For two decades and counting, Declan Buggy has been delivering unrivalled general building and carpentry solutions to an ever-growing base of satisfied homeowners across County Kilkenny. We interrupted his busy schedule to find out more about this exceptional, industry-leading general contracting business, which also provides a full carpentry / joinery service on new builds and renovations … including the supply and fit of all doors and windows.
When it comes to quality workmanship, professionalism, value for money and transparency through all stages of a project, Kilkenny contractor Declan Buggy certainly ticks all the boxes. Declan has been delivering the goods for home owners for 20 years and his keen eye for detail ensures a high-quality finish on every job undertaken.
Specialising in residential new builds and refurbishments / extensions, the methodical and conscientious Kilkenny man calls upon his strong carpentry / joinery background to provide a superb window and door supply and fit service, which adds greater value, efficiency and consistency to every project.
Declan prides himself on providing a personal service and makes sure to keep the line of communication open with his clients through all stages of a project, from the first point of contact through to handover. “I like to deal with the clients themselves as opposed to an architect or an engineer,” he confirms. “That way, you can make sure they are happy with everything and that nothing gets lost in translation.”
By supplying and fitting his own windows and doors on all projects, the Kilkenny contractor eliminates a lot of potential problems whilst simultaneously decreasing the number of third-party contractors on site and keeping the final cost to a minimum. “Looking after the windows and doors allows me to keep control of everything and there’s no comebacks with them,” he continues.
“I take full responsibility for that aspect of the project and the buck stops with me. I enjoy doing the windows and doors and you get a lot of reassurance from knowing that the job is done right. We can plan and time everything properly ourselves in-house and it cuts out a lot of the messing. When you cut out the middleman, the benefits are obvious in terms of time and cost savings.
“I started out initially as a joiner and have put a lot of thought and money into the doors and windows. As well as installing them, we’re also very good with locking mechanisms, handles, seals, etc.” Separately, if required, Declan can also provide a doors and windows replacement service on existing properties.
Offering a full range of residential building services from new builds and renovations / extensions to insurance repairs, general carpentry, conservatories and attic / loft conversions, Declan brings in all the necessary trades and materials to deliver optimal results and has the capacity to project manage every job. He’s in big demand at present, with a series of new builds ongoing and in the pipeline.
“The order book is looking healthy and I’m actually having to turn down work as I don’t want to relinquish that personal touch or to let anybody down by making promises I can’t keep,” he states. “We had to slow down a little bit during the latest Covid restrictions but we had a few jobs to tidy up and that kept us going. It was no harm really to get a slight break and a chance to recharge the batteries.
“We’ve just finished a new build and handed over the keys this week and are starting another one straight away. We also have a refurb to start in a few weeks and will be moving onto an extension after that. So we have a nice run of work ahead of us, thankfully.”
Declan has been involved in carpentry / construction all his working life. Reflecting on his induction into the industry, he recalls: “I served my time in a joinery and then went out on sites as a carpenter doing second fixings on buildings around Kilkenny. After that, I became a foreman before going to America for a while. I returned home 20 years ago and set up on my own as a general contractor.”
As has been stated in this magazine countless times, carpenters tend to make the best contractors as they have an eye for detail and an understanding of the intricacies of what makes buildings work. “I’ve always said that carpenters make the best foremen as they tend to know a bit about everything and will be fussy about the finish,” Declan concurs. “At the moment, the vast majority of our work is one-off new builds, refurbs and extensions, almost exclusively in Kilkenny. We have worked in Tipperary, too, but I haven’t ventured outside Kilkenny in 15 years.”
Declan generates direct employment for three in-house tradesmen and enlists the services of a tried and trusted crew of subcontractors. “All my own men are qualified carpenters and we subcontract the electrical, plumbing, plastering, block laying and plant hire. I have built up good long-term relationships with these subbies. The plumber has been working with me for 15 years, for example, and I can get them no problem when I need them. We’ve been together through good times and bad times, and we have a very good working relationship. They know the standards I expect and I can trust them to deliver that level of workmanship.”
Although we’ve just come through an uncertain period due to the ongoing public health restrictions that have been in place since March 2020, Declan is anticipating a very busy period for the remainder of the current calendar year: “There’s unreal demand at the moment. I’ve turned down three jobs in the last couple of weeks alone because I can’t get to them. And you can’t give a price too far in advance as the price of materials could go up by €10,000 inside three months. Timber alone has jumped up 15%. You have to watch yourself because it can be a dangerous game and the client understandably just wants the bottom line.”
Ultimately, it’s all about the finish and Declan Buggy will continue to deliver meticulous, thorough workmanship on every project he puts his name to: “We like to keep it nice and tidy. When we are on site, everything is clean and tidy and this helps you get the results your clients deserve,” he concludes. “Once I start working on a house, I get so wrapped up in it that it’s like my own home. I become attached to it and I genuinely hate handing it over. I think you need to have that passion for building.
“From the greenfield site through to the finished product, I invest everything into making sure the completed project is everything it can be. There’s only so many houses you will do in a lifetime and you want them all to show what you are all about. That’s your calling card. At the end of the day, that’s how you are going to get more work.”
General Building & Carpentry,
Tel: 087 6686391
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, August, Vol 7 No 8