Transformation time at MPACT

Now in its 12th year of trading, Edinburgh-based contractor M-Pact is expanding into a nationally-operating enterprise. Managing directors Matthew Wright and Paul Wringe talk to editor Lisa Peake about what the future holds…

Set up in 2007 by Matthew Wright and his brother-in-law, Paul Wringe, award-winning Scottish contractor M-Pact is a family affair. The name is made up the founder’s first initials, followed by that of Andrea, who is Matthew’s sister and Paul’s wife, and that of Matthew’s wife Claire.

Before striking out on their own, Matthew was a postman working out of Edinburgh’s Brunswick Place starting at 4am each day. He didn’t mind the early starts, but a subsequent move into night shifts didn’t suit, so he changed gear and began working as a labourer with a property developer.

Paul, meanwhile, had established himself in the electrical trade as a key account manager working at a UK leading Building Support Service company. In need of additional labourers, he asked his brother-in-law to join him. After working for a while as a labourer to an electrician, Matthew undertook a three-year adult apprenticeship and gained his electrical qualifications.

A winning ethos

Like all start-ups, M-Pact began as a local concern. However, it has evolved and expanded in recent years, and is now operating across the UK. The success of this transformation was recognised in October of last year when the firm was named Scotland’s Best Large Contractor for 2018 by industry trade body SELECT.

Paul explains what has driven these changes: “We started off as electrical contractors, but then kept being asked by customers to take on other types of work, starting with putting up shelves and so forth. Driven by the needs of our customers, we have broadened the range of works we were initially qualified to undertake, and now offer Cat A fit-outs, Cat B refurbishments, reactive and planned maintenance across a range of environments and industries.

“We work for individual end-users, financial institutions, blue chip clients, local authorities and hotel groups. We also like working with architects and specifiers.

“More than two-thirds of our revenues are generated by repeat business from existing clients, who know that our strengths lie in our relationships and experience. We take the time to dig deeper, add value and give the best advice.”

Projects near and afar

Looking at the past 12 months, Matthew highlights a recent six-figure project for Weatherbys Private Bank in Edinburgh’s Rutland Square, an important area both historically and architecturally within the capital. Originally constructed in 1819, the refurbishment had to be carried out in a manner sensitive to the heritage of this tranquil corner of Georgian townhouses. “Work on historical and listed buildings is a growing part of the business” said Matthew.

Looking after the Team

M-Pact is actively enthusiastic in the area of corporate social responsibility. As well as making a commitment to mental health in the construction industry, the company has also involved four key staff in the British Red Cross Defibrillator Training Course, which includes CPR training, and it has uploaded the location of the machine to the Scottish Ambulance Service and HeartSafe websites.

In addition, this month, June, 10 of the M-Pact team completed the Tough Mudder Classic challenge to raise funds to support two charities, Lupus and local children’s charity Hopscotch. Says Paul, “we are genuinely committed to giving something back to the community in which we have been successful and if we can do so while having an enjoyable time, all the better.”

Big ambitions on the horizon

Set up with £15,000 of savings from various members of the family, M-Pact now employs 67 people with annual revenues set to hit £10m this year.

“We want to leave a legacy of a company committed to both its clients and staff,” Paul explains. “We strive to look after our people, who are without a doubt our most valuable asset, while also bringing through new talent via apprenticeships.

“We need to bring in more people because we want to double our turnover, but at the same time we are conscious of the issues that rapid expansion might bring. We anticipate this growth will be achieved, but only on our terms.”