For any business to be successful, it is essential to be able to invest in the latest technology in order to develop your offerings whilst maintaining the highest standards possible.To this end, Kildare headquartered Carnehill Contracting continue to strive to improve the level of services and product variety they provide to their ever-expanding customer base.
With over 16 years of steady growth, Carnehill is one of Irelands leading contractors in the supply and installation of metal stud partitions, dry linings, suspended ceilings and complete joinery & furniture packages. They have built an enviable reputation for cost efficiency, project delivery and first-rate quality. Excelling in planning at the concept stage and providing problem-free, fast-fit solutions that work within cost and program parameters, thereby establishing lasting relationships with key clients in the retail, education, leisure, student and commercial sectors.
Typical partition installations include stud partitions, external wall lining systems, column fire encasement shaft, wall construction and structural steel stud systems. Only the best suppliers in the business are used, including Gypsum, Lafarge and Knauf.Carnehill offer a full range of ceiling specifications from plasterboard ceilings to decorative suspended grid ceilings. These include metal panelled mineral fibre and glass fibre ceilings where manufacturers include Armstrong, SAS Ceilings, CEP Ceilings.
We speak to founder and managing director Niall O’Kane to learn more about the widespread range of services provided from his new ventures also.
In 2017 Carnehill expanded considerably by creating the Carnehill Group. Opening a large scale joinery manufacturing factory, eastablished as Carnehill Joinery. Alongside a cold-rolled steel factory; Precision Framing Systems, which designs and manufactures light gauge structural steel framing solutions. Both businesses are able to supply a range of clients as well as their sister company Carnehill Contracting. The fact that Carnehill Group employs 243 personnel, gives an idea of the size of the business’s as Niall revealed that the scope to grow within the business is there and encouraged for all employees.
Carnehill Joinery manufactures fire rated doors and screens, staircases, acoustic panelling, contract kitchens, fitted furniture and can also undertake specialst bespoke joinery items such as reception desks. All works are carried out in-house, where a skilled workforce engages state-of-the-art technology and systems to guarantee top-quality craftsmanship and outstanding finishes. “We have purchased over 40 machines in the last 2 years and tripled our staffing numbers”, said Niall. “Our joinery factory can produce anywhere between 350-400 door sets per week alongside 80-90 kitchens, which probably makes us the biggest producer of this combined offering in the country.”
Precision Framing Systems was established to fulfill the structual steel framing market. A huge amount of time has been invested to develop new systems that excel at fire ratings, are fast to construct, create zero waste on site and are completely recyclable. Light gauge steel (LGS) framing is still relatively new in the industry but its predicted to overtake timber framing completely in time. It’s the perfect solution to build affordable homes fast and to last, whilst being much more envrionmentally sensitive.
“These steel structures are light and can be built very quickly, they are stronger than timber frames, can be shaped to any form and clad and insulated with a wide range of materials.” Niall confirms. “Light gauge steel structures are also non-combustible and will not rot, shrink, warp or decompose and always run true. They have an incredible 250 year life expectancy in ‘warm frame’ conditions.”
“We have been researching and developing extensively over the past few years and have invested over €3.5m evolving this modern method of constructon, purchasing 3 state of the art – made bespoke to our spec – cold rolling machines and obtaining SCI (Steel Construction Institute) and NHBC certs.
“The PFS team have been developing our own unique residential light gauge steel framing details to include concrete floors and party walls, which create superior fire, acoustic & thermal performance to current market availability, whilst only requiring minimal foundations.”
“We can build an eleven-storey building using only LGS, with no structural steel required, no blocks and no concrete. It’s big business in the UK and we’ve already completed a seven-storey apartment building in Portstewart called The Ebb, which was the first of its kind in Ireland.””The Carnehill Group is the only company in Ireland with its own in-house design, manufacture, supply and fit system in place for metal frame structural solutions on an extensive scale.”
Precision Framing has been involved in some notable projects in Ireland, building the Centre Parcs apartments for John Sisk & Sons, 5 and 6 story hotel extensions in Dublin for Walls Construction, currently installing LGS on Dublin’s prestiguous Facebook project and 100’s of thousands of metres of structural infill framing integrated in schools and many commercial sites in Dublin and across Ireland.
Niall reminds us that the team you have around you plays a huge part. “The majority of our team have been with us since the beginning, their ‘Carnehill-Can-Do’ attitude has become something of a mantra across our sites and workshops.
“Our team are experienced, committed, friendly and helpful, with client safety and satisfaction at the forefront of everything they do.
At Carnehill we recognise it’s the loyalty and outstanding expertise of our team that has enabled us to grow steadily, undertaking progressively larger and more complex projects over the years.”
Niall revealed that they are operating at 80% of their capacity and he explained to us the reason for this.”As there are always unforeseen issues within construction and manufacturing, we operate under the 80/20 rule, we reserve 20% capacity to react to site conditions/clients needs immediately without it impacting on productivity lead times.”
As stated Carnehill is going from strength to strength and this year, the Carnehill Group turnover is set to collectively break the €27 million mark.”Business is good at the moment, we have a lot of work ongoing both here and the UK. We are very happy with the current direction of the business, although we are continuously looking at ways to improve.”“We have been and continue to invest considerable funds,” he reiterates. “Investment is key to continuous improvement and innovation and that is the route that we have chosen to enable us to offfer our clients products and services above and beyond their expectations and that of our competitiors.”
About 85% of thier work is carried out for main contractors such as John Sisk & Son, Walls Construction, JJ Rhatigan, ABM Design & Build, Bennetts Construction and Western Building Systems, while the OPW and Dublin City Council are other prominent customers.Niall admits that ensuring the client receives the highest quality of service and product is something that they take pride in.”You have to work efficiently and offer them a reason to appoint you over a competitor and this often comes down to something other than price. We can speed things up on site because we are in control of the entire manufacture and fit-out supply chain. We can co-ordinate all aspects, whereas if they didn’t have Carnehill they could have 5 different specialist sub-contractors all with their own individual supply chain, all pulling in different directions.”These are exciting times for the Carnehill Group of companies, already proven themselves as the fit-out contractor of choice and now demonstrating their extensive expertise in the pioneering new world of light gauge steel framing.
Carnehill Contracting Ltd.
Unit 5D, Kilowen House,
South Link Business Park,
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, May/June 2020, Vol 6 No 3