Operating out of Ballycommon, Tullamore, County Offaly, KE Mann Builders is an exceptional client-focused, family-run construction contracting company fronted by Kieran Mann and his uncle Eugene. Building Ireland caught up with the former to get an insight into this highly-regarded, industry-leading business, which invariably delivers projects that go above and beyond customer expectations.
The dedicated uncle and nephew team behind KE Mann Builders, Eugene and Kieran Mann, boast a wealth of experience of construction, having worked extensively in the industry for 30 and 20 years respectively. Although it wasn’t until 2015 that they joined forces to establish the family business, the duo had already accumulated invaluable practical experience of construction, which enables them to run KE Mann with a hands-on approach and the keenest attention to detail.
Eugene is a block layer by trade whilst Kieran is a carpenter. Their combined on-site expertise complemented by inside knowledge of how to oversee projects from start to finish, the Manns build and foster strong working relationships with clients to ensure that each and every job is completed on time, within budget and to the customer / architect’s exact specifications.
Members of Home Bond, KE Mann Builders specialise in residential projects – new builds, refurbishments, extensions and restoration work, mostly within County Offaly. Generating direct employment for a tight crew of four family members, they also enlist the services of tried and trusted subcontractors, who have proven that they can meet the exacting standards that Kieran and Eugene demand.
The fact that the directors have worked in construction all their lives is without doubt one of the key strengths of KE Mann Builders as this enables them to provide a personal touch on every project. They come from a family of proud, skilled and accomplished tradesmen, skills handed down from generation to generation, Kieran for example having served his time under the watchful eye of his uncle Joe.
“My father and uncles were all involved in building – they all had trades and there is a strong family tradition there,” he notes. “We are hands-on ourselves and we are on-site on every project. We don’t just organise the work; we do as much of it ourselves as we can. We hire in specialist subcontractors for the electrical, plumbing, plastering and windows but do everything else ourselves.”
KE Mann Builders is very much a family-orientated business first and foremost, possessed with the strong, traditional ethos that goes hand-in-hand with that status. “The two guys we have with us full time are both family as well,” Kieran confirms. “Mattie Brazil is my cousin and Eugene’s nephew, as is Ciaràn Gannon. So family is important to us and we know it is also important to our customers, so we go out of our way to give them a family home built or renovated to the very highest standards. We bring a personal touch to every project, we are in constant contact with the client and we are all highly motivated to produce a finished product that they are extremely happy with – when you are putting your name on it, then you are doubly determined to exceed expectations and make sure the work is top quality.”
Eugene and Kieran pride themselves on exceptional workmanship, using top-quality materials and proven personnel, which leads to a high volume of recommendations and positive referrals. “You are the last one out of the job and you have to make sure you leave a great finish behind you because that building is your calling card. You treat it like it’s your own home and finish it right. Consistency is key and you can’t ever let your standards drop. I can honestly say we have finished every job to the same high level – it’s worth the effort because a good finish will bring you more work in the future.
“Good communication with the customer is also vitally important. You have to talk to them all the time, through all stages of the process, keep them in the loop and make sure they are happy with everything as it happens. I make myself available to the client around the clock. You have to keep those lines of communication open to make sure there are no misunderstandings.”
Although construction was again adversely affected by the public health restrictions during Q1 2021, Kieran says KE Mann Builders were quite fortunate in that they didn’t experience any significant reduction in activity: “We’ve been busy enough, thankfully. We had some essential works to finish off and that tided us over – one extension and renovation job and another with footpaths and other little bits and pieces to finish off.
“Some materials have been harder to get as a lot of production either stopped or slowed down but, all in all, it hasn’t been too bad. At the moment, we’re waiting to start renovating an old house and we also have a couple of small extension and renovation jobs in the pipeline. We do quite a bit of restoration works on old houses and we really enjoy that kind of work.”
One such project, completed in 2017, was the painstaking and meticulous restoration of a landmark townhouse (built in 1786!) at No.6 High Street, Tullamore for Tanya Ross – daughter of local architect Frank Murray.
A building contractor is only as good as the men brought to site and, in this regard, KE Mann Builders insist on quality, experience, flexibility and focus. “We’ve been using the same electricians and plumbers since we started,” says Kieran.
“Quality and attention to detail is what we are looking for in every aspect of the build. We try to keep it on budget, although for obvious reasons this isn’t always possible, especially with renovations, where extras will crop up as you progress – but you have to use your experience and expertise to keep the additional costs down as much as possible on behalf of your client.”
KE Mann Builders’ appreciation of and focus on family values sets them apart from many larger building contractors as they have an innate understanding of their clients and can readily relate to them. “We provide a one-on-one service and we are transparent at all times,” Kieran concludes. “When we go to meet somebody, we will go through with them in great detail what needs to be done and we will be on-site ourselves and always just a phone call away. That relationship with the client is paramount.
“As we are tradesmen ourselves, and do a lot of the work on-site, we maintain close control of the project throughout and keep it all geared towards an outstanding finish. It’s the finished work that you are going to see, so you have to invest a lot of time and effort into achieving a top-quality, tidy and attractive finish.”
KE Mann Builders Ltd.,
Tel: 087 6884856 (Kieran) / 086 3512198 (Eugene)
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, August, Vol 7 No 8