Raising money for a local hospice and clearing neighbours’ guttering is all part of the service for considerate constructor, Wates Retail, which specialises in creating fast-track retail store fit-outs.
The company has been registering with the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) since 2006, signing up over 90 of its projects, and becoming an Associate Member over six years ago.
As a leading provider of retail solutions to major UK high street favourites, including M&S, Waitrose, John Lewis and Sainsbury’s, Wates Retail fully embraces the importance of presenting a good image of the industry.
Commenting on the benefits of Scheme registration, Wates Interiors and Retail Construction Manager, Sean Murphy said:
There are numerous benefits in being registered with the Scheme, both morally and ethically.
We believe strongly in the ethics of the Scheme and are committed to improving the image of the construction industry as a whole, and try to go the extra mile on each of our sites.
The Scheme’s Code is aligned with our values and encourages Wates teams to deliver best practice beyond statutory requirements.
Wates teams are committed professionals with a passion to lead the way in CCS policies.
We do this by holding specific Scheme meetings with our clients and supply chain, together with our community engagement plans and self-audits, which underpin and support our targets.
One of its recent fast-track seven-week projects – M&S in Gosforth – received exceptional scoring by the Scheme Monitor in all areas of the Code of Considerate Practice – Care about Appearance, Respect the Community, Protect the Environment, Secure everyone’s Safety and Value their Workforce.
Its high score is representative of Wates Retail’s excellent track record with the Scheme, having scooped 13 awards to date at the Scheme’s National Site Awards.
Demonstrating exceptional community relations on its M&S Gosforth project, the team fostered good relationships with neighbours who had been at odds with the previous builder who assembled the shell of the building.
The biggest challenge was to overcome the legacy of the previous builder who constructed the shell, as they had numerous complaints about noise and nuisance and weekend working.
Our site team hand delivered courtesy letters to local residents and businesses to explain our good intentions and clarify emergency contacts for complaints or advice.
We did not receive one complaint during this project and were in fact praised by local residents in passing.
As well as allaying the concerns of residents, the Wates team cleaned out the blocked gutters of the neighbouring sheltered accommodation as a goodwill gesture.
Providing a lasting community legacy, the company raised £250 for the local hospice – St Oswald’s Hospice in Gosforth – doubling initial proceeds through Wates Giving’s match-funding scheme.
Asked how he feels the Scheme is improving the image of construction, Mr Murphy said:
I feel the Scheme is making a big difference in improving the image of construction and this is great as for many years it has suffered a stigma of cowboys who whistle!
The Scheme has improved the apprentices on site statistics, promoted females in the workplace and provided clear guidance on what standards we should be portraying as a minimum.
If there was ever evidence needed, then take note when you next pass a project that is registered and a scheme that isn’t, and compare the differences. The scheme that is registered gives you an instant feel of professionalism and someone who cares.
One of the challenges the team faced on its M&S Gosforth project was its location on a busy Great North Road roundabout, opposite a large Asda superstore entrance. Mr Murphy explained: “We employed a banksman due to the excessive traffic and public interface across our site entrance.”
Another hurdle to overcome was public scrutiny of the building but this was resolved by advance planning and effective liaison with local residents and businesses.
Concluding his thoughts on the Scheme, Mr Murphy added: “Registering is quick and easy and the Scheme staff are very helpful.”