Back on the road – Irish Trucker Magazine

Back on the road

27 May 2016

Back On The Road - Irish Trucker Magazine

DM Morris is renowned for the premium quality of its workmanship.

The Morris family has been at the forefront of the road construction, civil engineering and contracting (public and private) sectors in Leinster for almost 50 years.

In 2011, they started off a new company from scratch and like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes – DM Morris has made extraordinary progress in a relatively short space of time. We travelled to their well-appointed Wicklow base to get an insight into operations from director and co-founder David Morris.

DM Morris Ltd was founded in 2011 by siblings David, Michael and Tara Morris, whose family boasts almost half a century of experience in road construction and a proud reputation for quality and customer dedication. The company provides full scale road construction for public, commercial and private contracts, as well as infrastructural developments and car park construction.

A wholly Irish-owned family business, DM Morris is renowned for the premium quality of its workmanship and fully committed to the core principles on which the Morris family built its reputation for excellence in road construction, civil engineering, tarmacadam and asphalt contracting since the initial family business, SM Morris Ltd., was conceived in 1966. On every project large or small, DM Morris brings the same pride, personal oversight and attention to detail with which they are now synonymous.

The Wicklow-headquartered company specialises in laying and handling a complete range of road construction materials stone, aggregates, concrete, tarmacadam and asphalts and is fully committed to maintaining the highest quality standards across its operations. Quality management, Health & Safety and environmental conservation are fundamental principles behind the successful operation of the business.

Servicing local authorities and the private sector, DM Morris specialises predominantly in tarmac contracts and road surfacing, comprising Public Commercial Contracts (the construction of roads, car parks and footways for commercial, industrial and housing projects) and Private Contracts (fulfilling the road making needs of private individuals such as the construction of driveways, access roads, car parks and all-weather pitches).

Innovation is a key driver of day-to-day activities. To this end, the DM Morris team works continuously to deliver new surfacing techniques which cater to the evolving needs of its customer base.

Their strategic location in Wicklow with proximity to South County Dublin – has been instrumental in their continued success in these areas, working on various local authority contracts. DM Morris has been involved in the construction and resurfacing of numerous Road Improvement Schemes around Wicklow and Dublin for Local Authorities.

An impressive client list also includes major names in the construction / commercial sector like SISK, Balfour Beatty, PJ Hegarty & Sons, Purcell Construction, Bennett Construction, Cedar Builders, Glenbrier Construction, KN Networks, Kingscroft Developments, Collen Construction Horse Racing Ireland (Leopardstown Racecourse) and Super Valu / Musgrave Group, Irish Water, and Office of Public Works.

While the name and the faces may have changed, the same quality service that was provided by SM Morris Ltd is now guaranteed from DM Morris Ltd., which continues a proud family legacy of road construction / civil engineering excellence. My father formed SM Morris in 1966 and built it up over the years into a significant business with a turnover of ‘ 50m, around 180 staff and three quarries, David Morris explains. Unfortunately, that company went into receivership during the recession but myself, Michael and Tara sons and daughter of the original director have come back and started this new business from scratch over the last four years. We started off literally from new beginnings in 2011 and have gradually built the business back up again. We worked for SM Morris Ltd as employees as Contracts Manager, Quarry Manager and Credit Control for 18 years.

We started out in 2011 with just five employees, and now have 25 and are taking on four or five additional people every six months, so the business is going from strength to strength. We are delighted with what we have achieved over the last four years. We ve come from a situation where the whole family business collapsed to now having a projected turnover of ‘ 5-6m for this year, having had a turnover of ‘ 1m in Year One.

SM Morris would have built a lot of the motorways, bypasses and interchanges in Wicklow and Dublin and had a fantastic reputation and track record in the road construction sector. When SM Morris ceased trading, it would have been easy to let it be, but the Morris siblings were determined to resurrect the family business and continue their proud legacy of excellence.

We bought the plant and machinery back off the receiver with our redundancy money and got a good group of people together including the Quantity Surveyor from SM Morris Michael Browne, David continues. We knew it wasn t going to be easy. It has taken a lot of hard work to get us to where we are at today and we had to pay for everything up front in the first year. Having said that, Roadstone took a gamble on us and gave us credit because they knew myself and my father from the old days. That was a big help.

The more things change, the more they stay the same! Today, DM Morris is a lean and mean, self-sufficient enterprise, which is expanding organically and investing again. They have just recently purchased two new trucks and a new JCB from Brendan Brady at ECI JCB. The fleet now comprises five trucks in total as well as three pavers, a grader, five rollers, a low loader and a number of vans.

We don t produce our own materials now, although we do have another quarry facility in Wicklow which we could open if needs be. We buy our materials from Roadstone and Lagan now. Apart from that, everything is as it was. As a civil engineering and road surfacing contractor, we work for all the local authorities and contract builders in the Leinster area, offering a complete solution on roads from start to finish, including everything from kerbing and draining to the actual surface work itself. We mainly do tarmacadam resurfacing of existing roads as well as some spray & chip, and all associated preparatory works.

David is greatly encouraged regarding the future prospects of the family business. We ve been doing this all our lives and this is what we do best, he notes.

It s now going from strength to strength again. It has taken a while but we are back on the tender lists again for Wicklow County Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and we have won a lot of tenders because we are small and competitive. We are very lean and efficient now.

We have years of experience, good facilities and no big overheads or major loans, so we are in a strong position going forward and will continue to run a very efficient and cost-effective business.

DM Morris Ltd
Unit 1,
Newtown Business Park,
County Wicklow.
Tel: 01 2819 666
Fax: 01 2819 840
Email:

Taken from Irish Trucker & Light Commercials magazine, Vol 18 No 7, September 2015

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