Winner: Wates Group
The winner of this year’s Judges’ Supreme Award is a contractor that has gone above and beyond, which had an exceptional 2016 and impressed our panel on multiple fronts: Wates Group.
In basic numbers, Wates achieved turnover of £1.53bn in 2016 and secured £35.5m of profit – both up on 2015.
It employed 92 apprentices, completed 72 charitable projects, took 1,029 young people through its Building Futures Programme, and saw a 73 per cent reduction in dangerous occurrences on site.
This is all part of the contractor’s mission to hit £2bn revenue and £100m profit before tax, goals it is well on the way to achieving.
Last year’s project highlights included: work on Greenwich Peninsula, which scored 97 out of 100 with the Considerate Constructors Scheme; 61 Oxford Street, a RIBA national award winner; and Central Square, Leeds, rated BREEAM Outstanding and hailed as a ‘best practice’ build by the Forum for the Built Environment.
The firm’s relationship with its supply chain underpins this, and 69 per cent of it suppliers are members of the Supply Chain Sustainability School.
Social enterprises have played a vital role in the contractor’s Reshaping Tomorrow 2020 CSR programme. Wates worked with Social Enterprise UK to launch the construction industry’s first national social enterprise brokerage, and aims to spend more than £20m in this area by 2020.
Wates’ health and safety initiative, Zero Harm, has borne fruit, too, with the aforementioned reduction in dangerous occurrences achieved alongside some other striking statistics: a 49 per cent reduction in accident frequency rate and a 25 per cent reduction in RIDDORs, significantly ahead of group targets.
The initiative includes a series of coloured cards featuring cartoon site workers and infographics. A total of 41,000 of these were issued in the first nine months of the initiative, leading to 13,000 positive observations from site workers and other staff.
A ‘Start Right’ daily operative briefing has been introduced to focus on changes in the working environment and other high-risk activities set to take place that day, and 500 company leaders have signed up to the company’s ‘Lead the Change’ behavioural change programme.
This family group’s positive culture is also reflected in the fact that 31 per cent of staff have been with the company for more than 10 years – and £1m was invested in training and development in 2016 to support staff development.
Wates showed the judges that it delivers on its promises and that its collaborative approach sets it apart.
It’s hard to argue with those assertions when the numbers back it up – and this contractor, with an ambitious vision of where it wants to be, is clearly delivering results.
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Judges Supreme Award - RMD
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