Integral Group and Umow Lai leaders

Integral Group, the engineering firm that positions itself as “deep green engineering,” has catapulted to the national stage by merging with Umow Lai, one of the most respected groups in the business.

Integral Group’s regional director for Asia Pacific Andrew Mather, said the merger takes his company’s regional operations from 30 to 200 with Umow Lai’s offices in Brisbane and Melbourne adding geographical scale to the group and the two Sydney offices set to merge.

Next on the agenda, he says, will be a presence in Adelaide and New Zealand.

Meanwhile the global company is now at 800 and intent on consolidating its global reputation with a priority focus on sustainability.  

Umow Lai dates back to 1991 in Melbourne where it was founded by George Umow and Dominic Lai and set about consolidating a strong reputation as an innovative and well regarded provider in the building services engineering, fire engineering, ICT and sustainability areas.

A statement from the two companies cited a mutual commitment to protecting the environment as a motivation for the merger, along with “growing client demand for deep green engineering and thought leadership, and most importantly; close alignment of values and culture.”

Globally the Integral Group says its mission is to lead transition to “buildings and districts that are truly regenerative, healthy and resilient.” It says it has more than 100 net zero energy projects under its belt.

Discussions with Umow Lai were initiated by Integral Group chief executive Kevin Hydes.

“There is an urgency to the work that our firms have both been leading. It was clear from our first meeting that we can go further and faster by working together,” he said.

Andrew Mather told The Fifth Estate the most attractive side of the merger was the “alignment between the two businesses.”

“We were looking for another business that had passion for sustainability, and sustainability as core to its vision and services.”

Umow Lai was behind some of the most sustainably important iconic buildings in Australia, he said, such as the Pixel building in Melbourne which at the time was the highest rated LEED (US sustainable building rating system) building in the world. Ironically the announcement succeeded in knocking off Integral from that same global pedestal – after just 24 hours.

Another element appreciated by Mather was Umow Lai’s focus on a culture of caring for its people, he said.

Integral is currently focused on master planning work for two precinct scale projects in Sydney, an area in which it hopes to continue to specialise.

The business will continue on its growth trajectory, Mather said.

“We won’t chase numbers. We will grow strategically where we can provide additional geographic presence.”

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