Mastertech Group, which makes its first appearance in the Irish Construction News Top 20 M&E Contractors listing this year, has experienced substantial growth in recent years as it expanded its service offering to meet clients’ changing needs.
The Mastertech story dates back to 1989 when Masterair Services was established to offer an air-handling maintenance service for plant assets manufactured by Masterair Sales Ltd. Over time, it expanded its team of technicians through a well-structured apprentice programme. As demand for services increased, the company also grew its service offering.
In 2015, after a management buyout led by joint managing directors Shay McConnell and Aidan Conway, the company rebranded to Mastertech, a brand that is now widely recognised across the industry.
Mastertech specialises in installing and maintaining heating, cooling, and ventilation systems for various sectors such as commercial and industrial buildings, data centres, education, and medical facilities. With a team of over 150 people, the company has over 40 apprentices in plumbing, mechanical, electrical, air-conditioning, and refrigeration.
Mastertech is committed to nurturing its employees and encouraging them to build long-term careers within the company.
According to joint managing director Shay McConnell, Mastertech’s guiding principles are centred around fostering a collaborative working environment that allows team members to develop and advance within the company.
“Our management team is deeply invested in the business’s success, and we have worked tirelessly to cultivate a sense of teamwork,” he explains. “It may sound like a cliche, but I genuinely believe this is the dynamic we have achieved at Mastertech. Our team is incredibly strong, built on a foundation of trust and open communication. We value traditional virtues such as honesty, reliability, and trustworthiness, which have been critical to our organisation’s growth and prosperity.
“We are proud to have more than 150 employees, many of whom have completed our apprenticeship programme and have been with us for numerous years. Additionally, we support and encourage our staff to pursue further education once they have completed their apprenticeships.”
Throughout the initial Covid-19 shutdown in 2020, Mastertech maintained communications with clients to determine how it could best support them in reopening their operations. After three months of inactivity during the Q2 2020 lockdown, there was a surge of schools preparing to reopen in July.
Shay McConnell describes how the company adapted to help its clients, “Thanks to our open online engagement with clients and team members, we developed a plan to assist them with their ventilation and water management needs,” he says. “For example, 50 schools in Dublin for which Mastertech maintains hot water systems required upgrades for their ventilation systems, which had to function on a full fresh air basis to reduce potential risks. When the time was right, we were ideally placed to meet their needs. In the subsequent months, we went on to install new air purification and management systems in schools and medical facilities across the country.”
In 2021, Mastertech established a telecommunications division that assisted in the implementation of the national broadband rollout by installing sub-ground ducts and chambers to facilitate the routing of cables.
Both of these examples show the agility of Mastertech in responding quickly to clients’ changing needs. But to be successful at doing this, the company needs a team that is highly motivated and understands what is required of them.
Mastertech apprenticeship programme
Mastertech’s 40-plus apprentices account for more than a quarter of its entire staff.
“We value our apprentices and ensure that our team leaders provide them with the necessary time and support to excel in their apprenticeships,” explains joint managing director Aidan Conway. “We want our apprentices to serve their time, gain their qualifications and then flourish in careers with us. We have a mentoring environment that fosters growth, and we facilitate further education opportunities for our team members.
“We also take great pride in having a growing number of female apprentices currently serving their time with us.”
Aidan Conway continues, “Ultimately, supporting our apprenticeship programme and creating pathways to advancement within the company is all about succession planning. This is an essential aspect of our business. When people move up through the ranks, we want someone from within the company to be in a position to replace them. When new staff members see this, they are encouraged to stay and commit to us.”
Mastertech recent projects
Mastertech’s recent projects include the Marker Hotel in Dublin’s docklands, where a focus on system efficiency and sustainability was key. Mastertech has also worked extensively for Carton House, conducting a complete mechanical and electrical upgrade, which also includes a service and maintenance contract.
Additionally, Mastertech has worked extensively on several data centre projects and continues to upgrade and maintain various property types for leading clients within multiple sectors, ranging from commercial property to healthcare, government entities and facilities management.
Sustainability is a critical aspect of Mastertech’s operations. The company aims to provide clients with genuine and measurable sustainable solutions rather than just engaging in greenwashing.
Paul Kane, Head of Commercial Development, Mastertecch, explains, “We have been focused on advising clients on sustainability in recent years, as we understand their concerns about this issue. We aim to establish an authentic process that ensures value for money and meets the necessary criteria. We strive to work closely with clients to ensure that sustainability is not just a buzzword but a real and achievable goal for everyone involved, including contractors and end users. This objective is a top priority for us, and we are committed to making it a reality.”
He continues, “We recently gave a presentation to the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management on the importance of life cycle costs. Our presentation highlighted the significance of sustainability and the need to select appropriate products and systems while following accurate research. Ultimately, we want to assist clients in achieving their sustainability goals, whether it involves new or existing equipment, and we want to ensure that the entire process is transparent and measurable from beginning to end.”
Mastertech dedicates a significant amount of time to onboarding at the start of a project to meet its clients’ digital requirements effectively.
It utilises various digital packages across the business, such as an internal ABM programme for day-to-day operations, an Avetta package for health and safety compliance, and BIM, CAD, quantity surveying, and project management packages that are all integrated and communicate seamlessly.
Paul Kane comments, “Our handover process is also changing. Gone are the days of handing over a lever arch folder full of papers. At handover, we provide clients with a digital package. We are currently in the process of further enhancing this package. We have engaged an agency to develop a comprehensive digital handover package that meets our clients’ operational and maintenance needs.”
Managing inflationary challenges
The past few years have seen everyone affected by inflation and supply chain problems. The Mastertech team believes that it is crucial that long-term sustainability is at the forefront of all decision-making and that this type of thinking should be deeply ingrained across the sector.
Shay McConnell explains, “Clients want sustainable solutions, and they want to prioritise this over short-term inflationary obstacles. Sustainability should not be viewed as a challenge but rather as a solution. Such a perspective will strengthen and expand the sector.
“Mastertech is ideally positioned to help clients. We can provide advice, install plant and equipment, commission, monitor and maintain it, ensuring that clients get a professional service from an aligned organisation. Our focus is now on helping clients become more sustainable. We fully understand what needs to be done to achieve this and are transparent in our dealings.”
Mastertech’s evolution has ensured its capacity to manage projects of varying sizes. Shay McConnell concludes by saying, “Our ability and agility to respond promptly to clients’ unique requirements is one of our key strengths. Our team is the backbone of our success, and their dedication to their work motivates us to keep moving forward and expand our business.”
To learn more about Mastertech, visit www.mastertech.ie