Based in Drumshanbo, Paddy McManus is a second-generation building contractor who has successfully delivered a vast array of high-quality residential and commercial projects across counties Leitrim, Sligo, Donegal and Roscommon. We touched based with the proprietor of P McManus Construction to find out more about his vastly-experienced, client-focused operation.
After learning the ropes from his father, Leitrim man Paddy McManus has been working as a building contractor for more than two decades. His company, P McManus Construction Ltd., provides a full suite of residential and commercial contracting services, including private and public projects, new builds and extensions / refurbishments.
They completed numerous jobs for Leitrim and Roscommon County Councils down through the years and boast an extensive portfolio of stunning new house builds, while their diverse commercial portfolio includes restaurants, offices, retail and residential care homes as well as many school extensions and refurbishments.
At the time of writing, due to the latest wave of restrictions to hit the construction industry in response to the coronavirus emergency, Paddy – who delivered a new fire station in Ballinamore for Leitrim County Council Fire Service in 2020 – was waiting patiently to get cracking on a few projects that had been put on hold, including two private houses ready to start first-fix stage and a refurbishment of Ballinamore Childcare.
While the hiatus is obviously not ideal, he is confident that normal business will resume sooner rather than later: “We have had to pretty much down tools for the time being but we have a couple of houses and the preschool ready to go when the green light comes,” he confirms. “In the meantime, we also have some emergency work for the HSE and County Councils to tide us over.
“Abiding by government restrictions is paramount for society now and whilst it is not ideal for business, the government has prioritised essential works which has helped industry wide.
“We know from experience last year, that the work waited for us and we made up the shortfall over the remainder of the year. Now for 2021, I expect we will be able to get back up to full capacity because the pent-up demand for construction is still there and it won’t disappear, not in the short term.
“After the first lockdown last March, we were exceptionally busy from April through to December and we worked literally every Saturday during that period. We were fortunate that there was a lot of work then and, realistically, now, you aren’t losing anything now by easing up for a while. The weather usually impacts this time of the year as to what works you can and can’t proceed with.
“Thankfully, the Construction industry is in a better situation than the hospitality industry, generally speaking. Hospitality whilst will have pent up demand, there will be repercussions in the medium to long term until confidence grows in society again and the vaccine is widespread. By comparison, it hasn’t been too bad for construction, whereas other businesses are having to make hard decisions as the restrictions have impacted them for a much longer period. I wouldn’t like to own a pub or a restaurant at this time. Those people are having a really hard time both employees and owners.”
Members of both the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI), P McManus Construction pride themselves on developing strong working relationships with all stakeholders involved in each project – client, consultants, subcontractors and employees.
The benefits of this approach are evident in the large volume of repeat business secured. Working alongside the client’s engineer or architect, they offer competitively priced, high-quality, design-led new builds and extensions to all types of properties, with every job invariably delivered to precise specifications, with the keenest attention to detail, and to programme.
The success and longevity of P McManus Construction is built on solid cornerstones of experience, organisation, communication and quality. Paddy is a second-generation builder. His father, also Paddy McManus, worked as a sole trader for decades before Paddy Jnr. joined the family business as a young director in 1999.
“Experience is No.1 and as it was a family business the experience was shared. I had a great opportunity and even though I am only in my early forties, I’ve now been operating as a contractor for more than 20 years – making phone calls, organising sub-contractors, project managing, contracting and the likes,” Paddy notes.
“Obviously, you also must have a good eye for detail, and you need to be well organised. With experience, you know what is right, what’s not and you know the importance of surrounding yourself with good people to achieve that. The experience and reliability of your own men and your sub-contractors on the ground is also vitally important. If you don’t have a good team around you, then you are going to run into problems and it will cost the business when you weigh the job up at the end.
“You also need to invest in decent gear and use quality materials. This will help things to move quicker and the Client will get a much better end product. You can’t have a short-term outlook in construction
Paddy also confirms that ‘Paperwork and Health & Safety are two more critical considerations – the paperwork has to be right, backing up your actions, especially when you are working for local authorities and public bodies. Public work is good to us. Once you can show that you are organised and professional – as well as delivering quality workmanship – they are more likely to come back and do business with you again.”
Projects completed in 2020 included the overhaul and fit out of twelve residential homes in an unfinished housing estate at Silver Row, Boyle for Roscommon County Council, the extension and refurbishment of a large farmhouse for a private client in Garvagh and the aforementioned, landmark new fire station in Ballinamore. “That one was a modular build and we also did the fit out there,” Paddy continues.
“We have a nice resume, with a lot of different types of projects. We’ve been very busy since 2015 and things have been going well. Going forward, we have those two private houses waiting – we started them last year and they are sitting ready for the first fix – and we’ll also be starting a refurbishment of the existing school building at Ballinamore Childcare in February.”
In signing off, Paddy – who generates direct employment for a crew of five – pays tribute to his staff, without whom he wouldn’t be able to run a professional and dependable contracting company: “I’m lucky to have great men alongside me – one of them has been with me since I started on my own and two more are here ten-plus years apiece,” he concludes. “They are all in their 50s now, are very steady and experienced men, and if you had to replace them you probably wouldn’t be able to.
“With the odd exception, we also have the same core of sub-contrcators who have been with us for 15 plus years.
Again, they work to a high standard which reflects the ethos of our company. Only when they are too busy or unavailable would I consider bringing in other lads – who would also have to show me that they can meet the standards we insist upon. By and large, I use the same lads all the time as I find their quality of workmanship to be excellent.”
P Mc Manus Construction Ltd.,
Carrack na Brack,
Tel: 086 8127197
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, April, Vol 7 No 4