Blog: Sustainability SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - GRAHAM

05 June 2019

Sponsored by Temple Group


GRAHAM is a privately owned company based in Hillsborough, NI. In 1985, the company made its first ventures onto the UK mainland and has grown steadily, delivering projects in civil engineering, building and fit-out. They have achieved progress across all divisions in the SE region in pursuit of sustainable construction. Today their clients include Highways England, Network Rail, Kew Gardens, University College London, Marks & Spencers and Barnet Council.

Their turnover has increased from £363m to £767m in the last 5 years: this significant expansion means they have accrued many ‘new to GRAHAM’ employees, clients, subcontractors and supply chains. They know they are working in a competitive industry, where margins are tight, so value engineering has been integral to their focus and success - offering clients alternative methods of construction, which delivers more for less.

Throughout the SE region, GRAHAM work in sensitive locations for high profile clients including:

  • Inner city London, like refurbishing 'live' historic buildings such as Lincoln’s Inn. 
  • New school buildings in residential areas - like Kingsgate PS, Camden. Byron Court PS, Brent. 
  • Regenerating the Folkestone harbour area throughout the 2018 peak summer season. 

In every location, they challenge their teams to minimise construction nuisance for local stakeholders whilst maximising the social and environmental benefits during the construction period. Alongside this, they have set ambitious targets for carbon emissions, waste, water and biodiversity; and they are on target to achieve them. 

2020 marks the final year of their current 5 year strategy. GRAHAM’s vision is to: “deliver lasting impact”. This feeds directly into their environmental mission to: “to help protect and improve the environment, conserve resources and tackle climate change for the benefit of current and future generations”

Key highlights of GRAHAM'S work in 2018:

  • Efforts to address construction waste impacts have improved year on year, and last year they achieved 98% diversion from landfill as well as an overall 16.8% reduction in waste generation.
  • Mindful of the impacts arising from their energy demands, GRAHAM work hard to reduce demand and carbon emissions. Last year, they reduced energy usage by 24% and reduced emissions intensity by 28%.  
  • They reduced their mains water consumption by 26% against their 2015 baseline - exceeding their 20% reduction by 2020 target 2 years ahead of time.
  • They developed their biodiversity enhancement efforts. Through their RSPB “Pledge for Nature”, GRAHAM has been developing measures to quantify their efforts for net biodiversity gain.
  • To assist with maintaining good levels of environmental awareness throughout their workforce, GRAHAM participates in national and international environmental campaigns throughout the year, including World Water Day, International Day for Biological Diversity, World Environment Day, Recycle Week, European Week for Waste Reduction, and COP24.
  • Within their social agenda, they want to deliver a positive legacy for the communities in which they live and work as they believe that this will sustain their business.
  • Their key focus areas are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  • They had zero environmental incidents reportable to any statutory authority and they reduced their “Environmental Incident Rate” by 8% from the previous year.
  • They have invested in a significant amount of training for their employees in sustainability (most notably all targeted employees have attended CIRIA Environmental Awareness training). This has empowered employees to make good decisions regarding environmental protection and to realise benefits for the environment and local community.


  • GRAHAM’s vision: 5 year strategy “to deliver lasting impact”. This  feeds directly into their environmental mission to: “to help protect and improve the environment, conserve resources and tackle climate change for the benefit of current and future generations”
  • 98% C&D waste diverted from landfill
  • 80% of SE personnel have attended IEMA Certified, CIRIA one day training course

For more details:


The SECBE 2019 Sustainability Award is sponsored by Temple Group.

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