There are not many Irish businesses that can rival Brooks’ long trading history. Managing Director Mark Lohan tells us how the well-known building suppliers, which has links back to the late 1700s, maintains its reputation for quality and excellence, while constantly striving to stay ahead of the game.
Brooks has been something of an institution in the Irish construction industry since its inception in the late 1700’s, beloved by builders of all sizes for its varied product offering and expert advice.
“The Brooks brand has been around for centuries,” Managing Director of Brooks Group Mark Lohan says. “It has seen recessions, depressions, famines and booms; so Brooks is known for quality, longevity and resilience, a huge source of pride among our staff, suppliers and customers.”
However, Mark is keenly aware that even a well-established and much loved brand like Brooks must stay ahead of the market and constantly adapt in order to keep its position.
“Recession is a feature of our industry. It is a feature of our economy really that boom follows bust,” Mark says. “If you take the geopolitical landscape at the moment; there are new challenges that are going to impact on confidence in Ireland. These are new aspects to the threats that face our economy and combine with those threats that are always present given our small, open economy.”
Brooks was first launched by Thomas Brooks in 1823. Among the subsequent acquisitions included Haughtons in Cork, which dated back to 1789. The brand is now owned by Premier Forest Group, one of the UK's leading independent importers and distributors of Timber and Panel Products.
“The ability and the necessity to adapt and to be agile is the single most important pre-requisite of the Brooks’ senior leadership team; “the market is changing so quickly and we need to keep ahead. House-building, in particular, is changing at a phenomenal pace; it is now all about regulations and the requirement for speed of build. This has created the need among our customers base for more than just products; they are looking for advice and “packaged” or engineered solutions."
In the last three years, Brooks has extended their offering from all of the basic building materials one might need to build or renovate a house, to a point where it now includes a Part L solution (supply and fit) and engineered house-building timber solutions. In addition, Brooks also provide CPD courses to architects on the applications (and common misapplication) of timber and timber-based products.
“Brooks’ drive towards these solutions is fuelled by the increased need for speed of build, the requirements in terms of regulation and certification and sensitivity to cost,” Mark Lohan adds.
Brooks’ tried and tested formula of watching the changing market and adapting to the “new” construction world by concentrating on service and innovation, is certainly paying off with annual revenue jumping from €26 million to €57 million between 2012 and 2017 and employee numbers doubling from 60 to 120 during the same period.
What Brooks do:
Brooks distributes timber products and building materials to house builders and contractors, joinery and furniture manufacturers, other builder merchants, subcontractors, house factories, and DIY customers through its six outlets nationwide, as well as direct-to-site delivery.
Timber and Wood product - Constructional Timber, Machined Timber, Redwood, Sheet Material and Hardwoods. Where applicable all timber products are produced to current EU construction directives.
Heavy Building Material –High quality building materials from Irish manufactures such as Gypsum, Moy Isover , Wavin , Irish Cement Tegral.
Ironmongery and Shop products - A wide range of building consumables.
Flooring – Brooks are a leading supplier of Europe s no. 1 flooring manufacturer Junckers. Brooks also supply Hardwood flooring, Laminates and accessories.
Plumbing and Heating- A large range of Heating and plumbing materials and expert advice. A full supply and fit of a Part L package is also available.
Landscaping - Building on Brooks’ expertise in both Timber and Building materials. Brooks offer a large range of Decking materials and hard landscaping products.