There’s been a huge amount of discussion about how much workspace and retail space needs to adapt to reflect the needs of our post pandemic society. But how do you change the use of a building, facility or space? Tyron Stalberg, Head of Proposals at VINCI Facilities Building Solutions explains.
The recent UK Government changes to the permitted development rights are going to bring opportunities, debate and, in theory, drive much needed change for the good of society.
The headlines focus on the commercial-to-residential permitted development rights and the impact they might have on the high street. But, just as interesting is how the new rules might affect changes to use of space within schools, the creation of healthcare facilities and potentially – if it is done right – the reinvigoration of our towns and urban business districts.
The theory is that these rule changes provide “new freedoms to support high streets and fast track delivery of schools and hospitals across England introduced today” as per the Government press release. But freedom means a lot of choice and the most important thing is to have a strategy for your space, property or building. The question remains the same, no matter if you want to create something brand new from scratch, refurbish or totally change the use: what do you want from your building?
So, when a developer, owner, occupier or user feels the need for a move or to design and create a new space, the first task of building solutions providers, facilities managers and consultants is to challenge that desire for change. If it means being awkward, then go for it. Ask objective challenging questions before the brief is created. If this is not done, then you run the risk of going to a project without a proper vision or enough thought given to the consequences, let alone the outcomes.
If you convert offices to flats what will be the impact on the surrounding area? Will they be sellable, or lettable? Will the local environment sustain more dwellings – will there be sufficient transport logistics, disability access? How will a new healthcare facility be designed and created by converting a commercial space? Will the building services support the change in mind? Is the building listed or in a conservation area?
Might it be better to consider a short-term pop-up option for an unused retail unit? For example, instead of closing down or converting units, shopping centres and high streets are now turning retail space into secure bike parking to assist with a socially distanced, safe, secure healthier return to work.
The physical needs of space envisaged by a developer or client need to be assessed critically. Requirements for acoustics can differ significantly from one use to another and how will the changes affect the circulation and the flow of the building? Grenfell and the climate change emergency mean it is vital to consider a fire strategy and the energy efficiency of a space. Will the space be safe? Will it be possible to retrofit and optimise its energy usage and meet zero carbon targets?
Change of use is exciting and once the true reality of the Government’s adjustments to permitted development rights are analysed there could be huge potential for the industry and society. But first, we need a clear strategy. What do you want your building to do?
That’s something the VINCI Facilities team and our supply chain want to investigate and work with our customers to establish. So, together, we can deliver real, meaningful change to benefit our communities.
Climate change is here: everyone has a role to play in combatting it and that includes facilities management, building solutions and construction organisations. To do that it requires long term strategic thinking argues Cara Kennelly, Social Sustainability Manager, VINCI Facilities.
You don’t have to be a scientist to know the facts. Actually, you don’t even have to have to watch any BBC programmes featuring David Attenborough to have heard that climate change is here with us now and if it is not stopped, or even slowed, how we (and future generations) live our lives will be radically affected.
Like most organisations and society, VINCI as a global business, accepts the science: we have around 10 years before we reach the climate “tipping point” beyond which climate change is both irreversible and catastrophic.
Think about that word: catastrophic. It means involving or causing sudden great damage or suffering. When applied to our planet, our society and our way of life that means things like flooding, drought, food shortages, famine. And these are words that whilst notional in the UK and western society are becoming commonplace globally. Our climate in the UK is changing. Look how unseasonal the weather is: the UK basked in mid-20-degree temperatures in the days leading up to Easter, then had widespread snow and freezing temperatures on Easter Monday. Check the rainfall patterns. Look at our impact on nature.
Now, think again about how we live and work. What we do as a society and as business organisations operating and serving society affects the environment. Right now that environment needs all the help it can get – which means big ideas, long term vision and a commitment to combatting climate change.
And yet, research by VINCI Facilities highlights that whilst FM and building solutions providers claim they are committed to combatting climate change there’s a question mark over the seriousness of that commitment. Our research indicates the majority of organisations have a policy or strategy in development, but only 40% have a fully implemented strategy – and just a quarter (25.2%) have a strategy embedded across the organisation, affecting every operational area. At least 60% of respondents said they have carbon-reduction targets, but only 47% have a system in place for checking the targets are being achieved.
There’s a worrying leaning toward short term quick wins. That’s not enough to avoid climate change. All of the facilities management sector needs to adopt a formal strategy or roadmap with both short and long-term targets for deliverables along with enabling factors/actions and a robust measurement system.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals have to be achieved by 2030. Not 2050. That might contradict some of the data bandied around in the media, but it makes a lot of sense when you consider the pace of change going on across all of the world. For example, whilst we can’t see it – and so it feels OK to ignore it – the increased melting of the polar ice packs is not just a symptom of climate change. In fact, it is a major indicator that it is getting worse all of the time. Known as the albedo, or reflectivity, of the Earth, the polar ice reflects the suns radiation back into space. But as the planet warms and melts the ice, less is reflected and therefore more is absorbed and the planet heats more, melting more ice, etc. and the planet heats itself cyclically to the point of human extinction.
How is this directly relevant to us? If you’re charged with managing the built environment, one of the biggest generators of carbon, shouldn’t you take a more proactive, long term view of the problem? We believe at VINCI Facilities there is a great chance to work collaboratively with our customers, supply chain, partners and the wider industry to drive the change required to combat climate change and meet all of the UN SDG targets.
With COP26 in Glasgow this year we should be leaders as a sector, an economy and as a country and take the challenge on headfirst. The latent knowledge of building use, the intelligence we have about occupiers behaviours combined with intrinsic role FM has in the roll out of different energy generation and energy management systems means the sector is at the heart of the issue. Our industry needs to look at the problem from the ground up – from brown to green field, from developer and owner to occupier and end user.
Now is the time for FM to set the agenda – not wait for government or politicians. But take the lead, combine our trusted expertise and deliver real, vital change for the good of the planet and society as a whole.
The Mason Mile has to be one of the best movements to emerge in the past few years and VINCI Facilities is proud to be one of its supporting partners.
Covid-19 has brought into sharp focus the issues facing the UK about its mental and physical health and wellbeing. Our society is unfit, in many cases dangerously obese, at risk of conditions such as diabetes and each of us will know of people affected by some form of mental illness. Add the pandemic into the mix and something has to be done.
One way to cope and improve our wellbeing is exercise. That’s where the Mason Mile, and the Mason Foundation steps in. Literally. Because it is easy to talk about exercise, but not always easy to do for everyone. If you feel trapped by a mental illness or lack confidence or are just nervous and feel vulnerable because of the experiences of the past year then you need help.
The Mason Foundation was founded in 2017, by entrepreneur and philanthropist Stephen Mason with the single mission of supporting communities to become happier, healthier and more active. In practice, the Mason Mile is a one mile, structured and unstructured route, delivered in (and by) local communities and workplaces. Which is where VINCI Facilities is lending a hand – providing £15,000 of support for the Mason Mile amongst communities served by Peabody plus hoping to introduce the concept in the midlands.
It’s all about community-based miles, where everyone can come together to walk and talk “their Mile their way” regardless of ability or disability; helping people to become happier, healthier, and more active. Delivered through the community and workplaces, it is the starting point by providing a gentle nudge into fun, easy to do, regular activity; identifiable to all, sustainable and scalable, with no kit or membership required.
The Mason Foundation has grown – particularly in the past year – funded by Sport England alongside other match funders including Peabody Housing, Golding Homes, L&Q, Medway Council, Kent Association for the Blind and VINCI Facilities.
The Foundation is working closely with its partners to embed an Ambassador model into local communities. This is something VINCI Facilities and its Building Solutions teams is looking to become involved with. But the Mason Mile, and the Mason Foundation, is just one of many things that VINCI Facilities supports linked to its work in FM and Building Solutions. Its work with local people through relationships with Sandwell, Peabody, One Housing and others can change lives. Sometimes its providing money, other times its organising teams of volunteers and the supply chain. The Mason Mile is different.
Yes, the team is supporting communities and tenants, but it is also sponsoring its own people through the Business Mile. It is all about giving people the resources to be healthier – physically and mentally.
The great thing about the Mason Mile concept is that helps organisations of all shapes and sizes – providing resources and motivation for employees and the local community helping them to gain the benefits of gentle outdoor exercise, whilst naturally improving their diet and becoming happier employees. At work it is about supporting healthy, active workforce. In the community it is about helping people make positive lifestyle choices. Those choices will help establish more cohesion amongst local people, uniting them to create dynamic positive communities.
Globally, VINCI is committed to making a difference to the communities affected by its work. It is something the business does as a matter of course. It goes far further than a legal commitment to deliver social value. The commitment is rooted in one thing: it is the right thing to do.
Our work to support and improve the lives of local people in social housing goes beyond the built fabric and during lockdown liaison officers have focused on home care more than ever before.
Despite the many tragedies we have endured during the pandemic there has been a lot of good news. Think of the heroes of the NHS, the work behind the scenes keeping vital services going and the many example of communities supporting each other.
How does it happen? It takes a knock on the door of a neighbour, maybe a phone call. Often it might be observing a change in circumstance and inquiring if someone needs a helping hand. It might be that a doctors surgery or care worker has notified someone like the Royal Voluntary Service to coordinate a response.
This is what Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and its colleagues at VINCI Facilities Building Solutions do – but they do it as part of their day-to-day work, before, during and once lockdown restrictions end, and we move on from Covid-19. We wanted to celebrate the work of three tenant liaison offices from Sandwell and VINCI who have combined to go further than usual and provide important home care to local people.
It has ranged from wrapping and distributing over 150 chocolate selections boxes for families living in high rise blocks of flats and coordinating foodbank donations via the supply chain, to specific tenant help where tenants might have needed support setting up deliveries of medication and groceries.
Sometimes simple deliveries of milk and bread mean so much to vulnerable tenants who might be isolating, lonely or unable to access shops as usual. Our liaison team have helped people talk through safety issues, link them with friends, family and neighbours and often made door to door to visits to have a proper conversation.
Occasionally our team has made the connection with care teams within the council but maintained contact – because those regular visits and calls make all the difference. It is real community work, not just tenant liaison, and it is adding value to local people in a manner that cannot be gauged on a spreadsheet. The elderly man who had lost his family, the tenant nearing the end of their life, the disabled tenant who had a leaking roof – all were helped. Connections were made with the welfare department, doors fixed, anxieties eased, and shoulders were provided to lean on – were necessary and in some incredibly sad cases our teams were just there to talk.
All of this and more, was undertaken because they believed it was the right thing: of their own accord, not asked by either company.
Thousands of people across the UK, even across the west midlands and Sandwell will be doing good deeds; looking out for neighbours, friends and loved ones, not to mention so many ‘real’ heroes out their saving lives and carrying on at full speed despite the circumstances, even parents working full time at home with young children. This is our way of paying tribute to all of them, by pointing out what a small group has done and what we believe is happening across the UK.
It's nearing the end now – let’s not forget the great work done so far and how much more is still needed.
Please note photo was taken prior to social distancing measures.
True social value is much more than a tick box exercise and Government legislation. It’s rooted in the ethical and moral obligation to improve society, the planet and wellbeing. Cara Kennelly, Social Sustainability Manager for VINCI Facilities explains.
Social value, and the wider picture of sustainability, is a fundamental aspect of what VINCI Facilities delivers as a business. What we do is not just about providing business critical support services but putting something back into the community. It’s about adding value – being the force for good that our parent group advocates.
What’s more, social value has been continuing to gain attention since the Public Procurement (Social Value) Act in 2012. Almost 10 years since the Act there is now an all-new Social Value Model for Central Government procurement accompanying a new procurement policy note (PPN) demonstrating the UK governments growing commitment to increasing social value.
The PPN will mandate a minimum of 10% weighting for social value in all central government tenders up to £10 million, so there is a significant amount of additional social value due to be channeled through public spending – which means as FM and Building Solutions providers we have a role to play. The PPN is structured around five specified themes for which the Government wants to drive delivery of social value:
For each of these themes there are associated policy outcomes, award criteria and suggested KPIs. There is no doubt the Government has pushed its social value requirements. The mandatory 10% weighting in tenders is certainly a welcome commitment and helps in structuring the direction of UK social value in public procurement.
But for organisations that might be sustainably mature, like VINCI Facilities, the PPN was rather underwhelming. There have already been tenders with social value weightings three times that in local government and private sector tenders. Compared to some examples of truly ambitious social value in tenders, this update provides a “light-touch” approach. As such it seems more of a starting point for social value improvement than the new delivery structure.
The new central Government model reflects the expanding definition of social value through a general “climate change” category of social value delivery and responds well to the current exceptional social support requirements through their covid-19 recovery category of actions. It’s clear link to the UN Sustainable Development Goals positions activities on a global stage, reflecting the globalized nature of our societies and the ways in which looking after our communities supports global sustainability efforts. In short what we all do has a bearing on the planet and the wellbeing of all of us.
It’s too soon to know yet how much impact the new PPN will have. It is possible most tenders will choose the same limited award criteria thereby restricting the amount of genuine change delivered by the PPN. What is definitely true is that genuine social value growth will rely on service providers pushing their social value offerings beyond the requirements of such models.
And, this is happening. Along the value chain, across environmental considerations and into global issues like climate change, much social value activity would not be recognizable as “social” to many of us a decade ago. Those in the thick of it from the off always knew about the breadth of activities that can deliver social value, but as its measurement and reporting has improved, so too has the general populations’ appreciation that social value goes far beyond an apprentice or two.
The recent Sustainable FM Index 2020 e-Awards listed VINCI Facilities as the leading sustainable facilities management & building solutions provider, in no small part due to our cutting-edge approach to social value. This applies not only to how we bid with social value but how we manage, deliver, and record it. It is going to be no surprise that we will continue to push for best practice beyond requirements of models such as the Central Government Social Value Model.
The Dig has become a Netflix sensation, bringing the story of Sutton Hoo to the attention of a new generation. But did you know that VINCI Facilities has been involved for over 40-years? Alan Wheeler, Business Development Manager VINCI Building Solutions explains.
Right now, many of us are spending a lot of time at home, enjoying socially distanced walks and reflecting on thoughts of future holidays and probably spending more time than normal watching TV.
