Ian B Ferguson
I've been involved in the air conditioning and mechanical services industry in the commercial sector since 1997. I am the General Manager of the MPM Group. We turn over about $30 - $40 million worth of commercial air conditioning work per year in construction. We have a service and maintenance division that has a similar turnover. We operate nationally and our Head Office is here in Perth. We also work in the area of solar. We're currently involved with a major project in Onslow for Horizon Power assisting them with upgrading their power generation capabilities using solar panels.
History - Geoff Hesford
Geoff Hesford has known my father and other people within our business well before I started working here. Geoff worked as a senior engineer for a major national consulting firm in Perth. He established an excellent reputation that has been carried forward into his own business Geoff Hesford Engineering (GHE).
MPM have worked on projects that GHE has designed. We have also engaged GHE to work for us. It's a bit of a symbiotic relationship. We used GHE for two main areas of our business. One is to come up with value engineering or to come up with a more cost-effective design concept for a project. Typically we'll get given a design from an engineer and then we'll hand that over to Geoff and his team to refine it and make it a little bit more efficient. This provides us with a commercial advantage.
We rely on the expertise of GHE to be able to find those value engineering outcomes for us. We can then price that and hopefully get that point of difference.
We engage GHE in design and construct projects. We will win a project, on the back of a brief or a concept, and then we'll engage GHE to conduct a mechanical design and discharge those responsibilities. We've had GHE work for us on several major projects. The Westin Hotel and Perth Stadium were two that come to mind. Most of the major projects we've had GHE either do the engineering for us or assist us with the engineering concepts and value engineering.
I find Geoff and his team really congenial and cooperative. Geoff is just so experienced. He understands pretty much what the client expects straight away. He knows everyone so we find that there are never any barriers with anyone accepting Geoff's advice or alternative concepts if we're looking at value engineering. Having GHE's name beside our design always assists in getting those concepts accepted. Geoff's reputation and professionalism are respected in the industry. This is a huge benefit for us because our client knows that they're getting some of the best service that they can get within the Perth market.
The GHE documentation is excellent. It's really concise and to the point, which is a point of difference that we find when we use Geoff's team. GHE documentation contains no superfluous information. GHE's specifications and briefs are exactly what you need, nothing more, nothing less. We find that enables us to communicate our concepts back to our clients very easily because his documentation is so easy to understand.
When you have a level of expertise and knowledge that GHE has it would be easy to be arrogant about that. I don't ever find that with those guys. I find that they're very humble, they're very understanding, and they know that quite often they're dealing with laypeople. When they're dealing with us they know that they're dealing with people that have a technical understanding of what they're producing. However, when we go to client meetings they know that they're dealing with non-technical people and they can explain their concepts in a very non-technical way.
Their submission and review of documentation are very efficient. We transact a lot of the documentation online these days. They're up to speed with all the latest technologies in that regard. They've got a very good understanding of some of the cutting edge technologies that the industry are looking at at the moment, particularly building information modelling. They're able to produce that style of documentation.
We find if ever there's an issue that needs a quick resolution they will either come to our offices or be available on the telephone immediately to resolve it. We've never had any major problems but sometimes we need to respond to an issue that's not of our making, and they're very quick to assist and respond with that. When you've been working in the industry for as long as the guys at GHE your skillset is enormous and we certainly benefit from that.
GHE always delivers on time. We're always working to deadlines, whether that is in putting forward a submission for pricing and consideration with a client, or whether it's submitting documentation as part of the project workflow. I always feel confident deadlines will be met by the Geoff and the GHE team.
Fitness for Purpose
Geoff and his team are able to look at a building and understand what the clients' expectations are, and then design a system that is completely fit for purpose. It will meet the intent of the brief, which is the way that the client communicates what they want to us. Or through a return brief, which is where they'll submit a concept back to the client for review for them to articulate. GHE will articulate back to a client what they believe they're wanting after they go through an interview process with them. They'll sign off on that and then that becomes the brief or the concept for the mechanical services installation. From there, they start to evolve the design and start to put some more detail around that. We find that GHE is probably one of the best in the business at working through that process.
No Over Design Costs
In our game, the mechanical services are more often than not in excess of 10% of the construction cost. It's a significant component of the building. It's very easy to overdesign a system.
GHE has the relevant expertise and qualifications to be able to design a job that meets the exact intent of the clients' needs. They don't need to roll in all those unnecessary contingencies that only add to the cost and don't enhance the design or enhance the outcome for the client. That's really where GHE’s forte is. That's the GHE approach.
We've secured a number of major contracts through our collaboration with GHE by adopting engineering concepts that they've been able to identify within the bid documentation. Alternatively, we've also won by proposing a complete design and construct option for the client using Geoff's design concept. I believe that a large portion of our work that we've secured has come to MPM because of the efficiencies that GHE has been able to identify. These allow us to differentiate ourselves in front of our clients. We get a lot of repeat business because our clients know that we will use GHE primarily to do our engineering for us. For our complex engineering, they are our first choice.
Geoff is one of Perth’s most well known and respected mechanical engineers. He's so well connected. He has a really unique gift to be able to communicate and build rapport with so many members of the construction industry. From major developers like Multiplex as well as Perth's most highly regarded architectural firms, Geoff can build those relationships and that clear communication benefits the projects.
Geoff and his team are equally as adept at communication with smaller players within the industry. They communicate very well with our second tier management. Geoff's knowledge and ability to communicate allows him to transcend all sectors. I think that's one of the reasons why he's so highly regarded. His longevity is a testament to his skill set. He's been at the forefront of what he's been doing, well, since I can recall and his reputation continues to grow with the work of GHE.
The Foundation of The Project
I would have no hesitation in recommendation Geoff and his team. We are very selective about who does our engineering because it is the foundation of the project. If that is wrong, the outcome can never be right. GHE is our go-to for our engineering. I couldn't recommend GHE highly enough.
No Wasted Money
GHE reaches the outcome that the client is expecting without them having to pay too much. Without having to get anything that is unnecessary.
I would say that would be one of their primary differentiators is to be able to understand the brief and deliver that design so that it meets the clients' outcome and then they're not spending a dollar more than they have to.
A Value Proposition
GHE is not the cheapest in the marketplace, but their's is a value proposition. You could go and get much much cheaper engineers but if your foundations of engineering are not correct within a project then a project outcome will never be correct. A dollar saved at the engineering phase with a poor concept, or with a poor engineer, will result in a hundreds or thousands of dollars being spent after the projects finished to try and fix it. We have absolute certainty that when we engage GHE to create a design or complete a design review for us, it will be correct. We don't have to spend extra money at the end to try and fix it.
Peace of Mind
There is a peace of mind when you work with GHE. It gets done once and it gets done right.