MMP Quantity Surveyors

Interview – Stephen Walsh, Director, MMP

Stephen Walsh chartered quantity surveyor

How did you get into this business?

I was always interested in building and I worked as a labourer during the summer when I was at school so it’s safe to say I was hands-on from the very beginning! In fact that first site I worked on was the Bewleys Hotel project in Ballsbridge (now The Clayton), managed by Ellen Construction at the time. So when I left school I went straight into a Construction Economics and Management degree course at D.I.T. Bolton St. I’ve pretty much continued to study throughout my career……

What kind of qualifications did you pursue after the initial degree?

Well I graduated in 2002 and after I got some practical experience in the job, I went on to qualify as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor with the The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) in 2007. That was a really busy time so it was a few years before I went on to do a Masters in M&E Quantity Surveying with the University of Salford in 2013. With Continuous Professional Development (CPD) the education process is on-going throughout your career no matter what level you are at.

At what stage did you come across MMP?

I was lucky enough to do some work experience at MMP in my third year in College and when I finished the degree they took me on – here I am 15 years later! I was appointed an Associate Director in 2014 and a Director in 2016. So I’m really looking forward to the years ahead, especially given all the exciting developments coming up in the industry.

What’s you role at MMP now?

As a Director I’m heavily involved in all aspects of the business. Obviously Project Management and Quantity Surveying is at the heart of it all, co-ordinating tender documents, contracts and providing costs plans. We are involved in a number of large-scale construction projects at the minute but confidentiality is often important for our clients. We work on both New Builds and Fit-Outs and we’re operating across a variety of sectors; hospitality, schools, residential…..there is a lot of construction work going on in Ireland right now, I’m glad to say.

What do you think the key drivers in construction will be in the coming years?

BIM systems and environmental standards such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) and Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) are having a significant impact on the industry and this is set to continue. We help clients by assessing the BIM modelling and making sure it is put to best use in terms of costing a project. It’s all about securing the best possible value for money. I have a particular interest in this because I’ve been working on the SCSI BIM committee, which aims to up-skill SCS members on all aspects of BIM.

LEED originated in the U.S. and we’re finding that the different categories (Gold, Platinum etc) are increasingly being specified as a requirement by multi-nationals looking to locate here in Ireland. We’re thoroughly familiar with these standards at this stage and we carry out costing exercises for clients to assess the financial impact of upgrading a building to meet the specified level. I think LEED, BREEAM and NZEB will evolve and become more dominant in the marketplace.

The public sector aims to improve its energy efficiency by 33% by 2020, as set out in the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) and, in accordance with the requirements of directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (recast), will be seen to lead by example in order to demonstrate clearly to all sectors what is possible through a programme of strong and committed actions. Public sector buildings will adopt the proposed nearly zero energy standards for new buildings other than dwellings two years in advance at the private sector in 2018.

I should mention BREXIT, I see this as an opportunity as well as a threat – at the minute it’s an unknown so our best bet is to keep on top of the work we do, to stay up-to-speed with regulatory and technological developments and to continue to position MMP as a leader in the marketplace – that’s my focus anyway!