McDonald Scaffolding (Services) Ltd

Building up

Essentially a one-man business at its conception, McDonald Scaffolding (Services) Ltd was founded in 1975 by current chairman Michael McDonald and his father.

Although still a family business at heart, the company has continued to grow since this time and has now amassed a workforce of around 120 employees, with an annual turnover of about £10 million.

Located close to Invergordon in the north of Scotland, as its name suggests McDonald Scaffolding deals in all types of scaffolding from civil and domestic to oil rig set-ups. Describing how the business entered into the oil and gas market, Michael says: “Our first involvement in the industry came in the early 1980s with the arrival of offshore vessels and rigs coming into Invergordon. As such, we began carrying out scaffolding work for inspections, and then subsequently were asked to continue on out into the North Sea for maintenance works. Today we work only on floating platforms, but long-term we see the business approaching the stage where we can now potentially look towards tackling fixed platform projects as well.”

These oil and gas works are executed through McDonald Scaffolding’s specialist oil-related division, OILSCAFF, following the undertaking of its first major project on a drilling rig at Invergordon. The company prides itself on its depth and breadth of experience, having worked within the industry for over 35 years, and its expertly trained personnel with health and safety at the forefront of thinking throughout. McDonald Scaffolding is also well positioned just a mile and a half away from the service base at Invergordon, where rigs dock for inspection and maintenance.

“The first item that goes onto the rig once it ties up is the scaffolding for access, and we have a huge stock of public access scaffolding which we use for this purpose. Public access scaffolding is essentially a completely enclosed staircase, which is also four times stronger than a standard product, and we are one of the only companies in Scotland that has them for hire,” elaborates Michael.

McDonald Scaffolding’s other core strength is rooted in its fleet of vehicles and fast response to emergency situations. Having tried hiring transport in the past, the company chose to invest in its own fleet, which currently numbers around 43 vehicles including 28 vans, staff cars, and seven commercial vehicles. “Everything has to be containerised to go offshore, so therefore we keep the containers sitting in our yard at all times, and this means that when we get a call within four hours we can have materials sitting at the quayside ready for the boats. All of our vehicles have tracking installed so that we can monitor exactly where they are at all times. This emergency type work is quite a niche market, and the speed of our response means we gain a lot of work from breakdowns for example. As well as quick delivery of our scaffold materials, we can also upscale our manpower as necessary, which means we are geared towards all sorts of emergency scenarios,” highlights Michael.

Having made its name in the North Sea market, McDonald Scaffolding has since branched out across the globe, with particular success in Africa. “This is going to be the biggest market in the world,” enthuses Michael. “It’s just the start of things in the market, with work to establish local yards for repairs and maintenance to the rigs. In the past we used to provide scaffolders as well as supervision, but in the last four years or so there has been a shift towards local companies working under our expert supervision on contracts. Clients are keen to see the same standard of materials as they are used to, so also we regularly ship equipment over from our site for use on projects, and then fly personnel in when the rig docks.”

Closer to home, McDonald Scaffolding’s relationship with Global Energy has proven to be beneficial, particularly following Global Energy’s purchase on the Nigg Yard at Cromarty Firth. The company was involved in the revamp of Transocean’s Galaxy 1 rig when it entered into the yard, and is also scheduled to begin work on another project in September. With a huge number of clients looking to utilise the Nigg Yard in the future, McDonald Scaffolding remains comfortably positioned.

“The market here is going to grow in leaps and bounds in the next two to three years, and we intend to emulate it,” concludes Michael. “The company has been growing five to ten per cent each year, but I am hopeful that this may increase to up to 30 per cent for the next few years. The oil and gas industry is very buoyant and we have a very solid client base, which we expect to also grow in turn. Over the next five years I am setting my sights on moving towards the fixed platform opportunities in the market, and the long-term maintenance contracts these give rise to.”

McDonald Scaffolding (Services) Ltd
Services: Scaffolding