HG Construction (IRL) Ltd – Building on a Quality Reputation

HG Construction (IRL) Ltd, a civil engineering building company that is experiencing steady year-on-year growth. 

Irish Building Speaks with Ronnie Hennessy MD.

Ronnie Hennessy says his company is doing reasonably well in the current environment thanks to a strategic decision to concentrate on project work for core clients and because of the company’s ethos which focuses on quality, reliability and safety.

Founded in 2003, the company was born out of RH Maintenance, a separate company founded specifically to provide maintenance services to the pharmaceutical industry sector in 1986 by Ronnie’s father, Ronald Hennessy Snr. Ronnie said: “That company is still trading very successfully, but we were regularly getting enquiries from core clients if we were interested in taking on larger building projects  and, my philosophy is ‘If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’, so we set up HG Construction (IRL) Ltd to take on construction projects.  Although separate, the two companies complement each other and work very well together.” Synergies between both companies allow us to provide our clients with many benefits such as we can provide a greater depth of resources that can be utilised as required, and at short notice, while maintaining the same level of quality and safety.

HG Construction (IRL) Ltd is a member of the Construction Industry Federation, Homebond, and the Master Builders and Contractors Association and all employees are registered with the Construction Workers Pension Scheme. These affiliations are important to us as we set the highest bench mark for quality in the delivery of our works and services and fully recognise that we trade on our reputation of quality workmanship.


“We’ve done very well by sticking to project work – during the housing construction boom when there was a lot of money to be made in development, we made a decision to stick at what we were good at it so we didn’t become property developers or to start investing in property,” said Ronnie. “As a result, and very fortunately, that has meant we are still in a strong position and we have a good business model. More than 90% of our business is repeat or referral.

The company, based in Watergrasshill, Co. Cork, has worked hard on building a reputation for quality and reliability. “We are a relationship based company and invest time in building strong and lasting relationships based on trust, integrity and reliability.  We believe that our focus on providing value for Money is our key differentiator in the current climate. We are not a firm that sends in a big variation bill at the end of a contract,” says Ronnie. “We pride ourselves on working within budget and have a dedicated full-time management accountant to ensure that we do that. In the pharmaceutical industry, you could say that all projects these days are accelerated projects, but nevertheless we try to complete the work ahead of the agreed deadline – that way the client is happier and the rewards for us are greater. To ensure everything is on schedule, we have a hands-on approach to managing work-in-progress with a weekly meeting to review how we are doing on all projects and to identify any problems as early as possible so that they can be dealt with.

“Maintaining direct links with clients is paramount. The site management team together with a dedicated directly employed workforce of foremen, tradesmen, skilled general operatives, long serving sub-contractors, plus an excellent office back up, reinforces the strong resolve of the company to produce quality and value for its clients.”

“We also have our own in-house designated Quality Manager and our own Standard Operation Procedures to ensure quality, which are certified to the ISO9000 quality management standard. We believe that the quality of our management systems has been a key factor in our successful development and growth. Additionally, looking at our success at winning repeat business in the pharmaceutical area, we have built up specialist know-how in working in clean environments. We also pay attention to building a relationship with clients and to fitting in with their way of working. For example, typically a pharmaceutical company like MSD will hold a safety briefing and a plant induction for all contractor personnel before any work begins.  We also have our own dedicated safety officer and the company has earned the prestigious Safe T Cert for the construction industry.”

The company employs 20 full-time members of staff, hiring extra workers on temporary contracts when needed. While working on the recent project at MSD Brinny it had some 20 workers on site, including part-timers.

MSD Brinny’s Facilities Management and Engineering COE Lead Donal Kelleher said he would recommend HG Construction (IRL) Ltd. “They have done a good amount of work for us. They are a relatively small company, but are very flexible and very willing to work with the site management to ensure all work is to our requirements.”

To illustrate the constraints that apply to working in a pharmaceutical plant as opposed to any other industrial or commercial development, Ronnie says: “Working in sterile environments and clean rooms requires strict adherence to mandatory procedures for all personnel including subcontractors under our control. This work is generally carried out under a very tight timeframe, in difficult working conditions and in conjunction with various specialist contractors who we have to work side by side with to complete the work. HG Construction (IRL) Ltd also have proven experience in providing services to the Medical Sector and recently completed a project with Mercury at Cork University Hospital. This project included new bulk gas and oxygen storage tanks and control systems and where the work involved cutting through internal facility walls for distribution pipe networks – to ensure that there was no possibility of contamination from aspergillus or other micro-organisms, all that work was successfully completed under negative pressure regimes.

“The majority of our clients are in the Pharmaceutical / Life-Sciences sector – as well as MSD Brinny and Schering Plough before them, we have also worked for Leo Laboratories, GlaxoSmithKline  Ipsen and Cara Partners. In addition to the Pharma sector HG Construction (IRL) Ltd are also involved in Industrial, Hotels, Healthcare, Offices, Schools, Colleges, Sports facilities, Civic centres, Food Manufacturing and Commercial sectors.

“HG Construction (IRL) Ltd has a built up a strong reference list of successfully completed Projects in the Munster region. Many of these have been for Government, State and Local Authority bodies and agencies; included in this list would be Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Cork VEC, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, the Department of Defence and FAS More recently we’ve worked on pedestrian bridges at Doneraile Park for the OPW, refurbishment of the FÁS offices in Cork and the building of a the new Community Centre just outside Midleton.  In addition we have a strong list of private sector clients that rely on us for their civil engineering project requirements including: Irish Life Investment Managers, Sisters of Charity and First Plus Pharmacy Group. We also carry out bond work for Quinn Insurance.

HG Construction (IRL) Ltd have experience with working with the major Architectural, Civil Engineering and Project Engineering companies including RKD Architects, JODA Engineering Consultants, David Kelly Partnership, Johnson Controls, KOBW Architects, Mott MacDonald, Malachy Walsh and Partners Horgan Lynch Consultant Engineers, Ger Neff Designs and Jacobs Engineering Ireland Ltd.

As a client focused company we provide fully adaptable services to meet the specific needs of our clients. We tailor our execution strategies to meet and exceed these needs. We work in difficult environments, at nights and week-ends and alongside on-going production / manufacturing facilities to achieve successfully deliver these projects. All of our work is supervised by Civil Engineering and Site Management personnel. We have a prestigious Safety Record which is our companies highrest priority.

“Until now, we’ve mainly been active in Munster, but we are now trying to extend our reach up into Connaught and Leinster and we believe that our excellent reputation will stand us in good stead as we look for new business.” We recently completed a project in Ipsen Manufacturing Ireland in their Blanchardstown facility.