Who fits it — Bailey, the M&E division of NG Bailey, has developed its off-site capability but is increasingly to be found at the heart of a project.

NG Bailey, the 85-year-old £400m-turnover building services company, has always offered a range of services through its different divisions, from M&E to partition systems, maintenance and ICT solutions. Now more than ever, however, specialists are required by clients to provide all of these services in a one-stop shop. To help meet this demand, NG Bailey has recently invested £5m in a 4970 m2 off-site facility in Bradford.

Close to the heart of this drive to be a single port of call is the company’s M&E division, Bailey, whose managing director is, appropriately enough, Martin Bailey. Bailey advises against having too many specialists on one project. He says: “The more links you have in the chain, the less likely the client will get what it wants, because the vision gets changed one too many times.”

An exemplar successful project for NG Bailey has been its involvement in the construction of Heathrow Pier 6, adjoining the existing Terminal 3 departure area, which has been built to handle four of the new Airbus A380s. Bailey says it has been one of the most logistically challenging projects the company has had to work on, as it is right at the heart of the busiest airport in Europe. This meant that much of the work and many of the deliveries could only take place in small windows of opportunity, often at night. The challenge this presented led to the company’s off-site expansion, with 70% of the mechanical systems being prefabricated.

Bailey says that working for client BAA, which promotes highly integrated project teams, proved to him that organising building services upfront helps to deliver a project on time and on budget. He says: “Getting on the project early has real benefits. If people involve us earlier we can understand what the customer wants and deliver a solution that is really close to their expectations.”

Bailey thinks Part L is to thank for this move towards earlier integration. He says that building services now get considered while designing the envelope because they are essential if projects are to achieve the new energy efficiency standards.

Furthermore, he says, the time at which the building services firm gets on board can affect the value engineering of a project. He says: “If we’re involved from the beginning we can talk to consultants and architects and know how much money the client has, to keep the costs to what was agreed.” Bailey thinks that with the whole-life costing issue and the energy efficiency of buildings becoming paramount, the early involvement of firms like his are instrumental in ensuring any degree of cost certainty.

Bailey is adamant that his team must be aware of the whole project, not just their part of it, as poor specification or installation can have dire ramifications. He says: “The best advice I can give to my team is ‘don’t be afraid to step forward and point out if something is not right. Flag it up as soon as possible, otherwise it will have terrible consequences further down the line’.”

The world according to Bailey

Martin Bailey, managing director of NG Bailey’s M&E division, Bailey

Q: My dream specification is …
A: Being involved from the start. We’ve been talking to the customer and everyone has come to the same conclusion. We just have to go and build it.

Q: I swear by …
A: Having the right people in the right place. They will choose the right product.

Q: I think …
A: Stand-alone products such as fire alarm, lighting control will soon be past their sell by date because the IP revolution allows much more flexibility.

Q: My worst specification nightmare is …
A: Nothing is worse than to think you’ve done a good job, the customer turns up and says it isn’t what it wanted at all. Each member of the team has to make sure what is done fits into the rest of the building.

Q: The worst piece of red tape is …
A: European legislation because it doesn’t get applied everywhere. The UK is complying with it, but some people still get away with not complying. As a business it is frustrating to see that other people bend it, while you’re complying.

Q: The next big thing will be …
A: Off-site. We wouldn’t have invested £5m in it if it weren’t!

Building Services