Farmers the full length of the west coast continue to give E. Mitchell Engineering the ultimate seal of approval and proprietor Emmet Mitchell confirms that he is busier than ever as he moves into his seventh year delivering high-quality farm buildings and certified structural steel services.
Since skilled steel fabricator Emmet Mitchell returned home from Australia in 2016 and spotted a niche in the Irish market for high-quality, value-added, prompt and professional farm building solutions – invariably delivered with exceptional customer care and a back-up service that’s simply second to none – E. Mitchell Engineering Ltd. has gone from strength to strength.
A measure of the regard in which the personable Galway man is held can be gauged from how busy he is, be that in terms of generating regular repeat business or new projects through positive referrals. Suffice to say, Emmet has never been busier and this speaks for itself in a competitive marketplace where discerning customers vote with their feet!
“Up until a couple of years ago, we were predominantly covering an area that spanned from west Clare and mid Clare up into Mayo but we have now expanded and gone as far north as Sligo and Donegal and down south into Kerry and Cork, so we now have a catchment area that runs all along the west coast from top to bottom,” Emmet revealed when we touched base with him recently.
“With the increase in milk prices, dairy farmers have expanded their farmyards and upped their stock. 90 per cent of our sheds in the past two years have been fresh new buildings and about 75 per cent of those are grant-aided by the Department of Agriculture.
“That works out really well for us, actually, as in order to get those grants the farmer has to show that they are fully compliant, which suits us perfectly as our buildings are fully compliant with all regulations and we are CE-certified for structural steel,” the Athenry-based agri building contractor continues.
“While we’re very busy with the grant work, around a quarter of the farm building jobs are non-grant work, say for example where the farmer might only want to put two or three bays onto an existing slatted unit. We’re more than happy to take on any job, large or small, and will invest the same planning, expertise and attention to detail into them all.”
Of farming stock himself, Emmet works with farmers virtually every day of the week in his capacity as the owner of E. Mitchell Engineering and he finds them to be exceptional people to deal with: “Yeah, I come from a farming background and I do enjoy working with them because I’d be very interested in the farming sector and I love helping people who want to design and build a new building from start to finish, to get their project off the ground and completed to the highest standards.
“One thing I will say is that the farmer won’t start to build something unless he has the money to finish the job. They know what they want and they know what the can and can’t afford. If they can at all, farmers will always put money back into their farm, improving and expanding their existing set-ups.
“I grew up on a farm but finished up with it at secondary school age and concentrated more on the farm buildings and steel end of things. My father is still farming on a small scale, rearing calves and selling them on after one or two years, and I’d still have an interest in that.”
To complement the farm building work, E. Mitchell Engineering also provides a keen industrial building service as well as doing quite a bit of structural steel work for residential buildings – an area which has become more popular with the shift towards open-plan living and the increased use of steel for support for large windows.
“Years ago there was no need for steel in houses and now it’s hard to fit a block in,” Emmet quips. “The client will provide us with a drawing of what their steel needs are and we will manufacture, supply and fit that steel on site to their precise requirements. We’ve expanded into that quite a bit but farm buildings is still very much our main line of work and always will be.”
To ensure that the growth being experienced by E. Mitchell Engineering is sustainable and viable, Emmet is constantly investing in both men and machinery. Recent acquisitions include a new truck and scissor lifts to facilitate safe and efficient elevated platform work.
“The days of bringing a ladder to work are in the distant past,” he states. “It’s all done by machinery these days and that’s how you get the best results whilst keeping everyone safe. Health & Safety is paramount and the reality is that we are working in a high-risk job. I go to great lengths to make sure these risks are minimised and bringing in mechanical aid is just one aspect of this.
“For elevated platform work, everybody is harnessed and the experience of my team is also critical. They are used to working in this environment and to working together. They know what they are doing and they know how to plan and execute every job with risk kept to an absolute minimum.”
Structural steel engineering is a skill that has been passed down in the Mitchell family from one generation to the next. Does Emmet have ambitions of perhaps one day handing E. Mitchell Engineering over to the next generation? “I would love to see this business continue well into the future, although at the same time I’m very happy with where I am at the minute. I’d also like to expand a bit more but, having said that, I’m happy as things stand. We’re busy and we have work in front of us so I certainly can’t complain. We have all the correct gear and excellent staff, who are well trained and experienced. It took a while to get here, but we are in a good place now.
“I’d never turn away from farm buildings – that has always been my No.1. It’s what I know and am passionate about. It’s very rewarding to see a farmer happy with his project and, if he’s happy, I’m happy.”
By offering a one-stop-shop service covering everything from the ground up, E. Mitchell Engineering acts as one point of contact and completes every project in a fully transparent and bespoke manner without any need for additional contractors or middlemen, all of which suits the farmer’s schedule and pocket.
“The beauty of our set-up is that we do everything from the ground up,” Emmet concludes. “That includes everything from the main structure to cladding, sliding doors, dividing gates and internal penning for animal welfare. We provide both the structure itself and the internal lay-out to the farmer’s exact specification.
“It’s ideal for the farmer because the farmer only wants to deal with one man. Also, as we offer a complete service, we can turn jobs around faster and we’re up to 150-200 projects a year now. But every day is a learning day and we are constantly looking at ways to improve our products and our service.”
E. Mitchell Engineering Ltd.,
Tel: 087 4567786
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 11 No 4, August/September 2023