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Published in Construction on 05/11/2017

New Chapter for KMCS

#KMCS

Harry Leech reports

KMCS is an international Construction Project and Cost Consultants based in Dublin which helps deliver €500+ million of projects annually through Ireland, the UK, Europe and the US. Founded in 1954, the firm has worked on many high profile projects including Aviva Stadium, The K Club and Dublin Airport. KMCS also represents top-tier international organisations including eBay, Airbnb, Stripe, Dropbox, PayPal, Facebook, Primark and First Data.

KMCS provides a range of services including project management, cost consultancy, mechanical and electrical cost management and consultancy services across a wide range of sectors and comprises of highly experienced professionals, many of whom have long-standing tenure.

KMCS recently announced a strategic restructure of the company to future-proof the business and enable expansion across it’s Irish, UK and US businesses, appointing three new company directors, a new independent chairperson and expanding the senior management team. Construction Network Ireland sat down with KMCS Managing Director Nigel Spence and began by discussing KMCS’s core business.

“KMCS is a firm of construction project and cost consultants and we specialise in independent construction project delivery and cost management, with a combined workforce of 37 people. We have four main strands, including a team working with the major global retail giant Primark; a team working with another global giant Facebook; we also work with a large proportion of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) coming into Ireland and also into Europe; and the fourth strand of the business is focused on public sector work along with Blue Chip Irish and indigenous companies”, Spence said.

Having a company in the construction business that trades successfully for a decade is quite an achievement and given KMCS’s performance over 60 years in the industry, it can be considered as one of the industry’s most successful businesses. Spence has a rather unique analogy to describe the development of the firm from the small partnership founded in 1954 to the successful firm it is today.

“I describe KMCS’s development in football terms – we started our life as a Rochdale United, plying our trade in the lower divisions and at this point in our development we are a Tottenham Hotspur – we see ourselves challenging for the top position, but we still have a few places to climb before we claim the top spot”.

Spence is KMCS through and through. He joined the firm in 1978 and worked part-time under one of the founders Walter McConnell while studying in Bolton St and went on to become managing partner in the business in 1990 at only 30 years of age. In his time at the firm, he has seen it develop and expand successfully as new opportunities arose.

The relationship with the West Coast of the US came about shortly into Spence’s time as MD and has grown substantially over the last two decades – at this point the company has worked on most of the EMEA office developments of large US foreign direct investment (FDI) looking to expand into the European market via Ireland.

KMCS now counts top tier businesses such as Facebook, eBay, Twitter, Dropbox, Stripe, Symantec and many more among its clients. Spence says that at this stage most of the US business comes about through referrals and that the company no longer has to canvas for business with these clients.

“Many of the teams heading up EMEA expansion for US tech businesses have experience of working with KMCS in previous roles with companies which already have presences here. We don’t need to chase business at this stage which is great, because we have enough experience in this area that the people making decisions either know us from working with us, or through referrals from trusted colleagues who have used our services before”, Spence said.

KMCS has also had great experience outside of the US FDI tech scene – one of KCMS’s most important clients is the clothing retailer Primark. After an introduction in the late 1990’s KMCS began working with the brand on projects in Ireland and the UK and then moved into Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy and in France as the brand expanded rapidly.

“We have a dedicated in-house cost management team supporting Primark 24/7 all year around. We’ve created a depth within that team that means we can operate within different regulatory markets and still give Primark an unrivalled and stream-lined cost management service”.

While the business with Primark is a substantial one, it’s effect on the business can be measured in more than revenue – while KMCS consider them a hard taskmasters, as well as trusted partners, working with Primark on so many markets, has meant that the business has experience in numerous markets across Europe and is familiar with the unique rules, regulations and idiosyncrasies of each  market.

This experience has helped when existing clients have new expansion opportunities and want to choose a trusted partner to bring things to fruition. KMCS already works with all of the big names in technology, but six years ago they began working on a new strand of the business with an existing customer on their new data centre expansion – the pan-European experience was crucial.

“We had previously worked with Facebook on their EMEA HQ and other sites, but the data centre sector is almost like a separate entity within the overall corporate structure. With the expansion of their social media company, they were looking at building data centres outside of the US for the first time. We visited one of their latest data centres in Oregon and since then we have worked with them on their data centre projects in Sweden and Denmark as well as their data centre in Clonee.”

KMCS has been one of the more successful adopters of partnerships with teams in key markets and as well as maintaining and growing their current deals, the consultancy is developing and expanding new partnerships in the UK and Australasia to bring growth. Spence sees this as key to KMCS’s success under the new management team over the coming years.

“Our primary focus as a business is to strengthen and grow our core business in Ireland and also to continue to develop our 10 year strategic partnership with Alfatech as the US market is still growing and open for business”

“With the impact of Brexit it is also important to forward plan around the potential impacts there, so we have developed a partnership with K2 Rider Hunt in London and as a result we hope to be well placed to benefit from Brexit business considering relocating to Ireland, but also helping existing customers who are downsizing their UK operations”.

“We also have a newly formed alliance with a company called Facilitate Corporation in Australia, which will give us a presence in Australasia and allow us to better serve our current clients who are looking at expansion in that region, as well as facilitating new business opportunities from that region into Europe and the US”.

The future looks bright for KMCS and given the success they have had over the past 60 years it is probably not unexpected. Spence says that the future for the business is consolidating on their current client base while continuing to expand operations into Europe – something they are well prepared to do and experienced with.

“We’re working with Facebook on their European Data Centre roll out and also with them on their continued engineering expansion programme in Europe; we’re working with companies like Smartbox, Stripe, Informatica and ViaSat all of whom are working on their EMEA headquarters roll out.

“We also have our long-standing relationship with Primark who have been incredibly loyal to us, and having worked with them in so many countries around Europe we can deliver those services for other clients with the confidence that experience brings”.

With more than 60 years of success under its belt, KMCS seems well prepared for the challenges of the next 60.