A Dublin homebuilder has reenvisaged the approach to homebuilding in the wake of pandemic when health and hygiene have never been more in focus. Carroll Estates’ Brookfield development in Malahide is being billed as Ireland’s first set of Healthy Houses. Well-being has been considered in every detail of the design of the new homes.
“We are a business, but we are very aware that we build homes, not houses,” said Róisín Carroll, Sales Manager. “The Healthy House concept came to us last year, when we were trying to imagine a new development built in a world with Covid. “What features would our residents like to have in their homes to make them feel safe, when the outside world can feel scary? Wouldn’t it be a joy to invite guests to our homes, to the public ground floor space, but for them not to need to touch many items? The Healthy House idea was born.”
Technology and attention to cleanliness combine in each of the four-bedroom homes with features including a Quartz Sinquastone antimicrobial worktop, a touch free bin and filtered tap for drinking water. Further anti-bacterial measures include the property being wired for optional voice recognition to reduce the need to touch and contaminate switches, sockets and remote controls. Ceiling lights have been wired for voice activation and smart sockets, while Google Hub and Google Hub minis will be standard. Touchless technology waves goodbye to bacteria and is a key feature of the downstairs WC, which includes a motion sensitive toilet, tap and lighting.
Each property will also have a Nest electronic thermostat for heating and hot water that can be controlled remotely. Carroll Estates is a family-owned firm founded in 1974 by Bernard Carroll, who is still involved in the business today. The company’s first development was the Watson Estate in Killiney. The reigns have since been handed over to the next generation and Carroll’s daughters and son-in-law have positions on the management team. The company prides itself on its people.
“Our staff are what we are most proud of,” says Róisín Carroll. “Our current sites are now under the direction of two men who have been with us for years, who have learnt under the direction of Bernie and excelled, and worked their way up to their current titles of site managers. “This has meant our construction manager Gary Plunkett is now free to look at the bigger picture, which with Gary can only mean the company will continue to grow and thrive. Our management quintet is rounded out by Peter Spain as head of our financial team. Peter keeps us grounded, ensures that any grand designs the sales and design heads come up with are feasible but profitable. I don’t know how he puts up with us,” she jokes.
Daniel Givens is Managing Director at Carroll Estates. He shares his thoughts on life and challenges in the sector right now:
How do you overcome the big issues?
The industry as ever has many challenges, and finding solutions is what gets me out of bed in the morning. If I were to pinpoint the key challenge in the current environment, it would be the uncertainty we are facing in the industry. Supply, pricing, labour, and the planning process are now of greater concern than ever before, especially at a time when the industry need certainty above all else to support housebuilders bridge the current and significant supply gap. At Carroll Estates, we work diligently and consistently every day to advance and develop every facet of our business for the benefit of the client. We therefore provide opportunities to overcome these significant challenges. However, Carroll Estates can only control a limited amount in the present circumstances.
What technology are you embracing?
Upskilling our team, particularly in technology, is fundamental and in which we are actively engaged. The team on site are enthusiastic learners, and recognise the economic and efficient benefits of emailing, instant messaging, traceability, and communications. Upgrading our payment and pricing systems is a current project which will facilitate the business in bringing improvements to the bottom line.