The sky is the limit for Cork-based Munster Scaffolding Services, which has been delivering exceptional scaffolding solutions to the construction industry for coming up on a decade. Building Ireland touched base with founder and proprietor Des West to find out more about this upwardly-mobile, standard-setting family business.
From its well-appointed base close to Cork International Airport, Munster Scaffolding Services boasts an exceptional track record for designing, supplying and installing industry-leading scaffolding and temporary roof systems to construction projects large and small across Cork city and county, the province of Munster and sometimes beyond.
Renowned for professionalism, prompt response and for implementing the highest levels of health and safety, Munster Scaffolding Services invariably bring quality, value-added expertise and experience to bear on every job and this is why Des and his trusty team benefit from a steady volume of repeat business from regular clients as well as referrals through positive word of mouth.
Originally from Dublin, Des has 25 years’ experience of the scaffolding industry and insists on investing the most exacting attention to detail to each and every project to ensure that the client is always afforded optimal solutions.
“This company is nine years in business,” he says, reflecting on the genesis of Munster Scaffolding Services. “I had another company before the bang and worked all over Ireland. I started doing a few jobs in Cork and I spotted an opportunity to set up a new company, which just grew gradually. I met a Cork woman and stayed here. Things have worked out perfectly.
“My wife Tara has always been there in the background through the good times and the bad. We have five children and there’s no doubt Munster Scaffolding Services wouldn’t be where it is today only for Tara’s support.”
Like any successful self-made business, Munster Scaffolding Services started from humble beginnings and grew organically on the back of providing clients with fast and efficient scaffolding services they could depend on: “We started very small and progressed each year, and indeed are still growing,” Des confirms.
“If I could get more manpower, we could grow even bigger. But, having said that, it’s at a manageable size at the moment and I’m more than happy with the way things are right now. We have plenty of work to keep us going and can’t complain.”
On any given day, between direct staff and subbies, Munster Scaffolding Services could have up to 15 men on site, all of whom are vastly experienced in all aspects of scaffolding, temporary roofing and working at heights. Des is also in the process of training in two young apprentices – a nephew and the son of an existing employee.
“We cater for everyone, large and small,” he continues. “We cover all project types from small residential to large commercial and have done everything from pharmaceutical to power stations and high-rise apartment blocks. Whatever the client needs, we will design and erect the solution that best fits that project.”
Munster Scaffolding Services have completed work for the HSE and were enlisted as an essential services provider during the worst days of the Covid-19 emergency. “We did a lot of work in hospitals and schools during Covid,” Des confirms. “We never stopped working, thankfully. We were involved in a large extension on the Mercy University Hospital and also worked on site at St Finbarr’s Hospital. That kept us going.”
As for the catchment area covered, although Des has a wealth of experience of working island-wide, the vast majority of projects are closer to home at present, which means he rarely has to travel beyond the Rebel County’s borders: “It’s virtually all Cork city and county now. We used to cover all of Munster but we simply don’t have the manpower to cover the province so we stick to Cork and there is a good bit of work in the city and county.”
As well as expertise, Munster Scaffolding Services has also invested substantially in the best scaffolding equipment in addition to associated vehicles and machinery. To guarantee that he can design the best solution for each specific job, Des uses the renowned Kwikstage Scaffolding and Cuplock Scaffolding systems as well as tube and fitting scaffolding.
“We always keep a good stock of equipment in the yard. As the jobs have got bigger, we’ve had to invest more. Because we could be on five or six different sites at any one time, you have to make sure you have enough equipment to meet demand. We also have a fleet of trucks and forklifts and there isn’t a year that passes where we don’t buy a new van or machine. You have to be prepared to invest in a business if you want to keep moving forward.
“We also do temporary roofs and that’s a busy area as there is nobody else down here providing this service. For that, we specialise in shrink wrap covering, which provides full weather protection and containment throughout the duration of a project.”
By applying themselves fully to every project, Munster Scaffolding Services have established themselves as leaders in their specialist field of expertise. Des gives every job his full attention to make sure that those who use MSS’s scaffolding and temporary roofing systems can go about their work in a safe, confident and productive manner.
“The key thing for me is to make sure you do the job right,” he states. “Don’t cut corners, prepare properly and be ready to put a quality system in place. That way, you won’t get any callbacks and your reputation will grow.
“You also need good men and good equipment, and of course safety is the No.1 thing in scaffolding. When you are working at heights, it has to be done right.”
Encouragingly, Munster Scaffolding Services have a healthy order book ahead of them, with projects scheduled in advance well into 2023. “It’s good to be getting so many enquiries and we’re actually turning down work at the moment. But we never turn down any of our regular clients. We’re lucky to have a lot of great clients – big and small builders – from all over Cork and we always look after them.”
Looking to the future, it’s very much a case of onwards and upwards for Munster Scaffolding Services! “I want to keep this going until retirement,” the personable company founder and MD concludes. “I have three young sons who I’d ideally like to see taking over the reins one day.
“They are only twelve, ten and six at the moment but they are in the yard almost every day and showing a great interest in it. I’d love to see Munster Scaffolding Services continuing into the next generation.”
And no doubt there are many builders in Cork who echo that sentiment!
Munster Scaffolding Services,
Airport East Business & Technology Park,
Tel: 089 4954506
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, April 2023, Vol 9 No 4