Setting new standards in construction excellence, the Cascade Group’s professionalism, client-focussed approach and keen attention to detail have seen them emerge as one of Ireland’s most sought-after building contractors – so much so that they were engaged by none other than renowned architect Dermot Bannon to renovate his new family home in Drumcondra!
In one of their highest-profile projects to date, the Cascade Group acted as main contractor on a special two-episode edition of Ireland’s favourite home makeover television show, ‘Room to Improve’. Completing the renovation of a dream family home for Dermot Bannon himself in ‘Room to Improve – Dermot’s Home’ (which was aired to extremely positive feedback in January, 2020) represented quite a challenge, but it was one that the Clonee-headquartered company – fronted by Graham Byrne and Aidan O’Connor – passed with suitably flying colours.
Indeed, being asked to work on this particular 1920s home was a major endorsement for Cascade, whose industry-leading, rapidly-expanding team boast a consistent, reliable track record of high achievement in both residential and commercial construction projects, from new builds and extensions to renovations, refurbs and attic conversions.
“Securing the project and being on the show was a great experience for us,” confirms Aidan, who founded Cascade Construction alongside Graham in 2008. “We are constantly looking for ways to futureproof our business and to be involved in a project like this certainly helps.
“As it happens, I wasn’t directly involved in that project myself as I was tied up on a couple of projects on the southside of the city. So it was Graham who landed that and who oversaw it. I didn’t have too much involvement, apart from dropping in a few times to see how things were progressing.”
As main contractor, Cascade Group were on site from civils through to the turning of the key upon project completion, delivering a wide range of building work, liaising with a host of subcontractors and gently nudging Dermot along during his many moments of indecision.
As publicity – and free advertising! – goes, it wasn’t a bad job to land… “Free advertising does no harm but it was more the fact that it brought representation to the company,” says Aidan. “Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, to a lot of people, builders are still seen as cowboys. That’s the reality. So, to have Dermot and Ciaran O Brien [Project Engineer] entrust us to do their own house’s, it certainly bumps us above a lot of other builders out there – a lot of whom are very, very good builders, too, I must add.
“It was an opportunity for us to show that we are not here to make a quick buck. To the contrary, our goal is to grow a sustainable and reputable business whilst improving people’s lives and their homes. We would never promote ourselves to be anything other than who we are and we really enjoyed working with Patricia and the engineer on the project, Ciaran O’Brien, who also brought us in as main contractor on his own home.”
Since its inception just twelve years ago, Cascade Group has brought a fresh, vibrant, clean, efficient and thoroughly professional approach to building. All their personnel are vastly-experienced, highly-skilled and conscientious, enabling the delivery of a customer-friendly, high-quality and fully-certified solution every time. Furthermore, by adding their own dedicated, specialist plumbing & heating, electrical, security and painting & decorating departments in-house, they have not just massively reduced their dependence on subcontractors but have also expanded their own offerings to include all of these services independently if required.
Be it maintenance, installation or repair, Cascade’s heating & plumbing, electrical and security engineers provide a complete range of services, covering both commercial and residential work.
Considering that they started out as literally a two-man operation in the height of the recession, Cascade Group is a remarkable success story. “Myself and Graham are both carpenters by trade,” Aidan continues. “We got together and formed the company in May, 2008 and we grew it from there.
“A few years ago we started to expand at a faster pace and, just before the boom kicked in, we were finding it difficult to get subcontractors when we needed them so we decided to employ our own plumbing and electrical engineers. As a result, we were no longer waiting around for subcontractors and we were better equipped to keep everything on schedule.
“Things really exploded from there and we now have a team of plumbers and electricians who work directly for us but we’ve also been able to secure electrical and plumbing work for the likes of An Post, Ulster Bank and various facility management companies. We’ve also started to take on a lot of work working on security systems, expanding the group to offer as many services as possible to our clients.”
In many respects, the growth has been natural and organic, in line with demand for these various services. Having said that, it takes a lot of conviction, dedication and courage to roll out new services in such a congested marketplace: “You have to be enthusiastic about what you are doing and you have to be prepared to go all out, with no half measures,” says Aidan.
“We had ten employees four year ago and we now have 42, between management, foremen, lead engineers, tradesmen and general labourers. When you expand to that level, it’s a 24-hour job and it’s not for the feint-hearted. It’s a huge commitment and myself and Graham have to make sure we have the best guys on our team and keep them all in work whilst also making sure we are providing building services of real quality.”
It must be a great feeling to have come such a long way in such a relatively short space of time? “It’s good to look back at where we came from and compare that to where we are now. We started in the depths of a recession and came through one of the worst times that global and Irish economies have seen. To come out the other side of that was an achievement in itself; to then grow further … it’s hard work, you have to enjoy it and you have to have energy to build the business up.”
One of the most immediately striking things about the Cascade Group is their immaculate presentation. Their vehicles look fantastic and their employees, all of whom wear uniforms, always create the right first impression. Another sign of the discipline and dedication that underpins this exceptional operation.
“I believe the only way you will succeed in business is to be different from everybody else,” Aidan continues. Since early days in the company, we have ensured all staff had uniforms and we branded all the vans, which made us look much more professional that our competitors. With a clean, professional approach, we were selling an experience rather than a building project. People really appreciated the professionalism we projected and we intend to continue with that professional and personal approach.
“We also have a very strong aftersales service. If there is ever an issue with anything we’ve worked on, we will make sure it gets resolved. We’re not one of those builders who just disappears or hides away after we’ve gone off site. Since day one, we have been very professional in every aspect of how we conduct our business, from management to working on site.
“Quality is everything. We know we’re never going to be the cheapest option – although we’re certainly not the most expensive either! – but we offer our clients long-term value for money as they know they are paying a fair price for genuine quality and professionalism. People want quality and there is serious value in a good service. We also understand that we are working in people’s homes and when they invite you over that threshold you have to be clean, respectful, courteous and professional.”
Their popularity is such that the Cascade Group are already fully booked out until July, 2020. Is further growth inevitable? “We’re constantly pricing and taking in tenders,” Aidan notes. “We always try to look at a project and to see if it’s the type of project that would suit our company and also if we can fit their time schedule in with our time schedule. “Unfortunately, sometimes schedules will clash and you might have to pass but you keep a good rapport with everybody because there could be another opportunity down the line.
“To answer the question, I suppose we will grow to the best of our ability but without compromising on quality,” the personable company director concludes. “It can be difficult to maintain control of quality levels unless you are there yourself all the time or your staff have the same mentality that you have.
“Every home we enter, we treat it like it’s our own home, with absolute respect for people’s space and their belongings. We expect our staff to do the same and to have the same mentality and ambition for the business as we have. It’s been a slow and steady process of growth, while keeping the quality, and we’d be very happy to continue on a similar path going forward.”
Bracetown Business Park,
Tel: 01 8026837
Mobile: 087 643 9575 (Graham) / 085 716 9540 (Aidan)
Email :[email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, April 2020, Vol 6 No 2