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14th Oct 2019

Interview… David Noonan, one of the three directors at StuartBarr CDR, gives us an insight into the ethos and workings of the organisation.

What makes StuartBarr CDR different from other construction companies?

As co-directors, we are driven by the pursuit of build excellence. We are, first and foremost, friends (and family) and from there we became business partners. Each of us has been working in the industry for longer than we would care to admit – and over time have built a substantial collective knowledge. We all served our apprenticeships, straight from school, and worked our way through the ranks as site carpenters, site managers and then contracts managers. Grassroots training has given us all a solid grounding and, having worked in most roles ourselves it means that as managers/directors we are very much in touch with the day to day challenges facing each of our teams.

Above, Chris Noonan, Stuart Barr and David Noonan.

How do the three of you work together?

Each of us brings a completely different skill set to the table. It is our differences as much as our similarities which have helped the organisation grow and thrive. As a management team, we have been working side by side for more than a decade, problem-solving, sharing ideas and enjoying our work. The three of us fell naturally into our current roles, which in turn molded the company structure. Each of us heads up the sector/service to which our skillsets are most suited.

How would you describe the Barr Group ethos?

Across the organisation we all work to the same set of values, ‘attention to detail’ and ‘embracing the challenge’ and in doing so we put the client at the core of everything we do. Everyone plays a part in achieving the end goal of client satisfaction. We meet regularly as project teams, for training and company social events. We share experiences (good and bad) which helps everyone to keep learning and improving. More than anything we remind each other that everything we do, make and build really matters. As directors, we believe that an organisation like ours is only as good as the people within it and therefore it is vital that everyone within it enjoys their work and feels part of the organisational quest for ultimate quality.

Above, The Barr Group team.

When you begin a new project, what do you collectively set out to achieve?

Client satisfaction and build excellence. Every contract is different. We are just one cog in a much bigger wheel. Some projects have been years in the planning and designing before they even get to us. It is our job to take gather all of the information, often from multiple sources and to bring the project to life in the most efficient and effective way.

How does StuartBarr CDR balance its commitment to ‘build excellence’ with the company’s natural inclination for ‘doing things differently?’

From the beginning, we were all very clear that we were not interested in building standard boxes. This does not mean we only work on big projects. Sometimes the smaller, more niche builds can be the most interesting and rewarding. The challenge of building a complex contemporary structure or grappling with the integrity of a heritage building was always so much more exciting to us than producing standard builds. Embracing a challenge or finding a way to do something which has not been done before, will never mean a compromise in standards. We work in collaboration with structural engineers, architects, heritage experts, and many other specialists, all of whom play a vital part in producing build excellence.

What will the coming years bring for StuartBarr CDR and the wider UK construction industry?

There are so many variables in the mix. Brexit will undoubtedly affect the industry. We are a multi-cultural company, with a truly international workforce. The skills and attitudes brought to our organisation through the mixing of cultures have been extremely positive and we will endeavour to ensure this continues. As environmental factors and sustainable build become an ever more pressing concern, we continue to drive that facet of the company – the ‘doing things differently’ ethos is particularly pertinent when applied to embracing and utilising the new sustainable technologies which are becoming ever more available to the commercial and domestic markets. We are excited to be playing a part in this positive change.

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