Construction pioneer and Century Homes founder Gerard McCaughey dies

Monaghan entrepreneur best known for development of off-site construction methods

Irish businessman Gerard McCaughey, founder of Century Homes and pioneer of off-site construction for wooden frame houses, has died.

Mr McCaughey died on Wednesday, “peacefully in the loving care of his family” in the USA, according to an announcement on rip.ie.

The Monaghan native was best known for his pioneering work in the construction sector, in particular the development of off-site construction methods.

In 1990, he cofounded Century Homes (Century) with his father and brother, and as chief executive grew the company from a start-up operation in Monaghan with four employees into Europe’s largest unit producer of off-site built structures.

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During his 17 years of leadership at Century, Mr McCaughey and his team spearheaded several industry firsts, including the construction of the first off-site six-storey structure and the UK’s first Level 6 carbon-neutral home.

Century was acquired by building materials giant Kingspan Group for close to €100 million in 2005 and Mr McCaughey was subsequently named chief executive of Kingspan Century.

The company had 650 employees, operating five manufacturing facilities and producing 8,000 units annually for markets in Europe and Asia.

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Mr McCaughey relocated to the US in 2009, serving as chief executive of Los Angeles-based construction consulting firm Infineco for seven years.

In 2016, he cofounded Californian off-site house construction company Entekra, with the ambition of replicating in the US his success in the off-site building industry in Europe.

However, the company encountered difficulties more recently, with timber company and majority owner Louisiana-Pacific announcing earlier this year that it was winding down Entreka’s operations.

Jack Murray, chief executive of MediaHQ and former PR consultant for Century Homes, said Mr McCaughey was a “true global pioneer of energy-efficient building methods”, as well as a “dedicated family man”. He described him as being “fiercely committed to his native Monaghan”.

“His business motto was ‘persistence beats resistance’ and he applied it with vigour to every venture he was involved in. His passion was infectious and you couldn’t but be excited when you worked on a project with him. He loved business and seeing people succeed. He was always generous with his time and mentored and advised many whom he got to know through his long career,” Mr Murray said.

Gerard McCaughey is survived by his wife Sophie McCaughey, his four children, his mother Theresa McCaughey and his sister and brother.

Ellen O'Regan

Ellen O’Regan

Ellen O’Regan is an Irish Times journalist.