Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tony, and I am the "Son" in AJ McCormack and Son. Just to confuse matters, I'm also AJ McCormack, named after my father, Tony Senior. I live in the village of Culcheth, which is on the outskirts of Warrington, in what we refer to as "The Occupied Former Territories of South Lancashire".
I have worked in the construction industry for most of my adult life, specialising in paving, surfacing and drainage for the majority of my career. My Father, who passed away in December 2006 (obituary), established the business in 1957 and it was originally created to supply skilled tradesmen and labourers to undertake footpath, road and sewer construction for Local Authorities and the house builders of NW England.
I had accompanied my father on building sites since I was able to walk, fascinated by the work, the men, the machines and especially the craic. I did the pointing and jointing for the flagging gangs, and by the age of 11, I was laying flags on my own and working for pay during school holidays. Can you imagine Health & Safety allowing that nowadays? I finally joined the business full-time in 1978, learnt my trade and became a partner in 1985, when we added the "and Son" to the trading name.
I started an off-shoot domestic paving business in 1990 to cope with the growing demand for quality paving from the home-owning market looking to improve the 'kerb-side appeal' of their residences. This demand was brought about by massive increases in block paving production and subsequent price re-structuring by the major manufacturers.
The firm undertook the groundworks and civils for many housing and commercial developments throughout the north west, and a plant hire business was established in the 1970's offering both self-drive and professionally operated excavators to the construction industry. Work included constructing foundations for new homes, paving and drainage works for large sheltered housing schemes, road and sewer construction as well as remedial and maintenance works for industrial and commercial clients.
The business became involved in a number of the major town centre pedestrianisation schemes in NW England during the 1980's, notably Liverpool, in the Temple Court, Harrington Street and St George's Hall area, the Bus/Rail Interchange in Bury and the Preston Guild Hall/Harris Museum area.
The unparalleled standards of our work resulted in our skills being sought for the more prestigious civic paving contracts, and we acted as paving quality inspectors and gang managers for the re-paving of William Brown St in Liverpool and undertook the reconstruction of historic pavements in Churchtown, Southport, and in Ainsdale.
We have also worked throughout Lancashire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside on schemes ranging from domestic driveway and patio installation, to recreating traditional cobbled streets, to road and sewer construction for new housing estates.
I had a serious accident in 1997 that lost me the discs in my lower back and put a premature end to my life on site. This was followed by a heart attack 3 years later, aged just 39. My father continued to run the company until his retirement in 2000 when we decided to suspend all construction activity and focus on consultancy.
The business is no longer undertaking any construction work.
A groundworks company owned and managed by a colleague of many years standing took over our trade and commercial works, and I will put you in touch with them if you have a suitable project.
If you require specific information, would like to discuss a design for your paving project or cannot find the information you require here, then feel free to email, and I'll see what can be done to help you.
We still maintain an extensive library of over 5,000 different types of paving available from major manufacturers throughout Britain and Ireland plus thousands of associated hard landscaping products, such as bollards, building chemicals and playground equipment. If you are looking for a specific product for your project, or wish to learn more about the ranges available, use the form on the library page to contact us.
There is no charge for a library search, and you will receive an email with the requested details or instructions on how to obtain your own copy of the information you require.
In May 2006, a book written and illustrated by myself, exploring the design and construction of residential driveways paths and patios was published and is now available to buy through this website. The book goes into much more detail for residential paving than does the website, and covers areas not fully developed, such as design, layout and setting-out.
More details and a link to order a copy of the book can be found on this page.
As mentioned earlier, an accident in January 1997 has resulted in me not being able to work 'on the tools' any longer, rendering me house-bound for much of the time. However, I have used that time to construct these pages so that I may pass on what knowledge I have gleaned over the last 30+ years, and to help add a degree of professionalism to the trade that gave me so many years of happiness. Experience cannot be bought!
This site grew from a single page, established back in 1997, that attempted to explain the correct construction of a block paved patio for a friend who was having trouble with their contractor. Since then it has been through at least 5 major revisions and now totals over 800 pages of top class information covering all the major paving types used in Britain and Ireland, and receives over 125,000 unique visitors each month during the season.
No products are sold via the site. To do so would compromise its impartiality and impose a commercial imperative on the site that was never intended. The site is funded from my own pocket because it gives me a reason to get up in the morning and prove to myself that, despite my disabilities and health problems, I am not totally useless. Some things are more important than making money.
This version of the site has been specifically set up to improve the public perception of the paving and hard-landscaping trades by promoting best practice and best products with a free exchange of information between the three major participants - the contractors, the manufacturers and the general public. The aim is to provide contractors with a central source of information and news, to help ensure the general public and the keen DIY'ers have access to free, expert and impartial advice, and that manufacturers and stockists have a showcase for their quality products.
While I was contracting, I spent too many hours defending the trade I love, trying to convince architects, developers, builders and the public that not all paving companies are fly-by-night cowboys with no integrity. Some of us are damned proud of the work we produce, and this site is intended to help both our colleagues in the construction industry and the general public to identify the craftsmen and avoid the cowboys who do such a disservice to those of us with genuine skills.
Help us to help you
As explained above, Pavingexpert is a non-commercial site entirely funded from Tony McCormack's paltry pocket money allowance and the support of a handful of sponsors. If you've been helped by this site, you can help us by making a donation towards hosting costs and the development of new content.
You can send donations as cash or cheques to the address at the foot of this page or donate via PayPal.
Alternatively, you can help by buying a copy of Tony's book - all funds raised go towards keeping the site online, up-to-date and free-to-use for all readers.