Truwood hit the headlines on Wednesday, November 27th last when the County Monaghan based specialist joinery company was named as Fit Out Sub-Contractor of the Year at the 2019 Fit Out Awards. Building Ireland touched base with Ross McKenna to find out more about this exceptional, industry-leading family-run operation.
The last Wednesday night of November 2019 was certainly one to remember for Truwood as Emmet and Laura McKenna were presented with the prestigious Sub-Contractor of the Year Award at the annual Fit Out Awards, which took place at the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin.
“The award is great recognition for all the hard work that went into the company over the past twelve months and for the projects we were involved in during this time,” reflects Ross.
“Center Parcs in Longford, The Mont Hotel in Merrion Square and VHI Healthcare on Abbey Street, for example, were all prestigious projects.
“Center Parcs is Ireland’s largest-ever tourism project and was the largest rural development in Ireland in the past twelve months. To be part of that along with John Sisk was the highlight of the year for us. We had previously carried out works on Dun Laoghaire Library for Sisk, which was another massive project, and we’re currently on site at the Grangegorman DIT campus for them, where the package includes stairs, wall panelling and ceiling panelling within the lecture theatres and recital halls.”
The largest project undertaken by Truwood to date, Center Parcs in Ballymahon, County Longford was delivered on time and within budget. Not only did this project utilise different species of timber and sheet materials, but it also included solid surfaces, stone, metalworks, glass and upholstery and thus showcased Truwood’s comprehensive array of specialist works at its best.
The €233m campus opened its doors in August 2019 and this woodland has been transformed into a visitor centre like no other in Ireland. Truwood completed the largest bespoke joinery package in the centre buildings, carrying out fantastic work in a number of the food & beverage areas, retail stores, children’s activity areas and the Aqua Sana Spa. They worked on a total of eleven packages at Center Parcs, with a contract value of €2m over a busy eight-month period.
Truwood is a family owned and managed specialist joinery company servicing the interior fit out sector. Specialising in hospitality and commercial projects they provide bespoke joinery and associated works for both new build and refurbishment projects.
Located in Emyvale in north County Monaghan, the company was established in 1981 and has grown considerably from humble beginnings (with a few workers operating basic tools in a garage) to boast over 50 employees today in their current ISO-certified, 30,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility.
The company experienced notable growth during the three-year period 2016–2019 inclusive, seeing turnover increase by over 32% during this period. Having forged close working relationships with all of Ireland’s leading main contractors and many commercial clients, architects and designers, Truwood are recognised as a leading bespoke joinery and fitted furniture solutions provider, invariably meeting the exact needs of clients.
Although much of their business is based within the domestic Irish market, they also continue to work globally, with projects completed in the UK, Switzerland, the Caribbean and the US in the last year. Truwood have also manufactured bespoke furniture for projects in Spain, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Iraq, Israel and Sri Lanka over the years.
The level of repeat business secured on a regular basis is testimony to Truwood’s standing as a progressive, financially-sound business providing a professional approach on every project. Equipped with the most advanced equipment and machinery, Truwood invest heavily in new machinery each year to stay ahead of an ever-changing market, their highly qualified and skilled joiners and craftsmen imbued with the ability to create any bespoke element precisely as specified by the designer, architect and client.
Aside from working with all timber species and sheet materials, many of Truwood’s finished products include a wide spectrum of materials including solid surfacing, marble, stone, metalworks, glass and upholstery. An advanced project management programme combined with a continuous quality-check process ensures that Truwood always deliver on time or in shorter lead times.
With coming up on four decades of experience, Truwood’s dedication to quality craftsmanship, combined with a dedicated focus on the customer, has been the driving force behind the company’s enduring success.
Currently on site at Leopardstown Racecourse and Grange Gorman Campus as well as a wide variety projects in the capital and across the island, the company continues to set the standard for bespoke commercial joinery solutions. “Once the finished designs are approved, we manufacture the furniture here at our HQ in Monaghan before delivering to site and installing,” Ross continues. “Delivering a quick turnaround on every project is one of our key strengths. To this end, we have highly skilled personnel and we’ve also reinvested substantially back into the business to make sure we are able to move with the times. We’ve invested in a lot of new machinery recently, including a new beam saw, edge bander, drum sander, panel saw and spindle as well as a new extraction system.
“We’re also in the process of completing a new purpose-built, state-of-the-art 12,000 sq ft factory extension, which will enable us to increase productivity, capabilities and overall profitability. This will include two purpose-made loading bays to further reduce lead times whilst increasing our output as well as a new, eco-friendly finishing area. We’ve placed an order for a new specialist spray booth from Italy which will raise our standards even higher. The automated spray line with robotic arm for spraying architraves, skirting, panels and kitchen doors will ensure that the quality of finish is both consistent and to the highest standard possible.”
For main contractor Townmore Construction, Truwood delivered the fitted furniture package at the refurbished Mont Hotel, Merrion Square, which was completed in July and boasts striking, quirky and edgy interiors. Here, Truwood completed works on the buzzing Sin Bin Bar, the fabulous Speranza Italian Style restaurant and the stylish and contemporary reception area.
Meanwhile, Collen was the main contractor for the award-winning and sustainable project at VHI Healthcare on Abbey Street, which was completed in May. Truwood were delighted to carry out works in all six phases. The contemporary works included acoustic wall panelling and screens, reception and security desks, kitchens, colourful feature walls and seating. Incorporating joinery and metalworks, the end result is a building which is light and both contrasts and complements the original gothic church design.
Some other recently-completed projects include the brand new Hendricks Gin distillery in Scotland for McLaughlin & Harvey; Krispy Kreme’s first-ever Irish store in Blanchardstown Shopping Centre for Flynn MC; Leinster House for Duggan Brothers; NTMA for MAC Group; RCOP for Gilbert-Ash; and O’Reilly Hall, UCD for JJ Rhattigans as well as work for Mastercard in Sandyford and Facebook at their Ballsbridge HQ.
“Our skilled staff are at the heart of the company and we are currently recruiting skilled joiners and machinists,” Ross continues. “We have an apprentice programme here with on-site training and have five apprentices on board at the moment. There are plenty of opportunities for internal promotion”
Working consistently with a who’s who of main contractors, from Sisk to Collen, Rhattigan to Walls, MAC Interiors to Duggan, etc., etc. Truwood’s order book is full for the next four to five months and further growth seems inevitable for this pioneering, industry-leading, award-winning specialist joinery company.
“We feel honoured to be employing 50+ people in a rural part of Monaghan and we will do what we can to safeguard those jobs going forward,” Ross adds. “There is scope for further growth, but our main priority is to maintain and wherever possible improve our standards.
“We are working with the best main contractors because we are willing to go above and beyond to meet their deadlines. We have built strong relationships with all our clients. They know deadlines will be met, that we’ll stick to programme and that quality is always adhered to. If there are ever any issues, we address them immediately.”
Returning to Truwood’s achievement in being crowned Fit Out Sub-Contractor of the Year at the Fit-Out Awards, Ross concludes: “Recognition from your peers is the greatest achievement of all in business. The judging panel at the Fit-Out Awards consisted of well-renowned architects and designers, and to be recognised by them is a special achievement. It’s a culmination of all the hard work that went into making 2019 our most progressive year to date.”
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This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, February/March 2020, Vol 6 No 1