International, Irish-owned MEP contractor Designer Group was a triple winner at the 2018 National Electrical Awards, Building Ireland touched base with projects director Micheal King to find out more about this industry-leading operation, which is going back to its roots by delivering all electrical services on DIT’s expansive new landmark Grangegorman campus.
During the summer of 2018, Designer Group were the recipients of three awards at the National Electrical Awards gala ceremony in the Mansion House, Dublin.
Stephen Mullery – who has been with Designer Group for the past three years, consistently demonstrating excellent workmanship, skill and commitment to his role during this time – picked up the prestigious Apprentice of the Year Award, while HubSpot was chosen as winner of the Project of the Year, Designer Group having delivered mechanical and electrical services for the fit-out of Guild House, Dublin 1.
Meanwhile, to complete a notable treble, Designer Group was also highly commended in the Large Contractor of the Year category. The National Electrical Awards recognise high levels of excellence from the country’s top electrical contractors, consultants, wholesalers, manufacturers, people and projects and it is only fitting that one of the capital’s premier mechanical and electrical contractors should be duly recognised.
Established in 1992 by CEO Michael Stone, Designer Group are an industry-leading international mechanical and electrical engineering firm, with offices on three continents, boasting a proven track record working with some of the world’s largest companies, including Diageo, Facebook, Google, Bristol Myers Squibb, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Dropbox as well as ESB, Irish Life, Kennedy Wilson and OPW to mention just a handful.
Projects director Micheal King was understandably pleased by Designer Group’s success at the National Electrical Awards. “We were thrilled because it’s a drive the company has been on for a while now to gain this kind of recognition. It’s more so for the guys who are on site – due acknowledgement of all their hard work.”
Apprentice of the Year Stephen Mullery is a product of Designer Group’s pioneering Apprenticeship Mentoring Programme, reflecting the company’s unswerving dedication to proactively developing the industry’s next generation of electricians.
Stephen was part of an apprentice team that developed an impressive showcase of skills – a glass floor revealing clearly-visible examples of the company’s prowess in installing neat and tidy electrical and mechanical systems – at Designer Group’s stunning Clyde House Headquarters.
As established mechanical and electrical contractors, Designer Group has been one of the forerunners in offering mechanical and electrical apprenticeships to qualified, suitable leaving certificate students as well as those who wish to change career and have relevant experience – they are wholly committed to their apprenticeship mentoring programme:
“Owner Michael Stone and myself both came through the old ESB centre on Mount Street, the decision to set up our own apprentice programme in our training academy on Nore Road was derived from the basis of training that was received from roots and the success of the qualified people that came through the old ESB program, our Apprenticeship program and other training is managed by Brendan Kearns who has successfully developed the training programs for us. We place a major emphasis on upskilling our apprentices, so for one of them to get this recognition is brilliant – both for himself and for the company.”
Indeed, Designer Group has developed such an exceptional reputation for setting the standards in terms of training industry-wide, and an impressive training model, that they are also contracted to train electricians and apprentices from other companies and receive certification by City and Guilds through the Designer Group program.
Currently generating direct, gainful employment for approximately 1,100 staff, Designer Group have up to 200 apprentices on their books – an enormous commitment to the industry by any standards and one which is reflective of the sheer scope of the operation. “In terms of manpower, we are the largest electrical contractor on the ground within Dublin city,” Micheal confirms. “Our turnover this year will hit €200m, so it’s a large, expanding company and, as such, we need to run a major apprentice programme.”
Embracing the latest BIM and 3D technology whilst implementing the highest levels of Health & Safety, quality control and professionalism, Designer Group has experienced significant growth across a wide range of sectors including pharma, data centres, food and beverages as well as the medical, commercial and education sectors.
Considering the humble beginnings from which Michael Stone founded the company, their growth over the past 26 years has been little short of sensational… “Without doubt,” Micheal agrees. “And the growth has really escalated more so in the last five-six years. We now have offices in Ireland, the UK, Europe, Africa and the United States, with people on the ground, foremen and directors in all of those territories.
“Most of our turnover is still derived from mechanical and electrical contracting, the majority of main contractors and clients today are looking for a complete mechanical and electrical solution under one roof and you respond to the market to give your clients exactly what they need.”
Over the decades, Designer Group – which is now headquartered in a state-of-the-art, purpose-built, €2m hub in Blanchardstown – has delivered many notable projects including the new Guinness brewery for Diageo in James’s Gate, the International Broadcasting Centre for the London Olympics, refurbishment of Government Buildings and a new pharmaceutical production facility for Bristol-Myers Squibb.
One of the largest contracts they are working on at present is the new Central Quad and East Quad buildings at DIT’s landmark Grangegorman campus in Dublin 7, which will be the base for more than 10,000 DIT students and 600 teachers.
The Quads are being constructed by the Eriugena Consortium, which is 100% owned by Macquarie Capital Group Ltd. and is supported by a construction joint venture between Sisk & Son (Holdings) Ltd and FCC Ireland Ltd and by facilities management services provider Sodexo Ireland Ltd.
Scheduled for completion by the 2020/21 academic year, the buildings will together comprise some 52,000m2 of academic space, with Designer Group entrusted to carry out all the electrical contracting work on site. This flagship PPP project is one of the largest and most exciting ongoing in the capital at present and it is also one that’s very close to Designer Group’s heart, not just because of their founder / chief executive’s Dublin 7 roots but also as the new buildings will accommodate students in DIT’s school of electrical and electronic engineering (alongside their colleges of science and health, arts and tourism). It’s a prestigious achievement to have got this project,” confirms Micheal King. “Indeed, we really drove to be involved in this one because it is so special to us and close to home.
“Many of our engineers went through DIT themselves and for them to be now building an engineering block for DIT is extremely interesting and it’s going full circle for a lot of our staff. We’ll have 200 people in total working on that job. We are on site already and will be there throughout 2019 and right into May, 2020.
“It’s a massive project, but is just one of many that Designer Group will be working on simultaneously,” the projects director concludes. “During this time, our people will also be working on many interesting and challenging projects across Ireland and internationally.”
Designer Group has established itself as one of Ireland’s premier electrical and mechanical contractors and the company is growing year on year on the back of outstanding levels of health and safety, project delivery and client satisfaction.
Designer Group (HQ)
IDA Blanchardstown Business & Technology Park,
Tel: 01 8600520
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, November 2018, Vol 4 No 10