Smith Groundworks and Civil Engineering Ltd covers all sectors of the construction industry and has built up a solid list of clientele in doing so. Managing Director Pat Smith told Building Ireland all about what the Carlow-based company has to offer.
Coming up on 20 years in business, Smith Groundworks and Civil Engineering Ltd continues to lead the way when it comes to their wide range of services in ground works, road works, demolition and civil engineering.
The company was founded by Carlow native Pat Smith back in 1997 and in that time it has grown from a modest outfit into a leader in its field, specialising in all aspects of earthworks from bulk excavations to foundations as well as the laying of watermains, electrical ducting and sewer and storm water lines.
Smith Groundworks and Civil Engineering also have waste collection permits for the entire Leinster region and provide skilled, experienced and dedicated workers who complete work to the highest standard and on time.
Their long list of completed projects attest to this, as Pat himself explained when we caught up with him recently.
“We’re here in Hacketstown in Co Carlow and the company itself would be officially established since 1997,” he explained
“We employ 20 full-time staff here, including my son Pauric, who is a truck driver, and basically what we do is provide the whole package for our clients.
“We do digger work for foundations, we do all drains, communication cables; you name it. We’ve four trucks on the road at the moment and we hire in more whenever we need them for bigger projects or whatever the case is.”
In more recent years, the company has been concentrating on work of educational buildings and property – a common practice for many construction outfits during the economic downturn.
Last year, Smith Groundworks and Civil Engineering completed work on Arklow Community College in Co Wicklow, a contract which was undertaken by trusted clients Sammon Contracting Ltd.
The project involved the construction of a new 14 classroom school with an overall floor area of approximately 4600m2 and the sub-contract package consisted of 10000m2 topsoil strip, 7000m3 bulk dig, 500m3 foundation pour, 1500m of drainage including diversion of a live sewer, 1200m site services and all associated inspection chambers, connections etc.
Pat explained that he and his staff worked closely with the main contractor to create a plan of action which allowed them to complete all site services and drainage including connections to live mains in a single phase of work. This resulted in a complete array of services being in place, connected and ready for use while the building was only at floor level.
In doing this, they allowed the main contractor to proceed with the construction of the building without disturbance and ensured that when the building was completed, all services could be immediately commissioned without further disruption or excavation works.
Other recent school related projects in the Leinster region include St David’s NS in Naas, Co Kildare, New Ross Senior and Junior Schools in Castlemoyle, New Ross, Co Wexford, St Brendan’s College, Bray, Co Wicklow and St Patrick’s GSN, Foxrock Co Dublin. Abbey Community College in Ferrybank, in Co Waterford can also be added to the list as well.
So it’s safe to say that business is going well at the moment for Pat and co?
“We’re very busy right now,” Pat replied. “We are currently finishing two schools and after that we’ll soon be starting a new sports hall in Castleknock.
“We’re also working on two schools in Carlow with Sammon Building and a 54 housing estate in Dublin, so we’re definitely kept busy.”
As for the barren years of the recession, which saw so many in the Irish construction industry devastated by business fold ups, Pat doesn’t try and conceal the fact that it was a struggle with plenty of unpaid work having been completed at the time.
“Look, we were the same as everyone else at the time. There were a lot of people that owed us money and some of it we never got – you just have to get on with it,” he said.
“At that time everybody was baying for blood and a lot of companies went bust but thankfully we came through it. We’re experiencing a bit of an upturn now at the minute and you can’t complain about that.”
He added: “We’ve also taken on a couple of new lads lately and if things keep going the way they are now, we’ll have to take on some more.”
Increasing staff numbers is no surprise to see as Pat is a man keen on getting the job done right, meaning he won’t leave himself short-handed, and that’s part of the reason why outfits like Mythen Construction in Wexford and Duggan’s in Tipperary have stuck with Smith Groundworks and Civil Engineering Ltd for the best part of 20 years.
“We’ve built up a solid reputation down through the years and we’ve delivered for our clients time and time again. We are reliable, and I think that’s very important in this line of work. If we say we’re going to be there at such a time, we’ll be there.”
Demolition work is something the company have adapted into their repertoire of services over the past decade or so and it has seen them becoming first choice for plenty of projects since.
“We got our lads here trained up to carry out demolition for big projects and they’ve all the certificates now,” said the Managing Director.
Pat’s own training in the construction game dates back to more than 30 years ago when he spent some time in England and since he came home he hasn’t really looked back.
“I’d have worked in London during the 1980s and I came back then in 1991 and eventually ended up starting my own business. We got a couple of contracts and things just took off from there, really,” he said.
“We’re a long time established now and we’re always interested in meeting new clients. We’ve a couple of on-going contracts now at the moment and a few more things in the pipeline for later on in the year, hopefully.”
Smith Groundworks and Civil Engineering Ltd
Address: Constable Hill, Hacketstown, Co Carlow
Phone: 059 6471827
Mob: 087 2771939
E: [email protected]
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, August 2016, Vol 2 No 4