For coming up on a quarter of a century, Ardvoca Properties Ltd. has consistently delivered outstanding workmanship and the keenest attention to detail on a wonderful portfolio of residential and commercial construction projects across Donegal and beyond. We spoke to contracts manager John Fox to get an insight into this industry-leading operation, whose capabilities were showcased on an unforgettable edition of RTE television series My Bungalow Bliss.
With an unrivalled track record for constructing high-quality, bespoke, one-off private homes, Ardvoca Properties has developed an enviable reputation as one of Donegal’s premier main contractors, having demonstrated an uncanny ability to invariably deliver even the most challenging residential or commercial projects professionally, promptly and to the most exacting standards.
A case in point was the magnificent bungalow makeover featured on the third episode of hit RTE show My Bungalow Bliss on December 15th last, where – in conjunction with McCabe Architects and working on behalf of owners Claire and Jonny McMorrow – the accomplished Ardvoca Properties team meticulously transformed a modest 1990s bungalow overlooking the Wild Atlantic Way into a spectacular retreat sporting numerous stunning features.
An amazing feat of architectural, engineering and construction excellence, the extension has been built into a 20-metre drop, creating the optical illusion that it is floating above the sea. Ardvoca Properties completed the challenging construction element of this unique and celebrated project inside just seven months.
“It was an honour to work with McCabe Architects once more – we’ve got some great work off Declan in Killybegs, Kilcar and Mountcharles in the past and I like to think we work well together,” says Ardvoca Properties contracts manager John Fox.
“For this particular project, as it is located right on the water’s edge in Inver, and the extension was being built on a very steep site sloping down towards the sea, we had to build a retaining wall at a depth of three metres to serve as an anchor, which presented obvious challenges.
“The home was already very close to the water’s edge and you were getting closer all the time. We added a boardwalk as well as the rear extension itself. Even though it was a tricky project, the clients and the architect were very pleased with the end result and I can only attribute that to our hard-working team – it’s all about teamwork in construction and everybody pulled together to make this happen.
Ardvoca Properties prides itself on fostering strong relationships with all stakeholders – architects, engineers, subcontractors, suppliers and clients alike: “It’s so important to have a good relationship with the client as all your referrals come from past clients and that’s the best recommendation you can get,” John stresses.
“We always work with the same proven subcontractors who have been with us for 20 years and they are part of the team at this stage. I can’t emphasis enough how vital teamwork and communication are. We have six experienced full-time workers ourselves in-house, some of whom have been with us since the start, and we bring in subcontractors for the electrical, plumbing, plastering and groundworks etc. and we also have two outside Quantity Surveyors. I consider all of those lads to be a key part of the team. It’s a team effort here and my outlook is that no one man or company can do anything without a great team of workers around him.”
While bespoke high-quality, energy-efficient family homes – new builds, extensions, and renovations – account for the greater part of Ardvoca Properties’ activities nowadays, Ardvoca Properties was originally established in 1998 to construct the extension on the Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town and to provide maintenance to it and also the Central Hotel, both of which are located in the Diamond at the heart of.
John – who was a carpenter by trade before becoming contracts manager for the company – has been working in construction for almost 40 years. Ardvoca Properties is a diverse and flexible main contractor which has also garnered a wealth of experience completing retail, commercial and mixed-use developments. As an SEAI-registered contractor, they also have the capacity to take on drylining and insulation jobs as well as attic conversions. “We take on a good variety of work and there’s nothing we won’t do. As they say, no job is too big or too small,” John confirms.
At the time of writing, Ardvoca Properties was also working on a new commercial project for the Olympic Amusements in Bundoran, with four residential new builds also on the books.
“They are all at different levels of completion,” the personable Donegal contractor notes. “We start each of them about six-eight weeks apart to ensure that we can get the subbies on site as and when we need them. One commenced in the middle of January and we’re going to be starting another one in mid-March. We’re always busy and we have work ahead of us until the end of this year, so we can’t complain.”
Although 90% of Ardvoca Properties’ work is in Donegal, generally within 30-40 miles of Donegal town, they have also completed some high-profile projects in Sligo. “Every job is different and you could be asked to provide different levels of finish. Some will ask for a builder’s finish and others will want a complete turnkey finish with everything included right down to landscaping, which we are very comfortable providing.
“Going forward, the plan is to keep doing what we are doing,” the contracts manager of Ardvoca Properties concludes. “We’re happy at the size we are at. If you get too big, you will lose that personal touch, which is extremely important to us. We’ll keep things steady and make sure we maintain the levels of quality and consistency that we’ve built our reputation on.”
Ardvoca Properties Ltd.,
Tel: 086 221 4093
Email: [email protected]perties.com
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, May 2022, Vol 8 No 5