Based in Ballybane, Co Galway, McConway Construction delivers its clients the highest standard of construction solutions thanks to its extensive experience, collaborative performance and best practice in construction. Building Ireland touched base with Managing Director Gene McConway to learn all about this thriving business – from its origins to the projects it has on-going at the moment.
These are busy times at McConway Construction and the plan for owner and founder Gene McConway and the rest of the team in Ballybane is to try and keep things that way as the company continues its growth.
Established in 2011, the business has since become a formidable construction firm out west, adding a second location in Castlebar, and establishing a reputation when it comes to delivering excellent work for its clients.
Today, McConway Construction employs close to 30 full-time staff and is immersed in projects all around Galway and in Castlebar, Co Mayo.
Building Ireland spoke with Gene McConway to find out more about these projects, what impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on his company and his overall hopes for its future.
“We would have two strands to the company,” he outlined. “The first is the development side, which would be in Castlebar and at the moment we are building 68 houses there.
“We also have an industrial site there and, later in the year, we will be building 10 houses on another residential site in Castlebar as well.
“In Galway, we do the contracting, which is the other side to the business, and we have a number of on-going projects there including the Caragh Precision factory and a project for a large multi-national company.”
Galway is also where McConway Construction is currently working on a new garage and showrooms for Cunningham Autopoint, while out in Connemara the company are on new houses in Furbo beside the Connemara Coast Hotel.
It’s very much ‘all go’ for the business at the moment but Gene McConway took a methodical approach to developing the business which he set-up in 2011.
Back then, the Irish construction industry was in a very much different state, but McConway Construction was able to come through the tough times to the point where it is today; perhaps as busy as it has ever been.
“When we set-up in 2011, it was just contracting and we started the development side of the business in 2014,” said Gene, who is a qualified Civil Engineer.
“In 2011, we would’ve started in the depths of the recession.
“One of the biggest jobs we got at that time was a 22,000 square foot extension and after that we were fortunate with the clients that we got in with.”
The company has grown year on year since coming through the downturn and has established its name throughout the west of Ireland.
In more recent times, another challenge has come along in the shape of the Covid-19 pandemic and the government lockdowns which followed in order to try and combat the spread of the virus.
Speaking on the effect it had on his business, Gene said that the first couple of months of the initial lockdown in Spring 2020 saw projects shutdown practically overnight for McConway Construction.
“Lockdown impacted us greatly here,” he stated plainly. “Because we’re in the private market with many of our jobs, we were shut down here for those months during the first lockdown.
“Since we opened up again in May 2020, it has been very busy for us and we’ve added to the workforce here with seven or eight new employees coming on board in the last few months.
“It is different now with the price of materials because the goal posts seem to keep moving, but we’re still very busy here and hopefully things stay that way and the prices can level off.”
Every contractor nationwide will be hoping to see the cost of materials returning to some sort of normality sooner rather than later.
For now, McConway Construction is set to stay busy into 2023 with the projects it has on its books.
So, the burning question is, what has been the secret to the company’s success over the past 11 years?
How has a small start-up, established in the middle of a harsh economic recession for the Irish construction industry, grown into a leading construction firm in the west which is well-known for delivering the highest standard of construction solutions to its clients.
Gene himself cites a couple of reasons behind the continued growth of McConway Construction.
“I’d be very much hands-on in my approach and we’d also be very flexible in working with the client,” said the Managing Director.
“When we price a job, we try to do it with a view that there’ll be no additions to that price afterwards.
“That’s a big reason why clients choose us. Once we fix in a price, we generally stick to it and it’s something that our clients certainly appreciate.”
The company’s motto is “Big enough to do the job and small enough to care” and it’s something which has stood to the business since ‘Day One’.
Looking towards the coming months for McConway Construction, Gene himself is as optimistic as ever and says he intends to add to the workforce once more as the projects continue to come thick and fast.
“The hopes at the moment are to bring more staff on board in the months ahead,” he said.
“We’ve been able to add good people here in the last few months and hopefully we can add a few more.
“We’re in a very strong position in that developments are in very high demand for the time being and we’re hoping things stay like that into next year.”
Unit 44 Glenrock Business Park,
Bothar na Mine,
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 091 770 818
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, August 2022, Vol 8 No 8