Epic engineering: The genius behind Claridge’s ‘impossible basement’

Jim Mackey took on a construction challenge that for a decade the industry had insisted could not be met – and succeeded

7th July, 2019
The basement at Claridge’s: engineering and structural support works took place over three years, adding five storeys in the basement to the famous hotel

Jim Mackey was sitting in his rocking chair in Donegal, six weeks into his retirement, when a call came from Paddy McKillen in 2015. The well-known property developer and director of the famous Claridge’s hotel in London had a proposal for the Donegal man.

Mackey is a self-proclaimed workaholic. For his entire working life, he worked for London-based engineering firm McGee. When he eventually retired, Mackey’s wife Theresa teased him that he wouldn’t take...

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