I’m in that category! I love being out in the countryside (normally on my motorbike) and I’ve recently watched the new Netflix film, 'The Dig’.
I really enjoyed the film - it's been widely reviewed with positive comments. It’s a story which is well known in Suffolk communities and in the national archaeological world, for the uncovering of the UK’s greatest medieval historic finds.
Sutton Hoo (the definition of a Hoo, is a knoll, mound, or elevated hillock) is where some 1400 years ago, Anglo Saxons pulled a boat from the river Deben, then buried the boat with the remains of their King along with his treasured possessions. In 1937 the estate was privately owned by Edith Pretty, who instigated the original investigations.
The artefacts are now housed in the British Museum, but with the iconic Face Mask, celebrated at Sutton Hoo as a welcome for visitors to the site.
VINCI first became involved at Sutton Hoo in the 1980’s when (as Haymills Contractors) we built the National Trust Visitor Centre, Cafe and Exhibition Hall. Then back in 2018 we were delighted to return when we were awarded the contract to refurbish the original site wide facility and introduce a number of new technologies and facilities to increase the visitor experience.
We did this partly while the site was still open to the public, then what seemed soon after completion, the pandemic was on the approaching horizon. At the time of publishing this blog, the 245-acre site is only open for locals to exercise and walk their dogs
A full-scale structure of the ship’s hull was commissioned and delivered by local specialists, in Corten Steel, which sits on a plinth with representations of all the artefacts found in the dig.
This was an exciting project to be involved in, there was an element of 'evolving design'. The designers, client and professional team were great to work with and a real collaborative environment developed around the wider project team.
Throughout the project we worked closely with the National Trust’s archaeological advisers, to ensure that any disturbance to the grounds were carefully managed to protect further potential historic finds. Nothing of archaeological interest was found during the project, even when we excavated for the driven piles for the new viewing platform which allows an elevated view of the burial mounds.
Once our world regains some form of normality, I’d recommend a visit to Sutton Hoo, it is a really lovely place to visit and spend a few hours enjoying the Suffolk countryside and the many charms of the facilities and site.
Young people are our future. It’s vital to equip them with the skills and confidence they need to lead active and rewarding lives, but also to give them the capability to do something positive for their community and themselves. That ambition is what’s behind the apprenticeship programme managed by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and VINCI Facilities Building Solutions. Both of us – the client and the service provider – need to recruit people to fill the skills gap and we share the vision to do that by identifying young talent in the local community.
What’s more, we have been remarkably successful. Over the 15-years of working together delivering social housing improvements in Sandwell more than 100 apprentices have worked either directly for our Building Solutions team or in some part of our supply chain. Some have stayed, others have moved on and more than a few of them have remained in the construction sector and achieved senior positions.
That’s what we hope will happen with our newest recruits – young people who love what they do and became apprentices with us and Sandwell just as the pandemic started and have stuck with us in what have been very testing times.
Bridie Daly started in early 2019 and has worked up from being our commercial clerk to a trainee quantity surveyor. On the way she has achieved NVQ Level 3 in Business Administration and is currently studying to gain a Pearson BTEC Level 4 HNC in Construction and the Built Environment and by the end of 2023 she will be qualified as a Construction Quantity Surveying Technician Level 4. Bridie, like all of our apprentices gets to see a range of different projects and studies one day a week at Dudley College. The great thing is that there is a clear pathway to follow.
Also choosing that path, is Jack Parry who joined us in late 2020. Having finished his first year at University he wanted to earn money and started with our team as a trainee QS, but he enjoyed site work so much he became a trainee project manager. Now he is currently studying at Wolverhampton doing a Chartered Surveyor Degree as part of the Construction Management Pathway.
There are always openings for young people with Building Solutions and Sandwell. Each time we begin a new project one of the social value targets is recruiting local people, particularly apprentices. And we love it. Right now there is work not just in the midlands with Sandwell, but across our whole team. For us, prospects are good, and we need more people.
It’s great that we can play a part in giving someone a career in the construction and wider built environment sector as well as give them the life skills for their future. It is about succession planning and building for the future in the community.
Avoiding the race to the bottom requires better market knowledge and collaboration. In a second piece commenting on the Trowers & Hamlin white paper, Tyron Stalberg, head of proposals VINCI Facilities argues that lowest price tendering is unlikely to improve the safety and quality of homes; and almost always misses the opportunity to ‘add value’ to the solution provided.
The 2018 Hackitt Report produced eight key recommendations and the final one is probably the most important as it influences so much of the built environment process, particularly social housing: better procurement.
Dame Judith Hackitt’s report was focussed on building safety as it responded to the issues revealed (and still being revealed) by the Grenfell tragedy. It’s not specified as one of the eights, but the Hackitt implies that lowest price tendering is not just unsustainable as a business practice, but the approach undermines safety. Instead, we should “devise contracts that specifically state that safety requirements must not be compromised for cost reduction. Tenders should set out how the proposed solution will produce safe building outcomes.”
In our previous commentary, we have re-iterated the importance of clients having a better understanding of what the project or service actually costs before they embark on their procurement activity. This is at the heart of being an ‘intelligent client’.
So why are we still debating the merits of price versus quality amongst the various procurement models available to clients and their suppliers?
Led by Rebecca Rees and Scott Dorling, Trowers & Hamlin are continuing to work with other experts in local government and the supply chain and their excellent white paper outlines eight procurement methods they are keen for the market to test and report back on. Most of them have their merits and a key thing to note is that different models will fit different types of work. But my concern is that we are potentially over complicating the process.
Models one and two are quite traditional – but still ask a very pertinent question: is your procurement method right for the type of work being let? The same question comes up time and again. Model four emphasises a balanced price – which emphasise the importance of quality thresholds and the need for thorough market knowledge – was outlined by Shane Hughes of Savills. In ‘model 4’, whilst a lowest price might win such a model, because of minimum thresholds there is an emphasis on quality. It’s a straightforward model and relies on open and transparent collaborative approach. For me this is the one that stood out. Not necessarily because of the balanced approach but due to the requirement that clients need to know their market, understand the job they are asking people to bid; and be clear on their budget and the costs involved. Isn’t this common sense? Enlightened clients should be doing research – market testing their ideas, ambitions and talking to suppliers before actually going to tender. In effect, window shopping – but being honest about it.
We will never avoid a race to the bottom without a more informed approach to actually buying a service. But we all share the responsibility to move the market forward in terms of process and method. That means the supply chain and associated stakeholders have an obligation to work with clients to improve that process. We have to collaborate; and we have to choose or design procurement models that enable this dialogue.
Whether we end up choosing a relative price and quality option as in Model 3 in the Trowers & Hamlin white paper, or a weighted price and quality comparison, an optimum policy, a price quality ratio or life cycle costing the key is working together to achieve the result best for everyone. That result must be rooted in value. The outcome we all should be working to is safer, better quality buildings that allow for low carbon, sustainable living that improve the quality of life of tenants and homeowners. Yes, that process might involve a lot of calculation – but to arrive at the goal we all want, better homes, requires sharing ideas, experiences and working together.
Please do check the white paper and look at the various models and test them as Rebecca and her team are requesting. But when you do embark on the research why not pick up the phone and talk to your peers and suppliers; and work collaboratively to achieve safer, better homes for everyone before you rush into your procurement process. After all, we all have a responsibility to improve and to challenge the ways things have been traditionally done.
Biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history. There has been a 68% decline in populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians over the past four decades. The equivalent of 800 football fields an hour of forest were lost over the past 26 years up to 2016. Closer to home almost half of British birds, half of the fungi and a quarter of the country’s mammals are at risk of extinction.
Yet healthy ecosystems provide us with many essentials we take for granted. They underpin the world’s food system, creating and maintaining healthy soils, pollinating plants, purifying water and protecting against extreme weather events. Yes, we must tackle climate change, but climate change must be seen as part of an overall agenda to protect the natural world. Everything is interconnected and affected by ecosystems, including businesses.
All businesses ultimately rely upon the services provided by nature and depend upon the flow of resources. This includes more obvious factors such as the consumption of water, food, fuel, timber-based products such as paper and furniture, but also more indirect dependencies such as the vulnerability of sites, supply chains and customers to flooding, adverse weather, resource scarcities or adverse publicity. It is also widely recognised that corporate reputation about sourcing, distribution, site management and supply-chain impact on ecosystems can exert a substantial influence on the bottom line.
We must move towards adopting an approach that drives better social, environmental and economic outcomes through value-based decision making, to build a better world through a better built environment.
So, it was fantastic news, when on Monday 11th January 2021, Boris Johnson announced at the One Planet Summit that the UK will commit at least £3 billion to climate change solutions that protect and restore nature and biodiversity over the next five years. Building on the PM signing the Leaders Pledge for Nature in September 2019 and the UK Governments 25 Year Environment Plan, which sets out numerous goals and targets on we will improve the UK’s air and water quality and protect our many threatened plants, trees and wildlife species.
The funding will deliver transformational change in protecting biodiversity-rich land and ocean, shifting to sustainable food production and supply, supporting the livelihoods of the world’s poorest, and accelerate the transition to clean energy.
We must work together to drive change and to protect our planet and the rich and diverse life within it. We must all play our part. Targets can only be met through collaborative action; and VINCI Facilities are taking action.
In January 2020, the VINCI Group defined its Environmental Ambition to improve our environmental performance in three areas: greenhouse gas emissions, resource preservation by developing the circular economy and conservation of natural environments. Building on this VINCI Facilities have written its Environmental Reduction Roadmap (due for release February 2021), which details how we will create biodiversity enhancements on our projects, raise awareness and generate a 10% net gain for new developments in line with The Environment Bill. VINCI Facilities have also developed a plan which outlines how we will effectively deliver on the Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 06/20. PPN 06/20 launched a new model on how to deliver social value through the Government’s commercial activities and includes an environmental enhancement aspect: more news coming on that soon.
If you want to do your part, here are 10 easy, low cost (or even cost saving) ideas on what you could do to support and improve your local biodiversity.
Yet biodiversity doesn’t have to be constrained to outside. Biophilic design is a concept used to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment by integrating natural elements and processes into the built environment. This approach improves the spaces that we occupy, with numerous benefits to our health, wellbeing and air quality. Studies have shown that productivity can be increased by 8% in offices, increase rates of learning by 20-25% in education spaces and can reduce post-operative recovery times by 8.5% in healthcare spaces where the built environment improves connection to nature. It is a concept that we have applied to our VINCI Facilities Head Office and a subject we can provide support and advice to our customers on how they can integrate this concept into their spaces.
Talfryn Farrell, VINCI Facilities, Head of Operational Excellence remembers the moment when working with the US Air Force on a top gun centre of excellence he realised what collaborative working was all about and the benefits to be gained.
Back in 2005, when working as the Contract Manager for our Term Contract with the then “Defence Estates” (now DIO) and the 48 Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, I experienced for the first time what it meant to truly work collaboratively.
In my career up until that point, I had been a part of many different projects and always worked with our supply chain and customers. But this project was different, and it’s only now when I look back at it that I think I finally understand why - it had Vision and Purpose. It moved us from thinking of the short term, and towards longer term, more strategic thinking.
JCAD CoE (Joint and Combined Air Dominance Centre of Excellence i.e. a “Top Gun” facility) was another project on a list we had in train at that time, but it came with much more than the usual detailed specification and drawings - we were told why the project matters, the part it plays in the “bigger picture”.
Why does is this important? Well, with a “why” or an understanding of the Vision and Purpose we were able to unify our supply chain to the overall goal of the project. We could easily articulate the contribution that each and every person would make to that project. This common purpose meant that we were able to revisit the originally drafted 20-week programme, and by collaboratively planning with all our supply chain, reduce it to a 16-week programme. And then, when the urgency of “the mission” increased we were able to take another two weeks off. Now of course, this sort of reduction in programme doesn’t come without its difficulties – but the overwhelming feeling was “we can do this” and the usual issues brought about by contracts and the like, paled into the background.
I wonder what this project would have turned out like without that inspiring leadership at the front end. If we hadn’t have focussed on the longer term but instead focussed only the short term? Yes, this project was for a relatively short duration, but it was part of a much bigger term contract and for me it was the shifting point in how I interacted with our customers and supply chain. It became the yardstick for all future projects. Indeed, the concept of vision and purpose, the benefits of longer-term strategic thinking are emphasised in our recent white paper on collaboration.
In a citation from Brigadier Carruth, the then Director of Defence Estates Operations International, he said the project was a testament “to work with others in a truly collaborative way”.
I still have my certificate of recognition from Brigadier Carruth proudly displayed in my office. It’s not just a throwback to a past glory, but it is the project that kickstarted my interest in what real collaborative working was all about, and that when you have all the right things in place - among them Inspiring Leadership, Vision and Purpose - we can achieve great things, together.
In my current role, I have the great pleasure in working with our stakeholders, using our Lean Management Framework, to help them to articulate the Vision and Purpose for their projects. It’s how we excite our teams about delivering excellence and it gives me a chance to help create the same feelings that I felt when I delivered that project 15 years ago – a feeling of immense pride and satisfaction, a feeling of being part of something bigger, a feeling that I “make a difference”.
Read our first white paper ‘Collaboration’ here.
2020 has been tough, but all of us have demonstrated amazing resilience in some confusing and challenging times. Unfortunately, the optimism we are all naturally trying to channel for 2021 needs to be balanced off with some realism. Because we are not out of the woods yet. What’s more if you are a stakeholder working in local government in particular, especially social housing there are some specific challenges that need to be understood, and then addressed head on.
What are they? They are all about procurement. The choices we make when specifying work, tendering a job or briefing a contractor or supplier.
The problem of procurement is not new. We have talked about it before – we have advocated two stage tendering for example and the construction industry is always looking for better procurement methods. But housing has some specific issues: it is required to deliver more for less within strict regulatory frameworks as well as relied upon to lever in added value through social, environmental and resident-led initiatives. So, it’s refreshing that Trowers & Hamlin have addressed the issues head on in a White Paper: Price evaluation models for the housing sector, launched via webinar on 2 December.
