Tarmac – Highways Partnering Agreement, Term Service Contract

Tarmac Trading Ltd’s Highways Partnering Agreement for client Nottinghamshire County Council and Via East Midlands Ltd is praised for its safety innovation on this successful Ultra Site pilot

This multiple, short-duration contract work was a unique choice as an Ultra Site as it involved many different locations, not just a single site. The pilot proved to be a resounding success, with the project receiving a safety innovation for its ‘blue light’ initiative. This involved fitting its machinery with directional blue lights to highlight safe exclusion zones around the plant.

Explaining why Tarmac Trading Ltd chose its Term Service Contract project as an Ultra Site, Operations Manager, Ian Copeland said: “We had been registering our contracts in Nottinghamshire with the CCS since 2008. During this time we had improved considerably, won two CCS Bronze National Site Awards and earned compliance beyond recognition regularly.

“However, we felt that we had reached a plateau in terms of improving the way we delivered our highways work and would be unable to achieve or gain any further recognition under the normal scheme.

“Following a discussion with the Chief Executive of the CCS it was felt that the contract, whilst not operating on a single fixed site (such as a building site), still impacted so greatly upon the residents, businesses and commuters in the county, that the ethos of the Ultra site fitted perfectly.”


Being an Ultra Site has led to multiple benefits for both Tarmac and its supply chain, as Ian outlines below:

  • Being accepted as part of the trial really excited our client who was able to say they were one of the first, which gave them great kudos.
  • It gave our staff on the contract a real sense of pride, pushing them to achieve that extra 10% required.
  • The way in which the Ultra Site system works has helped us to develop the Considerate Constructors Scheme ethos in a way I don’t think we could have done under the normal Scheme; the advisory meetings with the Monitor have been constructive and helped us move our performance every year since joining.

Outlining how being an Ultra Site had improved collaboration with its supply chain, Ian said: “Upon acceptance as an Ultra Site, we held numerous meetings with the supply chain to explain the Scheme and its importance to us. We involved the Monitor in a couple of these to add the Scheme’s point of view.

“Two of the supply chain joined as company registrations and we helped them to prepare for the Monitor’s visits and hosted some of them within our sites. This has led to enormous success, with both companies leaping forward in their perception of the Scheme, and both being entered into the Awards category this year.

“All of the supply chain participated in attending our Monitor days and displaying Ultra Site stickers and banners.”

About the Project:

Repairs, improvements and highways construction across Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire County Council

Supplier’s perspective
CF Construction Ltd

“We have learnt many valuable lessons and picked up numerous tips on ways to progress from the Ultra Site meetings held in London. The openness of these meetings with companies and contractors would have been unheard of in any other arena.”

Ian Copeland
Operations Manager
Tarmac Trading Ltd

“Since joining the Scheme in 2016, we have encouraged and helped the workforce to think about their overall responsibilities on and off site and how their choices can affect the reputation of construction. By creating a better understanding, we can improve safety, morale, health, well-being and the environmental impact from within. This has in turn cascaded into the community and we feel we are now improving the public’s impression of the Industry.”

Chris Coen
CF Construction Ltd

Effective supply chain communication

One of the key elements of Ultra Site success is the main contractor’s effective engagement with its supply chain – and communicating the expected standards.

Collaborative best practice

Many examples of best practice resulted from this joined-up approach with the supply chain, including the following:

  • Community engagement days with schools. All of the supply chain participated in providing plant and equipment, prizes and staff on the day to help.
  • The wearing of ICE (In Case of Emergency) stickers on hard hats for all staff and operatives on site. Up until its Ultra Site status, Tarmac had undertaken this practice but not all of its supply chain. This was now carried out as a contract best practice for all KSPs (Key Service Providers).
  • The introduction of Tarmac’s 5+2 blue lights scheme was welcomed into the contract and the collaborative nature of the relationship enabled quick and seamless acceptance of the process.
  • Quarterly KSP meetings where the Scheme was highlighted as a key factor of discussion. Open discussion was encouraged on ideas to improve our performance, with everyone sharing their own examples of best practice.

Key lessons learnt

One of the main lessons Tarmac Trading learnt through the pilot was the importance of engaging with the supply chain from an early stage.

Ian said: “Enrol as an Ultra Site during the engagement stage of procuring the supply chain and make it known that this is a desire, or a requirement, of the subcontractor(s).”

Asked if Tarmac Trading would consider registering other future projects as Ultra Sites, Ian said: “Yes, we are currently reviewing the opportunities now the trial has ended and how it could relate to our current contracts. It was thoroughly enjoyable, a learning experience and an opportunity to share best practice.”

Outlining how Ultra Sites benefit the construction industry as a whole, Ian said: “It provides a basis where best practice can be shared with like-minded companies working on the same types of projects, without all the competitive posturing that usually takes places at other industry events.

“It gives contract staff pride in their work or contract. Being a part of something special makes them want to go that extra mile.

“It also provides a means to have an expert visit the site without any contractual or commercial overviews, who can give you invaluable input of what we are doing and suggested ways where we can improve.”

The suppliers’ perspective

Based in Lincolnshire, CF Construction Ltd is a small/medium, family-run, civil engineering and building company.

Established in 1980, it has grown in size and experience, and is able to turn its hand to various projects including new builds, renovations and civils. In 2016, CF Construction scooped a Silver National Company Award. Chris Coen, Director of CF Construction Ltd said: “Working with Tarmac on their Ultra Site has introduced us to the Considerate Constructors Scheme and made us, as a company, more aware of how contractors and sites can have a negative impression on the public.”