In April 2018, quantity surveyor Lisa O’Brien left RTE’s Room to Improve for another venture as she had founded Brifin Homes Ltd along with Brian Keating a few months earlier.
Having spent two years on the popular television show, Lisa decided to pursue another avenue which she revealed to us is a decision that she hasn’t regretted.
“I really enjoyed my time on Room to Improve, but I was very excited by this new challenge and jumped at the chance. It was either one or the other as I just couldn’t find the time to give both my full attention,” Lisa told Building Ireland.
And so almost two years later Dublin based Brifin Homes Ltd is continuing to find steady growth in the market. In fact, the business is flourishing as the expertise and knowledge that Lisa, Brian and their team bring to the industry is rivalled by very few.
“At the moment, the majority of our workload would be in the residential market, whether it be high end new builds, social housing schemes or conservation and restoration contracts.
“However, we don’t want to be known as a one-trick pony and we have the ability to carry out work in the commercial and mixed-used spaces. We have the skill set amongst the team here to carry out work in any sector of the building trade. For the time being though, we are happy with the direction of the business and there are a number of projects ongoing at the moment.”
Chief Operations Officer Fintan Doran has brought a wealth of experience to the role and Lisa revealed that they are more than pleased with the team there at present.
“Between Brian, Fintan and myself, we have many, many years’ experience in the industry and the great thing is that we all have a good knowledge in different areas, which when combined allows us handle any type of work.
“Sourcing skilled workers is an issue in the construction industry for the past few years. So, we know we have to offer a package that entice our employees to stay.
“We offer in-house training so that our team can progress in the company. We are committed to our employees continued development and upskilling, we encourage personal and professional growth”
Lisa adds that the shortage of skilled workers has driven construction costs up in recent years and she feels one way to address this is to entice more apprentices into the building sector.
“The CIF believe that there is a shortfall of 3,000 apprentices every year, but there is nowhere near that being filled and that is something that needs to be addressed.”
Brifin Homes Ltd is growing all the time and there are currently ten employed by the company, but that look sets to grow in the near future. Since the end of the Celtic Tiger, there has been a massive change in attitude towards the cost of a project and this in turn has paced a greater emphasis on the role of the quantity surveyor, a sentiment that Lisa agrees entirely with.
“The role of the QS is and should be, highly respected. Pre-planning is essential and looking after the costs is something that every client is focused on. With a QS on board, it really keeps everyone in check with the finances – as that’s the QS’s sole agenda. In a nutshell, the QS at all times is managing their client’s risk. “The QS has to be diplomatic, but we are always managing the client’s risk. We constantly advise the client on the financial impact of their decision or an architect’s instruction or unforeseen issue on site. We will then try to mitigate the overrun by going back into the budget to suggest cost savings by changing specification or looking for alternative prices for a particular item. Having a realistic contingency is also very important to help absorb any unforeseen costs.
“If brought on board at an early stage of the design/pre-planning process Brifin can offer cost advice that can facilitate the feasibility of a project or offer cost advice on the construction technology and material selection to maximise value.”
To carry out their work to the highest standard which has seen their reputation soar in the past couple of years, Brifin Homes Ltd use only trusted and experienced sub-contractors.
“Our sub-contractors are contractors that either myself, Brian or Fintan have worked extensively with over the years. They know what we expect on a job and they deliver every time.”
As members of Homebond and CIRI, Brifin Homes Ltd have a passion for quality that shines through in every project that they are involved in. As stated, this is a company that has experienced extensive growth in less than 24 months.
At present, there are projects starting in Stepaside (6 units), Glenageary (16 units) and Mount Merrion (7 units).
“A lot of our work takes place in or around Dublin, but we cover the greater Leinster area. Our aim is to increase our turnover and like I said earlier, to supply our services to other sectors in the construction industry.
“We are confident in our ability to deal with any project that comes our way. Already, we have gained a lot of repeat custom. Our work is our best form of advertisement and as a team we are looking forward to the future.”
There is no doubt that the team at Brifin Homes Ltd are all working towards the same goal and that is to become a market leader in their field of expertise, something that many would say they have achieved already, but given the determination and dedication that Lisa, Brian, Fintan and the rest of the staff have displayed, this is not a group to rest on their laurels, so watch this space as a bright future looms.
Brifin Homes Ltd
North Park Business Park,
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, October, Vol 5 No 10