Brooks Timber & Buildings Supplies, Galway were well represented at the Octabuild Builders Merchant Excellence Awards 2019 ceremony in The Aviva Stadium on Thursday night, November 7th, having been nominated for two prestigious awards. Building Ireland visited the well-appointed Ballybrit premises to get an insight into one of Galway’s longest-established builders merchants from amiable branch manager Liam Brady.
The Octabuild Awards, which acknowledge annually the best in the builders merchant trade, were revamped for 2019 with a renewed focus on excellence that reflects the modern builders merchant sector in terms of business management, customer service, sales & marketing, innovation, leadership, diversity, partnership and communication.
When the shortlist for this year’s awards ceremony was announced, Brooks Timber & Buildings Supplies in Galway – who provide a comprehensive range of high-quality building supplies to both public and trade customers – had the unique distinction of being nominated in two categories.
With a total of 16 builders merchants in contention for three regional and five category awards, the Ballybrit store was shortlisted for the coveted Connacht and Ulster Regional Award. Meanwhile, their popular young team member Cormac Wickenden was shortlisted for the inaugural Octabuild ‘Rising Star’ Award – a newly-introduced accolade which allows builders merchants to acknowledge up and coming talent in their business.
The showcase awards presentations were staged on the evening of Thursday, November 7th in the luxurious surrounds of The Aviva Stadium, Dublin 4, where all shortlisted merchants were guests of Octabuild members Dulux, Glennon Brothers, Gyproc, Instantor, Irish Cement, Kingspan Insulation, Tegral Building Products and Wavin.
Branch manager Liam Brady was delighted that Brooks Galway were so well represented at this keynote awards ceremony: “To be nominated for the regional award put us in the running for one of the eight main awards on the night, which was great,” he notes. “We were delighted to be shortlisted as we had put a lot of work into our application and decided that if we were going to do it, we were going to do it right.”
Which is in keeping with the Brooks Timber & Buildings Supplies, Galway modus operandi since the business’ inception. Originally established in the early 1700s, Brooks Timber & Building Supplies is one of Galway’s longest-established and progressive builders merchants. The business moved to its current location in the Racecourse Road in June, 2002 and continues to go from strength to strength, growing by 20-25% per annum over the past three years alone.
Brooks Timber & Buildings Supplies, Galway is part of the celebrated Brooks Group, which comprises a total of seven outlets nationwide, the others located in Sligo, Cork, Tullamore, Glasnevin, Sandyford and Bluebell. Brooks has been an institution in the Irish construction industry, tracing its history back to 1789.
With a wholly customer-focused approach, Brooks’ business is the distribution of timber products and building materials to house builders and contractors, joinery and furniture manufacturers, other builder merchants, subcontractors, house factories, and end-users (DIY) through outlets open to public, as well as through direct-to-site delivery.
Brooks product offering consists of six main product groups: timber & wood products; heavy building material; ironmongery and shop products; flooring; plumbing & heating; and landscaping. Offering expert advice to back up their wide range of quality products, the vastly-experienced team at Brooks Galway strive to build customer relationships through their customer-focused approach and are committed to providing top quality products and service.
Epitomising this approach is Cormac Wickenden, a key member of the team who was shortlisted for the inaugural ‘Rising Star’ Award at the Octabuild Builders Merchant Excellence Awards 2019. “Cormac is critical to how we run the show,” Liam confirms. “He’s an excellent young man, who has excelled since joining our team three years ago. He’s an exception all-rounder who fulfils a number of duties, including purchasing, stock control and deliveries.
“It’s the nature of this business now, with branches so busy, that you need personnel who can go down a lot of different avenues and Cormac is certainly a dynamic and capable young man.”
At present, Brooks Timber & Buildings Supplies, Galway generates employment for 15 people in total and Liam says they are “pivotal” to the growth and viability of the business. “One thing we are very proud of is that we have staff involvement in everything we do here. All our plans and structures are carried out and completed with full staff input. We have local guys working here, who are well known and able to relate to people as well as having excellent product knowledge.”
Liam has been branch manager since 2017 and, since the business was restructured some 18 months ago, Brooks Galway have been outperforming the other branches in the group with steady year-on-year growth of up to 25%.
As well as being a staple of the construction industry in the west, Brooks Timber & Buildings Supplies, Ballybrit is also a progressive and forward-thinking operation. To this end, they have embraced the renewable sector and hold agencies for ProAir Systems, Partel and BroMur – three outstanding locally-based companies. “Although we’re still well known as RIAT-certified timber merchants and builders providers, we’ve taken a massive leap into the renewable sector and can design, specify and certify full packages for commercial and domestic properties. We are the only builders merchants doing that and it is a move that has really paid off for us.
“We’ve taken on a new in-house plumbing team and have invested in three new staff members in partnership with ProAir, for whom we are the official agent nationwide.” ProAir Systems are Irish specialists in heat recovery ventilation, who design, manufacture and install their systems throughout Ireland and the UK. “The focus is on achieving zero heat loss. We have also taken on official agencies with Partel and BroMur. We recognised that this is where we needed to be and it has gone very well so far.”
In another move to improve their service levels, Brooks Galway also took on TJ Brennan Transport, Claremorris as their haulage partner and the genesis of a flawless delivery service has further strengthened their hand.
An upturn in construction activity locally comes as another welcome boost: “Absolutely – there are three or four cranes on the horizon in Galway city and we haven’t seen that in a long time,” says Liam. “Between residential sites and one-off new builds and renovations, there’s plenty of activity at the moment. The challenge for us to make sure we can offer exactly what people need. In this respect, we are very service-orientated and we strive to be the best.”
For decades, Brooks Timber & Buildings Supplies, Galway have proven themselves to be the best of the best and, looking to the future, there’s no sign of any let-up in their quest to lead the way: “We’re constantly striving to develop and improve,” Liam concludes. “Everything is process driven and structured at both branch level and national level. As a branch, we plan a year ahead and we certainly won’t be sitting still.
“We’ve upped out service big time and will keep improving and growing. We like to give something back to the local community as our way of showing our gratitude to the local people, be that through our support of The Galway Races, Connacht Rugby or any other local sponsorship we take on. At the end of the day, we are under no illusions as to what our customers – and the local community in general – mean to us: we wouldn’t be where we are today without them and we are extremely thankful for their loyalty and support.”
Brooks Timber & Buildings Supplies,
Tel: 091 752777
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, December 2019/January 2020, Vol 5 No 11