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Featuring Concorde BGW Group: Interview With Managing Director Richard Wilson

concorde-bgw

An Industry Frontrunner
Health and safety is vital within today’s design and build industry, something Concorde BGW Group’s Managing Director Richard Wilson knows all about

Concorde BGW Group is proud of its holistic approach. The cornerstone of its success is a willingness to listen to its clients, working collaboratively to achieve results which not only meet requirements but exceed expectation. As design and build specialists, Concorde recognises that in a competitive market it isn’t simply about service but an ability to add value. That is what distinguishes a business. The Group’s experience in the hospitality sector over the last twenty-five years has seen it build long-term relationships with a number of clients and a reputation the company is rightly proud of.

From its offices in London and Yorkshire the company works across the UK for independents, large operators and even the MoD using a simple core principle: high quality refurbishments delivered on time and on budget. Its services have been developed to provide the right results for clients and to maximise return on investment. To achieve this, Concorde has developed a suite of capabilities that can be utilised individually or collectively through its all-encompassing integrated design and build approach.

Managing Director Richard Wilson’s ambitious approach means the Group is constantly evolving, improving and innovating. Importantly, it is the attention to the smallest details, from client satisfaction to caring for the wider environment, that makes Concorde not just a highly regarded contractor but an industry leader. Unsurprisingly, in its efforts to lead from the front, Concorde has taken this forward-thinking ethos and applied it to its health and safety policies.

“Our health and safety starts at the very beginning with the designers,” says Wilson. “We aim to design risks out of projects where possible and utilise our experienced consultants to enhance our health and safety procedures by working closely with project managers as we move our development activities to site.”

Once on site, procedures are regularly monitored to ensure standards are being met. Indeed, Concorde not only measures its own performance but is under the scrutiny of its clients as well.

“Monitoring health and safety performance is now the norm not the exception, while we have access, through a variety of consultants and training schemes, to the resources to turn that data into a performance enhancer. In addition, as the industry has seen a shift of safety ownership from staff, subcontractors and the general public onto the client, more emphasis has been placed on getting it right for a multitude of reasons. This not only helps us maintain our performance levels but allows us to evolve and improve as well,” remarks the Managing Director.

Many of the clients Concorde works with have a formal “three strikes and you’re out” policy on safety adherence but many will strike you off their preferred supplier list after a single misdemeanour.

“Admittedly, it puts pressure on you as a business. But it’s the right sort of pressure because it focuses the mind on such an important subject. Safety is paramount and we recognise that.

“But it has been challenging. Old school builders who have worked in this sector for decades are having to adapt and it isn’t easy to bring in such radical changes to the management of a building site. But through the likes of CHAS and SMSTS training schemes, as well as others, we can meet this challenge head on and not only change mind sets but reward best practice too.”

It ultimately enables Concorde to achieve the results its client’s desire. After all, a successful site is founded upon robust health and safety. “The standards now in place are a positive thing for the industry. Reapplying for the likes of Safe Contractor and CHAS accreditation, for example, drives performance. Of course, we don’t get everything right but it helps us to evolve and make positive change,” admits Wilson.

The evolution of the company’s safety procedures develop each year. One of the most beneficial changes has been the implementation of a performance table for staff. This highlights best practice while encouraging staff to improve through the publication of site safety records. Incentives are given to the best performing sites to reward top performers. This method also emboldens self-ownership and makes staff feel part of the process.

Everything from CSCS and PASMA to SMSTS courses are provided to develop the workforce’s abilities and knowledge while regular toolbox talks refresh and reinforce policies and procedures. This attention to detail is extended to the subcontractors Concorde uses as each is given a clear set of standards that are expected of them on site. These standards are monitored and any subcontractors not meeting the requirements are promptly dismissed.

To help it achieve its health and safety objectives, its membership to CHAS has proven to be vital. “The audit is important because it keeps you on your toes. It makes you consider areas of your procedures where you can improve and that’s a challenge we relish on a yearly basis. Where we can improve, we will improve.

“It also ensures we’re proactive – we need to maintain our standards in order to maintain our CHAS accreditation. That’s imperative because in today’s competitive market you need to distinguish yourself. One of the ways you do that is through exemplary health and safety and having the relevant certifications and accreditations that prove your ability.”

This is where the commercial benefit of robust and successful health and safety practices comes into focus. “You won’t get work without the relevant accreditations and, in many cases, will only stand out over competitors because of a successful, proven track record. So CHAS is a great selling tool for us,” acknowledges Wilson.

Looking ahead, the Managing Director feels it’s important to seek ways in which you can consistently improve. Site set-up is an area he’s acutely aware needs constant evaluation because if a site is set up well, it means you can work more productively and effectively.

“Training and skills development is also so vital,” he says. “In the past, it was a tick in the box, but health and safety is evolving all the time so you can’t rest on your laurels. It’s a constant process of improvement, and that’s why regular training is vital.”

As a multi award-winning design and build specialist, Concorde’s success, like its holistic approach to clients, is all-encompassing. From its proud position as an Investors in People business to its association with major safety organisations such as CHAS, Altius, Safecontractor and Constructionline, Concorde’s dedication to the highest standards is enforced throughout all of its endeavours.

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BDC 299 December 2022