If you simply want to find any mechanical and electrical contractor you could probably do so in 5 minutes. No need to read this webpage, just log onto Google and search for ‘mechanical and electrical services’ or something similar, then choose the first one. There are over 7 million search results for that keyword phrase alone, so there must be thousands of businesses.
Of course, as we all know, the choice isn’t that simple. Dozens of variables go into making a choice between different contractor businesses, such as:
- Area of operation
- Working hours
- Work capacity
- Professional reputation
By knowing your budget, location and the type of project you want undertaken, you can narrow your choice down to a shortlist. You can rule out the ones that are too small, too new, too distant or too expensive, but there is still likely to be more than a few credible candidates. This webpage will help you whittle down your shortlist to just one business – the right mechanical and electrical contractor for your project.
We are mechanical and electrical contractors ourselves, so we can’t pretend to be entirely non-biased in helping you make your decision. However, the way we do business is by helping facilitate good business decisions, finding good matches and building long-term client relationships. If at the end of your decision-making process you end up getting in touch to find out more, then great, but there is no obligation to do so. There may be other companies that are a better fit, and that’s okay too.
We serve clients across the country specialising in bespoke projects for historic buildings, museums, public sector organisations, scientific institutions and educational establishments, as well as businesses and residential developers. We are a family owned business with almost a century of continuous trading experience. We will provide more information about our business and the services we offer in the final section of this webpage, where you will also find our contact details.
If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by phone or email.
You can call us at our Oxford branch 01865 322200, or Southampton branch 02380 614700 – whichever is more convenient, or if you prefer you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leaving aside obvious considerations such as location and availability, there are plenty of factors that contribute to making a good mechanical and electrical contractor. Always remember that no two companies are exactly alike. Different businesses have slightly different approaches to their work, a slightly different skill set and a different business ethos. You will form an easy rapport with some and not with others. The important factor is not to find the ‘number one best rated’ contractor, or the most popular, or the most expensive – but to find a contractor that closely matches your project goals, your budget and the ethos of your business.
With this in mind, here are 10 things we feel you should give serious thought to before hiring a contractor:
The very first thing to look for is a business with experience in your sector. Experience within some sectors is transferable, but some facilities require specialist treatment. This is especially the case with non-standard buildings, such as museums, or historic buildings, such as palaces, churches and so on.
Look for proven experience on projects of a similar size and budget to your own. You don’t always have to go for the biggest company on the market, but you need to ensure that the contractor you choose is not out of their depth. The contractor should provide sufficient case studies, testimonials and references to support their experience
Can the contractor provide genuine quality work that delivers a positive ROI? Quality encompasses many of the other factors in this section, such as the level of engineer training, professional affiliations, faithfulness to deadlines etc.
Also consider how energy-efficient the work will be. How much, realistically, will you need to spend on maintenance over the next 10 to 15 years? Is the underlying infrastructure that supports your work amenable to upgrades when new technology becomes available? Will you still have access to spare parts? Discussing these questions with your contractor will give you a good understanding of how valuable your investment will be over big picture timescales.
A competitive quote is rationally set out, realistic and not excessively high. In other words, it transparently weighs up all the expenses involved with a project and presents a price that accurately reflects the work involved and the real value of the project.
With complex projects it is rarely possible to give a straightforward quote without fully understanding the details, so be wary of contractors who issue standard quotes over the phone.
A competitive price is not always the lowest either, as the contractor will always have to make compromises in order to offer bargain basement prices. Set a benchmark by researching reasonable figures for other projects and organisations of your size. If a quote comes in significantly above this, ask your contractor for a breakdown of costs. There may be a good reason for the higher price, or you may want to shop around some more.
Large projects can take time. It is pointless to compromise on quality in order to meet an unrealistic deadline. A good contractor should be able to work to schedule, which means demonstrating an excellent understanding of project management, including the ability to communicate with architects, building contractors and other tradespeople at every level.
