Award-winning landscape projects, greening the grey, and the ongoing skills shortage with Maylim

In this bumper episode, BALI Grand Award winners, Maylim managing director and owner Thomas O'Mahony, and business development director Alistair Bayford reflect on the accomplishment and the project that won them the top honours.

O'Mahony puts the win down to the complex logistics of the Exchange Square project, which sits on a podium above Liverpool Street Station. He and Bayford explore these elements which would see the slightest movement from the slabs above halt the trains below. These complex engineering projects are Maylim’s bread and butter, though, as Bayford explains: “here you see everyone running away, we run towards. It’s in our DNA.”

O'Mahony talks about Triton Square one of the projects on Maylim’s books which might be seen at future BALI Awards, which is adding upping the 'green' in a 'grey' landscape:

“20 years ago public realm was more hard landscaping, and more grey.” Bayford adds: “Now it's a complex mix of seating spaces within soft areas. Primarily designed to get people to stay, and to eat, and to gather. All public realm is starting to go that way. There are benefits everywhere.”

Though there is worry that biodiversity net gain will become a tick boxing exercise, O'Mahony says Maylim’s clients don’t have that mindset. Bayford also hopes that it will be a catalyst for long term commitments in green infrastructure. 

Celebrating 20 years of success last year, O'Mahony also touches on Maylim's values: “From the outset of what I dreamed the company to be, it's a brand that looks good, feels good, delivers good quality work and our saying is ‘We never leave a bad job behind’.” He adds: “We never set ourselves to grow to a certain turnover [...] we just love what we do.”

The focus for the next 20 years, Bayford explains, will be the environment and Maylim’s carbon reduction journey as well as addressing the diversity conundrum and the skills shortage.

Addressing the recruitment challenge, O'Mahony says looking after the existing staff is key, so “hopefully then the murmur goes round that ‘these people look after you’.”

O'Mahony and Bayford also introduce new venture, Maylim Landscapes, which will specialise in the soft landscaping side of the business. 

“The last 12 months have been as challenging as I’ve seen,” O'Mahony tells us, as he explores the difficulties around material shortages and price increases. Now, he explains they go in with an open mind at a tender stage, with some prices they can fix and some they know they can’t. Bayford says he feels they have “flushed out the worst of that inflationary risk.” 

Presenter: HortWeek senior reporter Rachael Forsyth
Producer: HortWeek's Julian Dodd

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