March saw Ireland’s largest independently owned company in the lift industry, Ascension Lifts Ltd celebrate the 20th anniversary of its formation. Building Ireland touched base with its Managing Director Paul Flynn to hear more about its steady growth year on year since its inception and the overall state of business heading towards a third decade.
Business is flourishing these days at Ascension Lifts Ltd and the plan for its MD Paul Flynn and the rest of the team based along the Ballymount Road, Dublin 12 is to try and keep things that way and grow some more along the way.
After all, continued growth every year has been the story so far for the company since it was formed in 2003.
Today, it employs over 40 full-time staff, these comprise of office- based admin and management as well as the front line of apprentices, engineers and testers, servicing clients across the residential, healthcare, commercial and industrial sectors to name but a few.
Building Ireland spoke with Paul Flynn to find out some of the secrets behind its success to date and hopes moving forward.
“We started in 2003 and we’re now the largest independent owned company in the lift industry in Ireland,” Paul outlined.
“Within our maintenance Department we have a very significant portfolio of lifts under contract. We also carry out extensive repairs on our maintenance portfolio as well as undertaking intricate and challenging modernisation works to existing lifts.
Our Installation department has 10 in-house crews working constantly on installation of new passenger and platform lifts. One of our additional areas of expertise involves the full replacement of lifts in existing buildings, this involves extensive involvement in complete turnkey projects including removal of existing equipment through to handover of new lift(s) including all builders and electrical works.
Having started himself as an apprentice back in 1981, Paul is working in the industry 42 years now and is part of a team of directors at Ascension Lifts which are made up almost entirely of qualified lift engineers.
As the MD himself points out, all the company’s directors and front-line managers “now have somewhere between 20 to +40 years’ experience in this business”. That experience has been one of the integral keys to Ascension Lifts’ success so far, leveraging the unprecedented knowledge, expertise and competency that is reflected in the company’s very large portfolio of lift units which it maintains under contract.
Ascension Lifts has a dedicated maintenance department which is on hand for its clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
Clients are offered a range of preventative maintenance programme options which are all designed to identify and attend to any potential problem areas before a lift malfunction can occur.
The company also provides several separate levels of Preventative Service Agreement options for all its lift installations, as well as for lift installations that have been installed by other companies.
All of that considered, it’s no surprise to see that business at the moment is essentially booming for Ascension Lifts.
“Business is tremendous. It’s growing year on year exponentially,” said the Managing Director.
“It’s repeat business a lot of the time, so it’s about trying to keep all of our customers happy.
“During Covid, it was actually a very busy period for us, and it had no impact on our Installation and modernisation departments which saw us carry out a huge number of installations including turnkey projects in several live hospitals.
“It did impact a little on the maintenance side of things with regards the closure of buildings such as hotels and offices, but other than that we were out the door with work, to be honest with you.”
Indeed, Ascension Lifts both supply and install a complete range of Vertical Transport Solutions, offering clients Passenger Lifts, Good Lifts, Disabled Platforms and Goods Platform lifts.
Ascension represents one of the largest manufacturers in Europe in Kleemann Ltd, since 2011. Kleemann manufacture a vast range of high-end quality Passenger Lifting solutions.
The company has also been in partnership with Cibeslift in Sweden since 2004. Now owned by an IKEA foundation, Cibes manufacture a fantastic range of modular platform lifts which include shaft enclosures. Ascension also represents other Swedish manufacturers like MPR for robust short rise Platform lifts and Jihab Goods Scissor Lifts. Also +15-year partners with Controls systems from NEWLift and Metallschneider Goods Lifts.
“We’re also founding members of the Irish Lift and Escalator Association (ILEA), which is the trade association and advisory body for the lift and escalator industry in Ireland, which requires members to reach recognised qualifying criteria, high standards and commitment to best practise.”
So, the burning question is, what has been the secret behind the clear success of Ascension Lifts to date?
How has a small start-up grown into a thriving business with a glowing reputation amongst its clients for delivering work that is second to none?
For Paul, it’s of course down to a combination of different factors, but there are three things that particularly come to mind.
“Quality people, products and excellent service,” he said. “I think that’s why our clients choose us and the fact also that we’re easy to do business with. With us, you’re never far away from talking to someone who can make a decision.” He continued: “It’s also the personal approach that we have offer with our work. We’re always responsive and very heavily customer focused.
“We pride ourselves on only supplying great quality equipment, installed, and maintained to a very high standard. We strive to give our customers the best service possible, and the ethos of the company is to have great people trained in the broadest of ranges giving them a 360-degree skill base. Our staff are everything to us and we have a fantastic, committed team here that we are very proud of.
“As a Lift engineer by trade and having carried out virtually every role within the industry it is very important to me to offer our people the opportunity to be proficient and multiskilled.
“We’re committed to health and safety training and Education of our workforce. This spans from continuous recruitment of new apprentices and supporting them through a four-year training course through to full qualification as well as continuous investment in our long serving team.”
While it installs excellent equipment, Paul is aware that Ascension Lifts are not as well-known as some global brands and as such some prospective customers often do not realise just how successful the company is with regards to proven capability, project diversity, and deliverables. “We’re fortunate as we do not need to chase that many new customers as we continue to secure a significant amount of repeat business based on long term relationships and subsequent business recommendations through our good reputation. This has served our business well since it’s commencement.”
Now, as it approaches the 20-year mark, Ascension Lifts is busier than it has ever been. The way the Managing Director sees it, this year will be about the company trying to grow in a sustainable way. “The challenge is to empower our own people through training and continuous improvement and where necessary bring in highly skilled people that buy in and fit with the Ascension Family values.
“Like every business we are hoping that the massive price rises ease, global issues and energy costs are resolved, without further impact on the economy. We’re hoping to consolidate and grow against this backdrop and choose the right projects to pursue.
“We are delighted that we have great diversity within our business. We have a very large maintenance portfolio, fabulous expertise in upgrades of existing lift equipment and a very wide product range and involvement in every sector, which offers a level or security for both of us as a company and our valued customers against a possible recession and we look forward to our next chapter,” he concluded.
Ascension Lifts Ltd
Western Parkway Business Centre,
Lower Ballymount Road,
Telephone: 01 405 0050
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, April 2023, Vol 9 No 4