Galway-based KMG Mechanical Services Ltd specialise in the design, manufacture and installation of ventilation systems and Contracts Manager Darren O’Halloran told Building Ireland that the office phone is ringing non-stop these days.
Ensuring there is adequate indoor ventilation is one of the key protections in the ongoing battle against Covid-19 and employers throughout the country are seeking to play their part when it comes to helping reduce the transmission of the disease
According to Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre, the virus respiratory particles can travel over longer distances (i.e. more than 2 metres) and the evidence would suggest that this is most likely to happen in crowded indoor environments with prolonged exposure and when the ventilation in a room is poor.
Ventilation is the process of air exchange by bringing in fresh air from outside and removing indoor air, which may contain pollutants including virus particles, through mechanical or natural methods. Improving indoor ventilation and air quality will help reduce the risk from COVID-19 in particular for long range transmission.
That helps explain why there is an unprecedented demand for the services offered by ventilation specialists such as KMG Mechanical Services of Galway at this point in time.
“The level of enquires we’ve had, I’ve never seen anything like it – it’s crazy,” KMG’s Contracts Manager Darren O’Halloran revealed to Building Ireland.
“The phone rings non-stop every day and it’s all sorts of people at the other end of the call. Okay, your contractors already have their own understanding of what it is about and that’s fine but it’s the guys who are in offices, restaurants and pubs, some public bodies, county councils for example, and things like that.
“Every type of business you could ever imagine is ringing about ventilation these days. Where they would never have considered it or bothered about it before, nowadays there actually thinking about it. People are obviously more aware now on account of Covid. They are bringing people back to the office and they are thinking about changes they have to make to make it safer or upgrading their existing system to suit what’s happening now.
“Employers are definitely more conscious of it now. Like, I’ve been into a number of different large companies around here in Galway in particular that would be well known and they are looking at how to upgrade what they have to being better and to get more air flows, to accommodate the amount of people they are wanting to bring back into their office.”
It’s not today or yesterday that KMG Mechanical Services Ltd has established itself as a significant player in Ireland’s ventilation market. The company has been in operation for 24 years, covering mainly Connacht and surrounding counties, and has accumulated an impressive portfolio of successfully completed projects.
“Owner Kevin McGourty established the company in 1997,” Darren outlined, “and it was started from really humble beginnings. It started literally in a hay shed with a couple of machines but has grown year on year since then.
“A plumber by trade, Kevin would have started out servicing boilers but, slowly over time, he got into the ventilation side of the business. He spotted a niche in the market back in the day when the smoking ban came in. He very quickly cottoned on to the fact that pubs and restaurants were going to require ventilation. He was in on that from the very start with a few pubs and restaurants and, ever since then, ventilation has become the bigger part of the business.
“We are primarily ventilation specialists now. We still do some plumbing jobs but we are widely regarded as the ventilation specialists that you bring in to do your jobs. For instance, we do an enormous amount of work for the Tim Kelly Group and for the likes of Dominic O’Connor Ltd and Kirby Engineering, while we also regularly work with other building contractors.”
For his part, Darren joined the ever-burgeoning company seven years ago and has played an instrumental role in helping KMG navigate a period of sustained expansion. Today there are 20 employees on the weekly payroll and KMG has earned an enviable reputation for itself as a one-stop shop for all ventilation needs.
“That’s a key selling point for us. We manufacture our own duct work here. We can do our own jobs, we manufacture for ourselves but also for other people, and we install. We provide, if you like, the all-round service from a ventilation point of view.
“As a result, we are able to provide fast turnaround. We’re not waiting on materials to come in, we’re not waiting on someone else to make something. We can adapt on site if we have to change something to suit a situation – we can make the pieces, we can do the job and there is no hold up for anybody on the job.
“That’s why a lot of our clients come to us because we have that ability and, look, we have brilliant guys working for us. Our guys on site are well-known foremen, Richard Fox, Ronan Melvin, Tom Tierney and Jason Condon, they do a great job and are well respected on site.
“The same goes for the fellas here in the workshop, under the guidance of our Production Manager, Derek White. As long as everything goes out and there is no problem with it we are obviously doing a good job. We don’t get people coming back saying there is an issue with anything. We do a good job first time, every time, that’s the way we look at it.”
Considering the company’s current, and predicted future, workload, it was not surprising to hear from Darren that there are plans for future expansion in the pipeline.
“There is certainly a lot more room for us to expand in the manufacturing side and improve our efficiencies. We are also aiming to become more efficient on site too because, as we have grown, the size of the projects we have taken on have grown and require more man power on the ground. One time you could have four lads on a site but now you are talking about 8 to 10 to 12.
“There is plenty of room for us to grow further as a company as I can’t see the demand falling off any time soon. If anything, it’s just getting stronger and stronger,” Darren concluded.
KMG Mechanical Services Ltd
Unit 9A Race Course Business Park,
Tel: (091) 764 575
Mobile (Darren): 087 7690776
Mobile (Kevin): 087 2569456
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, April 2022, Vol 8 No 4