist training and assessment is required to equip those undertaking this type of work with the necessary skills and competencies to assess risk, control hazards and to work safely. A space given high risk rating is classified as having a hazard that cannot be controlled or eliminated. Therefore any individual entering these areas must be trained in dealing with the specified hazard and protective equipment is more important than ever. In these spaces, there may or may not be access issues. Due to their unpredictable nature, extra caution should be taken, rescue staff should always be at hand and every possible eventuality must be considered.

As part of the McAllister Group’s investment in its people, a number of staff recently completed High Risk Confined Space (NC4) and the High Risk Confined Space Rescue training in Antrim in conjunction with Highway Safety & Construction Training Ltd. The three-day course involves training on Access Equipment (Tripod & Winch system, Full Duration BA), Confined Space Rescue harnesses, Atmospheric monitoring equipment, Ventilation, the use of Emergency Escape Breathing Apparatus and Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (short/standard and extended duration sets and/or airline supply systems), Breathing Apparatus control procedures and the duties of the Top Man/Person (Safety Attendant), Rescue Team member and Rescue Team leader. This course relates directly to aspects of the Group’s project work including: Wet Wells, Tanks, Sewer Networks amongst others.

In Northern Ireland, the McAllister Group is the only company fully qualified to undertake rescues within confined spaces under high risk circumstances.

Frontline – Guernsey Airport

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The McAllister Group was engaged by Lagan Construction to complete a series of CIPP patch repairs to the runway and taxiing lanes at Guernsey Airport. This was our second consecutive visit in recent years to address surface water issues which we had previously ascertained was a consequence of problems with sections of the drainage system that were deformed (perhaps as a result of concrete crushing pipes).

At the outset, the pipes needed to be cleaned before a CCTV survey could be undertaken. The camera survey identified and verified the areas where the defects were located confirming the views of the client. In advance of works, our pre-conditioning tasks included the deployment of our brand new Recycler to remove 2.5 tonnes of silt and shingle from the surface water system in conjunction with our Main Line CCTV Survey unit. Once we established and agreed the locations requiring patching with the client, our team installed a total of 27 patches, each 450mm x 1000mm. In tandem with the repairs, the McAllister Team plotted the exact location of several connections that were patched over and subsequently reopened upon completion of the works. We benefited from using our state-of-the-art equipment including new CCTV equipment, our new Recycling Unit and our Prokasro robotic cutting vehicle.

The works were completed at night over a nine day period during which the airport was closed. Each morning our team had to hand back the runway and taxiing lanes by 6am without delay or incident. The contract was completed within submitted programme duration parameters without issue and to the full satisfaction of the client.

Over the last five years, the Group has developed considerable expertise and experience of working on timebound and complex projects within airport environments. With these projects there is a necessity to avoid disrupting traffic, avoid incidents and to restore the site to an operational level on a daily basis. Our previous experience includes Belfast International Airport, Dublin Airport, Shannon Airport, Guernsey Airport, George Best Belfast City Airport and the City of Derry Airport. The McAllister Group will be commencing work in June 2017 at Heathrow Airport.

Frontline – Shankill, Dublin

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One of our Rehabilitation Teams was on site in Shankill, Dublin this week. The job on behalf of Irish Water involved the installation of 29 CIPP patches to 525mm pipes to prevent Root Infiltration on a main truck sewer which runs to a pumping station. Further works will require the installation of 180m of UV CIPP liner to the same stretch of pipe. The McAllister Group is one of the foremost specialists in the application of CIPP applications on the island of Ireland and Great Britain. Cured-In-Place Pipe is one of a number of Trenchless Solutions offered by the Group. Use of Trenchless or No-Dig applications does not require excavation to rehabilitate a pipeline that is either leaking or structurally unsound. When cured it can extend the lifespan of a pipe by as much as 75 years.