Established in 1954 originally as a quantity surveying practice, Dublin-based KMCS embraced a project management and client representative role in 1993, emphasising the wealth of experience and expertise it can draw upon.
Today the business has 33 full-time personnel across disciplines including project management, cost management and M&E cost management, which was established in-house to assist it provide a full cost service.
With turnover growing year-on-year by around ten per cent, which has seen KMCS’ head count increasing by about eight per cent annually, it is clear that the business is firmly on the right tracks. Complementing the expansion, it has been seeing, the company was recently shortlisted for not one but two Fit Out 2016 Awards within the Project Management of the Year category, whilst its Project Manager, Fiona Mullally, is also on the shortlist for Fit Out Project Manager of the Year.
“Receiving this recognition means a great deal to me personally and proves the right decision was made all those years ago to study Building Management and construction;” explains Fiona. “I spent some time working in the planning and structural engineering areas before moving into film and applying my qualifications and experience to art direction”.
“Our experience spans a number of market sectors including retail, technology, social media and FinTech; at the moment we’re definitely seeing significant growth in data centres and are currently working on our third European data centre for Facebook.”
Fiona Mullally, Project Manager
Although film-making might seem a very different industry to construction, there were in fact many similarities that have since helped Fiona later in her career. “They are quite similar roles because they both involve guiding teams of different people. Having returned to the construction industry, my extensive prior experience has certainly given me a good grounding, allowing me to quickly progress within the industry. My husband is an artist and I have worked with a number of other artists carrying out some very specific project management-related art events around Ireland, the UK and Europe. As a consequence, my career advancement has stemmed from my experiences in a wide range of different areas and sectors, all of which have assisted me really well recently, particularly in terms of being put forward for this award, which was a really lovely surprise.
“The recognition helps to highlight the fact that the manner in which I run my projects is proving to be a success. Every project that I’ve brought over the line has come in on-time and on budget with all my clients happy with the end result.”
In terms of projects that Fiona has successfully been able to complete, these include the fit-out of 2,500 sq m of offices, canteen and welfare facilities for Smartbox, a French gift company; and a project for a US client that involved the lease of a 4,500 sq m seven-storey building. This latter project entailed a number of challenges, as Fiona outlines: “It was an extremely interesting project to work on because not only did we fit-out a space for our main client, but we also had to deal with sub-tenants. We therefore had to operate as both ‘Head PM’ and ‘Landlord PM’ as well as conducting our traditional PM role.
“An impromptu client decision on this project was to create a temporary swing space as their existing lease was up and we achieved this in just six weeks using loaned furniture and by reallocating air con units from another project. This proved very successful and our client was very much on-board with our extraordinary efforts to get them into the building. We then fitted out three floors with a ‘home from home’ design, so again the client was very pleased, which is always our main objective.”
The success of the project given the various challenges that were involved is testament to Fiona’s approach and the support she receives from KMCS generally. So what was the secret? “The key is making sure the client comes first and ensuring that we give them the information they need to make an informed decision. Having strong levels of communication is vital to achieving good results.”
As it looks to build on the growing reputation it has within the marketplace, boosted further by the award recognition it has received, KMCS is now looking to capitalise on the opportunities that are currently available within the marketplace.
“Our experience spans a number of market sectors including retail, technology, social media and FinTech; at the moment we’re definitely seeing significant growth in data centres and are currently working on our third European data centre for Facebook.
“Looking even further afield, we sustain close business links with the West Coast of the US and represent the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, ebay, Symantec, PayPal and other similar types of companies in the US. In addition, we have a strong connection to Primark, which is very well represented in Ireland, the UK and Europe.”
With such an impressive list of clients, it has been essential that KMCS not only delivers excellent quality but also high levels of consistency.
“We have a very proactive approach to recruitment and offer strong training programmes for our existing staff to maximise their talents” says Fiona. “In addition we sponsor part-time students at the Dublin Institute of Technology studying construction economics and management. We constantly ensure that people are up to speed by continuing their education, whether it’s through diplomas in project management, construction law and contracting administration or in mechanical and electrical engineering. We support people who wouldn’t like to go to college full-time; instead they come into the company and study part-time at college. Being able to provide this level of flexibility is an important element of our ethos in KMCS’’.
“We can provide a very good working relationship and our skills come from many different areas, in particular technical, statutory and legal awareness. We’re very much committed to tenants and we have a wide experience in office developments that help us to secure repeat business, as well as recommendations to engage with new clients’’.
“We have consolidated project management and cost management in-house which combines with our M&E cost consultants to deliver a complete cost controls solution, regularly with the same outsourced group of designers eliminating learning curves on aggressive time sensitive programmes. We regularly update our US clients using weekly VC calls combined with ‘dashboard’ project reports and photos’’.
As KMCS strives to build further on its growing reputation and the award recognition it is receiving, looking ahead to 2017 the company is aiming for more progress in other industries, particularly manufacturing and healthcare, whilst also strengthening its presence in the data centre sector across Europe.
“For the year ahead I would like us to continue growing in a wide variety of sectors and I certainly feel that we’ve got the skills set and the attributes to easily move into new areas,” concludes Fiona. “We have a broad web of very qualified people within KMCS that provide a range of different abilities so we’re very confident with the solutions we provide.”
Given the progress it continues to make, coupled with the growing award recognition it is receiving, it is fair to say that this confidence is well founded.