Editors Comment: Working together for success!

My interview with Emcor boss Tony Whale was not only interesting for the way he has turned Emcor around, but also for some of his other comments, especially on facilities management.
Editors Comment: Working together for success!

'Whatever the customer wants' is the key to good FM.

We have for the purpose of this comment to leave out his rider that it has to be commercially viable for Emcor.

Tony's words bring me back to Mark Worthington who was featured in the contractor profile in February.

His policy was (and still is) to become the principal contractor for each and every project.

To quote for a job and then be subjected to the vagaries of a principal contractor which meant that Worthington Nicholls had its men standing around doing nothing while the building was still going on cost the company a deal of money and the only way was to take charge and become a principal contractor so that everyone worked for Mark - and made a good profit.

FM contractor Integral is featured in the news pages. It has won a supplier of the year award from Taylor Woodrow for its FM work as a partner of the builder.

Back to Tony Whale who also discussed the FM business when he and a client director put their heads together to thrash out what the client wanted from the relationship.

And some of you will remember the Lorne Stewart article when I spoke to Ross Maynard, operations manager for Project SLAM who said that during the length of the contract, the partners were able to strip 20% from the cost of the project.

What everyone is saying is that when all parts of the construction business work together, not only is there the ability to work smarter, but there is also the potential to save money and make more for all the partners.

Think 10 years back. Would the managing director of an m&e company - in this case Intergral's Bryan Glastonbury - really have said: 'our success has been achieved through a fundamental commitment to openness and honesty' and 'we have eradicated the need to man-mark our respective management roles.'

No, he would not have said these words.

More and more the industry is proving that when it works in partnerships and when contractors deal honestly and fairly with sub-contractors and suppliers then everyone makes money and (in the case of a profit pot) more money.

It is just a case of proving this to main contractors and some developers.

In the meantime, m&e contractors should do what many of their industry colleagues are doing and this is not working with main contractors who don't pay up.

One or two m&e contractors have said their work is so good that the developer is willing to pay them separately and not through the main contractor.

That way they get their money and the developer gets a first class m&e job.

Back to Tony Whale: 'it is all about reputation.'

Perhaps the days when sharp-suited construction lawyers are the only ones who make money from the industry are soon to be over.

Paul Braithwaite, Editor
1 May 2007


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