EMG Construction: Building new foundations after 25 years in business

EMG directors Martin Mullaney, Jenny Jones and Shane Andrews

EMG directors Martin Mullaney, Jenny Jones and Shane Andrews - Credit: Archant

Despite its new nature – to choose to deliver quality over quantity – the 120-plus-staff-strong company expects a turnover in excess of £12million

Over 25 years EMG Construction has become an expert in the business of building from the ground up. Now it is applying the same thinking to itself.

A clean sweep of the management team by owners Eamonn and Brian McGurk saw a trio of new directors appointed to conduct a forensic review and rebuild of the company.

Jenny Jones, Shane Andrews and Martin Mullaney were promoted from within after either joining from the broad church of businesses that is the McGurk Group, or being headhunted.

From the outside it looks like a carefully thought out plan which began some time previously after a realisation that an EMG Construction with the right people at the helm and a gold-plated reputation could clean up.

“There is definitely real potential – we just have to get it right,” said Cheltenham-born Mr Mullaney, who with his colleagues has been working long days, not least to convince customers there is a new EMG in town which will benefit their business. Headquartered at Arriva House, Meadow Park, Gloucester.

It has meant making some of those tough decisions you hear business people talk about with no enjoyment to do with its staff team, and another one in particular which speaks volumes.

That latter decision being not to be tempted by just any new business, especially if it compromises the new roadmap.

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It seems almost overly self-critical, when you consider its clients already include Barratt, David Wilson Homes, Liden Homes, Allenbuild and Bovis, but this is the tough love the rebuild is committed to.

Despite its new nature – to choose to deliver quality over quantity – the 120-plus-staff-strong company expects a turnover in excess of £12million.

“I think all of our clients have welcomed our new approach with open arms and listened to what we are trying to do,” said construction director Mr Andrews, construction director, 43.

On the books of Bristol City FC as a youngster he had begun working for his dad’s groundworks company as a young man, finding himself not just with an ability to do a full day’s work at the sharp end, but also with a passion for getting the paperwork right.

Both father and son ended up working within the McGurk Group.

It was a similar story with Mr Mullaney, just a different beginning. A graduate of the University of the West of England he came to the firm as a quantity surveyor, again after working within the McGurk Group from when it took over his own fledgling groundworks firm.

Going back further his grandfather and father also worked within the McGurk empire.

Mr Andrews said: “I moved here just two years ago from another part of the group as a contracts manager.”

Little did he know just a short time later he would be a director alongside Mr Mullaney, who he had worked well with in previous roles.

“I asked Eamonn what he wanted me to do,” said Mr Andrews, when he was appointed director, and he said “Just get going.”

Which is exactly what they have done.

In the context of the years in which the sector has been (and in many ways continues to be) dominated by men Ms Jones appointment in 2014 can be seen as significant.

It sends a clear message this is for all intensive purposes a new company which has a new outlook.

But the truth is, her appointment was made because of the skills she brings to the table – and this only underlines what is at the core of the new business. Ten years in customer services at BMW instils some pretty high standards.

“My role is customer care manager,” said Ms Jones, also a director. “For businesses now the first and most important thing is health and safety. The second is customer care.

And this is what the firm is focusing on. Look after that and it is looking after its client’s customers - and that makes everyone happy.

Its other focus has been what it considers its most important asset – staff. As well as reshaping its management team it hopes the message that it promotes from within and gives opportunity to move through the business gets out there to everyone, including potential staff.

Mr Andrews added: “When we were asked to step up everyone below us was asked to step up as well.”

Mr Mullaney said: “A new generation is coming through and it is all changed. Gone are the days when it is he who shouts loudest wins the contract. You have to be able to communicate now. People demand a higher standard.

“It is not just about the price now. It is also about so much more.”

Investment in staff, training, apprenticeships are all in place. When asked about its plans for the next five years the message was an exciting one of steady growth and stability.

There is a sense they know there is work to be done to continue to reposition EMG Construction, but like any good tradesmen they know it all starts with sound foundations.

And you get the distinct impression they have that well in hand.

Visit the EMG Construction website here.

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