Self-delivery of smoke control systems can increase margins for M&E contractors

It has been a growing trend in recent years for Main Contractors to self-deliver mechanical and electrical (M&E) services. For example Wates Building Services now has a dedicated in-house M&E delivery service which replaces traditional M&E procurement on some Wates Construction projects.

One of the main drivers of this approach is cost reduction. The Main Contractor is taking some of the profit away from the sub-contractors, particularly the mark up on plant items which is where most of the margin is. Another perceived benefit of bringing more services in house is greater control and management of risk which is important in today’s market where there is under capacity, and many sub-contractors are at risk of failure through over trading. Bringing M&E services in house is seen as a source of competitive advantage by the likes of wates and Mace.

Some savvy M&E contractors are adopting this approach themselves by bringing specialisms in house, for example BeMS, fire alarms and smoke control systems with impressive results. Most contractors however shy away from installing even the simplest AOV or stairwell ventilator because of life safety implications and instead employ a ‘specialist’ to do it for them, which impacts on profit margins. The service from specialists can be poor, particularly in periods of high demand as is currently the case, especially in London and the South. As electrical contractors often have their own labour on site already it would seem to make commercial sense to take this work in house for simple buildings for example residential developments.

In the figure below we can see that it is possible for sub-contractors to double their margin on smoke control packages by bringing them in house.

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Easivent, the product distribution arm of the leading smoke control specialist SCS Group offers a number of resources including a suite of training courses to help contractors through this process including simple to install AOV kits for most applications.

Book onto an Easivent training course today

Flaktwoods, a leader in air technologies have also developed a mechanical smoke shaft system alongside the SCS Group and Easivent. Frequently asked questions on this system can be found here. 

For more information on where to begin when self-install smoke control systems, see our article How to install smoke control systems

Download your free AOV kit guide

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