From the ground up

Posted on: 6th February, 2017

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: West Cork People

For February’s ‘Home’ feature Donie Hegarty spoke to West Cork People about his life in the Building Trade.

DonieCastlehaven native Donie Hegarty has been in the building trade for the last 50 years and the experienced builder, 66, has no plans on retiring any time soon. “My mother lived to the great age of 104,” he says with a twinkle in his eye, “so I could have a long while left in me yet.”

In the 1960s, Donie biked it into work in Skibbereen every day, perhaps a factor today in his good health and ability to work past retirement age. He also played with Castlehaven for a number of years and is still actively involved with the club today.

After a number of years training in the industry, in 1973 Donie set up his own company Donal Hegarty Construction Ltd.

The construction industry was booming at the time and being a self-employed builder didn’t leave much time for family and social life. Married to Nora, a Drinagh woman, in 1980, the couple had three children, one of who, Kieran, is now doing his training with FAS and working with Donie in the family business. “I worked six days and evenings for so many years that I didn’t see a lot of my children growing up,” says Donie, “which was the way for most builders and tradespeople in those days. You’re busy, under pressure and you have to deliver on a number of different jobs, so you just put the hours in.

“I didn’t have any employees, big borrowings or large equipment, so I was ok during a time that a lot of bigger builders went to the wall,” says Donie ‘it was just me and my van.”

Although he’s still on the building site, Donie takes things easier now. He doesn’t work evenings or weekends and enjoys being able to spend more time with his family and helping out at this local GAA club. “The work is a lot less labour-intensive today,” he explains “there’s an electric tool for everything!”

Over the past few years, Donie has been doing a lot of reconstruction and renovation work, which he finds very enjoyable and gets great satisfaction from.

He just finished rebuilding an old ruin owned by the Somerville family right at the waters’ edge in Castletownsend. “It was crumbling. Some of the old walls had to be taken away completely and rebuilt and new foundations put in. Although it’s not easy to cost work like that, its very interesting,” says Donie. “It’s really unfortunate that so many old houses are left go to ruin.”

Donie believes the most important in is his line of work is having a good relationship with the client. “I always take the time to clearly explain to them the different stages of the build and the cost involved if they make any changes to the plan at a later stage. Sometimes people get carried away and spend excessively, trying to compete with their peers. Look at the trouble Dermot Bannon runs into and he’s supposed to be qualified!”

Donie’s advice to anyone looking to hire a builder is to ask questions at the beginning. “You need to know they have insurance and that all the tradespeople working on the job have Safe Pass certification. You also need to know the timeframe and cost of the job and always sign a contract at the start. Although there shouldn’t be any extra cost if you don’t make changes, add an extra 10-15 percent to the budget to cover unforeseen circumstances.”

“Build within your means,” advises Donie. “Your kids will grow up and you’ll be left with a big house to heat. Today everyone wants their house 100 per cent complete before they move in. When I came back from my honeymoon I had no door hanging on the bedroom or any of the rooms!” he says smiling. “Save your money and finish your house when you can afford it.”

Donie explains that in a building project payments by the client are made in installments. “It’s usually between 5-10 per cent of cost at the start of a job; the next installment is at base foundation complete; then blockwork/timber frame to roof level; roof complete. After that it’s first fix (electrics, plumbing, door frames, windows fitted etc); second fix (all trades complete); and the final payment is made once the snag list is complete and all jobs are finished to your satisfaction. This may be up to 12 months after the job is finished.

“Do your planning and research at the start, take your time, get your house livable and if you don’t have the budget, do your finishes when you’re living in it, rather than over-extending yourself. You’ll see things a lot differently once you have a feel for the house,” advises Donie.

Contact Donal Hegarty Construction Ltd for a no obligation quote on
087 2390934.

Latest News Articles:

Christmas on the beat
Clonakilty town aims to get snowed under with the return of the Clonakilty Christmas Express
On call for Christmas
Have your say in shaping the future of Clonakilty
Dursey Island project passes first phase in Failte Ireland’s Grant Scheme
Minister Ring visits superb rural initiatives in West Cork
West Cork farms celebrated at Milk Awards
Issue of childcare a major concern for 72 per cent of female entrepreneurs
Rain, slurry deadlines and housing
Celtic Ross Hotel awarded AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence

Join us on Facebook

This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day the little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
... See MoreSee Less

15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

TRADING THROUGH BREXIT - BREXIT BRIEFING SERIES LAUNCHED
Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Simon Coveney T.D. is hosting a number of Brexit Breakfast Briefings in Cork in the coming weeks. The first in the series takes place on Monday, 4 December at the Carrigaline Court Hotel at 7:30am until 9am. Business owners, retailers and those involved in tourism in the region are invited to attend the free briefing, which will see Minister Coveney providing an update on Brexit negotiations, his insights and also practical ways to begin preparing for Brexit.

The Brexit Breakfast information events are free of charge and all are welcome to attend, however registration is required by emailing simon.coveney@oir.ie or call 021 4374200
... See MoreSee Less

27th November, 2017  ·  

Keep an eye out for Croíúil Trad group
from Rosscarbery and the Munster Champions U-12 Ceili Band from Bandon, both performing on next weekend's The Late Late Toy Show, airing on Friday, December 1 on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.
... See MoreSee Less

27th November, 2017  ·  

Jump to:

Top