Flying the Presidential flag for Building Contractors

26 Aug , 2015  

Clancy’s managing director John O’Shaughnessy was elected president of the Master Builders’ and Contractors’ Association (MBCA) earlier this year. Here, he talks about goings-on at the Tipperary-headquartered company and the issues pertaining to the industry at present.

It has been an eventful couple of years for Thurles man John who, following on from his appointment as managing director in succession to Pat Clancy in 2013, was elected president of the Master Builders’ and Contractors’ Association in January. The MBCA is a constituent association of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), and represents general building contractors.

Its membership comprises almost 1,000 companies, large and small, located throughout Ireland. Members of the MBCA are primarily involved in the construction of buildings for public and private sector clients, including projects such as the new Criminal Courts Complex, the National Convention Centre and the Aviva Stadium. The Association is dedicated to improving the efficiency and sustainability of the industry, and to promoting the welfare of its members.
While the recession would appear to be over for Dublin-based builders, the rest of the country has yet to experience a recovery of the same scale and this is something the MBCA is eager to address.

“What we’re seeing now is a two-tier construction sector,” John says.

“It’s busy in Dublin, but quiet outside of it. The pick-up has been much slower outside Dublin than expected. Financing and below-cost tendering are two huge issues. With banks not lending more than 65 per cent for development finance  many house builders aren’t in a position to make up the balance.

“I’m convinced that if the Government reduced the VAT rate from 13.5 per cent to nine per cent, it would boost the housing recovery.”

The CIF recently published its ‘12 Steps for 20,000 Construction Jobs’ guide which is aimed at encouraging politicians to take simple actions which could enhance construction employment throughout the country. Among the measures suggested were the implementation of the Construction Contracts Act, which was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins in July 2013, completion of the review of the Public Works Contracts and implement the required changes, and enactment of legislation which will allow for a Registered Employment Agreement (REA) / Registered Employment Order (REO) for industrial sectors.

“I welcome moves to bring certainty to Public Works Contracts,” John continues.

“The implementation of the Construction Contracts Act has been delayed, but we remain hopeful that it will happen in February 2016 or even sooner. The sooner the Government publishes a date, the better. It will protect payments through the supply chain and bring greater cash-flow into the industry.

“We would love a situation where every builder in the country is a member of CIRI (Construction Industry Register Ireland). Only competent and experienced construction companies and builders are on the CIRI list.”

Clancy’s has emerged from the recession a better and stronger company, according to its managing director. Involved in construction and development since 1947, the company is steadily building itself back up and is looking to the future with renewed optimism.

“We saw the downturn coming in 2007 and took the necessary measures to stay in business,” John remembers.

“We reduced our staff from 300 to 50, treating everyone fairly in the process. Our annual turnover fell from €70 million to €15 million. We are now back up to 100 staff and are on course for a turnover of €40 million this year. Our aim is to maintain that figure over the next few years. We also have many high quality sub-contractors on our books which is important to us if we are to continue with our growth strategy.”

Originally a family business, Clancy constructs large-scale projects nationwide for both the public and private sectors through its offices in Thurles, Dublin and Limerick. Clancy has vast experience in ‘design and build’ contracts in the areas of commercial, healthcare, education, leisure, residential, industrial, renovation and restoration.

It is currently working on projects at 14 different locations across the country, including Cork University Hospital, Beaumont Hospital, Ballinasloe Public Library, Crumlin Children’s Hospital, UCC and Arrabawn Co-Op in Nenagh. Clancy is also undertaking a social housing project for Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council, having just completed a similar scheme for South Dublin County Council in Tallaght.

Listening is a key part of the company’s strategy to ensure it fully understands the objectives of the project and the client’s concerns about particular aspects of it. Once Clancy fully understands the project, it resources it with the most experienced project manager and team to ensure that it is executed with the minimum of fuss and in accordance with agreed timelines and budget.

Clancy is flexible which means it has extensive experience in commercial, public sector and residential developments. Its continued investment in technology ensure clients have access to important innovations such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), which is rapidly transforming complex building processes and is a key part of the 2020 Construction Strategy.

Clancy is a leading industry exponent of BIM and wants clients to understand the enormous benefits and savings it can offer. BIM allows Clancy to view every aspect of a project – fully realised and vivid in 3D. Each change in design, scheduling or materials is instantly available to every member of the building team,  from engineering and purchasing to mechanical and electrical.

The company uses BIM throughout the life of a project. Starting early in the design stage, Clancy works and collaborates with designers, sub-contractors and owners to identify the risk areas on the job and leverages the use of BIM to control that risk. This includes applications such as 3D virtual sub-contractor coordination, estimating, scheduling, constructability reviews, logistics planning and handover for practical Facility Management use for the client.

Clancy’s are fully aware that health and safety is paramount to all work it engages in and is proud of the fact that it is Grade A SafeT Certified. It will give you, the customer, comfort to know that Clancy operates a Grade A safety management system that only a very few companies in Ireland have achieved.

Clancy’s are one of just 110 Irish companies that are Deloitte Best Managed Company award winners. John collected the prestigious award on behalf of the company at a gala night in Dublin’s RDS on Friday, March 6 last.

The awards programme recognises indigenous Irish companies which are operating at the highest levels of business performance. It is the only awards programme that considers a business’ performance from every possible known perspective.

John O’Shaughnessy has over 25 years’ experience working in Ireland’s construction industry. He joined Clancy’s in 1992 and over the years held positions such as site technician, site manager and contracts manager. He was appointed contracts director in 2003, deputy managing director in 2007 and managing director in 2013. John is the current president of Thurles Chamber and a member of the national executive of the CIF.

Clancy (Head Office)
Co. Tipperary.
Tel:     052 91 52166
Fax:    052 91 52280
Web:     www.clancy.ie

Taken from Building Ireland magazine Vol 1 No 1, Autumn 2015