How We Boosted Business With a Smart Website
Construction dispute experts John Farage O’Brien got even busier after launching a slick new website. And it helps that they already have adjudication experience, following the activation of the Construction Contracts Act
ON A BRIGHT AND SUNNY April morning in the sylvan surroundings of Delgany village in Wicklow, John FFF O’Brien is certain he made the right decision to go for a new website late last year.
Principal consultant at construction dispute specialists John Farage O’Brien, which operates from a charming converted stables along the rural Priory Road, O’Brien has seen a serious spike in traffic to his site since the new version went live at 9.00am two days before — five times more visitors than the average for the previous month.
“We were very busy already, but I expect more enquiries and leads as a direct result of the new site,” says John over coffee in the village’s Firehouse Bakery.
“I did the right thing. There were people who told me the old site was fine and was doing the job, and it was. But I wanted to modernise, upgrade, make it more of an experience for visitors, so I just went for it.
“Our media advisors are local, publicEye media. I gave them and their design associate Greville Edwards their head, gave them the time needed for a quality result — and they came up with the goods. I am delighted with the design, the movement on site, the bold use of graphics, typography and photographs, and the easier-to-follow content.”
Indeed, O’Brien was determined to find and commission local talent, to help sustain local business — he also engaged well-known local snapper Roger Kenny to photograph himself, his team, their offices and the inspiring scenery they work in.
It’s a busy team. “I’d say 2015 was our busiest year since the firm was founded in 2003,” says John, “and it hasn’t stopped this year. In fact, for the last four years it’s been all go.”
He attributes a good deal of the surge in business to the strains produced by the collapse of property construction in the recession.
“There was a tsunami of disputes,” he says. “Probably most were genuine, contract-based disagreements, but there was a fair proportion where parties took up entrenched positions, positions not really justified by the terms of the contracts involved.
“That kind of thing has slacked off, I’m glad to say, but it hasn’t reduced our level of business. As we’re one of the few alternative dispute resolution firms to specialise in construction disputes, and with a highly effective legal support department to strengthen our offering to clients, I expect business to keep growing as the construction recovery continues.
“Of course, it helps that we have the in-house expertise to cover all four overlapping fields which arise in construction disputes — technical, legal, contractual and financial — and the ability to give sound strategic counsel.
“As to the future, well, the Construction Contracts Act has now been implemented, which I welcome. We have already carried out several very successful adjudications in Britain, so we have that experience of the adjudication process to add to our existing expertise in arbitration, conciliation and mediation.
“That will be a whole new strand of business for us, and we are already on the start line to take on our first Irish adjudication — I can hardly wait,” says John, heading back out into the sunshine, to his busy office in the leafy valley below.
This interview was first published in Construction magazine in May 2016, shortly after the Construction Contracts Act provision on Adjudication was implemented by ministerial order