Building a new home can be a very stressful experience and in many cases the client can be unsure of what they really want. However, there are some construction companies out there that place a great deal of emphasis on customer satisfaction.
Being part of the process gives the client the peace of mind of knowing what is going on through each phase of the project and while there are some companies who don’t give a great deal of attention to this aspect of the development, there are those who have built their reputation on ensuring that the client is kept happy.
One such company is the focus of this month’s issue of Building Ireland. For the past 16 years, Balcon Construction has been specialising in new builds and the company has built up an extensive and impressive portfolio of work during that time.
Based in the picturesque surroundings of Skerries, Co Dublin, the company, which was founded by Joe Clinton continues to be the leading building contractor in the locality.
For anyone that has taken the coastal drive around Skerries, not only would you comment on the beautiful landscape, but you are sure to mention the brilliant workmanship on some of the houses constructed in recent years.
Well, there is a good chance that Joe and his team were the main contractors on these jobs. Their work expands to Meath and Louth, while last year alone, they completed an impressive 12 new builds.
Joe admits that the pandemic has slowed the pace of the company down during these first few months of the year, but he stressed that they have plenty of work to look ahead too.
“We have eight sites on hold due to the pandemic, which is not only frustrating for ourselves, but for our clients also, but hopefully we will be back operating in the very near future,” stated Joe.
Eleven people are employed directly by the company, while Joe has a number of tried and trusted sub-contractors that are used on a regular basis.
“I’m fortunate to have a good team here, of the eleven people employed, five of those would be carpenters, and two are electricians, while we also have groundworkers. So, we can very much offer a turnkey service when it comes to building a new home.
“Many of the guys have been with me a number of years, while I look to use the same sub-contractors all the time. They know the quality of work that I expect from them and they never disappoint in that regard. Everyone works well together which is very important. You have to have accountability for your work and these guys take great pride in what they do. Trust is a big factor and I know I can trust them to do their work to the highest standard possible.”
Joe is adamant that working closely with the client is essential and the qualified Civil Engineer revealed that he is always in regular contact with them.
“I would either meet the client on site or bring them into the office every week and talk them through each stage that we were at. You have to manage the expectations of the client, give them a report on costs and basically keep them in the loop. Communication is the key and the fact is if the client is not happy, then our reputation is at stake, so it is imperative to ensure they know what is going on at all times.”
Joe started his Construction Business in early 2005 and felt the full force of the recession and the demise of the Celtic Tiger. Joe revealed that these were tough times but added that it was a learning experience as well.
“Our first few years went well, but from the second half of 2008, it was a lot tougher. We went from building eight or nine houses a year to building just two a year. Obviously, we had to tighten our belts, but we managed to come through it. The industry started to pick up again around 2013/14 and we haven’t looked back since.
“It certainly was a learning period with a lot of sacrifices, but I do believe we are a strong company for coming through it. We would be in a position now to be more selective when it comes to choosing work.
Joe is pleased with the direction of the business (pandemic aside) and he feels that the construction industry is in a good place at the moment, although he is cautious over the long-term future of the sector.
“I think the next few years will be alright. There is plenty of work on and it just depends what sort of an effect the pandemic has on the economy down the line. Nobody really knows at this stage.
“We will continue to produce the highest quality of work possible and ensure that our clients are pleased when a project is complete.”
With regards to housing developments, Joe said: “We are happy with what we do, but if the right partner came along, who knows what might happen, but that is something for the future.”
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This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, June, Vol 7 No 6