King & Moffatt | Connectivity & Innovation

King & Moffatt are a shining example of a company that has responded to shake ups within the industry by increasing communication and pushing boundaries.

Ask Pat King, Managing Director of Roscommon’s King & Moffatt Building Services what words he would use to describe 2019, and he will say “Safety, Quality, Innovation and Growth”. The industry leader and committed innovator took time out of his schedule to talk to Irish building about continuing to evolve while staying true to the core values of your business.

It’s been another great year for the award-winning MEP contractor, cemented in the opening of their Shannon side HQ, which will be the hub from which the company’s ambitious plans for growth – both here and abroad – will stem.

At the opening of their new offices in November, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD highlighted King & Moffatt’s commitment to growth and its people. He said, “through hard work and using the best technology to drive innovation and productivity the company has experienced impressive growth, with further expansion plans for the years ahead.”

Industry Challenges

King points to recent reports by the CIF when describing current issues in the sector. “There is a real need for change in the construction industry,” he says. “Construction is slipping down the list of attractive careers for the next generation and the industry needs to confront that and show itself to be an industry for the future, an industry that is advancing. There is a huge productivity opportunity also; construction falls behind most other industries in terms of productivity, which hasn’t greatly improved over the years. By taking a Lean approach we believe we can improve on this.”

Another key sector risk is the high rate of cost inflation running at nearly 10%, which could make a big difference for the industry, and managing this is a key concern for King & Moffatt.

“The way in which we are dealing with this is to look to drive more innovation and training and developing our company culture around these. We are encouraging Lean practices to reduce waste, and the use of BIM technology for quicker build times and the reduction of our carbon footprint,” says King. “We are looking to our internal processes to add certainty and reduce the risks our industry faces.”

King & Moffatt have their own in-house training room for apprentices and electricians and offer ongoing education for all employees, according to King. “Here in our company, we are working with colleges to address the issues that the industry is facing and showcase construction as an attractive proposition for young people.

That said, more funding supports from government would also be welcome. We have heavily invested in technology and digitalisation of our business. We see providing a modern workplace as essential to making the construction industry an attractive place to work.”

“Training and education for our apprentices and graduates is essential to encourage the development of their leadership qualities which will enhance and enable our future growth. This is so important not only for the employer but also for the employee as it gives them a place in the future progression of King & Moffatt. We are using all the opportunities available to do this, be it online external or inhouse training to ensure that the King & Moffatt targets and the employee expectations are achieved says Ciaran King.

“One key area we have been very successful in is the retention of our employees and in the recruitment of talent out of Dublin and back to the region. This has been essential in servicing our whole European operation.”

Communication within the company has been recognised as crucial, and King & Moffatt are committed to facilitating transparent means of communication across the board. “As a company of almost 300 directly employed people we recognised the need for a forum with employees for discussion around the company’s plans, updates and opportunities. Regular employee briefings with the full staff have been brought in and have been a real success so far,” says King. “As well as this we have organised a K&M Family Fun Day for August for the wives, husbands and kids of our employees. We want to make families feel a part of the King & Moffatt team and bring more attention to the overall wellbeing of our employees. It is part of the nature of the construction industry that many will work away from home at times and so we want to show our appreciation for the families.”

King & Moffatt reiterated their commitment to their UK operations by opening new offices in Stoke and Edinburgh, further cementing their foothold in the United Kingdom. “We have greatly strengthened our mechanical offering in the UK. We recently took on 70 mechanical staff and are greatly strengthened in this area,” says Ciaran King. While Brexit holds some uncertainty, the company remain confident about their operations there, Pat King points out, “where Brexit is a huge concern we still see the UK as a major player and even in the event of Brexit happening it will remain a major player in the world’s economy, the number of migrant workers that live in the UK in the event of a hard Brexit may be able to solve some of the issues Ireland is having in sourcing a skilled workforce for future projects. I have seen a number of economic challenges and believe that Brexit will pose another one, but if we continue to partner the best clients, the best main contractors and have a clear focus on our strategy we with the help of our highly trained staff we will continue to see new opportunities.”

Center Parcs Longford Forest

King & Moffatt recently completed the electrical contract at the newly opened Center Parcs Longford Forest Resort. The multi million euro project was a marquee project for King & Moffatt and represents the biggest tourism investment in the history of the State. The project is a landmark achievement for the company, says Strategic Director Ciaran King.

