Having served farmers across the island for almost half a century, Farm Buildings Services Ltd. are firmly established as one of Ireland’s leading providers of complete, turnkey farm building solutions. We touched base with managing director Donal Flanagan in Athy, County Kildare to get an update.
From building design and layout to planning permission and project management, along with preparation of environmental impact statements, Farm Buildings Services have been professionally overseeing the completion of a comprehensive range of farm building projects nationwide since 1974.
A bespoke, turnkey service can be provided on every project, culminating in purpose-built, high-quality, value-added buildings which are fully compliant with all Irish and EU legislation and building regulations but if a farmer wishes to manage a project himself, we are happy to provide a design and planning service.
Farmers are of course always concerned with the bottom line and, in this respect, the large volume of work that Farm Buildings Services have been doing nationwide for 47 years and counting speaks for itself. When a farmer opts to embark on an agri building or farmyard development project – be that a complete new build, conversion or retrofit – it makes sense from both a financial and time-saving point of view to enlist the assistance of a farm building specialist.
“The work we do is very specific and it’s essentially a specialist service,” Donal concurs. “A lot of knowledge and expertise is required to make sure these projects are completed properly, to the highest standards and that they are compliant. We have built that up over the years. The long lifespan of projects that we have been involved in, is what we are all about. A lot of these developments are still in daily use over 40 years after they were built. It’s definitely a value-added service as every stage of the project is planned and finished properly and everything is fully compliant and certified.”
While the Irish economy has hit a few speed bumps over the past 18 months or so due to the arrival of a global pandemic to our shores and the restrictions subsequently introduced to safeguard public health, agriculture has thankfully not been impacted upon too severely and Donal is pleased to report that business has remained brisk for the most part at Farm Buildings Services:
“It’s very busy right now and we won’t complain,” he confirms. “At the very start, there was a bit of an impact, but things settled down again fairly quickly and kept moving. Our unique service is provided nationwide – wherever the call comes from, we will go there.”
Indeed, at the time of writing, Donal and his team were involved in projects at various stages of completion in counties Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny, Kildare, Laois, Carlow and Monaghan to mention just a selection. Needless to say, this necessitates quite a bit of travelling…
“We would be on site regularly as part of our role. It all depends really on what is happening on site at any given time because a lot of the work is engineering as well as agricultural. You have to ensure that buildings are built to spec and in compliance with building regulations. We will project manage the complete build from start to finish when asked. Especially on larger-scale projects that are complex, farmers simply won’t have time to do that themselves.”
With holdings getting bigger and time constraints on farmers becoming more apparent, they simply don’t have time to organise and supervise a building project. Boasting decades of knowledge and experience, Farm Buildings Services take up the strain on their clients’ behalf and will get involved from initial design stage, planning and right through to completion. The mainstay of the work involves negotiating competitive prices with trusted building contractors, engineering firms, tradespeople, and equipment suppliers. All works are supervised on site and invariably completed to the very highest standards.
By achieving absolute customer satisfaction on every project undertaken, Farm Buildings Services benefit from a healthy flow of repeat business. “We’d have clients on our books who we’ve worked for in excess of 40 years, albeit with perhaps 15 years between one project and the next one!” Donal reveals. “That’s the nature of this work. These developments represent major investments for farmers and there tends to be long intervals between them.
“However, having said that, there are more and more largescale projects taking place. In the last few years in particular, many farmers have put up entire farmyards in one go. Since dairy quotas were removed and the current grant scheme came in, farmers have been investing more and more in their facilities, which they have to do to keep their business running as efficiently as possible.”
Ultimately the goal with every project is to deliver an optimal building, designed and constructed in a cost-effective, compliant manner to meet a specific purpose, giving the farmer complete peace of mind. When it comes to compliance, it is not just building regulations that need to be considered but also issues such as water quality, nutrient management plans, appropriate slurry storage facilities, etc. To ensure that all works comply with relevant standards, Farm Building Services employ their own in-house Chartered Engineer.
Donal always advises farmers to think ahead and pre-plan in terms of considering the bigger, long-term picture, leaving scope for seamless expansion or modifications down the line.
Farm Building Services was established by Donal’s late father, Donal Flanagan Snr., who began his career working as a regional Grant Inspector with the Department of Agriculture. Donal Snr. quickly built up a large portfolio of clients, working on projects of various sizes and complexities from Donegal to Cork, providing unrivalled experience and knowledge in farm building design and construction.
From slatted beef units to milking parlours and grain stores, equipment storage sheds as well as pig, poultry and sheep housing units, Farm Building Services have a wealth of experience covering all shapes and sizes of agricultural buildings. While dairy facilities such as milking parlours and cubicle sheds account for a large proportion of the work at present, Donal says there is always strong demand from the tillage and beef sectors as well.
When it comes to compliance with environmental regulations and guidelines, the Kildare man feels that farmers are doing a great job in general and that they will readily comply with relevant directives once they have the right advice. “This compliance has always been required and it’s nothing new,” he concludes. “Agriculture is highly regulated, and farmers don’t have anything to fear. My experience is that farmers are keen to erect quality buildings which comply with the regulations, and we work hand in hand with them to ensure total compliance at all times.”
Farmers are very progressive people and want to improve and enhance their businesses. We always look forward to providing a trusted and valuable service to these people and help them to move their businesses forward.
Farm Buildings Services Ltd.,
Tel: 059 8642004
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 5, September/October 2021