Why Partnership with the Scheme is the perfect fit for award-winning Collins Construction
Even before Tony Turner, Collins Construction Director of SHEQ, joined the company he was a keen advocate of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, having recognised that it is a force for change.
Twelve years on, he remains as enthusiastic as ever, having seen for himself the benefits that being a Contractor Partner* has brought to Collins and the Scheme’s positive impact on the entire construction industry.
Tony took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about the Scheme and the particular advantages it offers to fit-out companies such as Collins.
Congratulations on your recent success at the National Site Awards.
Thank you. We had a great time at the 2019 National Site Awards and I am proud to say we picked up four Bronze awards and a Silver award. Our Devon House project was also recognised as an Ultra Site.
That’s on top of the three awards we won last year and three we won in 2017 – it’s been a really fantastic three years. I always say, if you follow the requirements, you reap the rewards – and we did!
We also incentivise sites – we give them £1000 if their site is a winner to spend on the staff.
Why do you work with the Scheme?
As a business I wanted to reach higher standards so, even before we became a Scheme Partner, I made sure all projects were registered. Then we became a Partner – it’s been five years now.
How does the Scheme support fit-out companies and deal with the unique aspects of your work?
Previously, we were sometimes compared to the larger contractors but we couldn’t always compete due to financial constraints with the set up and facilities – they could offer in terms of welfare or community engagement – while we are working on £2 million to £15 million contracts, they could be working on a contract with a value of £2 million just for preliminary works.
In 2017, the Scheme set up the ‘Interiors Working Group’ which gives us a voice and helps us clarify our concerns. Since then, we’ve contributed to the Scheme – we’re always coming up with fresh ideas.
The Monitors’ Checklist has been updated and now takes account of the constraints we sometimes work under. This allows Monitors to be more aware of our limitations and helps them understand how we work, which makes it more of a level playing field. When Monitors come to see us, it’s much more about them coming on site to give us advice and guidance rather than someone them being there just to audit us. Fortunately, the Scheme Monitors usually like what they see but they are very fair and always leave us with something to think about.
What difference has your partnership made and how does it support your values?
I feel our sector is a lot more respected within the industry. Clients respect us a lot more as well. I always knew that being associated with the Scheme would lead to greater recognition so that is great to see.
We recently tendered for a new project and the criteria required evidence of awards won in the last five years. Our National Site Awards were evidence. Some of our blue-chip clients are impressed when we tell them how many awards we’ve won – it gives them comfort. If I was from a company planning major works, I know I would!
How do you fit the Scheme’s requirements into your own working practices?
Our company takes CCS into account right from the outset. For example, using the Scheme’s criteria, we think about how we look after the workforce, decide the measures we will use to protect the public and ensure residents are kept fully informed about works going on in their area. Site appearance and working with local businesses and communities is paramount at all times.
At Collins, I set a benchmark of 40 points for each Monitor’s report. Every site that reaches a total of 40 points gets rewarded with £100 to spend on the team. They can spend this in any way, such as breakfast for the team. I want people to be rewarded – I strongly believe in giving people targets and goals to aim for.
Being part of the Scheme also enables me to benchmark our company’s performance. It helps me see what we’re doing well and where we can perform better to make improvements. It can also assist in assessing how compliant you are; the safer your site is the less likely accidents will occur. Additionally, I want to create a work environment where staff, trades and visitors feel at ease and enjoy their time with us.
How do other small companies view what you do?
Companies often contact me to ascertain how we’re doing things and we talk them through the benefits of the Scheme and explain how it gives you a standard to work to. It’s a kind of corporate mentoring.
The Scheme’s aim is very much about improving the image of construction. How are we doing?
The industry would still be in the Dark Ages if we didn’t have the Monitors doing what they do. The Scheme has made construction more respectable and accepted by recognising people’s skills. Construction companies agree with what the Scheme is doing and are working hard to meet its requirements.
How would you sum the Scheme up in a brief phrase?
Changing the industry for the better.