Scalability means being able to inject additional resources into a project to overcome bottlenecks, delays or unforeseen circumstances. These resources may come from a contractor’s own team of engineers, or from trusted third parties. Some contractors use a mixture of in-house and thirdparty resources. Establish the capacity of a contractor before you begin a project, and set out a contingency plan in advance for dealing with problematic scenarios that may cause delays.
On a corporate level, the contractor should demonstrate professionalism through participation in relevant schemes and organisations. There are dozens of such bodies, many specific to different industries. However, the following are good benchmarks:
The engineers used by a contractor should be adequately trained and have all the relevant certifications. When dealing with gas and electricity, engineers have to renew their certifications at regular intervals. Ask for proof of this. You also need peace of mind that the engineers can be trusted on your property, which is why good contractors carry out full CRB checks on their direct employees, and expect the same from subcontractors.
You choose a mechanical and electrical contractor because you don’t have the capacity or knowledge in-house. The contractor should therefore be responsive to your questions and be prepared to offer you support throughout the process. Look for a contractor with a UK helpline you can contact, plus a means of getting in touch with them in an emergency. They should also be responsive to emails for less urgent enquiries.
Mechanical and electrical services go hand-in-hand, so the best contractors normally offer both disciplines. Some give greater weight to one type of service or another, which you should be able to tell by looking at their professional accreditations and engineering training. Others strive to give equal weight to both mechanical and electrical services. Choose a contractor that fits in with your requirements.
All mechanical and electrical systems will need maintenance throughout their life-cycle. This isn’t an engineering defect; it is simply a recognition that components wear out and the unexpected happens. This doesn’t mean that faults should be viewed as the norm. In fact, a good maintenance and after sales care package will reduce the number of faults you experience by detecting and resolving issues early. Upgrades and refits can be scheduled and budgeted for in advance. You save money in the long term by taking this approach, and minimise the disruption of a major system malfunction.
So why choose Lowe & Oliver for your mechanical or electrical engineering project? It would be easy for us to say that we fulfil all the 10 criteria given in the previous section. Instead let’s close this webpage by briefly discussing our key areas of expertise and the advantages we offer our customers.
We are a family owned business first established nearly 100 years ago. We offer a comprehensive range of mechanical and electrical contracting services, including electrical and mechanical design, maintenance, testing, wiring, data cabling, lighting and renewable technology. Each project is unique and often includes multiple interlinked services, such as door access systems, electrical system testing, rewiring, air conditioning / heating design and eco-friendly lighting.
Our approach is based on close communication and coordination with the client, as well as architects, builders and other contractors.
Our team is highly trained and is equipped to work on complex projects, including large scale developments, refurbishments, new builds and renovations of historic buildings. We are proud to be part of several professional organisations, including BESA (Building Engineering Services Association), the Carbon Trust and Gas Safe. We are NIC EIC and ISO 9001 registered.
Among our customer endorsements we are very proud to include a Royal Warrant, awarded for our work on historic buildings and royal palaces. This allows us to use the epithet ‘By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen.’ We are one of only a few private companies in the UK to have been granted this honour.
We are honoured to work for a diverse client base across several sectors. Our key markets include:
- Heritage and historic buildings
- Unique residential properties – both privately owned and operated by conservation groups
- Universities, colleges and residential schools
- Private sports clubs and facilities
- Public sector organisations, including large libraries, schools and hospitals
Over the years we have built up a regular customer base who return to us time and again with different projects. A selection of customer testimonials can be found here. As we hope our customers will agree, the advantages of working with us include:
- An integrated approach to mechanical and electrical services, based on unique customer goals
- The capacity to work on large-scale, high budget projects and deliver on time
- Commitment to providing value for money in long-term customer relationships
- Fully compliant design
- Excellent project leadership
- A stable team of in-house engineers and trusted supply chain members
- Innovative approach to design that incorporates new technologies, environmentally friendly approaches and cost saving methodologies
- An unrelenting commitment to health and safety, with an excellent safety record
- A passion for our industry and a ‘can do’ attitude to all challenges
To discuss a project you can contact us by phone or email on the details given below:
Woodside Trade Centre,