Led by Rebecca Rees and Scott Dorling, Trowers & Hamlin have worked with other experts in local government and have reviewed various procurement methods and recommends eight specific models. Their report was launched via a webinar on 2 December, with Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor of London for Housing and Residential Development, outlining the context for the white paper – Brexit, COVID 19, Grenfell and the refurbishment of the UK housing stock, including energy performance retrofitting. He stressed that whilst squeezing budgets make any savings attractive – how can housing providers procure contracts in a way that does not encourage a "race to the bottom" response from bidders but delivers quality and safe outcomes? The answer is that bidding on price is plain wrong. There has to be another way and that is the point of the Trowers & Hamlin project. There is no doubt that most contractors would agree with this view too.
Three models were put forward as examples of the recommendations to be assessed in the Trowers & Hamlin white paper. Balanced price – which emphasise the importance of quality thresholds and the need for thorough market knowledge – was outlined by Shane Hughes of Savills. In ‘model 4’, whilst a lowest price might win such a model, because of minimum thresholds there is an emphasis on quality. It’s a straightforward model and relies on open and transparent collaborative approach.
Katie Williams, of Optivo, outlined ‘model 6’, which is an absolute price model that relies on the client defining a price threshold and means that market knowledge is important and soft testing is essential. Such models rely on the client being aware of the cost to deliver the project or service. This is a ‘big ask’ unless the client has genuinely used ‘open book’ processes as a means to understand actual cost. Optivo has used the model for seven years and explained that blind bids often occur, meaning contractors opt for the threshold price, but this means the tender leans toward quality, not price. This is fine, provided that the threshold price is an accurate reflection of actual cost. If too low, it will potentially result in dispute. If too high, it will be hard to demonstrate ‘value for money’.
The third choice, ‘model 8’, focussed on life cycle costing, was outlined by Stuart Brown of Trowers & Hamlin who explained that the emphasis on value for money – judged against ongoing costs and not just initial costs. The lower the overall life cycle costs the better value for money a bid represents – but it requires a total focus on outcomes and long-term thinking. This is an innovative approach, but I am not sure that the market is sufficiently mature to demonstrate, evidence or assess the model effectively; and as such may inhibit competition and/or encourage ‘bad behaviour’. Let’s be honest here, if we don’t know the cost of a project or service, what chance have we got in understanding ‘whole life cost’?
At VINCI, we offer a simple solution. When we evaluate price, under most models, we award the bidder assessed as offering the optimum (often lowest) price the full marks available (e.g. 50 marks in a 50/50 price/quality model). It is a ‘top down’ model, with other bidders awarded price scores on a pro rata basis against the ‘winning’ price (which can be very different from the ‘right’ price!).
When we assess quality, we normally apply a ‘bottom up’ approach. The technical responses are assessed against the criteria and the scores ‘added up’ to create the score out of 50 (if the 50/50 price/quality model previously referenced is applied).
At this point, clients should adopt a similar method to the evaluation of price. The ‘winning’ quality submission (which will rarely be a perfect score because of the subjectivity in scoring quality) should be awarded 50 marks; and then the other quality submissions scored on a pro rata basis. This would redress the balance between price and quality; and reward better tenders that offer a quality bias.
The Trowers & Hamlin white paper outlines a further five models. You can find them here. And they are going to expand upon the ideas in the white paper on 14 January. Their plan is to offer the models to the sector and test them – then share the learnings. This input of contractors is critical to this next stage. They provide the understanding of actual cost which is critical to good procurement.
However, whilst the white paper is to be welcomed – it is also worth reviewing the piece in Local Government Lawyer that gives more context to the Trowers & Hamlin approach – does it need to be so complicated? Also, the ideas are geared towards clients, not so much the supply chain. Surely the best approach is that allows best value – the outcomes desired by the end users – to be championed? For VINCI Facilities – it’s whole business, not just the Building Solutions team focusing on social housing – the way we work is based on outcomes. If a tender is deemed to be unworkable, too much emphasis on cost and not enough shared risk we will refrain from bidding. We have been involved in pricing guides before – our experience is that two stage tendering is the often best solution for complex projects and services. However, whatever best way forward, an educated client is critical – clients need to know their costs. They can only do this by working closely with their contractor partners.
Given the tightening of the purse strings and a short term public spending review to contend with, have we actually listened to Dame Judith Hackitt's warnings around avoiding a race to the bottom, where lowest price is always king, and do we have the available tools to do something about it? It’s likely that more enlightened clients, service providers and contractors have heeded Hackitt’s warnings. How likely they have acted on her advice is open to question. Do any of us possess the tools to slow or even better, avoid and withdraw from the race to the bottom? Yes. We certainly do. We simply have to make the choice to use those tools. The recent publication by the government of the ‘Construction Playbook’ is another source of good practice and should be used to dictate procurement and contracting strategies.
Trowers & Hamlin have done a great job reviewing the options – but the best tool available is an attitude of mind – your organisational culture, vision, culture and behaviours. Are you willing to do the right thing and be the moral and ethical client or service provider? Once you have decided that, then you can open the toolbox.
Across the facilities management sector the industry is celebrating how it has supported the fight against COVID19. In VINCI Facilities we are very proud to have played our part and our teams in FM and Building Solutions have done tremendous work – particularly delivering critical services behind the scenes in the UKs hospitals that have often gone beyond the call of duty.
Like many key workers in the UK, this dedication has come at a cost to some of our people. Our teams have regularly put in far more hours, been exposed to more stress and in some cases have witnessed scenes they never envisaged. It takes a toll. This is why we have invested in wellbeing for the benefit of our employees.
The mental and physical health of our people has never been taken for granted, but the need for specific support takes the idea of wellbeing to a different level. So, we have set up a People Support Group – led by myself, but delivered by people from across the business – to explore how we can support everyone’s wellbeing through the winter. It is backed by senior management but run by and delivered by people right in the midst of the issues we need to deal with – because this is a real live thing.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we are still going through COVID and many of us are on different levels of restrictions. With the additional pressures of the dark winter nights, end of year deadlines, combined with ‘normal’ work pressure and preparing for what will be a very different Christmas it is completely normal if you are feeling that it has been a tough year.
So, our People Support Group is going to be finding ways to give everyone some extra support to help our teams and their customers over the festive season and into the New Year.
As well as ideas for celebrating Christmas, cards, posters and advice for supporting friends and colleagues, we are going to be sharing ways we can help each other by volunteering. We will introduce a new Wellness Action Plan – a great support tool from Mental Health Charity, MIND – for helping you to self-manage your Mental Health and identify triggers that may be causing you stress and put in place measures which will help to keep you well.
In 2021 we have plans to develop a Thrive Mental Wellbeing App, validated by the NHS to provide a self-care programme to support anyone with an existing condition and also provide techniques and tools to help manage stress and keep well. Alongside that we plan to pilot a Mental Health Line Manager training programme across VINCI Facilities Building Solutions. This will help our managers to spot the signs of Mental Health conditions, recognise the importance of being able to have open conversations with their teams around Mental Health and know where to sign-post people through to for additional support.
Why are we investing this time into wellbeing? Because it is how we work. It is part of what makes us who we are. But we have to keep working at it and never take it for granted. It is the right thing to do. People are critical to the successful delivery of our support services and refurbishment activities for our customers and their end users. We have an obligation to keep our people safe and well – in mind and body.
Kellie Hockings, Divisional Head of Human Resources, and the HR business partner for VINCI Facilities joined the business in the middle of the pandemic. Despite the different challenges. There was always one constant: team working. But Kellie asks – do we know how to let teamwork flourish?
Like many, I have worked my way up to the role I hold today. When growing and progressing through your career, you can sometimes find yourself unable (or unwilling!) to handover those oh so complex tasks to someone else in your team, especially if they are new.
Why? Is it insecurity or a lack of confidence? After all, you might be thinking that “you’ve done this task for so long you could do it with your eyes closed, you can tell anyone who asks the day this process was put in place, and how you have got it to where it is today.” If you let it go now all that progress could be lost. Won’t it?
Or try and think of it another way. Maybe it could it be improved even more?
It’s time to ask yourself some serious questions about how you manage your team.
Your new team member may have technological skills that you have not yet learned, as we all intend to brush up on our IT skills, but for some it’s something that is put off. They may have experience of a similar task in a previous role and could help streamline and save time? They could have a more analytical approach, or they could just be better at it than you. That is a tough thing to admit sometimes but is so bad, really?
Do you think you will be judged more harshly for having someone in your team that you handpicked for the skills they could bring and give them the opportunity to demonstrate their talent? The possibility that they can carry out some tasks even better than you ever have is a positive. It would be far worse if the new team member were not given then chance as no progress would be made at all and no difference added to the performance of the team or the wider business.
Do you think your team will be high performing if you take the time to challenge them, give them responsibilities, coach them, develop them? What will have the best impact: give the team a chance or just fill the vacancy but don’t trust them to take on anything complex or demanding?
Amongst all leaders and managers (think of the different sporting analogies that are often used in business) there always often a justifiable concern if we let go and let up and coming team members take over tasks and responsibilities there is a risk they might fail. That’s a given in every walk of life, business, and sport too. But to not give people that chance because of the risk they might surpass us if they do it better is fundamentally wrong. It’s not ethical. It is not how VINCI Facilities works. The best leaders and managers will give their talented team members the opportunities they deserve and offer them the support needed to succeed. That is the right way. That is, to coin an old VINCI adage, the success we share. It helps everyone. And guess what, it might mean you have the time freed up to take on bigger responsibilities for our superiors and progress within our own roles.
So, when you feel reluctant to delegate, maybe consider why? After all, as Steve Jobs said once: “It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Sue Matheson, sector director at VINCI Facilities gives us a five-year report on the ONE Team working with Lincolnshire County Council.
Lincolnshire is one of the places in Britain that tends to be forgotten about. But it is full of character, home to what was one of the tallest buildings in the world when it was completed – the city’s cathedral – and the location for one of the most progressive FM relationships in the UK.
Back in 2015 Martin Read, editor of Facilitate magazine observed that the property services contract in place with Lincolnshire County Council “is seen by all parties as significant because of how transparency in communication between interested parties is adding intelligence to decision making.” Five years on and that principle, which underpins the ONE Team approach that was embraced when the contract mobilised, has grown even stronger.
It has meant that we were able to respond quickly to the challenges presented by COVID-19, but we were also able to move forward. Together, our team and Lincolnshire have not just coped – we moved forward. In our annual review document that we produce in partnership with the LCC team, our lead client, Kevin Kendall Assistant Director, Corporate Property said:
“Once again, I am able to report that our contractual relationship grows stronger and our collaborative ONE Team working is a key enabler for this. This has never been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen us work closely together to maintain essential services, forming a joint Business Continuity Team ahead of the UK lockdown as we pre-empted the impact the pandemic may have.”
One of the highlights of 2020 has been the progress of the work at South Park, the UK’s first tri-service Bluelight Centre project, for which the ONE Team won a national award in February 2020 in HM Government Property Awards. The centre combined police, fire and ambulance services in one site and across 2020 VINCI Facilities has navigated the challenges of the different organisational, and operational needs required by these critical services. The team developed the productive relationships needed to deliver FM services in this complex, multi-faceted building.
It’s a great example of the collaborative nature of our work with LCC, which, on this project also extended to its construction partner and wider stakeholders. The ONE team worked through processes, systems and operational complexities in order to have a fully functional building which was able to provide FM support to the emergency services from go live. Working collaboratively, they identified solutions that worked for all parties on everything from building security, infection control and custody requirements.
The testimony of the team and its clients and end users can all be seen in the review document, but what stands out most is some of the operational stats. Our KPI performance in over 90% for the second year in a row but our focus on health and safety through our THINK AGAIN Behavioural Safety Programme means the Accident Frequency Rate (Lost Time Injury) was 0% for 2019/20. That is no mean feat against a workload of more than 46,000 planned preventative maintenance and reactive tasks, 96,000 cleaning hours and over 80 capital repair and maintenance projects. Active reporting and actioning of close calls and positive interventions remains a personal objective for every member of the team.
Another key focus for the ONE Team has been energy management and working with LCC to cut emissions. We have seen renewable energy sources from PV (solar) arrays increase by around 19% and we estimate that the arrays alone have reduced carbon emissions by around 35 tonnes of CO2.
It’s a busy, constantly evolving and rewarding contract to be involved with and, it all works because of the total commitment to transparency and collaboration. That means, five years on, we are still making intelligent and progressive decisions about what Lincolnshire County Council needs from FM.
Photos: Steve Smailes Photography
Over £50k was provided through the VINCI UK Foundation on the recommendation and nominations from people in VINCI Construction UK, at least three of them came from VINCI Facilities.
Cara Kennelly, Social Sustainability Manager, nominated the Watford Sheltered Workshop Ltd. But why?
“So many people want to work but face health-based barriers - the Watford Workshop supports people with all sorts of these barriers, changing their lives forever. It’s impossible not to be inspired! To help them get something as basic as a working boiler for the winter seems like the least we can do for such an active charity less than 5 minutes’ drive from our HQ,” explains Cara.
Phil Russell, Sales & Marketing Director sponsored the construction of a ‘sensory garden’ for Bedford Citizens Housing Association, a local charity to Phil that provides care and support for the elderly.
“The importance of the Garden Project cannot be over-estimated for all the residents but especially those living with dementia whose ability to enjoy outdoor spaces can be limited. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of the elderly many who are living with restricted access to family and friends, and who’s daily lives will be enhanced through the creation of stimulating and interesting outdoor environments such as this.”
We asked Nirmal Singh, Data Analyst for VINCI Facilities, who nominated and is now the sponsor of Way Ahead Support Services about his motivation.
“I recommended Way Ahead because of the excellent work they do around reducing social isolation and boosting individual's sense of community. The pandemic means that isolation and loneliness has only increased in communities. Way Ahead Support services have overcome this barrier by changing the daily building bound activities into ZOOM sessions for people to partake from home and still feel part of the group.”
Like many people in the VINCI Facilities family, Nirmal lives the values of the business and is a great example to others. The successful organisations have been supported by one or more VINCI Construction UK employees – sponsors, like Nirmal, Cara and Phil – who are providing their time and professional skills to the chosen charity. Nirmal is fully involved.
