Since the end of the country’s latest recession, the construction industry has begun to thrive again, but lessons have been learned from the demise of the Celtic Tiger and one lesson that most have taken on board is the constraints of their budget.
Cost has become more of a focal point and the aim by any home owner, sub-contractor, builder, developer, engineer, architect and so on is to get the work done to a high standard, but within budget.
That is where construction consultancy firms come in to offer advice and while many deal with just certain areas of the trade, the company we profile for this month’s edition of Building Ireland caters for all of the above and more.
Wexford based McGrath Construction Consultants was established by Ronan McGrath in 2012, yes you read that right, 2012 when the country was still in the midst of an economy downturn.
To say it was a brave move to start his own business, especially in the construction industry which had been hit so hard in the previous few years, would be an understatement.
The old saying ‘Fortune favours the brave’ was never more apt as Ronan explained to us that starting the business was a big step for him to take.
“I had only recently got married and a lot of the work involved a lot of travel and seeking out work it would have been with some of the bigger companies and I just felt if I joined them at the time, I’d be still with them and never would have started out on my own, which was always something I wanted to do, the economy may not have been right but the time for me personally was a case of now or never,” said Ronan.
“There weren’t a lot of opportunities at the time and it was a slow process building up the name. Even though I had a number of years’ experience behind me, McGrath Construction Consultants was a new company and wasn’t known in the market. I aimed more at the home builder when I first started, which was a new area for me, and fortunately, I got a few jobs that led to others. We quickly got a good reputation for providing a quality service to our clients.”
Ronan’s drive to make the business a success saw him earn brand new clients, the majority of which are still doing business with him to do this day.
“Every job I got was a brand new sale. Networking was the key early on and still is very much to the fore, while word of mouth also played its part in establishing the business.
Being passionate about his profession and wanting to get the best for his clients has also been reasons for the success of the business.
“I’m confident in our ability to provide our client with the best solution for them, whether that be for our commercial clients in tendering or a contractual issue or to save on the expense of their build, while also showing them where the costs are coming from specific to their project and also most importantly how to save on the budget of building a house or extension/ renovation or commercial project.
“Our client list ranges from a private home-owner right through all the spectrums of the building trade. We will work with anyone and everyone will get the same level of service. We are here to save them money and that is what we will do.”
The customer is always at the forefront of Ronan and his team’s mind as he says himself, the aim is to retain them as customers for life.
“I was about a month in business when I got a job from a client and I’m still with him to do this day and that has always been the aim to build up long standing relationships with the client.”
McGrath Construction Consultants have certainly come a long way in the seven years since the company was established as they company workforce has doubled year on year since Ronan took on his first employee in June 2014.
They are currently involved in projects throughout the country and not only have an office in Wexford, but one in Dublin as well.
“I’ve been very happy with the growth of the business. I took on my first employee in 2014 and we have added to the staff every year since. There are six here now and we have another guy starting in August.”
Ronan revealed that his search for skilled workers has brought him outside the country. “It is very hard to get skilled workers in Ireland, so I’m bring in a guy from South Africa, while I can employ people from other foreign countries. We provide a wider scope than many other consultancy firms and I need people that are skilled in all areas. We offer a complete service and know all the changes that may be made by any sector of the building trade, so it is essential for our employees to be up to speed in all aspects of the job. By bringing them in from other countries, we can train them to our standards. The growth of the company was hampered by the lack of skilled workers until we started going down this avenue.”
In 2016, Ronan was a founder member of the Elevation Construction Network which offered a unique business opportunity to companies in the construction industry to network between each other and benefit from being referred by each other.
“Basically the Elevation Construction Network was established to cater for a cluster of companies in the building industry in the South East area to help out each other.
“It was the first of its kind in Ireland and it gives companies a platform to come together and share contacts and leads, which ultimately leads to more business for all.
“The same year as we founded it, we won an award, the Wexford Young Entrepreneur of the Year and we were delighted with that. These days, there are a number of ECN’s set up in different areas around the country.”
As stated, Ronan and has team have come a long way since 2012 and he concluded by stating that the last two years have seen the company mushroom.
“Definitely, the last two years have seen real growth in the company and I’m very proud of what we have achieved and hopefully we can continue that growth in the future. We have been involved in a number of multi-unit residential projects valued over €15 million and that is something we are looking to build on.”