J.F. Flynn Construction extend their expertise to include social housing

21 Nov , 2022  

Dynamic, multidisciplinary County Kerry based construction company J.F. Flynn Construction Ltd. has organically expanded its comprehensive range of residential and commercial building services to include social housing schemes. We travelled to Tralee and touched base with hands-on founder / proprietor John Flynn, who is Chairperson of CIF Kerry, to get an update on this highly-versatile, industry-leading, family-run operation.

Established in Tralee, County Kerry in 2006, J.F. Flynn Construction carries out a broad range of works nationwide, helping owners of both residential and commercial properties realise the exact premises they need. Invariably achieving outstanding results, the professional, conscientious and experienced team at J.F. Flynn Construction takes great pride in delivering upon the wishes and dreams of clients.

Boasting vast experience in domestic extensions and new builds as well as commercial works including the refurbishments and fit out of shops, restaurants, banks, training centres, etc., the Kingdom-based contractor has – through both the Dromcairn and Ardfert Housing Developments – demonstrated its ability to deliver high-quality social housing schemes to the highest standards.

This is a sector where managing director John Flynn sees potential for growth going forward: “We’ve just started Phase Two in Ardfert Housing Development, which will comprise an additional 20 homes, to be completed within a twelve-month programme” he confirms. “We initially took over from a builder who had three houses ready for plastering and we saw out the first phase of 30 units during Covid, which was challenging but we adapted accordingly and got there, handing them over in May gone by.

“This development is for Co-Operative Housing Ireland and Malachy Walsh & Partners is the professional team. Prior to Ardfert, for Cluid Housing this time, we did a twelve-unit housing scheme in Dromcairn, Tralee, which was completed in 2020 and was our first multiple-unit housing development.”

With the personnel and processes in place to provide bespoke, turnkey construction projects, it is no surprise that J.F. Flynn has hit the ground running in the critically-important social and affordable housing sector of the market. “To get your name on the tender list, you have to have a proven track record in delivering these schemes,” says John.

“We now have a 30-unit development under our belts, which is fairly large size-wise for the Kerry region, where the average going out to tender would be within the 11-30 range. However, eTenders are surprisingly quiet at the moment, even though there is such a need for housing in Ireland.”

At the peak of activity on Phase II of Ardfert Housing Development, John estimates that there will be up to 30 men on site, between direct labour and specialist subcontractors. J.F. Flynn Construction generates employment for an in-house team of 22, including site- and office-based employees, whilst enlisting the services of tried-and-trusted blockwork, plastering and mechanical & electrical subbies.

“Our guys are carpentry-based and we are also investing in our own apprentices,” John continues. “One apprentice has just gone through and we have two first-year carpentry apprentices on our books at present. Sourcing labour is a problem in construction at the moment and one way to get skilled tradesmen is to produce them yourself. We can offer that service as we have in-house carpentry expertise and can sign it off.”

John is a carpenter by trade himself and he agrees that this is the ideal background to carry into main contracting as it confers both a vital skillset and an eye for detail:  “As a carpenter, you are generally there from the commencement of the site and will often be the last man putting the locks in the doors,” he notes. “You accumulate a wide range of experience on site, from putting on the roof to the second fix and very often it naturally feeds into management roles.”

J.F. Flynn Construction assists architects and engineers in delivering a smooth and professional service to their clients by providing an organised, well managed and consistent building experience within the building and fit out sector. An inherent family culture and personal attention to detail is a fundamental part of the business, while their ability to cover a broad spectrum of works is another key strength.

“We cover everything. That’s one thing about living in Kerry – you have to take on a lot of different project types,” says John. “With housing developments, they tend to be slow-moving and you are on site long-term, whereas on the commercial side you will generally have a 12-15-week programme. In commercial projects, we’ve worked for Great National Hotels, The Viking Hotel in Waterford, Guineys retail in Tralee, the HSE and have completed shop fit outs for Dunnes Stores.

“At the moment, we’re working on a structural and internal fit out job at Handel’s Hotel in Temple Bar, Dublin, comprising a new reception area and five new bedrooms – we’re working with Douglas Wallace on that one – and we’re also doing a fit out for Kerry ETB in Killarney.

“In residential, we’re doing a 30-unit mixed development in Whitegate, Cork, which is an ICF building. I’ve been a big fan of ICF construction since the beginning and I’m enjoying working on that. Price-wise, ICF seems to be balancing better with traditional builds now than it was in the past. It’s still a bit more expensive but speed of finish will negate that. You get a drier and faster finish. It’s my first time to use this method and it looks really good so far.”

In general, John and J.F. Flynn Construction are “tipping along nicely” workwise. Another recent project of note was at Munster Fire & Safety in Millstreet, Cork, where an old Spar shop was re-fitted into a safety shop to the front with offices to the rear to include kitchen, canteen, meeting room and loading area.

Which is most important – quality, budget or deadline? “All three,” comes the instant reply. “If you don’t have all three, then it won’t work. You have to approach a project with the programme in mind and you have to produce quality work. You have to make money, too. All of those aspects have to work in conjunction with one another. If you hit all three, you will have a successful project and we are hiring good young professionals to make sure that keeps happening.”

Set up in the middle of the last recession, J.F. Flynn Construction is a lean and well-organised business, with John and his wife Michelle as two of the four directors. The order book for this year is almost full and some projects for 2023 are already under consideration.

There are some major challenges facing construction at present, but John has seen tough times before and is well placed to perform in even the most volatile environment. “The two biggest challenges are labour shortages and material prices, but we do have a good team of subcontractors,” the affable Kerry contractor concludes. “External factors like fuel prices are also crazy – it’s now costing €135 to fill the jeep.

“One of my subbies told me the other day that a sheet of beech-finish ply that was €50 twelve months ago is now costing €140. Price increases like that are unsustainable and if inflation kicks in too, it could be really hurtful. Those factors are concerning but are beyond our control. All we can do is focus on continuing to provide our clients with quality buildings that meet their requirements and budget.”

J.F. Flynn Construction Ltd.,

Unit 1 OSM Park,

Monavalley Business Park,


County Kerry,

Tel: (066) 718 5577

Email: [email protected]

Web: jfflynn.ie/

This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, October 2022, Vol 8 No 10