The Scheme defines innovation as activities or initiatives that, if replicated, in one form or other on all projects in the UK, would give a real improvement to the overall performance or image of the industry.
The Scheme’s score descriptor for innovations reads:
|Descriptor||Explanation of score descriptor||Score|
|Innovation||Beyond being exceptional, innovative practices or thinking that goes far beyond the expectations of the Scheme are evident and, as such, the standard by which the image of the industry is judged is being advanced. 10 points can only be awarded in a section where an ‘exceptional’ standard as defined above has been demonstrated and something truly innovative, as witnessed by the Monitor, has also been implemented or undertaken. This score will only be awarded where an initiative or activity has been seen which demonstrates original thinking in line with the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice.||10|
If a Monitor witnesses innovation, the company can achieve a score of 10, as long as all other areas within that section of the Code are of an exceptional standard (achieving a score of 9). An innovative activity will count only once towards a 10 score, unless it is further developed and enhanced, and this improvement is evident to the Monitor at a subsequent site visit.
Innovative activities are not necessarily unique and Monitors will use their own discretion about how many times they should reward companies for carrying out similar activities to those witnessed previously. Time scale would play a part in this as innovative activity could sensibly be highlighted on one company’s sites for a period of time but after that would then be considered as more commonplace, and thus no longer innovative.
Another key consideration which Monitors will take into account when assessing if an activity is innovative is the scale of the contractor and project. Small to medium sized contractors are less likely to have access to the same resources as larger contractors and projects, and thus will be unable to implement initiatives of the same scale. Monitors therefore take into account the activities and original thinking registered companies implement with the resources which are available to them. For example, an innovative activity recorded on a small-scale project could be commonplace on large, multi-million pound developments.
Also taken into account is the type of construction activity, its location and the context of the project. Projects which are situated in rural areas often face different challenges and constraints to those in urban locations. One of the main areas of focus for the Scheme is how companies respect the community, but if a project is located out of town, how does it engage with nearby communities? Using the same example, if a project is located within a city it will be surrounded by a community but perhaps this causes issues with logistics – a problem the rural site may not have.
Each project will have its own set of challenges to overcome and resolving these challenges often leads to original thinking and innovation. Monitors will consider the whole site, its size, where it is located, the circumstances surrounding the project and how the initiatives that site has put in place to improve the image of construction compares to other companies’ projects with similar challenges. It is these activities which go above and beyond the expected which will receive the recognition.