We’re a team of experienced individuals working to the highest possible standards. Second best will never do. We put our combined skill, expertise and our heart and soul into every project - and we care about it as much as you do. We have a wealth of industry knowledge, we’re Health & Safety compliant, and we meet all the relevant environmental, CSR and industry standards.

Mervyn Gilfillan

Managing Director

Mervyn graduated from QUB in 1970 with an Honours Degree in Civil Engineering, obtaining his professional qualifications as a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineering in 1974. After working for a major contractor in Northern Ireland, Mervyn moved his career to the Middle East (Jordan, Iraq) until 1981.


Once back in Northern Ireland, he established Merex Construction, which enjoys continued success to this day.



Derek Cowan

Project Director

Derek has over 40 years experience in the construction industry mostly with one of the province’s former leading contractors. 


Initially a Purchaser he quickly moved to Bonus Surveyor before progressing to Estimate Manager, a position held for 10 years. These various roles brought extensive experience of contracts of all types and sizes working with budgets up to £30 million throughout Ireland and the UK. He has also worked on various joint venture projects with other major contractors.



Valerie Dillon

HSEQ Manager

A Construction Industry expert for over 26 years, mainly with Merex Construction, Valerie has extensive knowledge in many aspects including Associated Risks, Common Processes and Common Failures in Processes.


She has achieved NEBOSH General & Construction Certificate, a Masters in Work-based Learning (Occupational Health & Safety) and is a Graduate Member of the Institute of Occupational Health & Safety. Valerie continues in her professional development to attain Chartered status.



Jonathan Higginson

Project Manager

Jonathan has almost 30 years experience in both residential and commercial construction.  After starting his career as an apprentice joiner, Jonathan progressed through the ranks to Project Manager.


Over the last 10 years he has successfully led teams to completion on numerous projects valued in excess of £1 Million throughout the UK.


Jonathan holds NVQ's in Joinery, CSR Gold card in Joinery and CSR Gold Card in Site Management, First Aid and Site Management Safety Training Services Card.


Previous Projects:

Action Mental Health - Special Needs Training Centre, Bangor

Audi & Mercedes - Car Showrooms, Portadown

The Plough - Bar & Restaurant, Hillsborough

Bradford House - Office Block Conversion, Bradford

Fiume Restaurant - Fitout, Battersea, London

Royal Opera House - Bar & Restaurant Refurbishment, London



Sam Balmer

Senior Site Manager

Sam joined us in 1982 as a skilled operator, working up to position of Foreman, Safety Supervisor and to his current position as Senior Site Manager. He holds a CSR Plant Card and a CSR Gold Supervisor’s Card.


An excellent communicator, Sam easily builds rapport with Clients and Client’s Agents and is highly respected throughout the workforce and the industry in general.



Graham McConnell

Senior Site Manager

With over 20 years experience in the construction industry, Graham started his career as an apprentice joiner, progressing to Site Manager.  Graham specialises in managing housing developments with a successful track record of achieving high stanrds; receiving Construction Apprentice of the Year for NI in 1987 and NHBC Price in the Job Award in 2007 and 2008.  Graham holds a diploma in Building Surveying.
Previous Housing Projects:
Phase 2 Templehall Development – 22 homes
Hillview, Moneyreagh – 47 homes (detached and semi-detached)
Church Court – 18 homes (townhouses and apartments)
Ballynahinch Road, Carryduff – 4 homes (townhouses and detached)
Oakwood Park, Lisbane – 20 homes (townhouses, detached and semi-detached)
Todds Hill Park – 47 homes (3 storey townhouses, detached and semi-detached)
Claddagh Hill – 6 Bespoke detached homes of 2500-3000sq.ft
Gilnahirk Road – Single Bespoke 6000sq.ft home by Des Ewing Architects
Killinchy Road, Comber
– 3 Townhouses.



Core Workforce

We have a long-serving and loyal team of qualified, skilled and experienced tradesmen and operatives. They are at the very core of our distinctive and distinguished reputation.

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