The construction, fit-out and successful operation of any development rests on its building services team. All features have to align safely and seamlessly, which is why crafting a building services team needs careful deliberation.
So how do you build an outstanding taskforce? Where do you start? Our resident expert in the technical space, Alex Blundell, shares his five considerations and preparations for hiring:
1. Excellent management
Projects like this see many professionals – from plumbers to electricians – come and go throughout the build. A good manager is critical to ensuring all parties work smoothly together, and that colleagues and subcontractors know who’s needed where and when.
The management team should also be on the ball with pricing for subcontracted work, tests and checks, and adherence to environmental practices and sustainability concerns.
2. Tailored technical knowledge
As senior recruits oversee everything, it’s essential they also have the appropriate technical knowledge to know what ‘good’ looks like. They have to be aware of the NHBC/BCO standards for sign-off, so qualifications like a BSc in Building Services Engineering are useful.
Some projects will be biased towards electrical or mechanical disciplines, so it’s worth bearing this in mind when recruiting for senior roles. You’ll need more mechanical specialists if there’s a higher number of components versus aesthetic considerations.
3. Relevant design skills
Building services teams should be well versed in CAD and BIM software, such as Rivet. UAVs have diminished in use, but 3D mapping tools continue to improve and prepare the life cycle of a building. Workers with experience using this software are extremely valuable.
Depending on the nature of the building, other design skills might be required too. BIM is essential when creating a ‘plant room’ for equipment, for example, while Hevacomp is a fantastic tool for virtual energy forecasts.
4. Careful planning
Of course, without a clear plan, even niche skills go to waste. And plans can vary significantly from one project to another. It’s easy for elements such as pipework and cables to clash when it comes to complex mixed use projects.
Finding candidates who demonstrate agility and intuition when it comes to planning is critical to the smooth mobilisation of a building services team. An experienced candidate should be able to demonstrate how they would navigate these challenges.
5. Two-way communication
At the heart of all this is communication. Information should go down and back up the leadership channel to create an open atmosphere. Labourers have to feel as if they can talk to their supervisors, who relay concerns to the M&E Manager, who then speaks to the professionals sitting below them.
A hierarchy keeps all work accounted for and verified. However, it’s equally important to have a team that gets along. As well as qualifications, you should screen candidates based on their likes, dislikes and general demeanour.
Combined, these factors make the difference between hiring building services professionals and building a standout team that will help your site function successfully. To get more advice from Alex for your own technical space, call 0208 332 2727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.