Despite having already established themselves as industry leaders, providing a full range of exceptional residential and commercial building services, Cascade Group continues to raise the bar, consistently reaching new standards of excellence in construction. Building Ireland touched base with director Graham Byrne to get an update.
From stunning architectural home construction projects – including high-end new builds, extensions and conservation refurbishments – to industry-leading commercial property works covering all sectors, Cascade Group is the go-to company for all building, renovation and maintenance needs.
With an exceptional core team and direct in-house access to all the main trades, Cascade Group invariably deliver innovative, efficient, high-quality, value-added construction services to meet all building requirements. Since it was established by Aidan O’Connor and Graham Byrne 14 years ago, Cascade Group has rapidly emerged as one of Ireland’s most dependable building contractors, setting new standards in construction through their professionalism, client-focussed approach and the keenest attention to detail demonstrated from conception to completion on every project, both home or commercial, large or small.
The company has a proven track record in successfully delivering countless landmark, bespoke residential and commercial projects across the capital and beyond for coming up on a decade and a half. And they could barely have received a higher endorsement than when they were enlisted as main contractor to carry out the building work on the complete transformation of none other than renowned architect Dermot Bannon’s Drumcondra home!
‘Room to Improve – Dermot’s Home’ aired on RTE to extremely positive feedback in January, 2020. It was one of the three most-watched programmes on Irish television that year, up there with the All-Ireland final and The Late, Late Toy Show. Graham has fond memories of that high-profile but challenging project, which served to project Cascade Group into the national consciousness.
How critical was the Room to Improve project in getting Cascade Group’s name out there and helping take things to the next level? “We had been established for ten years plus and had completed many other projects to a very high standard, it wasn’t critical, however, it helped people recognise the company brand, and it was great to be renowned in that regard. We have built on the relationship with Dermot and Patricia, now working regularly with them on various projects around Dublin. It has been great to build on that relationship.
“It’s also a good ice breaker. When meeting potential clients or heading to the negotiating table, it often comes into conversation and there’s a sense of familiarity there, like we have met them before. We believe we were well established prior to the show, we were growing organically and known for our quality, so although it wasn’t a pivotal moment in the growth of the business, it definitely built upon the trust of clients knowing they are dealing with a reputable company.
With the dust now well and truly settled on what was a demanding project, delivered between late 2018 and late 2019, how does Graham remember it? “It was slightly stressful at the time as having the camera crews following us around brought us somewhat out of our comfort zone but the build itself was a great, although challenging at times however it was a very enjoyable experience overall. The fact that it was Dermot’s own home meant it was a really nice project to work on and we knew the end result be something extraordinary. To say Cascade Group was part of that will definitely stick with us.”
In the meantime, Cascade Group have remained busy and focused completing a succession of fantastic one-off new builds, major refurbishment and extension projects as well as a wide range of commercial works. Some ongoing projects at the time of writing included a beautiful new build home at Killeen Castle in Dunsany, County Meath; a major extension and refurbishment of an existing home in Ratoath, County Meath; and a small but bespoke and very interesting extension / refurbishment in Killiney – again working with Room To Improve QS Patricia Power and a project which Graham says will be “a nice gem” once complete.
While the pandemic brought unprecedented uncertainty and challenges to construction, Cascade Group came out the other end stronger. “From a Health & Safety point of view, it had a massive impact at the start as we literally couldn’t come into work,” Graham reflects.
“At first, we all thought the sector was doomed – and the global economy with it. In reality, however, we went from strength to strength. Although we had to adapt in line with Health & Safety requirements, it affected us in a very positive way overall and it was a fabulous time for construction.
“We had minor emergency works to complete during the first lockdown, ultimately though, we were mostly sitting at home for seven weeks hoping to see an end. However, once restrictions eased and construction sites were to open again, it just boomed. People couldn’t go on holidays or spend their money as they would traditionally do, so many were spending their savings on their homes. After a stressful few months of uncertainty, business was great time.”
Cascade Group currently operates across three main divisions: Cascade Construction provides a complete range of domestic and commercial construction services; Cascade Painting offers a sizeable painting and decorating team to medium-to-large-sized residential and commercial developments; and Cascade Security – established in 2018 – specialises in access control, intruder alarm and CCTV system installations.
A highly-skilled team of 37 is employed directly, while lasting relationships with excellent subcontractors and suppliers are also central to Cascade Group’s ongoing success. “Our people are absolutely paramount – not just to our growth but to our everyday work and the level of service we provide,” Graham continues. “We have a great team and they are indispensable.”
As for other factors that have contributed to Cascade’s Group’s status as a construction partner of choice, Graham adds: “I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but hard work and drive have been imperative. In any business, a great deal of patience is also required, and a fair amount of good luck too.”
With inflation wreaking havoc, these are uncertain times for construction but Graham is confident that Cascade Group can adapt accordingly and navigate the choppy waters: “It’s an extremely challenging market. Covid has left us with a lot of holes to fill, followed swiftly by the war in Ukraine and inflation. The market is very volatile and quite a few projects are being shelved and put on the long finger indefinitely.
“People don’t feel that there’s value for money out there and at the same time there’s a lot of profiteering taking place, which is exacerbating the situation further. You have to question the ethics of some of the suppliers who are exploiting the situation.
“We are in a very strong position going forward but, because of the lack of certainty out there, not as strong as we would ideally like it to be,” the straight-talking co-owner concludes. “We have had to work very hard to ensure that there is work in the pipeline, but we remain confident in our ability to keep that workflow moving.
“There’s a saying in the industry that a good tradesman will never be out of work and I believe that once you work to a high quality, you will always be busy irrespective of the market.”
Stadium Business Park,
Tel: 01 8026837
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, March 2023, Vol 9 No 3