Guide to Sourcing an M&E Contractor for a New Restaurant Build

Estimated reading time 6 minutes

Knowledge is key when starting out as a new restaurant brand or increasing your property portfolio. When it comes to the construction and fit out of your new restaurant, you need to know the basics of sourcing a suitable M&E Contractor. That's why we have put together this  guide for up and coming, as well as established hospitality brands.

M&E contracting advice for up-and-coming hospitality brands

Synecore has supported the property development of leisure and hospitality brands across the UK for over ten years. We have aided the roll out programmes for established hospitality brands, as well as start-ups.

With such a fundamental insight in to the roll out schedule for all scale of hospitality and leisure brands, we would like to offer some helpful advice a to new and expanding businesses within the sector, who are seeking a suitable M&E contractor for their latest project.

How to start your restaurant build

Ultimately, as soon as you acquire your premises, your priority is to open and begin trading. Therefore, you need contractors that understand the nature of your business.

In the early days restaurant operators often adopt a self-build approach to their new restaurant development. Others on the other hand may recruit a building contractor, shop fitter or interior refurbishment company. Whether you are managing the work yourself or via a third party, taking an interest in your mechanical and electrical services should be a priority.

Why is the M&E contractor so important?

A new restaurant operator needs contractors they can trust, but unfortunately, there are those that let the building services industry down with shoddy workmanship and poor communication. This kind of treatment will slow down progress on site and, unfortunately leave you out of pocket.

Ideally, the M&E contractor you choose should be experienced in the hospitality sector and provide a dedicated project manager, who attends all site meetings and oversees the progress on site. This project manager will understand the procedures, planning, restrictions and processes of a restaurant development.

What should you be looking for in an M&E contractor?

When looking for a suitable M&E contractor for a restaurant build, here are some useful questions you should consider:

  • What is their experience working with the hospitality and leisure sector?
  • What accreditations do they hold? Chas, Refcom and NICEIE, NAS, Safe Contractor, Health and Safety accreditations and appropriate insurances are basic requirements when seeking an M&E contractor
  • Are they an approved installer for leading mechanical brands, such as Mitsubishi Electric, Toshiba Air Conditioning or Daikin?
  • Can they offer an all-encompassing mechanical, electrical and plumbing service? Using a full MEP service could save you time and money. More on this later
  • Do they offer a dedicated Project Manager?
  • Realistically, how quickly can they turn around the project? For a small fit out, it should take around 4-6 weeks.
  • How long have they worked with their clients? For example, a sign of a good M&E contractor is they have become a preferred supplier for a restaurant chain or completed several projects for one client
  • Make sure you request genuine testimonials or contact details for existing clients, so that you can get in in touch direct

Knowledge of the hospitality sector is key

An experienced M&E contractor with suitable knowledge of the hospitality and leisure industry will factor in all the requirement for an efficient working restaurant. Your mechanical design and installation must have a comprehensive heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for a commercial kitchen and public areas.

The electrical design and installation is equally important. We’re not just talking about lighting here. Ensuring the right power supply for commercial kitchen equipment, including refrigeration and cold rooms is essential. While emergency lighting, data, fire alarm systems and security is a necessity for any restaurant.

Achieving a practical mechanical and electrical design for your restaurant

Using a full-service Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing engineering company can not only save you time and money, but the installation will prove more efficient.

At Synecore, our designers and engineers work closely together to carefully design the pipework, tray work and cabling, so that the result is a clean and efficient installation.

Our onsite engineers understand one-another’s needs and are overseen by a dedicate Project Manager. This combination leads to a harmonious design and installation for your restaurant build.

Restaurant lighting

There is no doubt that lighting plays a vital role in the design of a contemporary restaurant. From LED strip lights, to spots and enormous pendants, there are a multitude of lighting options to choose from.

While it is up to you and your interior designer to choose lighting that matches your desired look, your M&E contractor must be able to advise on the electrical layout and power supply prior to work commencing on site.

Restaurant HVAC

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning are important factors in designing a restaurant. The ventilation needs to remove cooking and unpleasant smells effectively and pump fresh air into the room.

The temperature within the restaurant must be comfortable for the customer, yet the kitchen staff should be comfortable too. A good HVAC contractor will advise on an air conditioning system for your busy restaurant that offers suitable heating and cooling solutions all year round.

The M&E process

First, you will need to acquire a comprehensive mechanical, electrical, plumbing and drainage design to pass planning permissions and seek Landlord consent. Once the work has been agreed, construction can commence.

The mechanical and electrical installation has a significant impact on the progress of other trades on site. M&E engineers are responsible for making the site safe and striping out the existing electrical and mechanical equipment. Therefore, the on site operatives need to be systematic and thorough. A familiar team of mechanical and electrical engineers are more likely to complete the job in the time available.

Once any structural changes have been made, the M&E first fix should happen promptly. Once the installation is complete, the engineers will finalise the second fix and commissioning.

Upon completion a Project Manager should carry out a thorough handover to ensure the customer is fully satisfied.

M&E Aftercare

Customer relations should be at the top of your agenda when looking for an M&E contractor. Look out for whether they offer an aftercare service, particularly for the mechanical equipment.

Synecore’s Planned Preventative Maintenance Scheme includes maintenance visits from a qualified engineer to provide a full service of the HVAC system and this also validates a seven-year warranty on all equipment installed by Synecore. You can read more about this here.

Restaurant M&E contractor

If you are looking for a reliable M&E contractor for your restaurant build, we can offer support and advice. We have facilitated restaurant national roll-out programmes for a very long time, including air side developments. So, if you are a restaurant business looking to expand, take advantage of our knowledge and expertise within the hospitality sector by contacting our team on 0845 241 4953.

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