Mace appoints retrofit boss from Aecom to tackle climate goals

Mace has appointed a new lead for its retrofit business in a step towards its vision for sustainability.

Rachel O’Donnell (pictured) has been named as Mace Consult’s retrofit director, who will work with the business sector and practice groups. O’Donnell formerly worked with Aecom as business unit director for ground, energy, and transaction divisions, which makes up a significant portion of the environment business in the UK. She has 17 years of experience working in environment and related sectors, including nuclear decommissioning and industrial waste management.

The consultancy arm of the tier one contractor said in a statement that O’Donnell’s appointment came in the context of its larger strategy to address the climate emergency as well as the building safety crisis. The firm is also reshaping its retrofit offerings in line with the Building Safety Bill 2021, since retrofits are more energy-efficient upgrades.

In the past, Mace has worked to refurbish redundant space at the SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London, as well as repurposed a warehouse during the pandemic to create a laboratory. It has also been working with Devon County Council and Hampshire County Council on energy efficiency improvements.

Mace managing director for property, UK and Europe, David Easthope said that all industries and businesses needed to “reimagine their estates to make them fit for the future”.

O’Donnell said: “As a purpose-led organisation challenging itself and its clients to reduce carbon across built assets and create safer places for local communities, Mace is a rare example of a business able to have a real and significant impact on the built environment. I look forward to working across Mace Consult to deliver lasting change for our clients.”

Similar appointments towards stronger sustainable strategies have been seen across the construction industry over the past year. Earlier this week, housebuilder MJ Gleeson appointed its first group sustainability manager Matthew Gibb, who was brought in from KeolisAmey Metrolink, a partnership which operates and maintains the Greater Manchester tram system, and has previously worked for the materials firm Marshalls.

Last month, Balfour Beatty brought in an ex-Kier environment lead Jo Gilroy as its UK director for sustainability. In November 2021, Wates appointed Bekir Andrews, a former Balfour associate director, into a brand new role of environmental sustainability director.

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