Chief Technical Officer
Stephen joined Mace in 1996. After many years as the Mechanical and Engineering Director, in which Mace’s internal MEP business was set up, he went on to head up the Construction Technical Services team.
In 2019 Stephen was appointed to the Mace Group Board as Chief Technical Officer managing Group Technical Services, which includes service excellence; health, safety and wellbeing; compliance and audit; and internal management systems.
- How did you come to join Mace?
My career started in mechanical engineering and for 17 years I worked for a tier one M&E contractor. In 1996, I was working at Heathrow Airport when I became aware of Mace. The company was fairly small at the time but it had a reputation for doing things differently - game-changing approaches to construction - so when an interview turned into a job offer, I jumped at the chance.
- How does your experience strengthen the Mace Board?
- My background is slightly different, given that, for years, I specialised in M&E and the, diversified to cover the full spectrum of technical services. It could be considered unusual to have someone from a technical services background on the main board but, that’s Mace, we’ve never followed the crowd. For years I delivered projects in tough environments with unmovable deadlines, and I’ve carried my approach right through. My focus is always on getting the job done, whatever it might be. I like to see hard work, innovation and progress. Mace is now a big engine but to stay ahead of the curve we need to keep agile and keep moving forwards as the industry is forever changing.
- How have you seen the company develop during your time here?
Mace was an industry disruptor when I joined and, on that front, nothing has changed. The company has seen phenomenal growth so what we do now is just on a grander scale. We have a greater influence on the market due to our reputation and for over two decades we have continuously attracted some of the best people in the industry. It’s testament to the culture at Mace that many of the people who I first worked with when I joined are still here today.
- What is the biggest challenge for technical services?
New legislation that’s coming in 2021 is going to be a game-changer. The Building Safety Bill will potentially transform the whole industry in terms of quality, compliance and the need for digital records.
There was no question that improvements were needed across the industry, so since 2019 we’ve focused on what changes we needed to make – not necessarily in preparation for something we would have to do in the future, but in recognition that we had it in our gift to act immediately.
- How is Mace addressing the challenge?
Firstly, by taking a responsible and pro-active approach. For 18 months we’ve been carrying out audits covering Building Regulations and FireStopping on all new projects and rolling out training on every one of our projects. We’ve completely changed our fire stopping strategy and by having greater control over procurement and products, and creating digital records with the use of technology for quality inspections, we’re driving out non-compliance.
It’s been a lot of work, it’s changed the way we operate, and it has highlighted a skills gap among our people and our supply chain, but the Board was very clear in 2019 that radical change was non-negotiable and waiting for a Bill to dictate action wasn’t necessary or the right thing to do.
- What is your proudest moment?
Without a doubt it’s the way we delivered the Shard. The M&E package was over £80m all those years ago and we knew we had to do something ground-breaking to make it work. We delivered the majority of the works off-site which was ahead of its time with a new start-up company, a completely different supply chain and a new Mace team. The quality of that project, from beginning to end, was outstanding and that was purely down to the team being so focused, dedicated and innovative.
“Mace was an industry disruptor when I joined and, on that front, nothing has changed.”