An Interview with Liam McGarry of McGarry Flooring Ltd


One of Worksmart’s main suppliers since the company began has been McGarry Flooring Ltd, who continually provide an excellent service on all our fit-out and refurbishment projects. Our marketing apprentice Kieran recently spoke to Liam McGarry, owner of McGarry Flooring Ltd, to discuss all aspects of his business.

KJ: Hi Liam, what can you tell me about the history of your company?

LM: The company was founded by my parents in 1983, when it was originally a small carpet and furniture shop which only operated locally. The business continually expanded in an organic manner until 1997, when we won a contract with the local council, which gave us a continuous stream of work that allowed for us to expand. We have managed to grow our staff from 4 people to 40 in a decade, as well as increasing our turnover from less than a million to over five million in that time, becoming a limited company in 2002.

KJ: Which services do you provide for companies like ourselves?

LM: We can provide almost any type of flooring that may be required, which is used by interior contractors like yourselves. We specialise in soft flooring, as well as providing hardwood flooring and raised access platform flooring. In addition to flooring, we also have a robust timber refurbishment and upholstery service, as well as wall detail options that have been used on projects such as Worksmart’s works at Glasgow Housing Association. Finally, we install both Amtico and Karndean flooring, which are high-spec materials ideal for multi-trade fit-outs.

KJ: How do you ensure that all your works are health and safety compliant?

LM: We have our own in-house Senior Contracts Manager, who has received several high-level Health and Safety qualifications over the years. We also work closely with a Glasgow-based Health and Sfety consultant, who regularly visit the sites we are working on to ensure all our operatives are working responsibly. We always stay on top of current legislation, from providing on-site staff with all relevant PPE to holding regular training.

KJ: Following on from the previous question, how do you also ensure the highest standards on your jobs?

LM: Myself and all my Contracts Managers come from a trade background, having all started on the tools. This gives us a wide knowledge of how great interior fit-out and refurbishment jobs should look, and can therefore identify any areas of improvement. We also ensure that all our staff are trained to the highest standards possible. This has resulted in all our jobs have low amounts of snagging, allowing McGarry Flooring to take on many more contracts.

KJ: What has been your favourite project you have worked on with Worksmart?

LM: My favourite project was the works you carried out at Charlotte Square in Edinburgh, which we provided all the soft flooring for. This was an enjoyable job due to the high level of specification the client specified. It was fantastic seeing the architects drawings manifest into a bright and colourful office space.

KJ: Finally, why do you enjoy working with Worksmart?

LM: With Worksmart working on several high profile fit-out and refurbishment projects across the UK, we have always enjoyed the varied nature of Worksmart’s jobs. We have always found that you operate in an organised and efficient manner, while ensuring all their sites are as safe as possible.




Scottish Construction’s Future


One of the big stories in Scottish Construction at the moment has been the long awaited opening of the Queensferry Crossing, the newest bridge over the Firth of Forth. With the limelight back on the world of construction in Scotland, I thought I would take a look at how the interior fit-out and refurbishment may change in the coming years.


Increase in Use of Robots

Throughout all sectors of industry at the moment, there seems to be a huge discussion about the implementation of robotic technology. While there has been wide spread scepticism around this technology, it can be used to further increase efficiency. One major development that could be used is 3D printing, which has seen significant improvements in the last few years such as the introduction of concrete printing. With the ability to create entire buildings, this can dramatically speed up the initial stages of our fit-out project, and therefore allow our projects to happen quicker. Additionally, there have been a huge increase in the availability of drones, which allow for unique views of sites. This can allow for our fit-out and refurbishment to be captured in unique ways, and create the best case studies possible.

Worksmart have already experimented with this technology on our fit-out works at Kingsway Court, where we used a demolition robot to allow for the downtakings of the original building. While this would normally have been a dangerous job for the Worksmart site team, the robot allowed for our site to maintain high standards for health and safety.


Renewable Energy Demands

With so much focus currently on climate change, the demand for renewable, clean energy has never been higher. With the Scottish Government continually working to improve the amount of clean energy, some companies we provide fit-out or refurbishment works for will ask for features such as solar panels on larger projects. Not only will this allow for our clients to receive a higher level of satisfaction on their interior project, it will also allow for Worksmart to gain a better reputation in the fit-out market. Our current environmental policy is available on our website.

BIM Modelling

One piece of technology that is starting to become more widely is BIM, or Building Information Modelling to give it its full name. This is a 3D modelling tool that allows for architects and designers to create full models of projects to show to clients. This is a fantastic revolution in the world of architecture, which can allow for clients to experience a walkthrough of their project before any works begins. This would therefore ensure client satisfaction on all our fit-out and refurbishment projects.

Possible Decrease in Workforce

While most of the future of Scottish construction appears positive, there could be one drawback. With Brexit on the horizon, the RICS reported that the UK Construction Sector could lose up to 200,000 EU workers if we are unable to stay in the single market. While this may seem like a huge problem for the future of construction, it can actually be an opportunity to develop the next generation. With only 10% of construction employees aged between 16-24 according to the FIS, this is a fantastic time for more interior fit-out and refurbishment companies to employ apprentices. Our own apprentices have brought significant benefits to Worksmart, from allowing us to take on larger projects to helping to develop good relationships with local colleges, schools and governing bodies. The FIS are helping to combat this with their iBuiltThis 2017, a new campaign designed to develop young people’s interest in the interiors sector.

In conclusion, there is a lot of exciting developments coming in the future for interior fit-out and refurbishment companies such as Worksmart. With technological developments happening rapidly, our sites will soon be even more innovative and hopefully allow for us to #makeitworksmart for all of our clients.

