Cobec Engineering Group delivers high quality, market-leading Mechanical and Electrical Engineering services to Irish and international clients across a wide range of sectors. Building Ireland met Managing Director, Leonard Cooper, at their Headquarters in Mulhuddart, West Dublin to gain an insight into this high performing operation.
Twitter, Google, Volkswagen, BD Medical, Alkermes, CITI, Dublin Airport Authority, Trinity College Dublin, Irish Life, Green REIT PLC, Brown Thomas, IPUT, Heineken, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Blanchardstown Centre and Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, are just some of the prestigious clients for whom Cobec Engineering Group has delivered exceptional mechanical and electrical services, since its genesis in 2004.
It’s an impressive list but one which certainly doesn’t flatter the Cobec Engineering Group management team, who are totally client focused, operating a LEAN continuous improvement business approach to ensure that they provide best value, quality and safe installations to their construction partners and clients. This approach is woven into the very fabric of the business. It is part of the culture and apparent in the manner in which their personnel, from senior management to first year apprentices, carry out their duties. It has proven to be invaluable to the sustainability and growth of the business.
Cobec Engineering’s Board of Directors have always been loyal to their founding principles – to be a thoroughly professional, high-achieving organisation, with particular focus on their Quality Control Systems, Health & Safety Systems and Customer Experience. A Zero Snag – Zero Accident Policy, is their goal on all projects. Their own in-house Safety and Quality Control teams, ensure these goals are achieved.
Considerable senior management time and finance is continuously invested in ensuring that staff and systems develop and evolve, to reflect the changing demands of industry. Cobec have embraced the increasing demands, requirements and expectations of both client and industry, particularly with regard to L.E.E.D., having recently completed several L.E.E.D. Platinum and Gold Standard projects. With B.I.M. becoming an increasing requirement of clients, Cobec have an experienced Engineering Department equipped to meet all requirements in this area.
The recession represented the ultimate litmus test for any business associated within construction and only the strongest survived. “It was tough in a contracting market place and what with the introduction of the new Public Works Contracts, but we pressed ahead and developed a scalable construction business model, which we grew through the recession”, explains Cooper.
“We learned good lessons during the recession – how to do more with less, resourcefulness and the value of relationships with our clients, suppliers, our management teams and staff, who were inspiring and never lacking in going the extra mile. Despite the obvious difficulties presented, it was a great character-building time for us all and for the organisation.”
There’s no doubting that Cobec Engineering Group have emerged as a very efficient, dedicated and customer-focused engineering contractor. Strong relationships were built with leading design teams, select main contractors and directly with class-leading clients. As they grew and increased their footprints, so too did Cobec Engineering Group. Having started out primarily as an electrical engineering contractor, the organisation has also diversified into mechanical, which enabled them to provide complete, one-stop shop M&E solutions across a range of sectors – commercial, healthcare, financial, office construct, office fit-out, retail, hotel & leisure, manufacturing, mission critical and infrastructure, etc.
“We had always offered a managed mechanical service because we have clients who wanted that service. However, in the last 18-24 months, that has grown and it’s becoming a very strong part of the business development. We are currently building on our in-house expertise and recruiting key staff to cater for this demand.”
Some current and recent projects include; Liffey Valley Shopping Centre – Western End Redevelopment, Blocks H&I, Central Park, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, One Molesworth Street, Public Health and Primary Care-School of Medicine Tallaght and a major project for an undisclosed European Headquarters for a California based software company.
“We are proud of the achievements of our organisation to date and are grateful that our clients put their trust in Cobec to keep growing with them,” says Cooper.
Does the drive to maintain these standards bring added pressure?
“Yes it does but, at Cobec Engineering, we are committed to delivering all areas of our service to the highest possible standards. Our Mission Statement is – ‘Together we plan, communicate and work safely’ – this is the foundation on which we base all of our projects. We really believe in the importance of health and prosperity in the workplace. That’s why, in conjunction with our Health & Safety department and external specialists, we have put the wellbeing of our employees at the forefront of company policy. This has been rolled out across all departments, in our quest to make Cobec’s workplaces safer and healthier. Late last year we provided Health screening services to our staff and we were delighted with the positive response received from all involved.”
While walking through the premises we noticed that one area is set aside for apprentice training – why is this important to Cobec?
“Since our formation, nearly fourteen years ago, we have trained our own apprentices. Even through the recession we kept with it. More recently, as the numbers have increased, we have encouraged our apprentices to form an apprentice training council. Here, any apprentice can e-mail one of the council members if they feel they may have training needs. The input we received from our apprentices was key to identifying gaps between the training the apprentice receives on site and that in the ETB training centre. A training programme was then put together by Padraig Quinn – our Quality Testing & Verification Manager. The programme is delivered over six Friday afternoon sessions a year.
Substantial amounts of our senior site management team have come through our apprentice process and have made a positive contribution to the business. In summer 2017, Colm Brennan, one of our very first apprentices, was appointed Commercial Director. We encourage our people to grow and flourish and to be the best they can be. People are our resource and there are opportunities here for them to flourish and rise within our organisation.”
Cobec Engineering Group
Unit A14 BASE Centre,
Tel: 01 8613060
Fax 01 8613061
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, April/May 2018, Vol 4 No 4