Recent examples of innovation
Since the Scheme launched its five-point Code of Considerate Practice earlier this year, many have asked what is regarded as innovation in order to secure the top score of 10 on the Monitor visits.
Unfortunately there is no simple answer. Each site will have its own set of challenges to overcome and resolving these challenges often leads to original thinking and innovation. When visiting registered sites and companies, Monitors will take into consideration a number of factors before deciding if any of the activities they have witnessed could be regarded as innovative. The Scheme defines innovation as activities or initiatives that, if replicated, in one form or other on all sites in the UK, would give a real improvement to the overall performance or image of the industry.
The site, beyond being exceptional, has introduced innovative practices or thinking that goes far beyond the expectations of the Scheme and, as such, is considered to be advancing the standards by which the image of the industry is judged.
If a Monitor witnesses innovation, the site or 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 sites 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 sites and 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 site. Sites 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 sites respect the community, but if a site is located out of town, how does it engage with nearby communities? Using the same example, if a site 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.
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 sites with similar challenges. It is these activities which go above and beyond the expected which will receive the recognition.
The Scheme is pleased to share a number of activities witnessed by Monitors during their visits, which when considered alongside other sites and companies of similar size and value, were deemed innovative.