“We are proud to be involved with a project that provides such a welcome boost to the local economy.” Working alongside John Sisk & Son, who were the main contractors on the project proved to be a bonus. The two companies have a longstanding working relationship, illustrated by King & Moffatt’s nominations in the Sisk supplier awards the past two years. “We have an excellent working relationship with Sisk, their management and staff who are very like ourselves, it is all about getting the job done and handing over a quality final product to the client,” says King.

The multi million euro project meant that King & Moffatt Building Services were responsible for the full electrical services installation to the Village Centres, Aqua Sana and Subtropical Swimming Paradise, HKTS Building, the onsite apartments, and the external services. The subtropical pool provided a challenge for the team, but was overcome through precision, planning coordination and consultation with Sisk, Center Parcs and Edmund Shipway, according to King.

The project was completed to an extremely tight programme, with twelve months from start to finish. Pat King says that by adopting a collaborative approach, there were little or no bumps in the road along the way. “This was mainly due to the fact that the Sisk management team understanding the complexities of the project engaged with ourselves at a very early stage which allowed us the benefit of having our team involved long before site start-up which then allowed for offsite manufacture and accurate design.”

As a company committed to supporting and encouraging local business, King & Moffatt are extremely proud to be a part of the resort,

“We are hugely proud to be a part of this journey,” says Pat King. “It is huge for the local economy, both in terms of tourism and jobs. The resort has world-class facilities and is the first of its kind here in Ireland. To be a part of it from its inception is something we are extremely proud of.”

Through their new company K&M Connected, King & Moffatt have worked to secure an ongoing maintenance contract with Center Parcs Longford Forest for which they thank Center Parcs for placing their trust in their people going forward.

“Clients now more than ever are starting to appreciate that buildings have a 25+ year span of life, and that proper maintenance following the initial construction is essential. That is why we are working with our clients to build up framework agreements for ongoing maintenance of their facilities following the initial MEP installation. We know that we deliver an excellent installation and that the best value for the client is to ensure regular maintenance takes place within their facilities to keep them running at peak performance,” says Ciaran King.

Lidl Newbridge

King & Moffatt secured the Mechanical & Electrical contract on Lidl’s large distribution hub in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, which, when complete, will employ more than 350 people. King & Moffatt were awarded the contract, under the main contractor John Paul Construction.

The nature of this project allowed King & Moffatt to utilise its in-house expertise in terms of utilising technology to streamline the programme, to great effect, says Pat King. “BIM has been integral to this project,” he explains. “We have recognised a huge opportunity in this project for offsite prefabrication. We have worked with our supply chain to develop and utilise all the elements and advantages of offsite manufacture. This would not have been possible without a clear understanding by our design team and the client’s design consultants of our customer’s requirements, the main contractor’s needs and the flexibility of our offsite team and partners. This greatly reduced the install time on site and practically eliminated hot works on site. Offsite prefabrication is an opportunity we are always looking for on our projects, both Mechanical, Electrical and all other aspects of any project we are involved in. Embracing BIM and the accuracy it allows in the planning of our projects has been the key to unlocking these innovative opportunities. The use of the model for co-ordination has meant almost zero clashes between services on site install.” The end client has commented on the building services Revit model and the clarity it provides.

As “lessons learned” is something King & Moffatt take full advantage of and employ it as key learning for future projects, in this instance it has been put to use as having previously completed several similar projects it allowed the team to avoid repeating previous mistakes and misconceptions and take full advantage of best practices from past experience make the M&E process as efficient as possible. The value of this information to our teams cannot be underestimated, says Pat King.

European Growth

King & Moffatt is committed to expanding into mainland Europe and currently have secured contracts on seven sites around Germany in the logistics sector for a global retailer. “Already in first half of 2019 we have received three times as many tender enquiries for Continental Europe as the whole of 2018,” says Ciaran King. “We have a strong order book for the region, and our German GmbH company is in the process of being set up also. As well as this we are working with another key client to design and develop their facilities internationally.” K&M have completed jobs for multinational clients in Portugal and Poland and expansion remains the aim for the coming year. King & Moffatt are pricing work in the Nordic countries and Benelux countries in mainland Europe.

