Core vision and values leave Emtec well placed for growth

Emtec’s senior management team in Scotland has been bolstered by a number of new appointmens following a restructuring process


EMTEC Building Services are pleased to report a number of significant changes and developments within their Scottish Region as they continue to strive to be the Partner of Choice in the market.

The Emtec brand, which started life in 2003 as a purely mechanical and electrical (M&E) contractor, has enjoyed solid, steady growth over the years. It is an incredible success story with humble beginnings.

The business has diversified, expanded and, as part of the Emtec Group, is today capable of delivering a full turnkey package of services to a wide range of clients including end-users, principal contractors, developers, and local authorities.

Emtec Building Services has recently marked a series of significant milestones including a restructuring and strengthening of its senior management team in Scotland.

Iain Hetherington joined the business last year as Regional Director for Scotland. He along with Managing Director Stewart Barclay have restructured the Scottish business, bringing a breadth and depth of both knowledge and experience to the business in support of the planned growth, whilst maintaining and improving on existing client relationships and service delivery levels.

They have bolstered their management teams in the areas of central estimating, with Kern Fitzpatrick joining as Estimating Director and Derek Reid as Pre-Construction Director.  Service delivery is being led by Operations Managers Gary Woods and Craig Brown in Glasgow.

Scott Durham is another new appointment, joining as Operations Manager.  He will take operation lead for the East. Scott previously was a Director with TUV SUD. 

Scott’s background is predominantly as a Director in design. Managing Director Stewart Barclay said that while it may appear to be a slightly ‘left field’ move to bring in a Design Director to run a contracting business, the move reflects the changing nature of the industry, and the fact that clients are increasingly looking to shift the risk through novation of the project design team and design to the contractor. 

Emtec have recently relocated their Edinburgh base to Ratho Business Park, which is a new larger and modern office to support their plans to increase the workforce and support function in the East.

The expansion continues in Dundee with a new office opening which plans to be fully operational in November. With the unfortunate demise of McGill in the area, Emtec have picked up a number of significant jobs with Robertson Tayside. The pipeline of work with Robertson was one of the driving factors behind Emtec’s confidence in investing in a new Dundee office, which will employ around 25 people, with further expansion planned for next year. 

Much of Emtec’ s success can be attributed to the board’s entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to identify and develop opportunities. A shining example is the decision to invest in a dedicated offsite manufacturing facility in Rutherglen, near Glasgow (providing offsite manufacturing ranging from individual Plant Skids through to fully containerised Plant room and Energy Centres). Mark Graham has been appointed as Manager of Offsite, a position which he previously held with two Tier One Nationals and brings significant value in terms of innovation and offsite manufacturing techniques.

Stewart explained, “We’re working with client/developer(s) on various brands of hotel. A principal focus for these clients is the increased use of modular and offsite construction, to improve quality and reduce project programmes. Identifying this want from our client, we invested in and opened our offsite manufacturing facility last month with the first prefabricated plant room rolling out 12 days later, bound for Birmingham.”

Emtec has built up a strong relationship with the client after being contracted to work on several of their projects throughout the UK. That alliance is evidence of a new approach for Emtec, which finds itself increasingly shying away from ultra-competitive tendering processes and instead adopting a partnership approach and being more selective in who they work with.

Emtec has successfully contributed to a number of hotel projects

Iain Hetherington said, “Given the size of our business; the type and scale of our projects; client lead-in times and budgets that are often under pressure, clients and large Tier 1 contractors are often approaching us to engage at an early stage. We have invested heavily in our front end estimating and pre-construction support functions, providing design, pre-construction and offsite manufacturing advice. Rather than just competitively tendering and working with anyone, we are much more selective now in our approach. By being selective, we offer a customer service provision tailored to their requirements. Offsite manufacturing was one of them. It’s that overall offering we can give to clients when they come to as a one-stop shop.”

Emtec works with several major contractors across the UK. Sixty percent of the company’s work is repeat business – a trend the firm is intent on maintaining. Even in competitive tendering situations, Emtec will often be offered the ‘last bite of the cherry’ because their clients know the quality and added value the company provides.

One factor which sets the business apart is the fact Emtec isn’t afraid to turn work down. The last thing they want to do is overcommit and allow service level to slip.

The business structure is geared to effectively deliver projects regardless of value or complexity. Emtec Solutions delivery is geared to smaller fast-track projects ranging from £10,000 to £1 million, with Emtec Building Services delivering the larger projects from £1 million upwards.

Investing, developing and training the future talent in the industry is of great importance to Emtec and one that they are extremely passionate about. 

Emtec Building Services directly employs over 320 people in Scotland from a total of 550 across the wider Emtec Group. Admirably, 62 of these are apprentices, including 57 in Scotland. The company has taken the conscious decision to invest in its own people and has also signed up to the 5% Club, which is a commitment to ensuring at least 5% of the workforce at any one time is undertaking ‘earn and learn’ training opportunities such as apprenticeships or graduate programmes. 

The latest intake of apprentices, pictured at Emtec’s Uddingston HQ

“If we can get people from an early age, they become part of the Emtec family and they understand our values and our vision,” Stewart said. “Our staff and operative retention rates are probably one of the best in the industry.”

Stewart cited an example of someone who started as an engineering apprentice at sixteen and is now an operations manager within the business. Every employee receives a PDR twice annually, while succession and development plans are clearly laid out. Aspirations are matched with capabilities in an open and honest setting.

Iain Hetherington revealed that 14 apprentices have been recruited this year alone. With some competitor firms opting not to invest in apprentices – and knowing the high standard of training that operatives receive at Emtec – he said there is a constant threat of competitors attempting to lure our people away. It therefore reflects hugely positively on the company that retention rates are so high.

Looking ahead, Emtec’s plan is to continue to pursue sustainable, profitable growth, requiring both organic and geographic expansion. The business has increased the service offering and operating locations with three regional businesses across the UK: Scotland, North and South of England.

The Emtec team at a communication and strategy day

In the North of England, the firm has opened operational bases in Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds. A Birmingham office has been established as a first step to making inroads further south. As with all decisions the firm makes, people sit at the heart of investment plans.

Stewart said, “We are well known and established in the Scottish market, however as and when we look to expand geographically such as with Newcastle or Birmingham where we have no trading history, you need to identify and recruit a leadership team with a proven and successful track record with strong client and personal relationship. 

“The mark of a leader is the quality of people who follow. The challenge for me is to recruit those individuals. We are a successful business built on the leadership and capabilities of our people.

“We are fiercely proud of our Visions and Values; if the right people aren’t there, we won’t open the office.”

In today’s uncertain economic and political climate, Emtec go about their business in a calm and assured manner, providing clients with the confidence that their projects are in safe hands.

The company has experience in the majority of market sectors including Commerce, Education, Hospitality, PRS and Student Living, Emtec is perfectly placed to adapt and react to whatever direction the industry takes.

Regardless of what the next big thing is for construction, Emtec are well placed to react and evolve, putting their people at the heart of all they do.