By consistently delivering industry-leading solutions on a vast portfolio of prestigious, largescale projects north and south of the border over the past decade, McGuinness Mechanical Engineering – an outstanding, multi-award-winning, family business – has firmly established itself as one of Ireland’s premier mechanical engineering contractors.
Since its genesis in 2012, McGuinness Mechanical Engineering has rapidly emerged as a leading provider of mechanical services throughout Ireland.
Invariably delivering all projects – irrespective of how large or complex – to the most exacting standards of excellence, McGuinness Mechanical Engineering Ltd is an owner managed business, with offices strategically located in Newry, County Down and Donabate, County Dublin.
From humble beginnings, Managing Director Thomas McGuinness has successfully grown and developed this upwardly-mobile business – formerly known as McGuinness Plumbing – alongside his exceptional and steadily-expanding site- and office-based workforce.
“I set the business up in 2012 when I returned home from Australia,” the personable proprietor reflects. “We’ve recently rebranded as McGuinness Mechanical Engineering because that name more accurately reflects what we are all about. We have a new name, new website, new logo, new signage and have re-liveried all the vans. This is a competitive industry with a lot of strong mechanical companies, and we feel the new name and new brand represent us better.”
The company started out with just Thomas and his cousin [Brian Smith – still a key member of the MGME team today!] on tools, and has experienced steady growth through providing unrivalled service levels, taking ownership of the full mechanical package from design, supply, fit to handover – always exceeding the expectations of clients and consultants by going that extra mile to ensure complete customer satisfaction.
Covering every aspect of mechanical engineering from heating and plumbing to renewables, fire protection, BMS, sanitary ware, commercial piping systems and soils, waste and rainwater, MGME boasts an impressive track record of partnering with a who’s who of developers and main contractors to provide complete mechanical installation packages on largescale, multiunit projects throughout the North East, the capital and beyond, including (but by no means limited to) D/RES Properties, John Sisk & Son, McGarrell Reilly Group, Cunningham Contracts, Richmond Homes, Cannon Kirk Group, Arkmount and Quintain.
“We started off working on local sites – the first one was in Dundalk – and we grew the company gradually as we got bigger projects from building contractors, who brought us in to provide mechanical services on new builds on both sides of the border,” Thomas continues. “For the past five or six years, we’ve been concentrating almost exclusively on the southern market and we focus predominantly on largescale residential developments both housing and apartments, large pharma projects and office blocks.”
Synonymous with delivering top-quality workmanship, with every project completed on time, within budget and to the highest standards, McGuinness Mechanical Engineering are fully-certified to Gas Safe, SEAI, UKAS (holding ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 accreditation), F-Gas and OFTEC standards and are perennial winners at prestigious industry awards events including the Plumbing & Heating Awards, Sisk Supply Chain Awards, Irish Construction Excellence Awards and SME Employer Awards.
Crucially and encouragingly, the growth experienced by McGuinness Mechanical Engineering over the past ten years and counting has been organic and controlled: “We’ve grown steadily each year,” Thomas confirms. “We’ve grown consistently at a rate of around 20-30 per cent per annum and it has all been sustainable growth.
“We have never been prepared to stand still and are constantly striving to improve, to embrace modern construction technology and to move on to larger projects. Our efforts are paying off as we have a very strong order book ahead of us at the moment – going into 2024 – and we currently have active sites with a number of major clients including Richmond Homes, Sisk, D/RES, Cunningham Contracts and others.”
Recently completed is the latest phase of a largescale residential project at Dundoogan, Haynestown, County Louth – a mixture of social and private housing located just 2km from Blackrock village and 4km from Dundalk, where to date the MGME team have handed over 361 units to their client Cannon Kirk. On these modern units, McGuinness Mechanical Engineering completed the full mechanical package, with works including Glow Worm Combi Boilers, EPH Controls, SONAS Sanitary Ware, Compact Radiators, Demand Control Ventilation and Multi Boost boosted cold storage tanks.
MGME’s success to date can be attributed to the dedicated and highly skilled team of professionals they employ, all of whom contribute immeasurably to making sure that projects are always completed to the most exacting standards. “We take great pride in our team because they are our most valuable asset,” says Thomas, whose company is deeply integrated into the communities it serves through a wide range of sponsorships, including Armagh Ladies, Castlewellan GAA, Carrickcruppen GAA, Whitecross GAA and various underage GAA clubs.
“Between our direct staff and subcontractors who work solely with us, we have a lot of guys who have been with us for six or seven years and some who are here for up to ten. We are fully focussed on keeping the quality of our work consistent, so we don’t chop and change men. Instead, we trust them to deliver.
“We have a very low turnover of direct staff and are very lucky to have loyal people who are talented, reliable and ready to go the extra mile. It’s a pleasure to have them on our team.”
Team members are regularly upskilled and morale is kept high through staff days and other team-bonding events and exercises. “Everybody is offered extra training and an opportunity to improve their skills,” says Thomas. “We run our own apprentice programme and a lot of our senior management have been promoted from within the company. For example, we have contract managers who started on site and they understand the history and values of the company and know what we are all about. We invest in our staff, in training and improving their skills, and crucially they want to improve.
“Within our apprenticeship programme, we have first, second, third and fourth year apprentices, with a dedicated apprentice mentor focussed on overseeing them. We felt that we were losing too many of our apprentices, so we put the apprentice mentor in place and have reaped the dividends of that. An apprentice here will learn all the skills as opposed to just one end of mechanical engineering.
“Working alongside Michelle [McKevitt, Business Development Manager], the apprentice mentor takes time to give each of them guidance and advice on what career path they want to follow, be that working on site, in the office, as a supervisor or even setting up as a subcontractor. We can offer them all of those possibilities without leaving the company.”
One of the many strengths of McGuinness Mechanical Engineering is that they provide a full mechanical engineering package in-house from design and installation through to project completion and commissioning. “Between our offices in Newry and Dublin, we have our own tendering and design teams. We build the project in the office using the latest software and the correct procurement of materials is also vital to make sure that we are ready to go. We now stock a lot of materials in our own warehouse because there have been huge changes in the industry in terms of lead times. Not only do we have the materials available but we have also secured them at the right price.”
The founder and MD of McGuinness Mechanical Engineering concludes by pointing out that he wouldn’t be where he is today without the excellent team around him: “I feel lucky to have such a strong team here and they certainly make my life easier.
“Whether I’m dealing with our pre-construction team, procurement team, estimators, accountants or the contracts managers and supervisors out on site, I know they are very knowledgeable and that I can trust them to get things done.
“They are all empowered to make decisions on their own and I know only too well that a team will only be as strong as its weakest link. Ideally, you want people who are even better than yourself and everybody who works at McGuinness Mechanical Engineering is an expert in their field.”
McGuinness Mechanical Engineering Ltd.,
Loughway Business Park,
Tel: +44 28 3083 9111
Email: [email protected]
This article was published in Building Ireland Magazine, April 2023, Vol 9 No 4
McGuinness Mechanical Engineering