Clancy transforms hospital scene during Covid thanks to innovation

Noel Dundon


Noel Dundon


Seamus Callanan

Tipperary senior hurling captain Seamus Callanan (centre) the new BUsiness Development Manager at Clancy pictured at the Thurles Hospital of the Assumption build

UHL, 24 ward unit was built in a fourteen week record time by Clancy

While the rest of the country was in lockdown and thinking of ways to get back to work, Tipperary company Clancy, based at Drangan, was flat to the mat, working 24/7 to deliver state-of-the-art emergency wards for the HSE.

Under emergency Covid-19 legislation, fast track units were approved for many strategic locations around the region and Clancy tackled 24 ward projects in University Hospital Limerick, another at Croom, along with others smaller projects in Mallow and Abbeyleix as well as continuing work on a very complex two storey roof top extension at Tallaght Hospital, and the very unique roofing project on St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

“It has been an unbelievably busy time for us and we had so many challenges to overcome. But, there was a real sense of purpose amongst all our workers as they felt they were doing something very positive for the country the fight against COVID-19 during a time of crisis. We were working all hours and remember the work had to be undertaken with social distance compliance and all that this entailed,” John O'Shaughnessy, Managing Director, Clancy told The Tipperary Star.
Clancy is currently on site at Thurles Community Hospital of the Assumption, where a €2.4million fast tracked projects using Light Gauged Steel offsite construction method to deliver the completed project to the HSE by January 8.

UHL, was a single storey building including a complex link bridge to the existing hospital which was constructed in 14 weeks where we also only had three week to design the building prior to arriving into site. Croom hospital was also a 24 ward block but a three storey building with the 1st and 2nd floors being shell and core for a later fit-out of new state of the art operating theatres, we had 17 weeks to deliver this project with both Croom and UHL being built concurrently. Mallow will be finished in 4 weeks time; and the very complex two storey extension on top of Tallaght Hospital, now also handed over in recent weeks.
Clancy are also working on a major student accommodation centre in Bandon Road Cork one of the largest in the Country with a construction value in the region of €50million while also working on a number of social housing projects and other works - in total there are approximately 12 major projects on the books at present, leading to huge challenges, but ones which are being met each day.

The 24 ward extension at UHL was completed in 14 weeks.

A recent addition to their team in May is Tipperary senior hurling captain Seamus Callanan, as Business Development Manager - he has witnessed first hand the kind of lengths the workers- numbering about 100 - have gone to in recent times.
“Clancy was a perfect fit for me because a lot of my own personal core values are central to the Clancy philosophy. I'm speaking in terms of teamwork and collaboration, leadership, and ambition to work to the highest of standards each day. As Business Development Manager, I am looking forward to opening up new avenues to generate new business, while at the same time ensuring that existing customers and clients are very happy with what we offering. I'm very excited about this because Clancy is a big company but with a real family feel to it.

“Part of my brief is to promote the Clancy wellness programme and basically, I help to put structures and programs in place for staff so that they can keep a healthy mind and body, this is an important for Clancy as we want our employees happy in work and outside of it. Everybody plays a big role in the company and we want them to know their value and to look after them,” Seamus says. Clancy has signed up for the Laya Health employee assistance programme which promotes positive mental health and the importance of looking after your mental health.

It is because of the team at Clancy that the very heavy workload has been undertaken and carried out. And, a lot of forward thinking and design innovation was also employed well ahead of Covid-19, but which dovetailed perfectly with the requirements of the HSE.

John O'Shaughnessy explains: “We have been involved with WIT for many years promoting their graduate programmes, in 2012 we worked with their school of architecture and Construction management to develop the benefits of building information modelling (BIM) to a construction company. BIM is effectively a 3D design software that bring many benefits to the whole design and construction process of building projects. While introducing BIM into an organisation can be expensive, but the benefits can be significant – our first project in collaboration with WIT was the Questum Innovation Centre in Clonmel for instance. BIM is now a requirement for all design teams working on Clancy Design and Build project. So, the link with WIT has been very beneficial to us as we have direct contact with the best new people coming into the workforce.

“BIM, has been a significant part of the success of the HSE emergency project as the majority of our key suppliers such as the Light Gauge Steel (LGS) company Horizon Offfsite and Midland Steel for the pre-fabricated reinforced steel were fully applying the technology which basically allows our sub contractors to construct most of the buildings off site. It means that we less workers on site, which is now very important in relation to the reduced output due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“We have been using Tipperary companies such as Horizon in Cahir LGS, LMC in Nenagh for the PODS, Fortress Planning in Cashel were our assigned certifiers and the PSDP on the projects, we will use Tipperary sub-contractors and suppliers where possible on all our projects.

“We have about 100 people directly employed now and as such, we are more of a management company these days - back in 2007, we would have had 300 people on the books, but the business model has changed considerably,” John says.
So Clancy was ahead of the curve when it came to being able to deal with fast track projects - the question now is will LGS follow into the housing market for the fast turnaround of residential units.

Clancy MD John O'Shaughnessy (left) pictured at the Croom project

“I think the HSE might have felt that we would be unable to deliver the projects on time but we did everything we possibly could to ensure that it would work. A lot of these projects were running concurrently, and remember, it wasn't easy to get our suppliers on board because of the lockdown. But we did it and we are very proud of that.

“Dublin City Council is already using LGS in housing so yes is the simple answer when it comes to the residential question. It costs more to construct than with bricks and mortar, but the cost savings in terms of time offsets this. And, there is a 60 year lifespan,” John says.

The time saving is the big thing - 14 weeks to build a 24 ward unit in Limerick and 17 weeks in Croom with a three storey building has been a significant achievement and something I think hasn’t been done before in Ireland.
“Like everything, the definition of fast-track projects has changed. I was the site foreman for Thurles Shopping Centre back in the mid 1990s when we considered 9 months for a project of that size fast tracked, but that time would be far less now if LGS was used,” said John who revealed that Clancy's turnover will almost double from previous years.

The efficiency of the work has been captured brilliantly by local photographer and videographer Tom Ryan Casey who used a time-lapse programme to record the feats.
“It's brilliant to look back on it all and to see the different stages - we have been able to record the 14 week project in about three-and-a-half minutes and we have these for our archives and to demonstrate our work when tendering for other projects,” Tom says.

Seamus, who previously worked with Bank of Ireland and with Teneo is delighted to be working now with Clancy.
“On the field you encounter different challenges, and it's the same in life, and your professional life. Clancy is well used to meeting these challenges head on and I'm delighted to be part of that team now.”