Both sides of the ocean

Employees of Ocean housing Group with the CCS poster

February 2007

Based in Cornwall, the Ocean Housing Group owns and manages over 2600 general needs and 700 sheltered homes for affordable rent, and also provides maintenance, new build and management services both for its own stock and for clients. While Ocean Housing and Ocean Plus oversee residential management, the maintenance and construction services are delivered by the Group’s commercial subsidiary, Ocean Services (SW) Ltd and by subcontractors as required. This puts the Group overall in the somewhat unique position of being both client and contractor, and therefore able to evaluate Scheme membership from both perspectives. 

Ocean Services MD Phil Smith explains; “Quality of delivery and accountability are themes that run through each company within the Group. Our involvement with the Considerate Constructors Scheme initially came through our adherence to the Construction Clients Charter, which we feel reflects our own standards and aspirations. The same proved to be true of the Scheme’s required practices and objectives, particularly in relation to communication with tenants for which we are recognised as achieving extremely high standards with strong tenant satisfaction scores”

Ocean new build and refurbishment sites are monitored by the Scheme in the usual way, and indeed Ocean Services has already won a bronze award for its performance. However, Scheme values are actively pursued at a number of levels internally and its criteria are expected of all contractors the group employs for their various projects throughout Cornwall.

Phil Smith continues: “We find the Scheme an excellent way to benchmark site activity and encourage the continuous improvement to which we are committed. The nature of our core work means that consideration for sitting tenants and their environment is essential, and the Scheme acts as a valuable tool in driving standards forward”.

The Group also believes that better industry standards in general encourage higher levels of talent to enter the industry. “Although not true of Ocean Services staff, construction workers rarely enjoy the permanency, paid holidays and other benefits enjoyed by some competing industries and so we must ensure that they are compensated by excellent management standards and good working conditions at the very least. This is another area covered by the CCS and one which the Ocean Group firmly supports”