#iBuiltThis2017 #KieranJohnstone

The FIS – Improving the Interiors Sector


blankOne of our partners who we often engage with on social media is the FIS, or the Finishes and Interiors Sector to give them their full title. They are a leading body in the interiors sector, who host regular events and awards design to promote fit-outs and refurbishments to the wider public. Our marketing apprentice Kieran Johnstone sat down with Amanda Scott of the FIS to discuss their organisation.

KJ: Hi Amanda, how did you become interested in the world of interior fit-out?

AS: I have been part of several theatre trust over the years, and was always fascinated by the beautiful ornate plastering found in this kind of buildings. I found it to be a striking effect that few other facilities could ever show. This interest in the aesthetic design of interiors then lead onto the technical side of how this work is carried out. This mentality is one of the main driving forces behind the FIS, as we want to encourage more people to appreciate what helps create the beautiful spaces they see and hopefully want to be part of this creation.

KJ: For those who may be unaware, can you explain what the FIS is?

AS: The FIS are a leading organisation who represent several companies in the world of interior fit-out and refurbishment. We deal with all manner of project types, including work on glazed partitioning and manifestation, small refurbishments and large multi-trade fit outs. We will work to improve skills within this sector as well as provide advice and support to members of the FIS. Membership can be applied for by any company who works on interior projects. Another key part of our operations are our annual awards, which are held in both Scotland and England. This is designed to promote the key players within our industry, and give recognition to the stunning work they complete.

KJ: How do you feel women can become a larger part of the interiors sector?

AS: We are currently in the process of launching a new campaign called Women in Fit-Out, which is a campaign to encourage more women to enter the interior sector in a tradesperson role. This campaign should hopefully mean that there will be more women interested in working in the technical aspect of the fit-out process, as opposed to office based roles like it has been in years gone by. Women in Fit-Out will be launched in September, and more can be found out by visiting us on Twitter at @WomenInFit_Out.

KJ: Finally, what are some of your favourite interior projects Worksmart have completed?

AS: One of favourite projects of yours is the fit-out work at Scotland House you completed recently. In particular, I am a huge fan of the glazed partitioning that was installed throughout this project, as it gives a bold, modern look that complements the other aspects of this multi-trade interior fit-out. Another project I am fond of is your FIS Judges Award-refurbishment work at the Ayr Gaiety. With my background in theatre trusts, this significant refurbishment has created a beautiful end result, with stunning ornate plastering really helping to bring this once tired building back to its former glory.

In conclusion, the FIS is very important to us here at Worksmart. From the vast number of clients it attracts to our services to the vast amount of creditability it gives us in the construction sector. Worksmart hopes that the strong working relationship with the FIS and its members continues for a long time.

We are also now delighted to announce that our Managing Director, Steve Neilson, is one of the members of the FIS iBuiltThis 2017 Judging Panel. This is a new initiative designed to encourage the next generation to enter the world of interiors. With various categories aimed at different age groups, such as a Lego build contest for those aged 13 and under. This should help to continue to strengthen the interiors sector throughout the UK, and mean that fit-out and refurbishment companies will continue to grow.

#makeitworksmart #FitOutTop500 #worksafeworksmart #iBuiltThis2017

A Day with Worksmart’s Edinburgh Team


On Monday the 28th of August, our digital marketing apprentice Kieran spent the day with the Edinburgh office. He tells you about his day below.

My day started bright and early at 6:30, when I arrived at the train station in Kilmarnock for my train. After waiting for 20 minutes, my first train arrived to take me to Glasgow Central. Following a short walk to our Alva Street office, I met up with Keir Anderson, our commercial manager, and Gary McGurk, Worksmart’s regional manager for Edinburgh. Both have worked on several fit-out and refurbishment projects, including our works for The Scottish Government, People’s Postcode Lottery and Napier University, which shows their wide knowledge of the interiors sector.


We began the day with a discussion about several of our upcoming projects in Edinburgh and beyond, working with several high-profile clients in all sectors of industry. We figured out the best way to market these projects, including various social media campaigns and more traditional methods such as case studies. We have also discussed how to continue to grow on the #FitOutTop500, which shows the most successful companies in the interiors sector on Twitter. This is a fantastic initiative started by the FIS, and we hope to see continued support for all members on this list.

Following our discussion, myself and Gary then visited our ongoing works at a nursery for The Scottish Government. This is a project that we have worked on in conjunction with Mitie, which involves a full refurbishment of their facilities, including bright and colourful spray paint work on the ceilings. We met up with the Site Manager, James McPate, who ensures that all work on site runs smoothly.  With the job due to handover soon, we can’t wait to see the works that the Worksmart team have completed on this refurbishment.

After this, I went back to the Edinburgh office, which allowed me to write most of this blog. After saying my goodbyes to the Edinburgh team, I then had a short walk to Haymarket Train Station before leaving Edinburgh. On the journey back, I finished this blog before heading home after a productive and enjoyable day.

Having an office in Edinburgh brings many benefits to Worksmart as a company. Firstly, it allows us to have a space within Scotland’s capital for our team to work from, with easy access from all major cities throughout the UK. This therefore helps us to give an increase in prestige in the interior fit-out and refurbishment sector. Also, it can allow us to employ a larger team, due to the increased office space available to work from. This means that we can take on even more large-scale projects, and therefore increase our reputation in the interiors sector.

Worksmart are working on several fit-out and refurbishment projects all across Edinburgh in many different sectors of industry. We have secured 2 projects at Edinburgh Napier University, working in both the Orwell Terrance and the Craiglockhart Campus, showing our continued success in the Education sector. In addition, we have secured the work at a nursery for the Scottish Government as already discussed. Finally, we are working on a number of glazed partitioning installations, for clients of all sizes and sectors.

#makeitworksmart #KieranJohnstone