SPD Group - bringing an eye for detail to the construction industry
- Credit: Archant
Stephen Duggan and Liam Duffy joined forces in 2018 and launched SPD Group, already one of the most sought-after building firms in the region
One of the opening lines on SPD Group's website is: "We guarantee the highest quality workmanship in the construction industry." It's a bold claim in an industry that hasn't, let's face it, the best of reputations. It is however a claim that Stephen Duggan is proud to make and to stand by - and his customers it seems, back his every word.
'I am not the sort of person to do just what's asked for, if I can see something that will make a positive difference to the build,' he says. 'We work with a lot of architects and most builders will simply take the brief and do as asked, for me, that's not good enough. If I can see a small change that will enhance the living experience of the homeowner, I will propose it. We work closely with the architect, but always give that little bit more for the client.
'For us, every job is personal: we make it personal - it's a point of pride that we give our all to every job, and it shows. Our guarantee of the highest quality workmanship in the industry isn't just hot air, it's something that shows in every job, whether it's a 3m x 3m side extension to expand a kitchen, or a full poolhouse with gymnasium and cinema room.'
Where does it come from, this drive for perfection? Growing up, my dad's favourite expression (it seemed at the time) was "good enough is not good enough". As a teen, it meant little, but it seems that it's a mantra that Stephen lives and breathes by.
'It's partly pride in doing a great job,' he says, 'and partly just my love of design and of creativity. The smallest details can make the biggest difference, and a minor change here or a tweak there can lift a home from great to really special. We are so proud of what we do we are prepared to share it with the world, on our website and on social media. We take photos of every stage to share with clients - we have even invested in a drone so we can show them their roof, before and after! We show people what we're doing throughout the project, not just the end.'
This has proven a smart strategy, as trusting your builder is absolutely key - and yet the horror stories you hear can make that very difficult.
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'Honest and open communication is vital. We don't hide anything, from anybody, and that gives our clients confidence in us at every stage of the project.'
It is Stephen's drive, work ethic and eye for design that led him to establishing his own business initially, having trained as a plasterer after leaving school, but it was a coffee and chat with an old school friend that led to the launch of SPD and the success they are seeing so far.
'I have known Liam since we were five years old,' Stephen says. 'He joined the army after school, the Parachute Regiment. After his service, he trained as a plumber, but over a coffee one day in 2018 we decided to join forces. He has a brilliant business brain. He is the project planning expert, the planner, the admin guru, the buyer… I am the hands-on, on site, project manager. I go to every job every day and oversee every action taken by my team. If I think it can be done better, it gets done again.
'When I was 24 I bought my first property. I did it up myself, planned every aspect of it; that's when I first really understood the importance of a beautiful, well-built home and that's why every detail matters to me. Customers really pick up on this; I have just been given a completely open brief by a new client. who has simply said "do what you think should be done," handed me the keys and left me to it.'
It's clear that Stephen's approach gives his clients real trust in him - in his design credentials and in the work his team does. It seems like the perfect coming together of every piece needed to create something very special indeed and one can only imagine SPD Group is going to be very busy in 2020 - so if home improvements are on your list of things to do in 2020, you'd better call soon!
Unsurprisingly, more and more often, SPD Group have been asked to undertake external landscaping projects when working on a home build. Stephen has designed sunken fire pits with surrounding seating, terraces and sun-catching corners with summerhouses, and brings in planting experts to complete the soft landscaping. One thing he received an increasing number of queries about over 2019 was the benefits of artificial lawns, especially in the light of the increasingly hot summers we're seeing.
'We did a lot of research,' he says, 'and found what we believe to be the very best product in the region - and then we bought the company. We launched Luxury Artificial in summer 2019 and the first projects have been amazing.'
It's clear that for Stephen, maintaining control over every aspect of every design he works on, from inside to out, is his way of delivering that highest quality workmanship he guarantees every, very lucky, customer. And it works - for him, for his team, and for his clients.