“The money that VINCI has kindly provided will be used to purchase tablets for access to the regular zoom sessions for the most vulnerable and isolated. We are working on a transitions programme where an individual will receive training on a Way Ahead Tablet including use for several months and once they have decerned the benefits will acquire one themselves configured and supported by Way Ahead,” she explains.
Many other employees made great recommendations and we will report on others in the future. VINCI UK Foundation awarded grants to ten VINCI Construction UK charities from across the country in this year's edition of the scheme as a way of giving back to the communities we live and work in. The much-needed funding, totalling £51,530, will support the most vulnerable members of the local communities, including children, young people, people with disabilities and medical conditions in areas such as 'Promoting access to employment', 'Integration through housing', 'Inclusive mobility' and 'Building better communities in underprivileged neighbourhoods'.
"It is very heart-warming to see as many as ten charities sponsored by VINCI Construction UK being awarded the funding this year. We know that the grants will make a big difference to the charities and bring a significant improvement in the daily lives of their beneficiaries." said Joanne Mercer, Head of Organisational Development, VINCI Construction UK and VINCI Foundation Co-Ordinator.
“One of our goals at VINCI is to have a positive impact on the communities we work in – and the grants and sponsorships offered through the VINCI UK Foundation provide a tangible way for us to achieve this. Many of the charities are personal to our sponsors and it is an honour and a privilege to assist their incredible work in whatever small way we can," says Ruth Ottley, Head Coordinator for the VINCI UK Foundation.
In the first of an occasional look into people’s lives at VINCI, Barry Boxall looks back on his 30-years in the business. He shares some memories and offers some useful guidance for a good work life balance.
In sport it is often difficult to become successful, but often even harder to maintain that success and stay motivated. That’s true in business too. So, how do you stay motivated after 30-years? For Barry Boxall it is about focussing on some important Ps.
Persistence. Proactivity. Positive. Polite. Personable. Punctual. And our People.
“These Ps are important to me in so many ways,” explains Barry, who is one of the select few employees celebrating 30-years within the VINCI business this year. “But they mean nothing without an understanding and respect of the people you work with. Then if you get things right it helps you in achieving the final P on the list: profit.”
In the early 1990s Barry was Construction Manager at Crispin & Borst before it became Norwest Holst and then was acquired by VINCI. The business emerged to become the Rainham based division, Building Solutions South of VINCI Facilities. But that wasn’t where it began for Barry.
“My family were all green grocers across south London, but I wanted to do something different; something with more variety and opportunities. So on the advice of a relative, I decided to become a carpenter,” says Barry.
He left school after his O Levels (GCSEs to the younger generation) and started his training at North East Surrey College of Technology. Learning a mix of trade skills he pursued carpentry and moved onto a City & Guilds course and quickly became an apprentice at Holloway White Allom. He worked at HWA for 15-years – during which time it was acquired by John Laing – progressing through the management ranks from site to construction manager and learned to love the specialist craft skills that are seen on some of the more detailed jobs delivered by Building Solutions.
“We spent a lot of time working at the Bank of England and other clients of that quality and it was rewarding to be involved in really skilled work such as gold leaf and fibrous plaster to restore or refurbish great buildings. You felt you were part of something special,” explains Barry.
That special quality has been a constant for Barry. It held him in good stead when he moved from Holloway White Allom to Crispin & Borst. His new boss, Roger Dawe (a name some VINCI folk might recall) visited the Bank of England after interviewing Barry to assess the work there. The result was that Barry led the then Special Works team, which in time became the foundation for Building Solutions.
“Like now, our work was largely about refurbishment and improvements. I formed a great relationship with Grahame Ford and we still work together, having grown what was £2m turnover operation into something worth around £70m and still growing.” says Barry.
The exact nature of the work and the clients might have changed, but the core of the work and the principles – those Ps – remain the same. Barry still takes a pride in his teams delivering quality work. He cites the example of refurbishments of the Institute of Civil Engineers buildings in Great George Street, central London. But it isn’t all about craftmanship.
“A few years ago at the beginning of our relationship with the Ministry of Justice we were faced with some major challenges to complete a secure facility for confiscated contraband in Dover,” begins Barry. “We were up against very tight timelines and some complex detail. As a team, we focused on being proactive, positive, polite, personable, and punctual. I was on site twice a week – being persistent! It was a great team performance. We finished a job that was allocated 28-weeks inside of 17 weeks, whilst doubling in value and established a strong relationship with the client that we have all built upon successfully.”
Barry has a reputation in VINCI Facilities Building Solutions of being about the team. He is someone that lives the values of the business. His door is always open, and he puts his people first.
“Construction is so varied; it is important when you start out to keep an open mind. This industry will give you every opportunity if you choose to take it,” says Barry. “But we have to remember we all have family; we all need to stay safe and look after each other. It is important to be measured in your approach and watch and learn from others and sometimes decide it’s better ‘not to do something’ or do it another way. Most of all though, be persistent. But always do it in a nice way and be kind.”
September saw awareness and talk about the impact of human actions on our natural world rise massively. The information and what it implies for us all is daunting and not a little frightening, but as individuals, if we all take small steps such as thinking about where we our products from, reusing and recycling – we can make a difference, and we at VINCI Facilities are taking those steps as well.
On 22nd September during VINCI’s first ever Environment Day the Managing Directors of VINCI Facilities, Taylor Woodrow and Building all signed up to VINCI Group’s Environmental Ambition. This Ambition pledges to act for the climate, optimise resources through the circular economy and preserve natural environments. It’s about putting something back – a core value for VINCI, also reflected in the work of the VINCI Foundation. We also recognise that all our teams are part of this move to try and minimise our environmental impact of the services the business delivers.
This is not just a UK thing. It is part of a global effort by the VINCI Group to minimise our planetary impact. A lot of this is driven by the actions and ideas of our teams. The pandemic has not slowed down the desire to drive change and improve how we do things. There is a lot of innovation happening on a variety of technical, environmental and social fronts.
We will be showcasing the best of these ideas in the VINCI Environment Awards in 2021, where these ideas have been turned into actions and to reduce CO2 emissions, improve energy efficiency, and add resilience to the assets we manage.
In this series of blogs, we will report regularly on what VINCI is doing in terms of its pledge to act for the climate, optimise resources through the circular economy and preserve natural environments. But what’s going on elsewhere? What can we learn from around the world? VINCI operates across the globe. Here are two examples from South America.
In Columbia, through an environmental offset and reforestation programme led by Via 40 Express (VINCI Highways/VINCI Concessions) with Colombia’s National Infrastructure Agency (ANI), more than 3,388 trees have been planted since last year in the municipalities of Soacha and Sibaté, south of Bogotá. These include 1,142 oaks, black cedars and several varieties of fruit trees in a 2-hectare offset plot, and more than 2,246 trees planted under an environmental rehabilitation initiative. Furthermore, 550 school children in the municipalities skirting the Bogotá–Girardot motorway have taken the online classes on environmental topics that Via 40 Express set up in June 2020.
Then in Chile, thanks to a donation via the VINCI Foundation (part of Nuevo Pudahuel) to the TECHO Foundation, 64 families will move into new homes and leave overcrowding in order to better protect themselves from SARS-CoV-2. VINCI teams delivered the more than 2,000 food boxes to local people and witnessed overcrowding and housing issues close to the Arturo Merino Benitez Airport where VINCI Airports are working.
It’s our responsibility to support our neighbours and communities and in turn Respect & Protect the environment.
In the second part of his argument advocating a change in attitudes towards procurement, Tyron Stalberg, head of proposals for VINCI Facilities Building Solutions see the chance for the built environment to adopt a form of contract that encourages real collaboration and risk sharing.
Single stage contracting is undoubtedly the norm in the sector; and for many projects it is the best way forward. If designs and specifications are well developed; and easily understood and priced by the market it is appropriate and cost effective to procure in this way. It will continue to be the right route to market for most projects.
That said, I am seeing a slight shift in the market.
The tragedy at Grenfell and resultant Hackitt Review, Grenfell Inquiry and the draft Building Safety Bill are challenging traditional thinking particularly in respect of complex projects such as the 000’s of noncompliant buildings fitted with Aluminium Composite Material (‘ACM’) panels, timber weather boards and other combustible materials. The sector must respond quickly to these challenges and the government has made available £1.6 billion funding (in two funding pots) for the rectification of ‘ACM’ and ‘non-ACM’ clad buildings.
It is simply not possible, or acceptable to accurately specify how these buildings are to be made safe; and clients that do are likely to either pay ‘over the odds’ or fall into dispute with their contractors. Intelligent clients and framework providers are increasingly asking me what is the way forward?
The answer is simple, it must be a two-stage procurement process with ‘open book’ cost recovery. The process allows the client to identify a partner with the right experience and that understands their needs. It also enables the client to conclude matters such as levels overheads and profit at the first stage.
During the second stage, the client works with their partner to conclude issues such as design, market testing, procurement and, importantly, to manage out risks. This removes the financial ‘risk pots’ that are typically built into traditional tenders for the unknowns and risk items. When the contract commences, all parties understand the solution, the programme, and the costs.
Collaborative contracts such as PPC2000 and NEC 4 provide mechanisms for managing risks during delivery or construction. Critically, when the contract is completed, everyone knows what it cost to build and/or deliver. This is the intelligence that is lost in single stage procurement.
So where does this lead us? Well, it’s back to the form of contract. Perhaps we will see increased use in PPC2000 as this provides all the relevant processes. And why not? The form is 20-years old this year and has been used continuously and successfully by intelligent clients such as Ministry of Justice.
You can also consider a Pre-Construction Services Agree (PCSA) supported by a more traditional JCT contract. That will work too. I expect many clients and consultants to adopt such an approach over the coming six to 12 months to rectify their buildings and make them fire safe.
And some final thoughts, how many clients and consultants understand or know the following:
If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, perhaps a two-stage process will mitigate this experience. It will ultimately make more intelligent and informed clients and consultants who understand the cost of their projects. This knowledge will be beneficial for future projects.
It does require more planning and effort. It also requires thought, leadership and risk sharing. But it is worth it because you secure better outcomes, improved client satisfaction and a significantly reduced chance of disputes when the project is complete.
As we continue to navigate our way through COVID-19; and await the fall out of Brexit and the potential of recession, a collaborative, two stage approach, in my view, has to be considered?
If you are still not sure, click here to have a look at the projects in the link below as it may change your mind?
Construction, building management and FM contracts all work better when there is trust, transparency, and collaboration so it makes sense to use a procurement process that fosters that spirit. Tyron Stalberg, head of proposals for VINCI Facilities Building Solutions argues the benefits of two stage tendering.
It is over 20 years since I first became involved in construction. I was supporting a pilot project to deliver refurbishment works for a local authority and we were using a new form of contract that provided mechanisms for collaboration, risk management and understanding of costs through ‘’open book. I did not know then how much this differed from traditional procurement; and this seemed to me to be a sensible way to operate, to share risks and to understand actual construction costs.
That contract turned out to be an early version of PPC2000 and in many ways that experience has shaped the way I believe contracts should be procured and administered.
Following the launch of PPC2000, it became an increasingly popular form of contract – used extensively by social housing clients and other advocates such as the Ministry of Justice. In 2001, I led a large procurement exercise for another local authority for responsive repairs and voids utilising another draft contract form from the same suite as PPC2000 (which was published some years later as TPC2005). Again, the collaborative mechanisms in the contract made perfect sense and helped me, as the client, to manage my relationships with my two contractors. Importantly, when things got challenging, the contract always provided processes to resolve the issues and allowed me transparency of the actual cost of delivering the service. TPC2005 became a popular form of contract used across the sector.
The recession in 2008 undoubtedly contributed to a move away from collaboration and two-stage tendering. This troubled me. If we were able to collaborate and conduct open book pricing when the ‘going was good’, why wouldn’t we want to partner and understand costs when things were difficult? The market took a different view and we saw a reversion to single stage, fixed price tendering where risks were transferred to the contractor. Unsurprisingly, we saw an increase in disputes and contractors in commercial difficulties, whereas, in my view, collaborative forms of contract and relationships offered a route to avoid these outcomes.
Around this time, I became involved with the Alliance Steering Group which promotes the alliance suites of contracts that include PPC2000, TPC2005; and more recently TAC-1 and FAC-1. This group increased my exposure to the market and understanding of collaboration and alliancing. It further increased my belief that two-stage tendering should be adopted for complex projects where the stakeholders (including supply chain) work together to finalise designs and costs; and to agree solutions that benefit each of the stakeholders.
Sadly, the stronger my opinion, the less often I saw two-stage tendering as an option even considered by clients and consultants (and PPC2000 used less and less). Whilst there remained a hard core that believed the same as me; and a Government Construction Strategy that promoted collaboration through contracts published by the Alliance Steering Group and NEC, the majority of the market seemed committed to single stage, lowest price tendering and the resultant adversarial contracting and relationships.
All I could see were lose/lose circumstances where the real opportunities where never even seen; let alone considered or delivered.
Could there be a change? I’ll answer that in the second part of this blog.
Watch our video above by clicking the play button.
Being the best at health and safety is a goal every organisation aims for and VINCI Facilities has reached a new RoSPA validated level. Somchai Morrissey, Compliance Manager at VINCI Facilities explains why the RoSPA President’s Award is so special.
VINCI Facilities prides itself on its health and safety record. That’s one of the reasons we have embraced the philosophy of THINK AGAIN so well. It is also why we seek out confirmation of our health and safety performance through validation, like the Achievement Awards Category organised by RoSPA – Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents – each year.
We enter each year and for the past ten years VINCI Facilities has won. What does that mean? Two things.
RoSPA is one of the most recognised health and safety third party bodies within the industry and one of the longest running too: it was established in 1956. The RoSPA Health & Safety Awards offer organisations such as VINCI Facilities a prime opportunity to benchmark safety performance year on year and ensure consistent performance between sites, projects, sectors and division. It also provides an effective route to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to raising health and safety standards within our organisation. That’s why we are so proud to be recognised year in, year out.
The second thing it means is that because of our consistency we have reached a new level. Previously we were at a gold standard – because the Gold Medal is given to organisations achieving a level of excellence for 5-9 years. Now, VINCI Facilities is beyond that. Gold is good, but now we’ve achieved the President’s Award, which we received this year and is for 10-14 consecutive Gold Awards.
