No stranger to industry recognition, McGuinness Plumbing was again in the running for accolades recently at the Irish Construction Industry Awards 2020 within the Contractor of the Year (Small) category. While it just missed out in the end, the nomination once more underlined the level of consistency the Newry-based mechanical and heating contractor has been providing since its creation in 2005.
“It’s always great to be in contention for awards and in this case we were up against some fantastic companies, so it was really pleasing to be in the mix,” explains Tom McGuinness, Managing Director. “While we might not have won this time around, to get so far is a real pat on the back for everyone within the business.”
This recognition of the role that the workforce has played in the success of the company is something that Tom is keen to highlight, as it is a continuation of the hard work that went into McGuinness Plumbing’s creation 16 years ago. “I learnt the ropes with my uncle and that gave me an excellent grounding for when I took the step of creating my own company,” he explains. “I took on my first apprentice back in 2005 and I’m pleased to say he’s still with us now in a senior position. We’ve always been keen to develop a quality-led culture within the business and this is only possible if you have the right calibre of staff. We strive to be contractor-friendly so we take ownership of the mechanical package and like to pre-empt potential issues and resolve them quickly thus cutting out the potential for a major problem developing, we understand the tight constraints the contractor is under so by developing a strong working relationship with each other this inevitably leads to a successful delivery of each project. Again this is all about having the right people in our company who share this ethos, whilst maintaining a huge emphasis on quality. This is vital within the mechanical environment where there are so many moving parts that can possibly go wrong. It’s all about keeping standards high at all times.”
With this in mind, McGuinness Plumbing has always placed training and staff development at the heart of its operation. The company is continually promoting from within. A great example of this approach is the fact that the apprentice who has been with the business since Day One is now its senior contract manager with responsibility for all its sites. This means the quality ethos is fully ingrained and all members of staff are fully aware of the standards they need to adhere to.
In terms of recent projects where these standards have been demonstrated, McGuinness Plumbing has been working on a major social housing contract for Sisk that involves 192 apartments across three sites. “There is a social housing shortage in Ireland at the moment and projects like these will help to address the issue,” adds Tom. “It is being completed to be a rapid timeframe, which along with the fact that it is spread across three different Dublin city sites, brings some significant challenges to contend with.”
Thankfully due to the experience within the workforce, McGuinness Plumbing has been able to step up to the mark and the project is progressing well, with between 10 and 15 apartments being completed per week. These same strengths have also served the business well during the pandemic and it has been able to abide by the various protocols that have been introduced onsite to ensure employee safety.
Having recently secured a number of projects during lockdown, McGuinness Plumbing is looking ahead with confidence as more construction sites reopen. “We can’t wait to get on sites with the contracts we’ve secured and and while Covid will continue to present a challenge, as will Brexit, we have every faith in our management team that any issues will be quickly resolved,” concludes Tom. “There are a significant number of projects commencing this year so the industry is definitely looking more robust. We’re keen to capitalise on this improved situation. As I mentioned, we’re heavily involved in social housing but we’re also active in the private sector where we’re working with a number of the major developers, so we have a broad range of clients.”
With light at the end of the Covid tunnel, the future is certainly looking brighter for McGuinness Plumbing and further award recognition could possibly be on the cards too.