Delivering construction excellence for the best part of four decades and counting, Liam Leahy & Son Building Contractors Ltd. is firmly established as one of Cork’s foremost building contractors. We travelled to Little Island and touched base with managing director Sean Leahy to get an insight into this longstanding family operation, which provides a complete range of residential and commercial building services across East Cork and beyond.
Established in 1982, Liam Leahy Building Contractor, later becoming Liam Leahy & Son Contractors LTD in 2012, the company has gone from strength to strength since its inception, specialising in promptly, professionally and safely delivering all types of residential, commercial and public projects – from new builds, extensions and renovations to reroofing, remodelling and conservation work.
Invariably, every project is completed to the very highest standards pertaining to industry, on time and within budget. By consistently meeting, client’s expectations, Liam Leahy & Son’s reputation for excellence has spread gradually through word of mouth, resulting in a steady volume of work being undertaken throughout Cork city and its environs … sometimes further afield.
Sean Leahy took over the running of the business nine years ago when his father sadly passed away. He instils the same values – built around quality, value, workmanship and integrity – that Liam insisted upon, and this has seen the second-generation family business maintain its place at the forefront of the construction industry on Leeside.
“My father started out in 1982 mainly doing residential work – extensions and renovations and then new builds,” Sean notes, reflecting on the genesis and early years of the business. “He then started to take on commercial projects and conservation work as well. Today, we look after everything, mostly in Cork city, surrounding areas and further afield. The work is varied and flexible: residential, commercial, schools, community centres – there’s a lot under our umbrella.”
Sean is very much the archetypal hands-on director. He boasts a carpentry background and heads up a tight, close-knit team: “I had served a carpentry apprenticeship under my Dad and I stepped into his shoes and we changed the name to Liam Leahy & Son Building Contractors. We got through the recession and are driving it on now.
“we employ directly, as well as outsource a number of specialist contractors, some of which we have established a great relationship with over the years on various projects, we have a great team all sharing a common goal. I am quite a hands on director, tools has always been a passion of mine. Our very ethos is to ‘Prepare, Coordinate & Deliver’ and being hands on really solidifies this.”
At the time of writing, Liam Leahy & Son Building Contractors were busy working on a remodelling project in Weaverspoint, Crosshaven and had started an extension and renovation work on a private residence in Glasheen, on the outskirts of Cork city as well as another private project in Ballynoe, Mallow. Other recently-secured commercial projects include Petrochem in Little Island and extensive office remodelling at Lettertec in Carrigtohill.
“We’ve recently completed two projects running simultaneously at separate locations in Cobh, each worlds apart in scope and style – ‘project a’ a modern new build, whilst ‘project b’ involved intricate conservation & restoration works on a protected building, serving as a private residence. it really never does get boring, i could talk all day about conservation work, it is fascinating – the skill and workmanship is just incredible” the Cork man continues. “We’ve recently completed remodelling works at Volvo McCarthy Commercials, based in Watergrasshill, the work is so varied, we’ve a lot to be thankful for.”
Although it’s not for the faint hearted, Sean thoroughly enjoys taking on and completing conservation work: “It’s beautiful and I love it,” he enthuses. “We worked alongside the Conservation Officer in Cork over the Christmas period of 2017 on another protected building and it was a great experience, start to finish. Seeing the detail in these buildings going back to the 1850s and 1860s is fascinating, the material used, the carpentry/ joinery and sliding sash windows, and then restoring those buildings to their former glory whilst allowing them to breathe while increasing the U-value … it’s incredibly rewarding.”
One of the first major commercial projects Sean took on after taking the reins of the family business was to extend and completely remodel an existing 10,500 square foot building at Aghada Community Centre in East Cork. Liam Leahy & Son Building Contractors have also completed an extension at Aghada National School as well as a variety of other schools projects.
Like his father before him, Sean is a stickler for quality… “Quality is the big one for us,” he confirms. “Attention to detail and really understanding the clients’ needs are vital in this industry. As a building contractor, our aim is to deliver the project in such a manner that it exceeds the customers’ expectations every time, to see that look on their face when their project is completed – it offers a great sense of achievement. We have also been very fortunate to trade on word of mouth as our main means of advertising, which is the best type of advertising in my opinion. It really is a culture, after all.”
“We focus on quality, engage with the client and go on a journey with them. You have to remember that the client is placing a lot of trust in you – be it a private or commercial project – it’s a big spend, all projects are individual. In some cases the client could be taking out a mortgage and are investing their hard earned money into their vision. For them to engage with Liam Leahy & Son and place their trust in us to create that vision is very rewarding and we have to repay that faith by delivering a high-quality project finished to an unrivalled standard.”
Constantly investing in the latest technologies, software and systems, Liam Leahy & Son is a fully-accredited and –certified, vastly-experienced building contractor, with all staff trained and upskilled in every aspect of modern construction techniques. “Building has come a long, long way compared to where it was 10 to 15 years ago, not to mention things like software for takeoff, surveying, completing B.O.Q’s etc. There’s so much paperwork now. The industry is ever changing and you’ll be left behind if you don’t educate yourself and invest. If you want to run a modern and cost-effective business, then you simply have to invest money. We have a full fleet on the road, including plant machinery and equipment, with some new additions coming in the new year.”
Liam Leahy & Son Building Contractors has an outstanding track record for delivering construction excellence and Sean is confident that further growth could be on the cards for this exceptional operation. “The goal is to grow organically – in a controlled and sustainable manner,” he concludes. “If you produce quality work and have happy clients, the business will be able to grow naturally. We’ll continue to set high standards. Of course, any business is only as good as the people you have around you and, in that respect, I’m very fortunate to have a great team here, who make an immeasurable contribution to our success.”
Liam Leahy & Son Building Contractors Ltd.,
Euro Business Park,
Tel: 021 2373429
Mobile: 087 2669809
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, February, Vol 7 No 2