MD downplays significance of loss as building services head quits to join three former colleagues at rival Exterior.

Construction manager Schal has suffered another high-profile defection with the loss of a senior manager to rival Exterior.

Flan McNamara, head of building services at Schal, was the man widely credited with delivering the complex mechanical and engineering contract at the Royal Opera House refurbishment. He will leave the company within the next two weeks to join Exterior, part of the Interior Services Group.

McNamara’s move follows the departure earlier this year of another key figure on the opera house project, construction director Gareth Lewis.

McNamara informed Schal managing director Paul Reeder of his decision in the past week.

McNamara said: “I think Schal has an uphill struggle to regain the ground it has lost in the last year or so. A number of changes needed to be made at management level over the past year within Schal which haven’t happened.”

McNamara will join three of his former Schal colleagues who left Schal to form Exterior in 1998.

He added: “Exterior is a bit like Schal in exile; there are so many of my former colleagues here. I’ve been happy at Schal but I think the time is right for me to move on.”

Reeder dismissed McNamara’s comments and downplayed his significance to the company.

He said: “Flan and I are good friends, but I’m not in the business of throwing money at people. It’s a disappointment, but he’s just another guy.”

Reeder added: “Flan was obviously instrumental in getting the opera house across the line, but so were others in the project. There is no major project in this country that is built by a single individual. Teams build projects.”

McNamara said: “It has nothing to do with money; it’s about opportunities. I had a good working relationship at the Royal Opera House with both Paul and Gareth and we had a good team around us.”

McNamara said the decision to leave was partly based on Exterior winning a number of contracts that Schal had also bid for.

Exterior has recently won a number of schemes in the City, including the £20m City University business school.

McNamara joined Schal five years ago. His CV includes spells with Bovis and M&E consultant Troup Bywaters & Anders.