For more than three decades, PJK Structural Steel Ltd. have been designing, manufacturing and erecting a comprehensive range of high-quality agricultural buildings on farms across the North East and beyond. We dropped into their workshop near Ardee in County Louth and touched base with Tony Kelly to get an update on the family-run operation.
On farms all across counties Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Cavan and North Dublin stand fine examples of PJK Structural Steel’s high-quality, cost-effective steel-framed buildings.
With an unrivalled reputation for quality workmanship and customer service (before, during and after installation), the business – fronted by PJ Kelly and his son Tony – they specialise in the construction and erection of all types of agricultural and commercial buildings, all of which are built exactly to the customer requirements.
The fact that the finished product is invariably delivered to the highest standards ensures that there’s always steady demand for PJK’s services: “It’s going very well and we’re very busy,” Tony confirms. “There’s plenty of work, thankfully, and we are getting a lot of enquiries. There’s always somebody ringing.”
As well as repeat business from satisfied customers, PJK also benefit enormously from positive referrals. They have a strong order book ahead of them for the coming months. “We’ve a good bit of work ahead of us, but we don’t want to overstretch ourselves. It’s important that we continue to give our full attention to every job, so we’re keeping it steady. You don’t want to take on too much or compromise on quality because you have to hold onto your reputation first and foremost. We like to do the job right and finish it off properly.”
The genesis of PJK Structural Steel goes back to 1987 and the Kellys have always prided themselves on providing the best possible products and service levels whilst still delivering value-added, competitively-priced solutions, using the best materials and workmanship. PJ’s vast experience and knowhow backbone the business and he has surrounded himself with a dedicated, highly-skilled, long-serving team.
“We have lads who have been with us a good few years,” Tony notes. “My father, PJ, still works on site and my mother, Catherine, works in the office, looking after all the admin and paperwork.
“We handle all the work in-house ourselves from start to finish – from the site work through all the fabrication, sheeting and erecting, down to the very last screw. Throughout the process, we are always available to talk to customers if they have any queries. Communication is important and we are always upfront and honest with people.”
At the time of writing, PJK were busy working on a range of agricultural building projects, including an assortment of machinery sheds, cattle sheds and grain storage sheds. Tony has noticed that the former are becoming increasingly popular:
“We’ve done a lot of machinery storage sheds for farmers recently,” he states. “More and more farmers are realising that it’s better to have their valuable machinery and equipment under cover. Their machinery is obviously worth a lot of money and they want to protect it from the elements and also keep it secure.”
All the sheds are manufactured in PJK’s spacious modern workshops, located on the outskirts of Ardee in Mid Louth. From initial enquiry to quotation, fabrication through to erection, the Kellys provide a personal, hands-on service, making sure that customers are kept in the loop and afforded an end product that will serve them well for years, nay decades, to come.
“After the initial contact is made, we will go out and see what exactly they want and we’d also use our experience and insight to advise and help them as much as we can to come up with the best solution. Sometimes coming in with a fresh pair of eyes, we can point them in the right direction in terms of how to make the best use of their yard … where to put the shed and what shape or size it could be.
“Offering advice and expertise is a big part of the service and of course you give that free of charge. If somebody asks for your opinion, then you give it to them because we have been doing this for a long time and we’ve seen a lot of yards and sheds, so we have a good idea of what might work best. There’s no harm knocking a few ideas around before you start putting the shed together.”
Quality is at the heart of everything PJK Structural Steel does: “Quality of work is key,” says Tony. “I’ve seen cheaper jobs done by others but the reality is that when it comes to carrying out the work, you are better doing it right the first day and have no comeback.
“We don’t just build them for the sake of building them; we build them to last. At the end of the day, you are only as good as your last job and bad news will travel fast. If you take pride in your work, like we do, you are hoping that people will recognise this and will consider you when they need an agricultural or commercial building.
“I’m a firm believer that those who work hard and do things right will get their rewards. We focus on keeping everything right and quality is key for us and our customers. We want to keep it going and, by focusing on quality, we hope to be here for the long haul.”
PJK Structural Steel use various different construction methods and finishes, depending on whether the building is for commercial or agricultural use. Fully insured and certified, and compliant with all Health & Safety requirements, their buildings are available with many types of finishes. The structural end of the agri buildings is shot blasted and primed and can be finished with a painted surface. If required, all structural components can be hot dip zinc galvanized.
While PJ has been constructing agricultural buildings for 33 years, Tony has also accumulated a wealth of experience, joining the family business full time when he left school 16 years ago. Business has remained steady, even though the economy has experienced a wobble or two during this time…
“There seems to be a bit more going on at the moment,” Tony comments. “We were lucky during the downturn in that we had a lot of good, loyal customers who stuck with us and we were never idle. We came through it grand and never had to close the doors. We appreciate that loyalty from our customers and like to think it works both ways. When you build up your customer base, they tend to appreciate your work.
“Safety on site is very important and we have two good modern workshops here, where everything is manufactured to the highest standards,” the Louth man concludes. “We try to give a fast turnaround but we will be straight with people from the start. If we are backed up with work and it’s going to take a few months, then we let them know. You have to look after everybody properly.”
PJK Structural Steel Ltd.,
Tel: 041 6853701
Fax: 041 6856296
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 8 No 3, October/November 2020