Based in Rathangan, Co Kildare, Murlock Construction provides its clients with high quality construction services. Irish Tractor & Agri touched base with company co-director Sean Murphy to learn all about this thriving company – from its origins to the state of business today.
These are busy times at Murlock Construction and the plan for co-directors Sean and Justin Murphy and the rest of the team in Rathangan is to try and keep things that way right through to 2022.
Set-up by the two brothers in 2007, the company has grown its workforce up to 35 strong and holds a reputation for excellent work having carried out projects all over the south east.
Sean and Justin have maintained a high standard approach since ‘Day One’ and it’s an approach their business has greatly benefited from when you look at the list of projects they’ve completed to date.
Building Ireland caught up with Sean Murphy recently to find out more about the company and some of its current projects, including an €8.4million one on-going in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains.
“Right now, we’re operating with 35 full-time staff and we were stopped last year with the Covid pandemic for about seven weeks,” outlined the co-director.
“This year we’ve had essential work with a project at Thorntons Recycling after it burned down and it’s a turnkey job for us, so we’ll be busy with it for a while.”
Specialising in agri, equine and industrial work both in Ireland and the UK, Murlock Construction is a company renowned for its comprehensive service from start to finish.
Its work to date has seen the business build up excellent working relationships with various architects, engineers, sub-contractors and suppliers.
It had been the vision for Sean and Justin Murphy when they first set-up shop almost 15 years ago.
However, as Sean explained, things were a lot tougher back then as Murlock Construction, as it was known then, was barely a year up and running before the recession hit and decimated the Irish construction industry.
“We’ve been established (as Murlock Construction) since 2010/2011 but we formed the business together in 2007,” he outlined.
“Back then, it wasn’t too bad starting out. Our father was a big agricultural contractor in the Kildare area and we had good contacts through that.
“Around 2008, the recession hit us hard and it nearly wiped us out to be honest with you. We got through it though and we’re still here today and still working away.”
Times have certainly changed since the downturn of 2008, although the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about new challenges for the industry.
The government restrictions which have followed it in order to combat the spread of the virus saw all non-essential construction works shutdown from the start of this year.
That put a halt to Murlock Construction’s works on an €8.4million project in Kilternan for the Comer Group overnight.
The equestrian centre based along the Dublin-Wicklow border will be second to none once completed, with a multi-storey development housing 160 stables as well as an equine exercise pool.
Once the development is fully carried out in Kilternan, it will be able to facilitate 300 horses.
“It’s a huge stable, an oval shaped building with two storeys of stables which are 100 metres in length,” explained Sean.
“We started the project after the lockdown lifted last year, around May/June, and hopefully we’ll be back on it now in the next few weeks.
“It’s a two-year project for us minimum, so we’re delighted to be on it and working alongside the client.”
So, the burning question is what has been the secret to success to date for Murlock Construction?
How has a small start-up grown into a thriving business with an excellent reputation over the past decade or so?
According to Sean, taking a hands-on approach from the start has paid its dividends, along with of course, completing quality work on each project.
“I suppose a lot of it is down to the hands-on approach that we take here,” he said.
“I’m on the site and, in the case of the job we have going on in Kilternan, I can walk on to the site and the client deals with me.
“I would say that we’re honest to deal with. We’re straight up and we offer clients the full package, looking after the job for them from start to finish.”
Indeed, working directly with the client has been another important aspect of the business.
Looking towards the coming months, Sean is optimistic as ever for the business and, in spite of everything going on at the moment, sees the biggest difficulty being additions to the workforce in Cappanargid.
“I think the biggest problem going forward will be getting good staff,” he said.
“It’s hard to get good staff these days. From the recession, construction got a bit of a dirty name so you had less and less people wanting to get into being a QS or whatever.
“So now that has made it almost impossible to get good staff.”
At Murlock Construction, they pride themselves on the high standard of work that they produce and adding the right staff is something that the company has always heavily focused on.
Seán also spoke about the recent set up of Murlock Engineering Ltd where they are now producing CE marked structural steel to EN 1090 standards in their newly constructed workshop at Cappanargid.
No doubt they’ll continue to do so and continue producing agri, equine and industrial projects which are second to none.
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First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 4, July/August 2021