Encouragingly, demand in the Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) sector is at an all time high.
Despite the obvious challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to exert pressures around the globe, there are key areas that require MEP specialists to ensure projects reach completion.
The delivery of many major projects are supported with huge investment and interest - in both Sydney and interstate. So if you’re looking for opportunities for career and business growth in the MEP sector, now is the perfect time to jump onboard.
Key sectors that are high in demand
As an MEP subcontractor, opportunities can be found in the following areas:
- New hospital projects: Over the past 18 months, the industry turned to MEP design as Australia was forced to adjust to life in a pandemic. For example, COVID-19 has forced the MEP industry to look closely at how air is conditioned, supplied and extracted in spaces to ensure health and safety.
There is a particular focus on HVAC systems to help protect against COVID-19 transmission. Many clients are working within existing systems in their facilities due to financial constraints. Others are dealing with aged HVAC equipment with insufficient capacity since they were designed and installed before the recent code regulations.
- Overstation developments: Major MEP packages were supported with the ongoing Sydney Metro project. We witnessed the understation and overstation development works of this project delivering and continuing to deliver many opportunities to the MEP sector.
- Infrastructure projects: Large tunnel projects, such as the WestConnex, require huge fit outs and have created a multitude of opportunities for the MEP division. This includes the design, planning, setup, functioning, and maintenance side of things.
- Defense projects: Projects, such as the Greenvale Training Facility, awarded CPB Contractors the much-anticipated contract to deliver the first phase of works in November 2020. Design work commenced in early 2021 and construction will commence in mid-2022 - with a scheduled completion date of late 2027.
- Data centres: We continue to see a strong investment in MEP packages with a surge in data storage demand transforming the design of data centres. With the emergence of digital engineering and the widespread use of Building Information Modelling (BIM), modular design and prefabricated construction is becoming more prevalent.
Other MEP opportunities
The sectors highlighted above tend to be very specialist project types, with the MEP packages proportionately a lot higher compared to traditional, high rise residential projects.
The good news is, larger MEP subcontractors are gravitating towards the larger packages, which opens up opportunities for the nimble and smaller MEP contractors. If you fit under this umbrella, here’s your chance to grow and develop market share by taking on projects usually dominated by bigger organisations.
Furthermore, at CGC Recruitment we’ve noticed a trend of clients creating new internal divisions. This ultimately produces diversification in the workplace to ensure all project requirements across construction and design can be fulfilled.
Lastly, there are exciting opportunities with overseas talent pools once borders reopen. There are several visa pathways for migrating to Australia, including Permanent Residency options and working holiday visas via the FTA with the UK. Unlike the construction sector, which prefers to access local labour, overseas skills in the MEP subcontractor sector are highly preferred and regarded.
Ongoing challenges in the MEP sector
Labour shortages in the skilled MEP sectors are not a new issue. With the rise of more complex MEP systems for projects and challenges generated by the pandemic, the demand for skilled MEP employees has increased even further - particularly for data centres, infrastructure, and hospitals.
There are major skill shortages in the following areas:
- project managers
- technical engineering
- BIM/Revit drafters and modellers
- electrical trades
- service managers
Unfortunately, Government incentives to bring on apprentices to train them up for these large projects are fruitless. There simply aren’t enough experienced employees to support, share knowledge, or develop capability in-house due to lack of resources and time.
The MEP sector remains optimistic due to extensive work opportunities and possibilities for subcontractors to deliver major projects. There is also good news for SMEs to gain market share and access to future overseas talent pools - once borders reopen.
Challenges such as skill and knowledge shortages have been identified, particularly in healthcare and data centres due to their highly specialised nature. Building skills and capability in house without external resources can be difficult, however this can be mitigated by overseas migration.
Overall, there are strong opportunities available for those working and hiring in the MEP industry. You just need to know where to look.
About CGC Recruitment
The MEP division of CGC Recruitment consists of a team of specialist and experienced consultants who service our clients’ and candidates’ needs. We have long established networks in our specialist sectors, backed by many years of domain knowledge.
Our enhanced understanding of the opportunities and challenges means that we can provide you with valuable recruitment insights to support you.
If you have an active role you’d like to discuss or just want to talk to a specialist consultant, please contact us. Alternatively, you can complete our online client form and a member of our team will contact you.