Sheene Contract Solutions on board for luxury cruise ship’s makeover

Spending the working day refurbishing a liner docked in picturesque Cadiz, southwestern Spain might sound like a dream job to many people.

However, while it was an exciting opportunity, this short project was no holiday for the dedicated fitters, welders, carpenters electricians and a director from Sheene Contract Solutions (SCS).

The highly experienced company – which usually works for some of the UK’s best known retailers – fitted counters, hot plates and refrigeration units to the luxurious dining areas of TUI’s adults-only flagship cruise liner, Explorer 2. It was one of 1520 contractors, partners and Marella partners bringing the ship to life over eight weeks, working to the tightest of schedules.

While the team is used to adapting to different working environments, working in Spain presented some new challenges. For example, to reduce transport emissions and the environmental impact, all SCS equipment was shipped alongside that of other contractors. Not all of it arrived as planned, however, so the team sourced any missing tools or materials from Cadiz-based suppliers. They also used local amenities during their time abroad, including accommodation, transport and restaurants.

Being registered with the Scheme highlighted to the team the importance of working in a considerate way. They maintained standards in line with the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice while, at the team’s request, a food station was relocated away from their work area on the grounds of safety and hygiene.

Each day on this multi-team site began with a discussion on safe practices and activities. SCS also liaised with the main contractor on the correct disposal of materials arising from the works and discussed any necessary welfare arrangements.

Sheene and the Scheme

Being registered with the Scheme as a company ensures SCS is recognised as professional, considerate and reputable. Emma Westmoreland from Sheene Contract Solutions said: “It gives a good first impression when we are tendering for jobs with new companies. We believe it helped us to obtain this particular job as the main contractor needed companies they could rely on.” Its previous experience in Europe – the company has worked in the Czech Republic and Budapest – also showed the company could work as effectively abroad as at home.

She went on: “We feel the Scheme is improving the image of construction by changing it from being your stereotypical ‘obnoxious’ builder in the eyes of the public to being a considerate and approachable builder and we are more aware of our surroundings, environment and staff.

“Change is always difficult to start with but, when you can, it’s for the better and becomes second nature.

“We would say that the Scheme has made a positive impact across the whole industry. It also gives you a voice – and the main contractors are more inclined to listen to you if you raise concerns.”

In 2018, SCS won a Silver Award at the National Company and Supplier Awards in the £250k to £3.5m turnover category as well as being named Most Considerate Company in 2017.

Buzzing with ideas

“Being a small company gives us the opportunity to make relevant changes,” said Emma.

On discovering that the suicide rate among construction workers is three times higher than the national average, it decided to appoint and train a member of staff as a mental health first aider – someone to act as a sounding board and help them find professional care should it be needed.

The team is also thinking more about its own environment and is considering acquiring a beehive. The idea was inspired after Aaren and Steve Sheene, the directors of SCS, attended a Scheme awards ceremony – on hearing how other companies had benefitted from the presence of a beehive on site or outside their office, they decided they wanted a beehive of their own.

“Our office is in the heart of Kent and surrounded by farmers’ fields,” said Emma. We feel this would be beneficial, not only to our local environment but to us also, as we get to enjoy home grown Kent honey, which we are very excited about.”