Building homes for life since 1978, Fernside Homes Ltd is a leading building contractor with a proven track record of successful residential developments across the midlands.
Fernside Homes is celebrating 45 years in business, having been founded in Carbury, Co. Kildare by William and Pat Connolly. It is now run by William’s sons Brendan and David, daughter Caroline and Brendan’s children Jordan and Robyn. Josh Betson is the other direct employee in the third-generation family business which is supported by a large crew of sub-contractors. The company has earned an enviable reputation for top-quality work on every housing project and continues to go from strength to strength.
“My father William, who passed away in 2019, set up the business along with his brother Pat in 1978. Pat had emigrated to England before I joined straight from school as an apprentice carpenter in 1986,” Brendan explains.
“William retired in 2006-2007 at 70 years of age, but remained in the background of the company for many years after, leaving David and I to run it. We built it up over the years. There were a lot of hard years, especially during the recession. But we never got too big and that, combined with our quality work, has stood to us.
“Jordan is involved in the groundworks side of things; Robyn looks after all of the administration, while she still gets stuck into jobs like finishing concrete, erecting timber frames, tiling roofs, driving machines… the list goes on. Josh is a general operative and teleporter driver. We’re a nice, tight-knit operation.
“Caroline is a very important cog in the wheel to the day-to-day running of Fernside Homes Ltd, and has been since she was as young as 12, typing letters for our father etc. She is the office manager with almost 40 years of experience now, and nothing gets by her diligent eye!”
Superior workmanship, attention to detail, value-for-money and a commitment to working closely with clients to deliver total satisfaction are the hallmarks of Fernside Homes. Health & Safety is at the core of the business, and never more so than since the Covid-19 pandemic. Fernside Homes’ one-stop shop approach ensures that both the design and building processes are smooth, comfortable and hassle-free. The Kildare contractor’s reputation for quality construction and ability to complete projects on time and within budget is second to none.
By employing highly-skilled tradespeople, working closely with its engineers and architects, and using only the very best building products, the family business is able to deliver the highest quality construction. As a fully insured contractor and a member of Homebond, Fernside Homes does everything by the book.
Almost all of Fernside’s subcontractors and suppliers have been on its books for more than 30 years, which speaks volumes for the relationship it continues to enjoy with them.
As a leading developer in the midlands, Fernside Homes builds quality, affordable, new family homes with large living spaces. The company is currently carrying out a mixed development of two, three and four-bed homes at Oakwood Lawns in Edenderry, Co. Offaly, which is only a few miles from its Carbury base. Each property has an A1-rating for energy, resulting in lower energy costs. Fernside Homes previously built 337 homes at The Sycamores, which is adjacent to the Oakwood Lawns site.
“The first phase is already sold out,” Brendan says of the Oakwood Lawns development, which is located on St Mary’s Road beside the local primary and secondary schools, and within commuting distance of Dublin.
“We’ve secured planning permission for 75 units, including an existing house which will be renovated to A1 Negative-rating with a deep retrofit. We also have room for 90 more houses on the same site. The development will be made up of The Heath, The Elms, The Rise and The Oaks. We’ve just completed 20 houses in The Heath and have started on The Elms, which will consist of 17 houses.
“Our auctioneer Orla Heffernan is reporting great interest in the development. Two of its biggest selling points are its close proximity to all local schools – which are within walking distance – and Edenderry being on the edge of the commuter belt. It is just 40 minutes to the M50.”
Brendan insists on building A1-rated homes that are warm, comfortable and energy-efficient.
“We can build traditional-style homes with A1-rating without being overly-expensive. The Kingspan kit we use is the key to this as it ensures a very low energy rating. We incorporate sustainable and renewable technology to reduce our carbon footprint.”
The Sycamores was developed over a 15-year period along with the nearby Cedar Lawns, which was a much smaller 20-unit development. “All are sold and occupied,” Brendan points out. Other residential developments which Fernside Homes have successfully delivered over the years include Hillview in Rhode, Co. Offaly and Abbeylands, Ashfield and Newtown Lawns in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.
Fernside Homes uses the same tried and trusted sub-contractors on every project, including Bretland Construction, Christy Maguire Carpentry, TK Electrical and Alarms, David Corcoran Plumbing, All Plastering and Midland PVC. Bretland Construction is fronted by Fechin Daly, who is Brendan and David’s second cousin. The Edenderry-based company undertakes all of Fernside Homes’ civil works. Christy Maguire, meanwhile, is their brother-in-law.
Christy is another key player whose crew completes 50% of the house building elements on all projects, including erection of timber frame kits, tiling of roofs, installation of any renewable energy resources on the roofs, second fixing, snagging on completion, garden fencing and much more besides.
Suppliers include Kingspan Century Homes, Brooks Hardware and Kilsaran. Fernside also collaborates with O’Flynn Architects in Newbridge, Co. Kildare and Kavanagh Burke Consulting Engineers in Ballymount, Dublin 12 on its projects.
The cost of building materials has sky-rocketed in the last two years and this is being acutely felt in the new build sector.Commenting on this, Brendan says: “Some materials like timber have come down, but very little, and some are due to go up in the first quarter of this year, including concrete. In saying that, we hope to have The Elms ready for occupation by late summer and to be able to start The Oaks after that.”
Passionate about construction, Fernside Homes would like to take this opportunity to thank its clients, suppliers and designers for their continued support as well as its sub-contractors for their hard work, dedication and expertise.
Here’s to the next 45 years!
Fernside Homes Ltd
Telephone: 046 955 3076 / 086 603 6384
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, April 2023, Vol 9 No 4