To celebrate this milestone achievement, we have created a video which sees our senior management teams and projects ‘passing the success’ of our RoSPA President Certificate. You can watch our video above.
We take a special pride in securing the “Occupational Health & Safety” category as it reflects more closely what goes on in our business. It recognises an organisations overall health and safety performance, policies and procedures – something that is encapsulated in THINK AGAIN.
Why do we enter each year? We want to show our own people that we are not just achieving high standards, but the best standard amongst our peers. It is a reward for everyone’s commitment to best practice health and safety performance, policies, procedures and behaviours. It is a validation to all of our stakeholders that we pursue a moral and ethical approach to health and safety.
THINK AGAIN is over a year old now and what was a new approach to health, safety and quality should be second nature. Daren Irvin, Head of HSEQ for VINCI Facilities explains how it is working out.
THINK AGAIN is all about changing our behaviours. That’s the trick to affecting real, long lasting change in anyone and any organisation.
When we launched THINK AGAIN we had to acknowledge that people don’t change just because they’re told to. It’s tempting to ignore rules that don’t make sense or seem to get in the way. People need to understand why rules are important. That means all of us need to see our managers leading the way – because if leaders ignore the rules, why should anyone else bother? So, at the root of THINK AGAIN is a framework of essential behaviours for supervisors, managers, and leaders to make sure everyone is pulling together and sending the right message.
Can you remember the six essential behaviours?
So far so good. But if this is all about behaviours how do you know it is working? After all, if we do THINK AGAIN right then it should be second nature – in theory you should not necessarily be aware you are even doing it (if we’ve trained people right!). Well, ask around your teams and I think you will find examples where the concept of THINK AGAIN is having an important impact.
One I want to share features Terry Clarke, a site manager for Building Solutions (the specialist building and refurbishment arm of VINCI Facilities) on a hangar refurbishment at Cambridge Airport. The work involved a contract lift using a crane hire company to lift some structural steelwork into place. The lift was planned, the crane company supplied their RAMS and load calculations, which were approved, and the lift set for a Friday.
When the crane arrived, Terry used the principles of THINK AGAIN and decided to check that the crane company was using the matts to safely spread the load that they had stipulated in their RAMS.
The matts supplied on the day did not match the specification in the RAMS. Terry stopped the works, despite the assurance from the crane operator that the matts were safe. Instead Terry insisted that the work was didn’t go ahead until the correctly specified matts were used – even though this delayed the job.
Terry put health & safety before the financial and operational impacts and despite the delay and associated costs, was rewarded for his intervention and application of the principles of THINK AGAIN by winning the monthly H&S excellence award. He was awarded with a certificate and commendation from Tony Raikes (Managing Director of VINCI Facilities), making it clear to all that H&S will always be our number one priority and all our people are empowered to THINK AGAIN and take personal ownership of H&S.
It is worth checking what Terry did against the THINK AGAIN behaviours listed earlier. Terry did the following –
THINK AGAIN is working because we know that we rely upon each other. These behaviours underpin safe and efficient FM. It’s about acknowledging that we’re greater than the sum of our parts. It is what we mean by health & safety in our hands.
Over the past few months, with the world facing the COVID19 Pandemic, I have experienced two stories being told simultaneously.
One is that we had to pause on certain activities because people needed to focus on steering their projects through the uncertain waters of COVID19. There was neither the headspace nor the time available to consider how we could possibly embark on improvement projects during this time.
The second one though, paradoxically, is a story of change. Accelerated driven by necessity rather than a desire to improve. I have seen my colleagues challenge traditional and established methods of working and site practices so that they could continue to deliver their projects to our customer.
I have seen a shift from a desire to embrace digital working practices, to a need to do so. I dare say it was essential for us all to make these changes for us to carry on with any semblance of a "normal" life.
This change was not just limited to the workplace. At home my children, who are both due to start high school in September, have had their induction days and met their new form teachers through a Zoom meeting. Rather than meeting with their friends at the park, they were meeting with them on FaceTime calls - to the extent that on occasions it felt like we had 20 children in our house all talking, playing games and laughing with one another. Our Echo Show became the way that they could see their Grandparents, online shopping went from just groceries to virtually everything. The way we lived our "normal" lives changed.
Our Digital Skills have been maturing for several years, and more and more work was being carried out digitally - but it was somewhat sporadic in its nature. There were some who made use of the tools they needed for their day to day activities (such as logging orders in the CAFM, or the ubiquitous spreadsheets and PowerPoints) but hadn't ventured into the space where they took a "Digital First" approach. The tools were useful, but they were point solutions, used for a single purpose or range of purposes. Then there were the digital innovators, those who were starting to join the dots between systems and push the boundaries of what they were using the tools for.
At the onset of the pandemic we had to shift a large proportion of our work to a Digital First approach, even on projects where our teams continued to deliver their services, they were limited as to the number of people they could have on site, and so we were faced with the challenge of creating a digital environment in which our teams could stay connected with one another, communicate and collaborate with one another.
Microsoft 365 has played a significant part in these recent activities.
We have been using the Microsoft Suite of tools for many years, but many of us had been using the traditional desktop-based applications, with files stored on network drives. Collaborating on a document meant creating a document, sending it to multiple users to update, then merging their changes once you got them all back. Meetings were generally "in person first", with business travel and time lost to traffic a common feature, and those who "dialed in" to a meeting had a less than satisfactory experience. Email was the predominant communication tool, with long threads and "reply to all" a common occurrence. I would not decry these approaches - they worked, and worked well, for many of us for a long time, mainly because that was really the only way we could do it.
With the new "Digital First" approach, though, these tools and methods were outdated and so we have spent a lot of time introducing new tools, and perhaps more importantly, a demonstration of the specific application of these tools. Afterall, what good is a fancy new tool if you have no idea how it will work for you? What makes it better than the way you've been doing it? Why invest the time to learn this new approach?
And so, over the past few months we have deployed MS Teams to all everyone in VINCI Facilities, with everyone able to make use of the enhanced audio / visual features that it offers over Skype. We are also working through our Business Units to set up Teams for each of our Sectors, bringing together everyone in their respective sector with a space to communicate (using the Posts & Chat functions), coordinate (using Microsoft Planner & To Do tools) and collaborate (using Whiteboard and the office suite - Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.).
We have spent time working with our operational colleagues to show them how they can make use of the tools and what the benefits are to them, all the while trying to manage the apprehension that change brings with it and supporting them (remotely) through this change. We have taken a three-pronged approach to this support
It was also important to challenge some of the beliefs that existed, and in fact that I also harboured - "You can't run a workshop remotely!", "You can't hold a one to one over a video call!"; well the truth is, I could do those things, and more besides. And it may not be right for every situation, but it worked an absolute treat for some.
What does the future look like? I suppose the answer to that is "whatever we want it to"; it is not written and we each have the ability to influence what it looks like - and my hope is that by helping my colleagues see the benefit of these digital collaboration tools that I can help them and the business to define what the new normal looks like. A hybrid of remote, "Digital First" working and, when we can, the delights of working together, in person. We have the ingredients we need to make something incredible, and I don’t think we're far off perfecting the recipe - the future is definitely bright.
Our Head Office in Astral House reopened on the 1 June. Does that mean lockdown is over? Michelle Newey, Senior Marketing and Communications Advisor at VINCI Facilities tells her story of returning to a different working life.
It’s been more than three months since lockdown began 23 March and many of us were asked to work from home. For some of us, that was an easy change to make – some people have occasionally worked from home for 1-2 days per week – but never have people been instructed to work full time from home before. What made it stranger was we had no end date. Added together this has had a huge impact on our mental wellbeing.
For some of us it has been juggling childcare, homeschooling as part of our working day or simply getting used to our new environment at our dining room tables, or even the garden. But as the arrangement has gone on, it has meant that for many employees the idea of a return to work has become more and more important.
Whilst the first few weeks I slowly adapted to the new working from home life, I couldn’t have imagined myself going back to the Head Office and thought this really suited me. However, after a huge amount of Teams calls, and moving my ‘office’ environment to my second bedroom to mix things up following my partner going back to his work office, I slowly found my concentration levels deteriorating. Not seeing anyone in real life for three months, apart from my partner, and the occasional family member, my anxiety was starting to creep up on me and I was being to feel very lonely.
So, when we heard about the option to return to work my mood instantly changed. The thought of social interaction with my work family made me incredibly excited and being able to talk to people who I don’t usually speak to.
Having returned a few weeks ago, our facilities team have done an incredible job turning our environment into a safe one. Hand sanitizers, 2m stickers and ensuring a one-way system is in place including a one-person occupancy in all toilets. In a way it feels incredibly ‘normal’. With a new booking system in place, we’re reassured that there is a maximum number of people allowed in our building at any one time.
Even during this pandemic, we have seen new starters arrive to the business! But we also have to consider how they must be feeling with starting a new job during this time when most people are at home. It’s certainly not the usual introduction we are used to. Meeting people for the first time over video calls must be incredibly daunting, whilst understanding a new role yourself, with no one physically around you. So, it’s great that we have a Group Health and Wellbeing Team who offer great services in mental health and wellbeing, to help with all kinds of emotion.
What has been most important is the same level of support VINCI Facilities has provided across the business, whilst we are encouraged to slowly return to our offices, there is no added pressure to do so. It must be right for everyone, depending on their circumstance as like any company they have a duty of care to its employees. That also means that the flexibility can shift again – no one is rushing the return to work. Whilst a 10% capacity rule was first introduced, this has slowly been lifted to 20% and will eventually be increased to 50% with the approval of a line manager if an employee wants to return to the office. But we need to be aware that the pace of opening our workplace is going to reflect the consensus around the virus, local infection rates and Government guidelines. VINCI Facilities always adheres to its values and it has gone above and beyond during this time that we will hopefully never have to deal with again.
VINCI Facilities is aiming to deliver its services and try to be as sustainable as possible. One way we are doing this is by cutting back on how much plastic we use. Plastic Free July is an annual campaign that reminds us all about reducing how much single-use plastic is wasted. Ashleigh Taylor, Environmental Manager at VINCI Facilities explains.
As part of its environmental commitments and drive to improve sustainability, VINCI Facilities is backing Plastic Free July, an initiative from the Plastic Free Foundation which provides resources and ideas to help you (and millions of others around the world) reduce single-use plastic waste every day at home, work, school, and even at your local café. It’s an initiative which VINCI Facilities encourages all staff to get involved with, not just in July but the whole year through.
During last year’s Plastic Free July, VINCI Facilities launched its Single Use Plastic Reduction Commitment and the MYPledge campaign. The goal is to demonstrate our commitment to continually minimise our environmental impact, through promoting a culture of continuous improvement and by integrating the principles of environmental sustainability into all our activities.
The MYPledge campaign is all about members of the VINCI Facilities teams pledging to reduce their own single-use plastic consumption. This is done by simply choosing a preselected pledge. It might be to commit to using a reusable water bottle or coffee cup, to not use single-use plastic straws, carrier bags, cling film or disposable cutlery; or they can make their own custom pledge. The aim of the campaign is to ‘empower our workforce to become single-use plastic free; focusing on the difference an individual can make and allowing our people to lead the change’.
In the first year, MYPledge received a massive 369 Pledges from employees across the business who are passionate about reducing single use plastic!
The first 100 pledgers received a 4Oceans bracelet. The purchase of each one funded the removal of 1lb of plastic waste from the ocean (total 100lbs / 45kg). That’s in addition to all the single use plastic eliminated from everyone making and fulfilling their pledges.
In recent months, for people to feel safe and protected during the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a huge increase in the use of disposable masks/coverings, gloves, eating utensils and individually packaged food. A huge increase in single use plastic entering the waste system and our environment.
However, we shouldn't lose sight of the longer-term sustainability goals. We need to continue to be aware of our impact, look for alternatives where possible, ensure we responsibly discard of disposable products and manage this increase in single use plastic waste to prevent it escaping into our rivers, oceans and countryside.
The current increase in single-use plastics is understandable, but we also need to Respect & Protect our planet's long-term health. We must continue to educate and set the example, so we can stop seeing images such as the recent mountains of litter left on our beaches and in our parks.
So please do get involved, any way you can and share your ideas and suggestions on social medial using the hast tag #plasticfreejuly.
COVID19 has represented challenges on every level to all of our people, customers and their end users but as far as possible, within social distancing guidelines, our business continued to deliver essential services. To make sure we do this properly our back-office teams – most of whom have been working from home – have had to come up with solutions so that the offices and sites that needed to open could do so safely.
Everything needs to be kept clean and personal. So, touchscreens and tablets are the order of the day for the operations and commercial teams on site. We are in close contact with everyone, including the clients and it is nearly all done via Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Depending on the client we use a different system to make sure they see exactly what is going on so they can approve handovers remotely from a photograph or video.
There is some site work we cannot do, but there is a lot that our teams have been able to focus on and deliver during the lockdown. That’s been particularly true in Building Solutions. Our teams working for clients who simply rely on VINCI to deliver core services and maintain business continuity. That means proving support services, maintenance and building works that support public sector services across the judiciary, prison system and the nation’s defence capability.
Our people have done everything from complete and handover a reservoir refurbishment and renewal to re-roofing a regional crown court. All of the work had to be done to a tight schedule and adhere to the Government’s approved Standard Operating Procedures as advised by the Construction leadership Council and Build UK.
The Building Solutions team in the east have been busy improving one of the major hangars for one of the UK’s independent aircraft maintenance, modification and design companies. Again, the impact of the virus has presented some issues. The Team have worked hard to implement a Covid19 regime on site and have worked closely with VINCI’s health, safety, quality and environment team to implement a socially distanced regime.
Repairs, upgrades, and maintenance have also carried on across our social housing projects and at Sandwell, now in its 15th year has continued unabated and has been keeping our workforce busy delivering lots of external and void works.
A fifteen-year relationship is worth celebrating and here, Matt Hickman, VINCI Facilities Building Solutions client relationship manager, picks out some highlights from VINCI’s partnership with Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.
Trust is at the heart of all great relationships. It gives the partners in that relationship confidence, faith and often an inbuilt intuition that the right outcomes will be reached. That’s what VINCI Facilities shares with Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. We are now into the fifteenth year of our partnership – having worked on around 20,000 properties across their social housing portfolio across the West Midlands.
