By Joe Queenan
I mentioned in Back to the Future Part One that we need to carry out a major repair job on the barrel roof over the location of our planned new food production kitchen on the first floor. The original steel purlins (the horizontal beams that support the roof) are showing their age. Steel girders need to be erected to support the original roof structure which is over 100 years old. These supports will be bolted to the steel trusses that form part of the roof of the web dispatch warehouse on the ground floor directly underneath.
It struck me how lucky we are to have local skills and expertise to complete this difficult project. Everything from engineer drawings, the design of steel supports, the steel fabrication and roof construction will all be completed by local companies.
For the production kitchen itself we have been working with a local architect to draw (and redraw!) the plans. The ceiling will be insulated and suspended from purlins overhead with pre tensioned wire. Specialised flooring and wall cladding is necessary because it’s a food production area. The supply, fit, integration and commissioning of automated catering equipment and conveyor lines will all be managed by a local engineering firm. And then there’s the building, plumbing and electrical work……the easy bits! But we haven’t needed to travel far to find talent and willingness to work with us on any aspect of the project, no matter how complicated it seems.
To have these diverse skills on our doorstep is such an advantage to a small company like FOXFORD. Local experts are at the end of the phone for my (many) questions and can be onsite within 20 minutes – there are some things that just cannot be done on Zoom!
For industry and business to thrive in the west of Ireland we need to collaborate and work together for the good of all. ‘Shopping local’ improves all our lives. And just as Mother Agnes called upon the expertise of others and was given good counsel and co-operation, the team at FOXFORD are still benefitting from the skills and expertise within the community in which we live, almost 130 years later!