Based in Carrigaline, Co Cork, Ballinluska Services undertakes Mechanical and Electrical Contracting and Consultancy works on a variety of residential, commercial, industrial, HSE, Department of Education and heritage Projects. Building Ireland learned more about the company from its Managing Director, Jim O’Rourke recently.
Since its establishment in 2016, Ballinluska Services has built its reputation on quality and that’s what the company will continue to aim for going forward, according to owner and founder Jim O’Rourke.
The Cork-based business employs 16 full-time staff and provides an estimating service to all of its clients and to other electrical contractors.
As contractors and consultants, Ballinluska Services offers advice on best practice and possible solutions, tailor made to the client’s individual requirements.
Building Ireland touched base with Jim O’Rourke recently to find out more about what is a thriving business at the moment.
“The company was incorporated in June 2016, as a result of the growth of our previous Sole Trader business, O’Rourke Electrical & Mechanical,” explained Jim.
“Today, we have 16 full-time staff working here. My wife is the Financial Officer and my son Harry is also involved in the business.
“We provide M&E installation, consultancy and design services. We have a lot of domestic work on-going in Cork and Limerick and two substantial education contracts.
“That’s our core business and we provide a lot of our services to Cork County Council and JJ Rhatigan.”
The company’s workforce is made up of people in a variety of technical, financial and administrative roles.
Jim also points out that the people they employ at Ballinluska Services are people that they tend to have had previous experience working with.
“We’re small and growing and we tend to employ people that we would previously know,” he said.
Operating a company with a large staff is a far cry from where Jim himself first started out.
It took a trip back and forth from England, and working along the way with PJ Hegarty & Sons, before eventually taking the decision to go out on his own in 2007.
“I did my apprenticeship way back and after that I went working for a local contractor,” Jim explained.
“I went to work in Nottingham after that and then moved into railway signalling. I became a railway signal engineer and moved into project management from there.
“I spent two years working in Cork for PJ Hegarty before I went back to my roots and worked as a sole trader from 2007 to 2016.
“It was in 2016 that I decided to set-up Ballinluska Services and we haven’t look back since, thankfully.”
A little over four years on and the company’s books are filled with projects, despite these challenging times.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced the Irish government to close businesses nationwide, with the construction industry being hit as hard as any.
Ballinluska Services still managed to have a quarter of their staff operating thanks to a handful of the company’s projects being deemed essential. The company also kept all staff on the payroll during the lockdown period and now all employees are back to full time working.
“It has certainly been a strange year. Once the lockdown hit in March it was definitely a tough time but, at the same time, it wasn’t a recession,” Jim pointed out.
“It kicked off again on May 18th but we were lucky in that some of our local authority was declared to be essential, so around 25 per cent of our employees would have worked through the lockdown.
“It has been a hectic couple of years here when you look at our turnover.”
Current projects for the company include a development of 50 new social houses at Oakwood, Macroom.
Ballinluska Servicessecured the prestigious project from JJ Rhatigan & Co, looking after its mechanical and electrical elements.
“We did a lot of work with JJ Rhatigan to win that tender and it’s certainly a flagship project,” Jim outlined.
“We also have the renovation of St John’s College, a refurbishment project at Cork IT, a medical centre in Kilkenny, an equine centre in Kildare and 16 apartments in Ballincollig as well as numerous Local Authority Housing works in Cork and Limerick. We are also just starting two private new build homes.”
GPD Building Contractors in Kinsale are another long-time client of Jim’s, going back to his days as a sole trader. Ballinluska Services has also recently obtained contracts with O’Sheas Builders in Midleton.
So, what has been the secret to gaining repeat business from such prestigious clients down through the years?
For Jim, a lot of it has come down to two things in particular.
“I believe we give value for money here and offer our clients quality products,” he said.
“Quality is what we have built our reputation on here – that and reliability. We are always contactable here and if I’m busy, I always make a point to return phone calls.”
As for the months ahead, Ballinluska Services’ MD is optimistic.
The company has seen a decent amount of growth over the past four years and the projects seem to keep on coming down in Carrigaline.
Like everyone, Jim is hopeful to see “the back of Covid-19” so he can continue growing what he started back in the summer of 2016.
“Covid19 is obviously having an impact and we are carefully monitoring and managing the health and welfare of all our employees closely, as well as maintaining close contact with our Client and other stakeholders.
“Eventually, we are confident that Covid19 will be conquered and we can increase our output of quality product,” he concluded.
Unit Z Carrigaline Industrial Park,
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: +353 21 4834785
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, November 2020, Vol 6 No 6