Almost all of the work has been focused on improving the lives of Sandwell’s tenants – making them warmer, cutting CO2 and reducing bills – but what we do goes beyond just someone’s home. Something that we have shared with the council is a commitment to the whole community. That’s why since 2005 – seven years before the Social Value Act came into legislation, there has been an absolute focus on putting local people first.
One of the best things we have done is make sure we have used local sub-contractors, local labour, and sourced materials from as close as we can to Sandwell. We have also set up apprenticeship schemes, delivered outreach to schools and promoted the building industry and FM as a career choice. We estimate that we have worked with around 1,300 sub-contractor employees, trained 330 people, engaged with over 12,000 young people through various events and invested around £145m (or around 60% of the contract value) with local SMEs within 30-miles of the project.
It’s personal too. It is engrained in the culture of our people. That’s why our teams have given up around 3,500 hours of time to community volunteering – around £200k worth of man-hours.
That attitude is reflected in the way core services are delivered too. One example is how our teams worked closely with tenants to prepare for external wall insulation works to about 350 properties. We held pre-start tenant consultations, attending local council meetings, and issued fortnightly newsletters. We made a point of being accessible, open, and making time to explain what we were doing and why. The end result for the council was a 94% tenant satisfaction score and the project being completed on time, trouble-free and under budget with the OFGEM calculated carbon savings totalling 11,070 tonnes of CO2.
For us though, one of the best results was a personal letter from a tenant. They were so pleased with the end result and the professional approach they said it felt like a new home.
We are proud of our 15-year relationship with Sandwell MBC. It goes much further than a contractual partnership between building solutions services provider and local authority customer. It is about a trust between all of the stakeholders and a commitment to local people.
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, the FM industry will help lead the way in getting its organisations and contracts back to reopening its offices in what will be considered the new ‘normal’.
VINCI Facilities’ four phased ‘Working Safely….Together’ guide, sets out steps to consider when assessing the adaptions and changes to your working environment, focusing on the health and safety and wellbeing of all.
The four phased approach will follow:
The document is aligned to Government guidelines, providing a detailed plan in response following the work already completed to comply with the new operating procedures throughout this pandemic. This measured and coordinated approach will mitigate risk and assist in reopening safely across the built environment.
Read our guidance here.
The Earth’s biodiversity is currently threatened like never before. Yet healthy and biodiverse ecosystems provide a wide range of benefits that support our economic and social wellbeing.
2020 was shaping up to be a good year for the development and enhancement of global policy on biodiversity, especially with 2020 concluding the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed this year’s packed schedule of international meetings and negotiations, including the COP26 Climate Change Conference which was scheduled to be held in Glasgow this November.
Yet even during this challenging time, we at VINCI Facilities haven’t lost focus on biodiversity and tackling climate change. We have continued to develop guidance documents and strategies, so we achieve VINCI Groups ambitious environmental strategy to improve our environmental performance in three areas: greenhouse gas emissions, resource preservation by developing the circular economy and conservation of natural environments.
We strive to continuously offer or include solutions with environmental value added to our customers, at our work places and at home. As we recognise that economic and social development is simply not sustainable if it is achieved by diminishing biodiversity. Biodiversity is vital for our health and fundamental to the prosperity of future generations.
Read our Biodiversity Guidance document here.
Social distancing has changed everyone’s life but if you are serving a community it means you can’t interact with your end users. Steve Pearce, Building Solutions South operations manager on Peabody, Camden, Guinness, and Sanctuary Housing explains what that means in practice.
During COVID19 social distancing rules have meant we have had to change how we think and how we manage everything. If there is one thing that stands out, then it is stopping all the work we do inside of residents’ homes. Site Operating Procedures (SOPs) forbids it. But what we can do, following guidance from Government, BuildUK, HSE and the VINCI Health Safety Environment and Quality team is carry on with external works.
Towards the end of April, we had ten sites open with our teams working extremely hard to do what they could and still abide by the SOP rules. Those rules go beyond the site work that we must plan. We need to consider how our people travel to work and think about the impact and perception of how we move and deliver materials too. Thankfully, we have had superb support from the supply chain.
All of this relies on good communication. As well as daily briefings with suppliers, we are in constant liaison with our clients and we talk twice a week with directors and the senior team as well as our 41 residential team members. It’s nearly all done via Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams and one thing that is going well is a client WhatsApp group through we which we show videos and images of completed works. Many of the clients are working from home, but they need to see what we are doing via this daily diary. It allows them to sign off works and to continue with the payment process.
Despite everything it has gone well. Morale is good and our people want to be busy. It’s great that we can show the clients exactly what’s occurring and they recognise we are doing a lot in difficult circumstances. We need to be here for the client and residents in these tough times and we also need to look ahead too.
There are three more sites we want to mobilise and hopefully some new contracts being tendered too. It’s important for the industry and our customers that people see that VINCI Facilities Building Solutions is a strong company that’s still open for business. What we are doing is safe, adding value and means we are on top form and ready for when we come out of this to help our clients and end users.
Through the VINCI Foundation the team at VINCI Facilities has arranged for over £50,000 of support to go to charities and non-profit making organisations in areas where the business is working.
From London to Lincoln, Wycombe to Wolverhampton our teams have been working with the VINCI Foundation team to allocate the money channelled from the VINCI Group.
COVID19 has brought the best out of many parts of UK society and one of the best things is to see how communities have pulled together to help the less fortunate. That is one of the core values behind the work of the VINCI Foundation: to act as a partner to the communities that are affected by what the business builds, equips and maintains.
Normally the work of the Foundation is to fight social exclusion by purchasing tangible goods and offering the skills of employees to good causes – but during COVID19 that rule was suspended. In late April VINCI made €10m available to help not-for-profit organisations in the fight against COVID-19: €400k of these funds had been allocated to the VINCI UK Foundation. Less than a week after opening the applications process, the VINCI UK Foundation was overwhelmed with responses and received over 170 submissions – by late May around £350k of donations were made.
It is unfair to pick out different parts of the business or individuals because right across VINCI Facilities there is a tremendous commitment to do the right thing. Good works supporting communities has been occurring with and without funds from the VINCI Foundation. But to illustrate the benefit of your work it is worth picking out two or three examples.
Wycombe Homeless Connection received £2,572.50 to help them in their aim to ensure no one is made homeless during the pandemic and to continue to support everyone who needs food, clothing, and hygiene equipment. Our teams picked out a number of schools and one of them, that gained £5,000 is the De La Salle School where the money was used to support schooling of the children of key workers as well as technology to help with online learning platforms for other students at home. Not all students have access to the required technology – particularly disadvantaged children. This is where VINCI’s money is aimed, providing laptops and 4G Wi-Fi dongles.
Our hospitals are at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic and staff are working tirelessly in dangerous and increasingly difficult circumstances to continue caring for our local community. £22,000 – one of the largest donations – was provide via the University Hospitals Birmingham Charity for general patient and staff welfare, hoping to give them respite in ‘Wobble Rooms’ as their teams battle Covid 19. Around £1,000 per room across 20 rooms is going to provide new seating, coffee machine, fridge, radio and other items to help find some ‘space’ during the crisis.
None of this could happen without the ideas, energy, and support of VINCI Facilities teams. So, thank you to all of you for your hard work
VINCI Facilities teams are working at eleven hospitals across the UK doing exceptional work providing critical support for the NHS in its response to COVID-19. Louise Jackson, has been a Facilities Manager for VINCI Facilities for over 10 years, previously working at High Wycombe, Amersham and Henley hospitals, but now leads the VINCI Facilities team at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Woolwich, she told us about what they are dealing with right now.
Like everyone, once the UK went into lockdown everything changed. Our immediate task was to look forward: to prepare for the peak of admissions being predicted.
We found ourselves doing everything from installing new walls to plumbing in and fitting extra washing machines and tumble dryers for site staff. A great example is how we coped with fitting over 100 doors across three floors and the A&E department over a weekend and liaising with police and local government, plus the Port of London Authority to allow the lorry to actually deliver the doors let alone install them.
The main operational change has been a move to the business continuity plan. It’s more important than ever that we work around the clinical teams: all the wards are open, but no-one is meant to be in the hospital corridors except site teams, doctors, and nurses.
None of this is normal, but we make the best of it. We start with coffee mornings at 8am; maybe a bit of PE with Joe Wicks One of the best things is we are talking to each other more than ever. The motto is: Be Kind & Be Safe.
We need that resilience because there are things, we are doing that really are mission critical. For example, the oxygen infrastructure at QEH has been under enormous demand, supplying critical oxygen around the hospital. But due to the increase in patient numbers and specific need for increased oxygen flow rates the external pipework had started to freeze over. Under normal circumstances we would be reviewing this pipework on a daily basis, as part of our normal checks; but due to this increase in demand the system needed constant review. Our engineering team designed and installed a de-icing station to ensure that the pipework never freezes over.
One of the many positives is that the NHS Trust is seeing a different side to VINCI Facilities. We work well with them anyway, but the shared response to COVID 19 means it’s more than just a PFI job. It’s obvious we are an embedded partner and the feedback from the client team has reinforced that.
It looks like we made it through the peak. But we are not slowing down. It means checks, checks and constantly reviewing stock levels. It also means we need to look out for each other – our mental health first aider is busy; her room is often booked out.
We need to be brave. Work as a team and focus on the job. It isn’t normal, but we are good at adapting.
VINCI Facilities has put in place a sustainable procurement strategy that will align our processes with ISO 20400 standard. Part of this is a commitment to fair and efficient dealings with our supply chain.
Strong relationships with trusted supply chain partners are essential to VINCI’s operations, and we’ve focused on developing a supply chain management strategy that works for our suppliers as much as ourselves. Mutual trust is essential. We need to know our suppliers are qualified, compliant, reliable, and suited to the way we work. Our suppliers need to know we will deal with them efficiently and on fair terms.
As proof of our commitment to fairness, VINCI has been named by Build UK as one of only two major contractors to pay their bills in under 30 days (our average settlement time is 26 days). In fact, we have detailed all of our commitments to our suppliers and customers in a commitment’s brochure, which we launched at our inaugural Supply Chain Awards in November.
There are three key parts to the supply chain strategy.
First, we work year on year to improve the agreements that we have in place with our preferred material suppliers. We negotiate to ensure that our suppliers get a great deal while we get great value from our material spend.
Second, we have streamlined the process of searching for suppliers via our iPortal. We have improved its functionality to make it easier and quicker to monitor compliance and carry out prequalification checks. This saves everyone time and effort, and ensures we engage with the suppliers who are the best fit for our business. It also reduces risk for all parties.
Third, we have compiled preferred or strategic supply chain lists that are kept continuously updated. We’ve made it easy for every part of the business to search for the supplier they need, with no time wasted in checks that have already been made centrally.
This works both ways too. The strategy is all about a partnership and generating conversations up and down the supply chain so that everyone has the capability, capacity and drive work with VINCI. The end goal is for us to be easy and fair to work with. The way we behave means we are able to work with the best suppliers, the best teams and then develop the best terms and conditions. This all adds up to a solution that guarantees capacity in the supply and consistent service levels. It means we can do what we do best: delight our customers and give their end users what they demand.
Our formalised approach to relationship management delivers real benefit to our supply chain as well as our business and operational teams. Our partnership approach allows us to work jointly with our suppliers to jointly improve performance.
The construction sector faces two major people-related problems that are seriously impeding growth and future prospects. The first is the skills gap – the lack of suitably trained and qualified recruits entering the industry. The second is an issue shared by the whole UK economy – low productivity, arising in part from lack of engagement.
To put it another way, the sector as a whole is not doing enough to make careers in construction attractive, or make employees feel valued and motivated.
This is the driving force behind the new People Matter Charter, which was launched in January by the Supply Chain School. It’s a way for construction and facilities management companies to show that we take the wellbeing of our staff seriously. It’s about the way we engage with and treat people in general – including our suppliers and everyone who works with us. And it’s a way to show prospective recruits that they can expect to be respected and supported in their new career.
Low employee engagement – people feeling unmotivated and disconnected from their organisation and its goals – is an ongoing blight on the UK economy. It’s so serious that employee engagement was considered the top challenge for HR teams in 2019.
At VINCI, people have always been at the heart of our operations. We have worked hard to ensure our people feel valued and cared for. As a result, our engagement score has steadily climbed – in our most recent employee engagement survey, we scored 86%, compared to 48% among UK workers overall (Qualtrics).
We are equally concerned with the future of our industry. A large pool of well-trained, highly motivated people who love their jobs and want to progress benefits everyone. This is why VINCI Construction UK chose to work alongside the Supply Chain School – an industry-wide collaboration between clients, contractors and suppliers interested in developing the skills of their supply chains.
As a Supply Chain School Partner, we worked with the school to explore ways of encouraging organisations to treat their people responsibly. Manish Tailor, a supply chain manager in our Taylor Woodrow division, was instrumental in developing the People Matter Charter – and we were the first major construction company to sign up.
Signatories to the charter are expected to embrace eight commitments, covering areas such as equality, diversity and inclusion, skills and training, and fair pay. Ticking boxes won’t do. Organisations must demonstrate that they are doing what they claim, or actively progressing towards their goals.
Workplace expert Acas, which also contributed to the development of the charter, comments: “Effective people management is the key to strong productive workplaces. The new People Matter Charter will give employers confidence, skills, and the reputation to attract and keep the best talent in British construction. The charter will help organisations in construction to continue to grow and meet ambitions on the world stage.”
For VINCI, the charter is helping us to formalise our people-centred approach, providing a strategic focus for our wellbeing and personal development programmes.
It’s a path we hope the industry as a whole will follow. As one of our senior account managers puts it: “Only by demonstrating the highest ethical standards of employment can we expect to recruit, train and retain the workforce the construction sector needs for the future.”
In the last few years there has been a major change in perceptions of social value and how it is delivered in service contracts. The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 has been given sharper teeth, with central government officials now required to ‘evaluate’ social value in major procurements, not just ‘consider’ it as previously. Many local authority and private sector clients are following the government’s lead and are making serious efforts to address social value in their procurement decisions.
