A company specialising in external building inspections has grown by more than 500% in less than two years thanks to unprecedented demand for professional expertise in the sector. With thousands of buildings requiring examination, either due to cladding issues or revamped fire regulations, MAF Associates has expanded from two employees to 15 in just 18 months.
MAF was launched by Managing Director Mike Fox in 2015, initially focusing on the provision of expert witness services for insurers and construction companies. As one of the few fully qualified cladding experts in the country, demand for Mike’s services grew rapidly after the tragic events of Grenfell in 2017, and he has subsequently grown the business to meet this demand.
Mike explained: ‘There was always a need for external building inspections, but the work tended to be spread out over many years. Following Grenfell, every relevant building in the UK with cladding and anything over 18m has had to be inspected. We’re not talking about a simple building survey either. It’s a full analysis of the construction, materials, design and function of the building, undertaken by fully qualified facade engineers and risk assessors.
‘The industry has been in an unusual position following the events of 2017 and I think many colleagues were stunned by the scale of what happened, but the priority now has to be to learn the lessons and make sure it can never happen again. I could easily have remained as a one-man band, but the demand was clear and, by expanding MAF Associates, I’ve been able to create a one-stop shop for all services relating to the inspection and examination of affected buildings. We’re also bringing in graduate trainees to ensure we can build and maintain the skills base for future generations.’
With building owners, property management companies and insurers rushing to remove illegal cladding, meet updated fire-system standards and install new BS8629-compliant evacuation support systems, the MAF team have never been busier. The company has grown turnover to over £2 million within two years, investing tens of thousands of pounds in the latest kit to ensure it can deliver full and detailed reports as quickly and efficiently as possible.
In addition to the employment of three dedicated Chartered Fire Engineers, plus additional risk assessors and associated support staff, Mike is committed to ensuring continuous professional development for everyone in the team. MAF is working with organisations such as the FPA to enrol its employees on all relevant training courses to ensure they keep abreast of rapidly changing standards and regulations, as well as maintaining its BAFE Registration and ISO9000 quality certification.
Mike added: ‘I think trust in the people who specify and manage buildings, especially high-rise residential blocks and those with defective cladding, has been dented over the past few years. By ensuring that we offer the highest levels of knowledge and expertise, combined with excellent customer service and support, MAF can play a role in rebuilding the industry’s reputation, as well as ensuring that buildings are 100% safe and fit for purpose moving forward.’
MAF was founded in 2015 by Mike Fox, building on three decades of experience in the construction sector, including posts with roofing, cladding and building products companies. Since 2015, he has built MAF into one of the UK’s leading building inspection and investigation businesses, providing detailed reporting and analysis for insurers, building management and construction companies. The company’s clients include many household names, including Persimmon, and the aim of the MAF team is to build trusted, long-lasting partnership with all clients.
For more information: www.michaelafoxassociates.co.uk