“The main reason we have been able to expand and grow internationally has been the retention, loyalty and flexibility of our staff. The loyalty of our long-standing clients who put their confidence in King & Moffatt to deliver their prestigious projects internationally again enhancing the King & Moffatt ethos that a good client retained is more important than a new client gained.”

Environmental Health & Safety

The King & Moffatt Annual Management Review took place in January, chaired by their EHSQ Manager Joan Gallagher from their headquarters in Carrick-on-Shannon with video conference facilities at the Stoke, Edinburgh and Coleshill offices. Approximately 30 attendees from across all senior management took part in this important review.

“Some recent changes that occurred in K&M in 2018 included the migration from OHSAS 18001:2007 to the latest ISO 45001:2018 Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management System,” says EHSQ Director, Brendan Sweeney. “We also attained the accreditation to ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System Standard as certified by Certification Europe in 2018.”

As the new high-level structure requirements of ISO 45001:2018 are consistent with other ISO management system standards namely ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015, this has allowed for an obvious alignment and integration into the overall management processes. The management review is beneficial to review our performance and to discuss opportunities for improvement in 2019.

At the Annual Occupational Safety Awards 2018, King & Moffatt were awarded with a distinction from NISO (National Irish Safety Organisation). King & Moffatt were also successful in receiving the Silver Award from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in the RoSPA’s 2018 Health & Safety Awards. The RoSPA Awards are strongly supported with representation from all areas of UK industry, and have a proud tradition as the UK’s leading health and safety awards scheme.

Honours & Achievement

It has been a bumper year for awards at K&M.

King & Moffatt were honoured to receive the ICIA Subcontractor of the Year – (Large) category award at the Irish Construction Industry Awards 2019, says Ciaran King.

“We also won the EIFI (Electrical Industry Federation Ireland) ECA Electrical Contractor of the Year Award 2018 back in September. This was a great honour to receive this award from within our industry,” says Pat King.

“We were a Deloitte Best Managed company for the fourth year running in 2019, receiving the Gold award which was a great achievement.

“We were also shortlisted by John Sisk & Son in their Supply Chain Awards 2018, as well as receiving the Sub-Contractor of the Year Award from TSL Projects, one of our key clients in the UK and internationally, at their Christmas celebrations.”

King & Moffatt’s apprentices continued the winning streak in the Generation Apprentice competition, receiving the award for “Outstanding Creativity”.

Technological Advances

It is essential to continue to up-skill and adopt changes in technology as they are developed, says Ciaran King. “We have developed King & Moffatt Connected, to incorporate new technologies and ensure we are at the leading edge of the construction sector.”

King & Moffatt Connected provides a full design, monitoring, control and facilities management service for all clients mechanical and electrical building systems.

King & Moffatt have invested heavily in technology over recent years. They have recognised some key players in the technology space that they feel will help them deliver a higher quality service driving value through efficiency for clients. Some of these technology providers include Autodesk (3D and 2D Design), Microsoft (SharePoint, Dynamics, and Azure), Amtech (Estimation, Electrical System Design and Point Cloud), and Bentley (Mechanical System Design).

The new global headquarters and infrastructure, including interactive smart screens with built in conference calling, supports the company in delivering BIM 3D modelling and design services internationally from its base in Carrick-on-Shannon, and also connecting with regional offices. By utilising the cloud and new technologies such as VR (Virtual Reality) & AR (Augmented Reality), K&M believes it will gain a competitive advantage in the building services market.

King & Moffatt’s services offering has expanded far beyond its electrical contracting beginnings according to King: “King & Moffatt began with two electricians, now we provide much more than that; mechanical services, maintenance, energy monitoring, automation and controls, BMS, design services and BIM 3D modelling. As a partner to our clients we take all these services and coordinate and manage the success of their projects.”

Looking To The Future

With a group turnover in excess of €65 million as of year-end June 2019, and King & Moffatt Building Services looking at a healthy order book across all its divisions going into 2020. It is ready to roll out an ambitious three-year plan that focuses on increasing their offering across Pharma, Data Centres, Energy and Infrastructure projects. Looking to the EU, the future is bright, according to Pat King. “The EU energy efficiency directive to 2030 should present ample opportunities for innovative companies who wish to play an active part in the Climate Action Plan, King & Moffatt see ourselves as a key player in this area.”