Over the past three decades Dublin-based MCA Architects has been witness to plenty of the ups and downs of the market. Thankfully an uncompromising commitment to quality and service delivery has not only ensured that the company has been able to celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, but has also enabled it to win a number of prestigious awards in the process. We recently caught up with Andrew Howley, Associate, to discover the secret behind the business’ longevity and its continuing award success.
“The company was founded Michael Collins in 1988 and although he retired several years ago, the values he instilled into the business are very much in evidence today,” explains Mr Howley. “Michael is extremely well-known and respected in the architectural field.”
Today MCA works nationally and internationally providing architecture, interior design, master planning and project management services. It is a commercially aware practice committed to delivering design solutions which meet the client’s needs and requirements, that provide significant added value and are socially and environmentally responsible. In addition, MCA Architects provides consultancy services, due diligence and building appraisals for state, semi-state, financial and property institutions.
Having completed over 500,000 sq m of fitted out office space, 200,000 sq m in the health care sector, both completed and at design stage, as well as providing due diligence services for over 500,000 sq m since 1990, this experience has provided MCA with a unique understanding of many building types, their design, fit-out and commercial acquisition.
“We have a team of almost 60 people with a great depth of knowledge and experience. We work in many sectors which we feel is the strength of the practice.” adds Mr Howley. “This has always set us in good stead, even during the tough times.”
The wisdom of this approach is clearly evident in the number of awards that MCA has won, including this year’s success at the Irish Construction Industry Awards and the Irish Construction Excellence Awards where it secured the Commercial Project of the Year (Small) and Refurbishment/Retrofit / fit of the year respectively for its work on the 40 Molesworth Street development, which comprised 30,000 sq ft of highly specified Grade A office space for IPUT.
“IPUT are synonymous with quality, consistency and attention to detail,” says Mr Howley. “We responded to the brief by designing a high value building in response the goals. The project involved the complete strip out of the existing building back to grey box, removal of all existing external glazing/external leaf brickwork, and the removal of the existing fifth floor plantroom. The works also included the construction of a new fifth floor penthouse steel structure, along with new external brickwork, glazing and roof covering. The internal works involved the refurbishment and fit out of floors 1-4 to CAT A Landlord Standard.”
With the selection of the Danish Petersen Brick IPUT were fully committed to producing an exceptional building on this important site. PJ Hegarty, the main contractor, responded to the challenge by providing the highest class of its own brick layers to produce brickwork of an exceptionally high standard.
“PJ Hegarty as the main contractor produced a building of the highest quality managed on a difficult site,” highlights Mr Howley. “The attention to detail with the brickwork façade was highly commendable. Working with a handmade product, no two bricks on the project were the same. In fact, it was more like working with turf than laying bricks. The team of bricklayers worked their trade with care, helping to leave a beautiful mark on the city for generations to come.
“It was a project with challenges, but PJ Hegarty were fantastic, and we built up a strong working relationship with them. To have since attracted award recognition for the project helps underline the success of the project.
“We tend not to put our projects forward for many awards, but we’ve been lucky enough to have been successful over the years. We’ve always been focused to ensure that we operate in a range of sectors and this is an approach that has served us well down the years. We have carried out a significant body of work in the healthcare sector, including many large build constructions including National Plan for Radiation and Oncology (NPRO) centres at Cork, Galway James and Beaumont hospitals.
“We have many large-scale commercial projects on-going at present within the commercial hospitality and residential sectors. We have the ability and capacity to deliver large scale projects, as well as high-end fit-out work.
Given that MCA’s client base includes many significant public and private sector clients, it’s clear that the strength of its reputation for quality has spoken for itself. “We have a number of high-profile long-standing clients including many from the tech industry, we work hard to try and achieve repeat business. This is a core value of the practice.
“We provided due diligence and building appraisal services and as a result we have significant knowledge the existing building stock within the marketplace.”
Whilst any anniversary is a great opportunity to reflect on past achievements, for its part MCA has kept one eye firmly on the future too, as its looks to build on the enviable reputation it has developed over the past 30 years. It would be no surprise if it was to add further awards to its collection in the months ahead either.