Business View Caribbean interviews Ian McNally, Founder of Relmac Construction, as part of our series on best practices of Caribbean real estate companies.
The Relmac Construction Company Limited, based in Kingston, Jamaica, provides general contracting services and project management for the residential, commercial, industrial, and resort sectors. Ian McNally is Relmac’s Founder and Director, an electrical engineer who received an MBA degree from the Florida Institute of Technology. “I moved back to Jamaica in the early ‘90s and started my professional career doing construction related project management” he recounts, “putting together projects, pushing them along, and ensuring that they happened on time and on budget on behalf of clients.”
“I did that for nine or ten years and then right around that time, it evolved into what we do now, which is general construction and development,” McNally continues. “Essentially, we got a little bit frustrated with trying to lead and manage people who, in some instances, didn’t want to be managed, and we thought that it would make more sense to be doing the work ourselves. So, we transitioned into what we are today: a general contractor and developer, where we execute projects – some on behalf of clients, others for ourselves.”
Over the last several years, McNally reports that about 60 to 70 percent of Relmac’s revenue comes from the building and remodeling of hotels and resorts throughout Jamaica. “Most of them are on the north coast of the island between Negril, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios; and on the eastern end, a place called Portland,” he says. “The hotel industry always needs to keep their properties updated and so, we have developed a bit of a niche in that sector, where we’ve been quite busy and quite successful over the years.”
Relmac’s new and refurbished resort portfolio includes such projects as the Sandals Grande Manor Resort, Secrets Hotel, the Fern Tree Spa at the Half Moon Hotel, Wyndham Rose Hall, the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, Beaches Negril, Beaches Boscobel, Sandals Negril, the Mystic Ridge Resort, and the Trident Hotel & Villas. Residential projects include the Norbrook Palms, Old Fort Bay Village, Farringdon Estates, Ebony Glades, Chateau Lingfield, the Gladstone & Musgrave, and the Rio Grande Residence.
McNally believes that part of his company’s success comes from being extremely client-oriented and non-confrontational. “Also, we have a very focused outlook on each of our projects; we staff and resource them, independently,” he explains. “So, one project team on a particular project operates independently from another, which is a good thing, because it allows them to focus fully on the project they’re working on. We have about 25 permanent employees, and we ramp up into the several hundreds on a contract basis, depending on the projects and jobs that we’re doing.”
One of Relmac’s major clients is the ATL Group, Jamaica’s longest standing automotive and appliance distributor, for which the company just completed a new BMW and Mini showroom in Kingston. ATL is also the parent company of Sandals Resorts International, the world’s leading resort company, for which Relmac has done an extensive amount of constructing and remodeling of its hotels. “The Sandals Group is constantly expanding in the Caribbean; they’re constantly in need of services,” says McNally. “So, we cherish the relationship with them and intend to continue that relationship as they grow.”
Going forward, McNally reveals that future plans include developing “a big slate of residential projects of our own, with us acting as the developer. A couple of the ones we’re looking at may be more custom-oriented, but the vast majority will be built to spec and sold – apartments, townhouses, that sort of thing,” he says. “And we intend to be rolling many of them out next year.”
“Over the long term, we want to be doing more and more development projects of all natures – residential and commercial, in particular,” he adds. “We see quite a big opportunity in commercial development, so we’re moving towards that. Over the next five to ten years, I would expect to have accomplished a fair amount of both residential and commercial development in addition to quite a few larger scale projects for clients. Our goal is really to keep growing and, in so doing, keep providing employment for our local people. We’re very much into the development of our people and providing steady employment for them which allows them to develop themselves and to help us grow at the same time. So, we see it as sort of a hand-in-hand relationship. The most important part is that all of our projects are successful. We put a lot of time and energy and effort and hard work into them. That’s been our main strength over the years.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Relmac Construction
WHAT: A general contractor and project manager
WHERE: Kingston, Jamaica
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