Being a Client Partner helps Great Places Housing Group to “safeguard” and “maintain” its high standards on site

Being a Client Partner is a visible sign that Great Places are committed to improving the image of the construction industry by encouraging compliance with all aspects of the Scheme’s Code on all of our sites.  

Clerk of Works, Kuda Shumba 

Great Places Housing Group is one of the largest developing housing associations in the north of England with an extensive portfolio of over 19,000 homes.

With its head office based in Manchester, Great Places Housing Group serves a large and diverse population, working in some of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Although Great Places has been registering its projects with the Considerate Constructors Scheme since February 2010, it took its partnership a step further in September 2015 by becoming a Client Partner.

Outlining the benefits this has brought to Great Places Housing Group, Kuda said: “At Great Places we have always taken pride in the high principles we set in terms of health and safety, sustainability and in dealing with enquiries from neighbours and the general public in an open and transparent manner.

“It is for this reason that we have embraced the Considerate Constructors Scheme so that we can safeguard these high standards and maintain them across all of our projects.”

Kuda outlines some more of the reasons Great Places became a Client Partner with the Scheme and ensures all of its projects are registered:

  • The Scheme delivers an independent verification of our contractors’ performance in managing their sites.
  • The Scheme is nationally recognised, recommended by local authorities, the Government, main contractors and major industry clients.
  • The Considerate Constructors Scheme branding and recognition is important to Great Places in demonstrating our commitment to excellence in construction and promoting industry best practice.
  • The Scheme is viewed positively by planning authorities and funding agencies and demonstrates a commitment to community engagement and minimising the impact of construction projects on the environment and community.
  • There is an opportunity to win National Awards and gain recognition for the excellence of our contractors.

Enjoying considerable success with the Scheme, Great Places has scooped five National Site Awards for its projects, most recently a Bronze Award in 2017 for its Thorpe Street project in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Industry Image asked Kuda some more questions about Great Places’ experience with the Scheme:

How would you describe the key benefits of your contractors registering with the Scheme?

Contractors have a clearer understanding of the environmental impacts on their schemes through waste management reports, managing waste on site and effective waste disposal methods. Each site will have a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) which is recorded and produced monthly for site analysis. This is reported to the client during site meetings.

These reports are very important to the client to monitor how waste is being minimised and recycled. The SWMP report analysis will also include each waste element that is being disposed of from site (soil spoils, timber, paper, concrete and bricks, metals etc.). This will give a clear indication of how the contractor is using each construction resource onsite.

Our contractors will have a clear understanding of the need to work to the Code of Considerate Practice, which is designed to encourage best practice beyond statutory requirements. Our contractors who are registered with the Scheme will also gain an understanding of how to improve their working relationships with the general public. Their workforce will always be trained to adhere to good working procedures on site.

Registering with the Scheme assists us in benchmarking contractor performance across our sites. Our building contracts stipulate a minimum target score our framework contractors are required to achieve, and this is incorporated into our contractor KPI monitoring and scoring.

It also provides us with the ability to win National Awards and to achieve recognition for our schemes’ and contractors’ performance.

How does this assist you in providing evidence for your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, or other company objectives?

Great Places is a responsible employer and client, so the use of the CCS assists us in ensuring our contractors work to high standards on our construction sites. Having an active presence and involvement in the communities we develop, the CCS ensures that our contractors engage and communicate with the local community throughout any given project.

Environmental sustainability is one of Great Places corporate objectives and the CCS ensures that measures to protect the environment and reduce the carbon footprint of our contractors remain a key focus.

Health and safety is another key corporate priority and the CCS ensures that our contractors demonstrate active steps to ensure the safety of everyone on site, including their supply chain, to embed a culture of excellent health and safety on site.

Congratulations on receiving five CCS National Site Awards – to what do you attribute your success?

Our careful consideration and planning of each element at inception stage and the commitment, contribution and hard work of our entire workforce, including principal contractors, subcontractors and suppliers have contributed significantly to our achievements and success. Our sites are planned and set up with Considerate Construction Scheme criteria in mind from inception. At a very early stage the organisation has Tenancy Liaison Officers (TLOs) who support the contractors, visit the neighbourhood and establish relationships with local residents.

We also encourage and work with our site managers through regular site visits from our experienced Clerk of Works team to help them understand how we value health and safety on site. Additionally, our Employer’s Requirements document, which our contractors must agree to abide by, includes the Code of Considerate Practice. This is designed to encourage best practice beyond statutory requirements. We encourage our contractors to work with the Considerate Constructors Scheme ethos, understand and exceed the requirements from the inception of the project, and support innovation to achieve ‘excellent’ scores or above.

Great Places will be able to set a standard for all of our works and support our contractors and suppliers in working towards that standard themselves. We also benefit from the strong reputation that comes with being involved with the Scheme.

Being a Client Partner will ensure that all of our projects attain the same high standards and the benefits of recognition that it brings to our contractors and suppliers.

Being a Client Partner benefits us through collaboration with the Scheme to deliver real time and appropriate feedback on the challenges faced within the industry, so that we can influence and action constructive improvements for our present and future projects. We also have access to the resources found on the Client Partnership online portal.

How do you think the Scheme helps clients to work with contractors to improve the image of construction?

The Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice guidelines are a benchmark for the client and can be used as a monitoring tool for each registered scheme. Regular site inspections and providing a score against each element act as good feedback and give the client valuable information about where a contractor is performing well, as well as areas for potential improvement. This can be tracked over time and over multiple projects undertaken by one of our framework contractors to help demonstrate and drive continual improvement.

The Scheme works in consultation with contractors to help them establish safety systems on site, such as effective emergency procedures and clear site access.

Through the monitoring of registered sites, and the displaying of posters around the construction site, if the general public wish to comment, the name and telephone number of the site manager or company contact is clearly displayed, alongside the Scheme’s helpline. This encourages open dialogue and early resolution of any concerns that neighbours may have during a development.

What are your corporate aspirations for the future in association with the Scheme?

Great Places would aspire to continue to be a Client Partner and continue to support the Scheme in improving the image of construction, encouraging the industry to innovate and strive for improvements to the benefit of Great Places and others as construction industry clients.