Meet the team: Veronica Lavelle, Health & Safety Manager


Meet Veronica 

McKeon Group’s Health & Safety Manager


 “I am currently working as something I never thought was possible, but I now know that – in the construction industry – anything is possible if you believe in yourself. I have the most wonderful work family, who are always there whenever I need them.” 


Veronica joined the McKeon team back in 2018, bringing with her over 12 years’ experience in construction. Veronica took on the role of Health & Safety Manager across McKeon Group, taking an active role in projects spanning a variety of sectors, from residential and commercial, right through to education and healthcare. For Veronica, the role of Health & Safety Manager is not just about legislative compliance and enforcing best industry practice, it involves seeking out new and innovative tools, technologies, and processes to ensure McKeon Group staff, contractors and clients are well equipped to deliver projects safely and efficiently, to the highest possible standards.


In her own words, she was never a fan of playing with dolls, nor had she any particular interest in what were seen as ‘girly activities’ at the time. Veronica worked from an early age – initially in hospitality. While she describes her decision to enter the construction industry as daunting, she quickly saw and understood the potential of a career in the industry, and she was hooked. She began her Health & Safety journey by studying Occupational Health, Safety & Welfare part-time in UCD and then undertaking a series of training courses, including Safe Pass, Site Safety Rep, Certificate in Managing Site Safety (IOSH), Health & Safety at Roadworks, PSCS training, Harness & Lanyard Inspector, Working at Heights Instructor, Manual Handling Instructor & Assessor and many more. Veronica is currently studying for her Masters in Environmental, Health & Safety Management, supported by McKeon Group, while working full-time. If she could change one thing about the current education system today, it would be to introduce awareness of different career options at a much younger age.


Learning on the job

In addition to the training and regular courses, there is a huge amount of learning that comes from working across so many sites at once. Veronica credits some amazing colleagues and mentors for much of her ‘on the job’ learning over the past decade and a half, including Sean Harvey, with whom she worked on a large commercial project, and Aisling McArdle, an experienced H&S Manager. 


Working within McKeon Group, Veronica is involved in projects across each division of the Group on a daily basis, ensuring a wide range of experience. 


“No two days are the same. I might start the morning visiting a university campus and spend the afternoon in a water tower 30 metres above Dublin city. It’s amazing. Another day might bring me to a bank or commercial fit-out project in the city centre, before visiting an electrical installation in a maze of underground tunnels!! Each project requires a fresh approach so there is always something new to learn, building experience and knowledge everyday. My work with McKeon Group takes me all across Ireland, from pharma plants in Bray to an AV fit out in Limerick and many counties in between. I love that I get to see so much of this beautiful country while working.” 


Significant projects

“The projects that really stick out in my mind are not necessarily the most glamorous or highest value jobs, but there were certainly some interesting ones that presented unique challenges and problems to be solved. For example, during the pandemic – at the height of lockdown restrictions – we were working on a pharmaceutical project to provide for the installation of a huge tank that would not fit through the doors of the facility. The tank was fitted with pressure sensors that could not be disassembled so we had to innovate a solution that involved opening the roof and maneuvering the tank into place with cranes, before fixing the roof back in place. It was like something you would see in a movie!”


On being a woman in construction

As the parent to a young daughter, and someone who has experienced the opportunities of the industry, Veronica firmly believes in workplace equality. Her mantra is that there should be no distinction between male or female in the industry as everyone has different skills and strengths: “It’s how you use them that counts!”. 


While most parents regale their children with fairytales, Veronica’s daughter has grown up listening to stories of exciting building projects and stories from construction sites and can point to many homes, schools, and buildings in the area that her Mammy has contributed to – what a proud legacy.


“There have been a few formative experiences for sure, and these can be due to youth, inexperience and learning to work with different personalities. For the most part, I have not had any problems being a woman on site. Although, I recall one particular site inspection when I was pregnant – where I was asked if I had much longer to go or should they start building bigger ladder towers for me! Once I finished laughing, it brought it home to me that most people were not used to seeing or dealing with pregnant women on site. I think that’s changing now… I hope that’s changing”.


Would you recommend a career in construction?


“Yes! And while I love the technical learning and application of health and safety on site, I would recommend a trade to someone looking to enter the construction industry as these skills really open up the entire industry to you.”


About McKeon Group: Established in 1950 by Tom McKeon, McKeon Group remains a family business to this day. ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fit out and building services. The Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact

Innovations in Smart Lighting Panels, LED Strips & Ambient Lamps


Estimated to be a 100 billion dollar market by 2026, the accent and ambient lighting industry is growing rapidly. While smart lighting solutions have now made their way into the mainstream with the introduction of smart bulbs, accent and decorative lighting solutions are now set to do the same.

Introducing splashes of colour and stylised light into a space not only affects the ambience of a room but can also directly influence the mood and energy levels of individuals. There are, therefore, many use-cases for such lighting solutions with technology now able to help meet healthy building goals to improve the overall wellbeing of occupants.