The facilities management industry is responding, with major players building their own social value frameworks and working with their stakeholders to ensure meaningful social value is delivered through their contracts.
But contractors and clients alike face one big problem. How do you measure social value?
According to Social Value UK, it’s the value that people place on the changes they experience in their lives. That’s not an easy thing to quantify. It requires a methodology that measures relevant factors in order to produce meaningful results.
VINCI Facilities took an early lead, developing a social value framework with a sophisticated approach to measuring and reporting the social value we generate. We were the first to cast our net wide, incorporating data such as local deprivation indexes and social return on investment reports to provide a realistic picture of our contribution to the wellbeing of the communities where we operate.
But in this fast-moving business no one can afford to rest on their laurels. We’ll be reviewing and updating our framework annually, making sure our methodology remains up to date and relevant. For example, some of the weightings we use are based on factors that change over time, such as poverty levels, educational attainment and access to healthcare. We’ll ensure that our social value calculations remain relevant to the local communities we serve.
We’ve also broadened the scope of our framework. There is growing recognition of the role played by the environment in wellbeing – in the UK Green Building Council’s Social Value in New Development report, for example, health, wellbeing and the environment are identified as a key factor in social value outcomes and opportunities. We will now be including data on ways we improve the environment, such as through planting trees or cutting down on waste. We’ll also include actions we take to benefit society as a whole, by saving water or reducing carbon emissions, for instance.
In addition, we’re including the social value delivered through our supply chain. Examples include local sourcing of materials and products, engaging small local contractors and using social enterprises. Social enterprises are companies that reinvest their profits back into their communities. A report from Social Enterprise UK claims the sector is large and growing, employing around two million employees and contributing £60 billion to the UK economy.
Watch this space for further developments.
As we enter our fifth year of the VINCI Facilities Recognition Awards Programme, which acknowledges the hard work our employees and teams do in order for the business to achieve its yearly targets and objectives. The winners in each of their categories for 2019 are…….
Performance Excellence Winners – This award looks for people who go the extra mile to deliver a role or outcome well, using innovation or consistently delivering above targets.
Juliana Vumbi – Cleaner (FM)
Adam Austin – Mobile Repair Technician (FM)
Maxine Igbinedion – Resident Liaison Officer (Building Solutions)
Richard Thompson – Analyst (FM)
David Hayden & Steve Ryde-Weller – Facilities Assistants (FM)
Monica Davis – Receptionist (FM)
Lee Shaw – Mobile Repair Technician (FM)
Debbie Cartwright – Receptionist (FM)
Steve Deary & Gareth Lammas – Carpenter & Working Supervisor (Building Solutions)
Amanda Breen – Facilities Manager (FM)
Lee McKenna – Mobile Repair Technician (FM)
Scott Frost – Site Manager (Building Solutions)
Customer Service Winners - An act or deliverable that results in demonstrating VINCI Facilities’ commitment to client service excellence.
Ben Oteng-Tabi –Technical Apprentice (Building Solutions)
Julie Tivey – Receptionist (FM)
Oliver Wilkinson – Mechanical Engineer (FM)
Jane Hickton – Caretaker (FM)
Croydon Oasis Academy FM Team (FM)
Stuart O'Connell – Mobile Repair Technician (FM)
Scott Vallins – Mobile Repair Technician (FM)
Darryl Trigg – Shift Manager (FM)
Claire Murphy – Customer Service Representative (FM)
Carla Lagoas – Cleaning Supervisor (FM)
Leanne Boxall – Assistant Quantity Surveyor (Building Solutions)
Melissa Ormrod – Maintenance Supervisor (FM)
Improving Efficiency Winners - A process improvement or suggestion that leads to a cost saving, time saving or a better way of working.
Asif Bangue – Sector Procurement Manager (FM)
Simon Lock – Mobile Cleaner (FM)
Jonas Smith & Katie Beese – Security Supervisor / Security Officer (FM)
Robin Moseley – Programme Manager (Central)
Hangar 10 Team (Building Solutions)
Ewa Mistak & Andy King – Quality & Performance Manager and Supervisor (FM)
Thomas Edwards – Data Analyst (FM)
Karl Healy – Quantity Surveyor (Building Solutions)
Philip Daly – Site Manager (Building Solutions)
Ian Ross – Senior Commercial Manager (FM)
Team Performance Winners - Where a team works well to deliver excellence in client service, improve efficiency, innovation or excellence in performance.
Mechanical Engineering Team, Tata Steel (FM)
Swindon Police Maintenance Team (FM)
Cathays Park Welsh Government Cardiff Cleaning Team (FM)
Middlesex Street Team (Building Solutions)
Northern MRT Team (FM)
Callum Beattie, Len Baldwin, Robert Gooch, Chris Matthews - Site Manager, Snr Contracts Manager, Working Supervisor, Quantity Surveyor (FM)
Luke Cooper, David Wilson, Kevin Faux, Ray Massey and Kevin McDonald – Mobile Repair Technician's – FM
Jason Bloomfield, Jack Pickering, David Correa – Technical Services Manager, Facilities Coordinator, Supervisor
Terry Winter, Terry Brown, Vicki Whitlam – Contracts Manager, Site Manager, Resident Liaison Manager – FM
Trostre Mechanical Engineering Team
Bradfield School Team – FM
Whiston FM and Helpdesk Team – FM
East Midlands Railway 100 Day Cleaning Team – FM
Leanne Butlin, Luke Pardoe, Ben Oteng-Tabi, Steve Buckingham – Building Solutions
PRUH Electrical Team – FM
Living the VINCI Values - Where an individual consistently demonstrates 2 or more of the VINCI values in their day to day work; operating at a level that impacts on customers and clients alike.
Adriano Montana – Facilities Manager – FM
Portia Mayar – Helpdesk Administrator – FM
Eire & NI MRT Team – Mobile Repair Technicians – FM
Dave Hounslow – Fabric Technician – FM
Sue Wells – Business Support Assistant – FM
Tina Dalton – Planning Co-ordinator – FM
Mark Mackrill – Building Services Technician – FM
Ashley Perkins – Mobile Repair Technician – FM
Ken Trimmings – Mechanical Technician – FM
Laura Richards – Porter – FM
Terry Lapins – Carpenter – Building Solutions
Martin Cutler – Facilities Manager – FM
Excellence in Safety – This awards looks to identify where an individual has exceled at demonstrating, delivering and improving our health and safety performance.
Rebecca Fordham – Receptionist – FM
Jackie Westwood – Receptionist – FM
Marc Ros & Matej Horvat – On site Maintenance Team – FM
Mark Newman – Mobile Repair Technician – FM
Simon Buckles – Engineering Supervisor – FM
Glenn Webster – Mobile Repair Technician – FM
Science & Technology Facilities Council Team
Jacob Bruce – Trainee Site Manager – Building Solutions
Alex Merrett – Assistant Facilities Manager – FM
Gareth Nurden – Site Caretaker – FM
Mercedes-Benz Tongwell Team – FM
A BIG well done to all of our winners, there has been an exciting change to the structure of 2020’s Awards Programme so keep an eye out for more information.
Talk to anyone in FM about how to deliver services the best way possible and there will be many answers, but the most consistent theme is collaboration. The idea is that working as partners with the client team and the wider supply team means there will be shared values, honesty and transparency about costs and a focus on an end goal – which if done right will be about outcomes that benefit end users.
This should be a given. For us at VINCI it is a core value. But none of it works unless there is complete trust. Without the right level of trust – which in the best collaborative partnerships must be absolute – there are consequences.
Get it right and trust reduces uncertainty. It is reliant on a proven track record, which involves admission of mistakes and shared learning as well as drawing on best practice and success stories. This is vital for ensuring that a business relationship functions properly. Mixed in with this is a basic human instinct – caring for others. We often talk about business responsibility, a lot of which is wrapped up in sound commercial practices. But at its heart it is about having a decent moral compass; ethical FM. It is about concern for others and awareness of the impact one’s actions might have. It is acknowledging that everyone has ‘skin in the game’ and respecting that.
Trust means sharing a sense of purpose and intuitively knowing there is a dependence upon each other, which in turn gives a reassurance that each other has the others back – feeling safe when vulnerable.
However, get this wrong and the reverse is true. A lack of trust, a lack of respect and not sharing values will engender a feeling of resentment, one-upmanship, and generally negative thoughts. That lack of trust generates a competitive, adversarial atmosphere. It leads to a price-oriented culture that is obsessed by outputs and has little regard for the end users.
This negativity is exactly what the built environment supply chain has been struggling to move away from for over twenty years. Enlightened organisations with clear sets of values and developed culture are in a strong position to move forward. Those that are not will not see margins and performance fall, there will be a drain on time and resources up and down the supply chain, customers will lose faith in the process and in time the situation shifts to an argument rooted in procurement process and contractual disputes and often ends up with job losses and reputational damage.
In any form of relationship trust is a good thing. Trust each other and good things happen. For the facilities and support services sector trust helps deliver services efficiently and effectively, increase workload, sustain margin, enhance reputation and position trusted partners as experts with the wider team regarded as a centre of excellence.
Trust has consequences. Get it right the consequence is that everybody wins.
Generally speaking, people are better off together. Either as a team, or as a community we benefit from mutual support. It’s about integration, inclusivity and sharing of ideas, skills and talents for the benefit of everyone and wider society.
Collaboration is the answer: either we work together and integrate, or we become isolated and fail.
In 2019 the RICS/IFMA flagship conference for Facilities Management took the brave step of changing its name from the ‘Strategic FM’ conference to a more inclusively titled ‘Integrated Property Services conference’ undoubtedly raising a few eyebrows amongst those conference season commentators across the FM fraternity.
The FM sector and the built environment in general is changing rapidly in the face of increased digitalisation and new more flexible ways of working, so surely, we will need to adapt how we talk and represent our sector to reflect this. As FM professionals we can choose to integrate or isolate. We can collaborate and share ideas with like minded professionals or we can talk incessantly at conference venues to ourselves, about ourselves, for ourselves.
As the world becomes more interconnected and the complexity of the built environment adapts and develops to support new ways of working and new demands, our profession should surely come to the fore. The principle of having an integrated conference against a backdrop of an integrated built environment soon sounds like a step forward.
The various professions within the built environment remain incredibly traditional. Despite the increasing developments in BIM modelling, digital twinning, significant advances in asset management and a developing understanding of the human effects of building on people, we all still like to work in our professional silos. Collaboration in the first instance would be a good step, genuinely thinking about the buildings in use when we make initial design decisions is surely a given.
Breaking down the barriers will not come easily, the RICS itself has 20 professional pathways and Facilities Management is just one of them. Encouraging the Quantity Surveyors or the Building Surveyors to collaborate and integrate with the Residential Surveyors let alone the Facilities Management Surveyors seems like a stretch.
Outside of our Surveying fraternity we have the Architects and Engineers that design and construct much of our buildings and infrastructure, we have specialist trade groups across a whole range of disciplines. At the absolute beginning of any building process we have the clients and customers who will need to know the efficiency and costs in use of the assets they are procuring. More importantly the impact on wellbeing and productivity that the newly designed built asset will drive should also be on any clients wish list at design stage.
The digital lifecycle of the built environment may well be a catalyst for this integration and collaboration to accelerate. The management information and data that now drives significant business decisions does not recognise these traditional silos. As we procure, design, build and operate the assets of the future then the digital heartbeat of those projects will be the golden thread that runs throughout the whole lifecycle. Clients will demand information about their property that will require specific intervention and action at design stage so those operating the asset will need to integrate closely with those designing and building the asset to secure the right outcomes.
Integration and greater collaboration amongst professionals within the built environment have long been championed, the sentiment and will has never seemingly been strong enough to make these relationships truly effective. Ultimately it may well be technology and necessity that forces this integration.
This article is a version of a piece editorial written by Rory Murphy, commercial director of VINCI Facilities and first published in FMJ magazine
Despite the navel gazing and arguments amongst diehard FM professionals, the concept of the workplace is now embedded in the hearts and minds of everything that facilities management professionals deliver.
The linkage between managing and operating assets and the enhancement of both customer and employee experience is at the heart of the push for workplace recognition. A professional that can manage and develop the working environment and all that goes towards enhancing employee engagement and productivity is surely a valuable resource and hence the status and worth of these new workplace professionals is assured…
Or is it?
The productivity of UK PLC continues to lag way behind many of our European neighbours and has experienced a slump in productivity growth since the financial crisis that shows no sign of coming to an end.
Productivity is traditionally measured as the value of goods and services produced for each hour worked. The average British worker produced 16 per cent less on average than our equivalents in the Group of Seven leading economies in 2016, per data from the Office for National Statistics.
But why should we worry? We should worry because achieving higher growth in productivity — or output per hour worked — is the countries way of raising living standards and allowing government to have the resources to improve public services or cut taxes.
A report by the FourFront group published in 2018 and then revisited again in November 2019 looked at this very issue of productivity and challenged some of the perceived wisdom around the impact of the workplace.
The FourFront report surveyed 120 individuals around the globe and looked at four key drivers of workplace productivity, namely Leadership, Wellness, Environment and Technology. Overwhelmingly the biggest driver for increasing productivity was found to be leadership with over 53% believing that leadership was the biggest influence on performance whilst less than a fifth named environment, tech or wellness as being important.
So, what does this tell us about this emerging role of workplace managers? The survey reinforces the complexity of driving productivity and whilst not the most significant workplace driver our ability to influence the environment, technology and wellness are all positive aspects where we can bring our knowledge, skills and influence.
Wellness has been an emerging trend over the last few years and many businesses are focussing on not just the physical but also the psychological impacts of the business structures that they create. As Facilities Managers we have developed a strong understanding over the past decade of the impact of the environmental aspects of improved performance with temperature, acoustics, lighting and comfort all key issues for employee performance.
Technology will continue to play a significant part in productivity going forward although the research did show a growing tension between the human and the tech in terms of the stresses being created through new ‘flexible’ ways of working. The importance of data and managing workflow remained a strong ingredient and once again this is an area where Facilities Managers will remain strong.
Workplace clearly remains an important aspect for employees but those of us that lead our sector need to constantly make the link between our role and the emerging challenge of increasing productivity.
