Newry bathroom pod maker Connex to expand in response to boom in offsite demand

Connex Offsite managing director Brendan Doherty (right), with Invest NI boss Kevin Holland.

NEWRY modular bathroom pods manufacturer Connex has announced plans to create two dozen new jobs in response to a surge in demand for offsite construction during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fast-growing company, which started in 2017 with just three staff, now employs around 30 people, specialising in the design, offsite fabrication and supply of steel framed bathroom pods for the British and Irish construction markets.

That’s expected to grow to 53 by the end of 2022, as part of a £4.6 million growth programme.

Connex Offsite is part of a family-owned group of firms that includes Re?-Gen Waste, Doherty Developments and Re-Eng.

Managing director Brendan Doherty said the Newry company is the middle of an ambitious five-year growth strategy with the goal of making it the leading UK supplier of bathroom pods.

He said the firm’s growth accelerated during the pandemic. It signed a £3m deal with property developer Mount Anvil last year to supply pods for its Royal Eden Docks scheme in London.

“We have seen huge growth in recent months,” said Mr Doherty. “Covid-19 has forced restrictions on the level of labour on a construction site, which has been a catalyst for a shift to modular construction.”

Connex manufactures all pods to completion in Newry, before shrink wrapping them and shipping directly to construction sites.

“Last year, we finished a major refurbishment of our Newry factory and we have just finalised the purchase of an additional 45,000 sq ft facility opposite our current building, which will enable our production capacity to significantly increase per annum to meet projected demand,” said the managing director.

“This new investment and expansion of our team will help us build on our London success and target opportunities in the high rise residential, hotel and student accommodation sectors, particularly in the GB and RoI markets whilst also exploring opportunities in North America.”

Invest NI has offered Connex Offsite £355,000 toward the creation of 50 jobs along with a marketing grant to help explore new markets.

Chief executive Kevin Holland said the 50 jobs will eventually contribute over £1.3m in additional annual salaries.

“For an early stage SME, Connex has achieved remarkable success over the last three years securing multi-million pound contracts in the RoI and GB markets.

“This is driven by the ambition and entrepreneurial flair of Connex’s managing director, Brendan Doherty."

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