Over the past 20 years, DMC Construction has established a stellar reputation as one of the country’s premier building contractors, delivering a succession of outstanding projects across counties Louth, Meath and Dublin. Building Ireland touched base with founder Darragh McMahon to find out more about this industry-leading business, which has featured not once but twice on popular RTE home-makeover show Room To Improve.
Completely client-orientated, DMC Construction provides a full range of construction services from new builds to extensions and renovations as well as attic and garage conversions.
Renowned across the north east and the capital for the quality of their one-off residential homes – backed up by an unrivalled personal service and attention to detail – the Collon, County Louth based building firm’s reputation for excellence is such that they receive a steady volume of business through positive referrals and customer recommendations.
A full turnkey service is provided from a greenfield site until the customer is ready to move into their new home, with director Darragh McMahon and the DMC crew completing all the carpentry, electrical, heating and plumbing work themselves in house.
With just one point of contact – and a friendly, personal and thoroughly knowledgeable one at that! – customers know they are in safe hands. Little wonder DMC Construction is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s leading specialists for all building needs – from renovations to conversions, extensions to new builds and even boasting a proven track record in delivering high-quality commercial buildings.
“We do everything from putting the first hole in the hedge to carrying the bags across the threshold,” Darragh attests. “I find that you are better off just getting in there and giving the full package. When clients only have one point of contact, and only one number to ring, they know they are getting the attention to detail they deserve. There’s no hiding away from anybody.”
Fully transparent and upfront, Darragh makes sure every job is afforded the levels of professionalism and workmanship upon which DMC Construction has forged its exceptional reputation. To this end, he employs a crew of up to eight direct employees, the majority of whom have worked with him for a decade or more, going back to pre-recession times.
“Likewise, with subbies, we have been through the mill together,” he continues. “I have a small number of niche subbies that I can depend on – when I need them, they are there.”
By providing free consultations, site visits and itemised cost quotations on an entire project from start to finish, DMC make sure clients are fully informed before a pick is lifted and that they are confident in what the final price of their dream home will be, without any fear of hidden extras. If required, Darragh will also advise on whether or not planning permission is needed and will be only too happy to put his clients in touch with affordable, dependable architects and engineers.
“Every building job starts with the budget and you have to meet it or get as damned close to it as you can,” he says. Getting the project over the line on time is also important. “You are always looking at the end line and you get there if at all possible. But, unfortunately, in this country, everything is weather dependent and sometimes it could be out of your hands.”
By deliberately keeping the company small and classy, DMC Construction position themselves ideally to put the client first every time. Heavy investment in their own plant and machinery is another factor that allows them to provide an efficient and value-for-money service, while they have complete flexibility to deliver a full range of services from fixing a leaking roof to building a block of apartments, groundworks or even shop fit-outs.
However, it is for new builds and extensions / renovations / conversions that the company is best known. “Typically, we would be working on one or two new builds and one or two renovations at the same time, so we can stagger the work between those projects,” says Darragh. “At the moment, we’re finishing a large renovation in Milltown in Dublin, where we’ve just put in the kitchen and are snagging that. We’re also doing new builds in Bellewstown, County Meath and Blackrock, Dundalk, County Louth. As well as that, we’re also just starting a large extension / renovation in Drogheda.”
Darragh is pleased to report that DMC are fully booked up until April of next year: “With new builds, you would usually be on them for around nine months, while extensions / renovations could take six months, so we always have a good bit of work in front of us. Of course, we can always still fit in some smaller jobs, like bathroom renovations, repairs or conversions.
“We’ll never turn our back on the smaller jobs because that’s what kept us intact during the recession. People appreciate when you make the effort to take on smaller jobs and it will stand to you in the long term as you will have more satisfied customers and a better reputation. It’s a small country and you can’t ever be thinking you’re too big to take on smaller projects.
“We’ll jump in and do a bathroom refurb, attic conversion or small timber-frame extension. We have an advantage there with the number of direct employees we carry. A lot of the bigger builders would only have a few employees and the rest are subbies … but it’s very hard to take on subbies for an extension. We have the manpower here for large and small projects and we can juggle them.”
Coming from a solid carpentry background, Darragh possesses an innate understanding of the importance of a perfect finish. “Carpentry is our backbone,” he confirms. “I’m a carpenter by trade myself and have trained a few of our lads. We do all our own carpentry and we pride ourselves on the quality of the work.”
Regarding his two appearances on Room To Improve, the Louth man states: “We initially did it for publicity. The first one was mid-recession and it would have been foolish not to do it. It was a success in that we got some publicity from it but I also lost a lot of time to people more interested in Dermot. The second time around we were better prepared for it.
“All in all, it paid off for us. If I’m tendering for a job or putting forward references, I can put Room To Improve on it and the episodes are on the RTE Player for everyone to see.”
Darragh runs the business in a distinctly hands-on manner. While he has a foreman on each job, he spends a lot of time on site himself and meets with the engineers, architects, clients, subbies, etc. “You’re only as good as your last job so you really have to keep the standards up. Luckily, my lads are all here so long now that they know the ropes and the standard that’s expected. But, every job is unique and you have to oversee it and make sure it’s being delivered to the very highest levels.”
Looking to the future, Darragh says maintaining those exceptionally high standards will remain a key priority for DMC Construction: “I’ve no ambition to become a super-builder with 100 employees because my role would turn to people management instead. I’m quite happy at the level I’m at. It’s a manageable level and I’d like to remain hands-on. The goal would be to keep attracting quality jobs and delivering quality work,” he concludes.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people were stung by builders who either took deposits before starting any work or carried out botched jobs, and that has damaged the industry as a whole. The industry needs to be regulated better to protect people from that kind of behaviour … that would certainly make my job a whole lot easier.
“Going forward, I would like to build on what we have and improve further on our standards and the quality of our work, hopefully while attracting a higher level of job. 99% of our work comes from referrals and repeat business and we work very closely with a couple of very good architects. We don’t advertise … if a builder needs to advertise, something is wrong.”
Tel: 041 9819877
Mobile: 087 2212686
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, November 2019, Vol 5 No 10