Inspired by a few recent features on Wired, below, we’ll take an unbiased look at some of the latest innovations to hit the ambient and decorative lighting space from a variety of different manufacturers. Each suits a different purpose and has its own advantages and surprising quirks.


1. Philips Hue Gradient Smart Lightstrip

Philips has been at the heart of the smart lighting revolution and has since been busy adding ambient solutions to its Hue range of products. The Hue Gradient Smart Lightstrip is one such innovation and allows for creative home and office lighting. The flexible strips feature an adhesive strip on the back allowing it to be used as hidden recess lighting behind mirrors, cabinets, and TVs, or used to draw attention to trip hazards such as stairs.

The light strip can be controlled using a smartphone or paired with a Philips Hue compatible hub to enable integration with a smart home. Using the app, the colour and brightness of the light strip can be precisely controlled, with several preset scenes set by Philips ready to use.


2. Govee Neon Rope Light Strip

While light strips are often hidden away to provide spill lighting, Govee’s Neon Rope Light Strip is designed to be showcased. Using a diffusing layer, these flexible strips of LEDs can be customized to form an endless amount of shapes and configurations. Able to display several colours simultaneously, with gradient effects possible, the Neon Rope is one of the most striking light strips on the market. They work great as a way to provide daylight-mimicking light to fight SAD ( and boost mood, or use as a subtle night light. Being a smart device, the light strip can be controlled using your voice too, though an app is available.

Synced with a smart assistant, the light strips can also be used as a  way to enhance the experience of music, with the colour changing and animating in time with a beat, ideal for many commercial ambient light purposes.


3. Nanoleaf Shapes

Coming in two different shapes, with several starter kits on offer, Nanoleaf Shapes are the standout smart light panels on the market today. Using a modular system, triangle and hexagonal light panels fit together in a multitude of different ways to form unique, ambient lighting. Finding particular popularity among video content creators and streamers, Nanoleaf light panels are easy to set up and can be controlled by a hardware control panel or desktop app. Each shape is touch sensitive, with the ability to change the colour of individual panels with a simple swipe.

While often used to add a striking, neon accent to a background, Nanoleaf’s technology serves as an excellent mood booster and works well in reception areas to provide subtle, reading light.


4. Cololight Plus/Pro

The Cololight is a modular-style lamp that can provide ambient lighting even in small spaces. Through the use of reconfigurable hexagonal panels, the lamp can be reworked into a vast array of shapes, increasing and decreasing the light output as necessary.

As a smart lighting device, the ColoLight can be programmed to display a wide range of colours, with dynamic patterns and effects possible. The Plus comes with a plastic base while the Pro has a more stable, stone base, with both looking great in office settings atop desks, giving the chance for personal expression.


5. LIFX Beam

One of the biggest changes over the past couple of years is for strip lighting to become a feature in itself. As a feature light, the LIFX Beam stands as one of the most innovative. The start kit comes with 6 illuminable sticks that fasten together with magnets.

As would be expected, the devices can be customised to display any colour and combination, with a diffused effect making them ideal for living room accent lighting. The kit works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and other smart home automation services. The LIFX Beam is also designed to not affect the circadian rhythm of inhabitants, with a Day & Dusk feature that aims to emulate the brightness of the time of day.


6. Halo Wall

Crafted by the Spanish designer Martin Azua, the Halo Wall is about as simple as it gets with single, slimline, 1-metre long LED units used to fashion various compositions. The sticks of light can be used as an interesting wall feature but work equally well as subtle ambient light.

While the Halo Wall fixtures look relatively standard on first blush, every element of the design has been carefully considered, using a double methacrylate diffuser atop a shallow aluminum profile to give the impression of pixel lighting. They provide clean, non-harmful light with a CRI of 80, at 3000K, a high standard of colour accuracy and temperature for occupant wellbeing. 


7. Dyson Solarcycle Morph

In the typical Dyson style, the Solarcycle Morph takes a technological concept and elevates it beyond other options on the market. In this case, Dyson has turned its attention to feature and accent lighting. Whether used to highlight a wall-mounted picture or pointed at a wall to provide indirect mood lighting, the Solarcycle Morph is a versatile smart light that is potentially the most innovative on the market.

Similar to a draftsman’s lamp,  a spotlight is attached via a flexible arm on top of an illuminating central column. While the lamp can be used as a direct task lamp, it works best as an ambient light source, with it able to mimic the natural daylight cycle automatically. Using Dyson’s Link app, you can synchronise the ambient light with local daylight, or choose from a variety of presets including relaxation and study. The LED bulb is set to last 60 years and can output a colour temperature of anything between 2700 and 6500 kelvin.

With the smart ambient and accent lighting sector still in its relative infancy, the future of the space looks to see even further innovations over the coming years.


About McKeon Group: Established in 1950 by Tom McKeon, McKeon Group remains a family business to this day. ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fit out and building services. The Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact