Operating from Kilcolgan, Co Galway, McNamara Construction delivers high quality customer focused building services to public and private sector clients. Building Ireland touched base with Luke McNamara recently to find out all about the company – from its origins to the projects it has on-going at the moment around the west of the country.
The McNamara name is one which is tried and trusted when it comes to delivering private and public sector construction projects throughout the west of Ireland.
When John McNamara established his construction business as a sole trader way back in the 1950s, he did so with the intention of making a successful run at it and earned a reputation along the way as a hardworking and honest builder in the Galway area.
Now, some 70 years on from the inception of his venture, John’s son Luke McNamara has followed in his footsteps.
Having joined his father’s business in 1997, John McNamara & Sons Ltd was formed as a limited company and two years later Luke took over the running of the family company.
Now known as McNamara Construction, the operation is based in Roveagh, Kilcolgan and has 12 direct and 10 part-time staff with Luke’s wife Donna McNamara the Head Office Financial Controller.
Building Ireland caught up with Luke to learn more about the business, its projects and its overall hopes going forward.
“We do a mix of commercial, public sector and private work,” he outlined. “We have done a lot of high end one-off houses in the private sector but in recent years a lot of our turnover has come from commercial and public sector work.
“In the public sector we have built new schools and school extensions and have done work for Galway and City Councils and we are also on the NUI Galway building framework for the last 15 years where we have carried out various projects such as office refurbishment, re-roofing and lecture room & lab fit-outs.
“We also have two full-time staff on the NUI Galway campus carrying out essential maintenance work there.”
While his father operated as a sole trader in Galway for decades, Luke worked alongside his dad during holidays and the summers himself but then went to the UK and qualified as an accountant when things were quiet in the building business in the early 90’s.
By the late 1990s, he made the decision to pursue a career in construction by joining the family business on a full-time basis and come the turn of the millennium he was heading up the company.
Fast-forward more than two decades later and Luke is Managing Director of a thriving construction company that has built up a team of highly skilled and motivated staff and sub-contractors over the years.
Right now, business is good at McNamara Construction – even with the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years – and Luke and the team mean to keep that way heading into next year.
“Business is good at the moment,” he stated. “We kept going through Covid with the essential work that we had, so the last couple of years have been quite busy for us. In 2021 we took on two nursing home projects, one in Oranmore and one in Killimor and these were classed as essential projects so we were able to keep going during the second lockdown which was great for all our staff and sub-contractors.
“My main concern at the moment is price inflation. It is hard to see it being sustainable with the material prices rising like they have in the past 18 months. The demand for work is still there, so I just hope inflation is brought under control so that the industry doesn’t price itself out of work. We will just have to see what way it pans out.”
At the moment, McNamara Construction is currently immersed in work in the 2 nearby nursing home projects. Brampton nursing home in Oranmore is a 50 bed extension to an existing facility which is nearing completion while Killimor Nursing Home is moving on to Phase 2 which is the refurbishment of the original part of the building. The new 35 bed extension was just handed over.
McNamara Construction also has a number of one-off private house projects on-going and recently finished a re-roofing project at NUI Galway.
“Another nice project we recently completed was the new Head Office building for Ward & Burke Civil Engineering beside us here in Kilcolgan,” said Luke.
“It was two phases and we also had to stop for a couple of months on it during Covid but it turned out very well in the end and is a good local advertisement of our work.
“We’ve done a lot of repeat business with many architects and engineers over the years and have gained a good reputation through word of mouth along the way.”
On each and every project, McNamara Construction looks to create a working environment that promotes openness of communication between its staff, sub-contractors and, of course, clients.
The company prides itself on its safety policy which ensures that everyone on site goes home safely at the end of each day.
“We have got a good reputation locally and we have excellent craftsmen working with us here,” said Luke when asked what separates his company from the competition out there.
“We try and use the same team on projects as much as possible to ensure the work is done to the high quality standards we aim for and this has stood to us as we have a very good reputation stretching back to my father’s time. We work well with the design teams and clients and always maintain our honesty and integrity in all our dealings.”
Looking towards the months ahead for the business, Luke says that a cautious approach will be taken as a result of the rising cost in construction materials.
However, overall, he remains optimistic going forward given the rate of work out there at the moment for companies like McNamara Construction.
“Honestly, we are a bit apprehensive going forward with the price of materials increasing as much as they have been, certain projects we have priced recently are not going ahead as a result,” he said
“With the increases, you have to be very careful how you price work and it will need flexibility from our clients also in that regard.
“It’s a difficult time but hopefully things will level off and if demand stays constant we hope our reputation will stand to us and we will continue to deliver quality projects for our clients for years to come.”
Phone: 091 776 319
E-mail: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, August 2022, Vol 8 No 8