The workplace professional of the future needs to understand that clear leadership and clarity of purpose drives employee productivity more than any physical factors of their environment. The challenge will be to fully embrace their organisations vision and mission to ensure service delivery fully aligns and supports the organisational outcomes and aims.
This article is a version of a piece editorial written by Rory Murphy, commercial director of VINCI Facilities and first published in FMJ magazine
The Sustainable Facilities Management Index (SFMI) is the UK's only sustainability benchmark in the Facilities Management sector. The assessment, against 23 Environmental, Social, and Governance criteria, helps us understand how we are positioned in the FM market and helps us position ourselves as leaders.
Since the inception of the SFMI, we have always been placed in the top three and every year its close run thing to get the top spot! The Index shows that VINCI Facilities are one of the leaders in delivering Facilities management with a sustainability mindset helping us to work towards and deliver our vision.
Thank you to all who helped us retain our platinum award.
How do you make sure social value has a tangible impact upon the communities you work with? Throw out the rule book and redefine how you deliver and measure social value. That’s what Peabody and VINCI Facilities did, and they have changed how one of the UK’s top housing associations buys support services as a result.
VINCI Facilities Building Solutions team has heavily invested in CSR activities across Peabody’s estates with initiatives including refurbishing a WWI memorial, expanding a community centre’s toilet facilities, and refurbishing a Scout Centre. But the flagship project is Reading from the Start, a literacy programme that launched in 2013 and aims to help under-fives develop social and literacy skills to start school on a level playing field.
Between them Peabody and VINCI Facilities Building Solutions has now provided more that 17,000 books. RftS started when VINCI Facilities entered a 10-year contract to provide building solutions and facilities services at Peabody’s housing estates across London in 2013. It soon began the largest single social initiative undertaken by the company – to date the team has invested over £  k and it is estimated that the scheme has already touched the lives of more than  children and  parents across three Peabody boroughs in Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Islington.
Children receive a book every month (via the Dolly Parton Imagination Library) until their fifth birthday, which is theirs to keep for use in group sessions or at home. They then receive two hours of teaching a month from parents and professionals (54 vetted and trained volunteers, from both partner teams and residents, have taken part to date) at dedicated reading corners in local community centres. Reading sessions are backed up by activities such as trips to local parks, libraries, storytelling and art classes.
Peabody is one of London’s oldest and largest housing associations. They own and manage more than 29,000 homes across the capital and invest around £5m a year into community programmes like RftS. But these initiatives rely upon support in terms of time and money from partners like VINCI Facilities Building Solutions. Without the investment from the Building Solutions team the impact of RftS might have been less.
Now the literacy programme has evolved to reflect the changing needs of the communities in which we work. Over the past year Peabody has directly linked the RftS programme into its community programmes in Hackney, Waltham Forest and Thamesmead that tackle intergenerational child poverty and aim to significantly improve the life chances of children and young people living in those communities. The figures for 2019 alone show that 130 children registered to receive new books and the group sessions at community centres have reached 80 new families. Peabody estimates that around 45 families benefit from one to one support three times or more.
The programme works, but just as importantly the social value model developed between Peabody and VINCI Facilities Building Solutions works too. Now the team is proving the success of that model again with the Stepping Stones programme at Thamesmead. But to find out about that you need to visit the VINCI Facilities Building Solutions stand at Homes UK.
Everyone is talking about carbon. It less of a bandwagon and more of an electric vehicle – and now one with green number plates. The risk is that this is just talk. Not whitewash PR but green wash. But it has to be taken seriously and in the social housing sector it means small but important steps. Regardless of political talk and management speak, the move to reduce carbon and improve our energy management in our day to lives, particularly across the built environment is a given. It just makes sense. However, we have to be realistic about what is achievable.
What can suppliers do? The number one priority has to be to consider the end user – the tenants. Not every solution available is going to work. What’s more, some of the technology will be over specified or might require significant customer liaison office support: just how easy is it to adapt to controlling your heat and hot water via an app if you are elderly and not a silver surfer?
VINCI Facilities Building Solutions has been taking practical steps alongside its customers for the past ten years to improve the heating and the lives of social housing tenants across the UK. Much of the UK social housing stock is not energy efficient and this has been a focus at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. External wall insulation has been retrofitted to homes – but not before the residents were consulted with. The small steps we advocate must include strong, clear communication so that everyone understands why the work is important, how it will reduce their bills and to make sure the work required is completed on time, trouble-free, and under budget. Across 350 homes OFGEM (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) calculated carbon savings totalling 11,070 tonnes of CO2.
Saving money for the customer and the tenant is another major benefit, but the impact on the lives of the families and individuals affected by this energy management work cannot be underestimated. But there is a way of delivering these improvements too. A West Bromwich council tenant, Debbie Garmston, became the 5,000th resident to have their home refurbished under Sandwell’s programme with replacement central heating and electrical rewiring, plus a new kitchen and bathroom. Debbie, who suffers with severe ill-heath, said she could not have coped without the help and support of Building Solutions and the council.
Debbie commented: “I’m over the moon with what has been done. I can’t thank everyone involved enough. It took a lot of planning, but everyone was respectful, took care of me and my home, and I am really pleased with the difference that it’s made.”
What contractors do in social housing is not about service level agreements, KPIs, and being lean. It is all important, but what we do is much more about changing the lives of the people affected by our work for the better. Energy management and work to reduce carbon, improve air quality and the installation of more efficient heating systems across social housing stock portfolios is hugely important. But we have to be aware of how we do the work.
That’s one of the reasons why suppliers like VINCI are looking at the types of vehicles we use and planning the movements of our vehicles better. Ideally, we would like to either move our fleet of vans to become electric, or as low carbon as possible. But the practicalities of that are not easy. So, one way we can manage our own carbon footprint better is to plan our work patterns better: travel less, arrange for materials and supplies to be where we need them. It involves smart liaison with tenants – do they know we are coming, will our journey to their home be wasted?
It’s very likely that in future how we work will not just involve commitment to social value and customer service, but also cover off carbon accounting. This is not a new concept, but it is not widely applied across the built environment sector, let alone the housing market itself.
At VINCI Facilities Building Solutions we believe that we have moral duty to serve the communities we work with. We are a private business working for the public good. That includes finding ways to help improve air quality, reduce carbon emissions and enhance people’s health and mental wellbeing. For us energy management is central to that commitment. We’re working on it.
Improving housing services is great, says Phil Russell, sales and marketing director, VINCI Facilities Building Solutions but it is the way that you do it that gets results.
Whatever part you play in the housing sector nowadays one crucial set of criteria everyone is judged is your behaviour. As the Fun Boy Three sang it used to be about the ‘way that you do it’, not ‘what’. Now, as society is far better informed and alert to how government and business behave, it is both.
Events like Homes UK are a great chance to show off innovation, but there is a risk they can be an echo chamber. We cannot forget that end users – tenants, homeowners and their landlords – care less about the various technical developments we are showcasing. These new whizzy ideas all happen behind the scenes. So, in the eyes of the average social housing tenant for example, they fail the ‘so what’ test. The virtual reality walk through is incredibly useful for planners, building solutions teams and local authority building control but the real test for the tenant is the quality of their home. Is it warmer, drier, less drafty and more energy efficient? Are their bills lower after improvement works delivered? Our innovations can make the build or refurbishment process slicker, more efficient and safer but unless the end product is judged a success by the tenant then we fail.
What we do is all about making a house or flat more of a home. It is about not just fixing windows, roofs or providing new bathrooms. It is about connecting with the people living in these buildings and making a life in their communities. So, responsible service providers working in the residential sector like VINCI Facilities Building Solutions must not lose sight of the demands of the end user. The ‘what’ we do is just as important as the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. That’s why we have always made a commitment to work in partnership with our client across the public and social housing sectors – no matter if it is Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Peabody, Cardiff City Council and Guinness.
Our reason for attending Homes UK is to put a marker down. We want people to know about what we do in the housing sector. But we also want people to know the way that we do it – the philosophy behind our way of working – and why VINCI Facilities Building Solutions is doing it in the first place. Yes, we are a private business working in the public sector, but our objective is to work for the public interest. We take responsibility. We work hard to do the right thing because we believe there is a moral duty to change people’s lives and deliver tangible social value. Our founding membership of Social Value UK is an indicator, but so is the many thousands of hours and cash money provided to support communities where we work. The best and most well know example is our support for Peabody’s Reading from the Start literacy programme – but everywhere we work we do something to make a difference. Because fundamentally, it is all about our behaviours as a whole. And that’s what gets results.
Hear more from VINCI Facilities Building Solutions this November at HOMES UK - visit them on stand H105 or catch Matt Hickman, Client relationship manager in the Insight Theatre at 14.00 on Wednesday 27 November.
The 38th annual Harefield Fun Run that supports The Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity was hosted this month. The Trust is world renowned for treating patients with heart and lung disease.
Sugi Anbalagan, who is part of our HR team at VINCI Construction UK, has a personal connection to the trust as her husband, Anbu, was treated at Harefield Hospital for dilated cardiomyopathy and then heart failure due to cardiomyopathy. In December 2014, the phone call they had been waiting for happened and a donor heart was available. After Anbu was discharged, as a way to give back they registered a team - Anbu's Army - in the annual Fun Run. Anbu’s Army have been involved in the event since 2015.
Sadly, Anbu passed away in August 2017, but Sugi has continued to support the trust. For the last two years, VINCI Construction UK employees have joined Anbu’s Army, volunteering to support the day and taking part in the run. This year 12 employees signed up to the team and brought their families along for the day; they got involved with packing goodie bags, organising the t-shirts and handing out medals, which were sponsored by VINCI Facilities.
Amongst the volunteers from VINCI Construction UK was Dympna Hodgson who attended with her family. Dympna stated; “we had a great day! My grandchildren took part and had a brilliant time trampolining, trying out circus skills and visiting the different stalls; they also took part in the run. We were all very pleased to receive the medals and goodie bags. Special thanks to everyone who organised the day we had a really good time. We’ll be back next year.”
Anbu’s Army, a team of 54 members in total, were also the proud winners of the largest team charity cup, which will be awarded to them at next year’s Fun Run.
After the event, Sugi commented; "as every year, the Fun Run went well with lots of supporters, market stalls and activates for children and families. I was thrilled when I found out that Anbu’s Army had 54 members on the day to support the charity. Without the continuous support from my colleagues at VINCI Construction UK, friends and family we could not have achieved this number. I would like to take this opportunity to thank VINCI Facilities for sponsoring all the medals, to those who helped the charity with pre-event preparations, everyone who supported on the day and those who showed their support through kind donations."
Today is World Environment Day and this year’s theme is #BeatAirPollution
Today offers us a chance to consider how we can make changes in our daily lives to reduce air pollution. In addition to harming human health, air pollution harms our natural environment including decreasing the oxygen supply in our oceans and contributing to climate change. Air pollution impacts all of us and we all have a role to play to keep our air clean.
VINCI Facilities are continually working to reduce our emissions including the installation of LED solar lighting units in Astral House car park, investing in electric vehicles and tracking technology for our fleet, and since April 2018 all our direct offices have been supplied with 100% certified renewable electricity.
There are many ways you can reduce your emissions which include:
To find out more information about or energy management systems, please click here
This week hosted World FM Day, a global opportunity to recognise and celebrate the hard work and dedication of the FM profession. Every single member of VINCI Facilities is responsible for creating and maintaining great places to live and work for our customers and end-users.
With this year’s theme celebrating global standards, it is a chance for us to recognise the important standards and benchmarks we have in place to enable the heroes ‘behind the scenes’ to manage, operate and adapt the built environment.
For the past 10 years, our teams have been working hard to ensure our operations run smoothly and the people using the facilities we manage and operate – customers, suppliers, and our own teams – are in an environment which is safe, secure and fit-for-purpose.
An important and vital standard we operate to is The Sustainable FM Index, the recognised benchmark for sustainability in the FM industry. Last year we achieved the Platinum Award. Being sustainable and responsible is ingrained in the way we think and the way we operate at every level of our business. It focuses our teams on delivering real customer value as well as challenging everyone to eliminate waste across all of our touch points. Read our Sustainable Business Report here.
As a business, we would not achieve these global standards without our people. Utilising our Academy, we bring all learning and career development in-house to invest in the skills and progression of our teams; enabling and empowering our people to maximise their potential. Our investment and dedication has led to our re-accreditation in the Investors in People award and our Diversity in People award plus numerous other critical UK and international standards that underpin our business.
“These industry standards drive our excellent performance which enables us to continuously delight our customers” – Paul Goodridge, Divisional Director, VINCI Facilities
We are proud to announce that VINCI Construction UK have been successful in achieving re-accreditation of the Leaders in Diversity standard. Thank you to all our employees, supply chain and clients that took part in the LID survey and 1:1 interviews, providing feedback to the National Centre for Diversity.
Our Assessor's report is very positive and reflects the fact that our culture has moved positively in the period since the previous accreditation.
Advisor's quote from report:
"VINCI’s commitment to FIR has always been outstanding and the organisation was an early adopter of the standard in 2011. The range of initiatives have continued to develop and a culture shift is slowly happening. There are some existing strategies underway, particularly around recruitment diversity and the supply chain diversity."
The VINCI Facilities team at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospital (STHK), together with New Hospitals and Medirest, have proudly been awarded the prestigious Health Services Journal (HSJ) award for Property and Estates Service Provider of the Year.
A team comprising of members from all partners attended the award ceremony to accept the award.
This award follows on from STHK hospitals being ranked the best acute NHS Trust in England in the Patient Led Assessment of Care Environment (PLACE) programme for the second year running. They achieved top marks for the condition of the buildings and the facilities for patients, as well as other categories including cleanliness and privacy.
Furthermore, in a recent NHS survey STHK hospitals were named the top acute Trust in the entire country for staff engagement, staff motivation and pride in the quality of care provided to patients for the third year running.
To be classified as the best in the NHS by the HSJ backs up similar statements by the CQC Inspection Team and confirms our belief that the Facilities at St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals are amongst the best in the whole of the NHS.
VINCI Facilities are dedicated to supporting sustainable business practice through water management.
We work with our customers to understand their needs and develop a tailored service that meets water management requirements delivering direct and measurable business benefits. These services include embedding an Energy and Water Manager within our contracts and providing bureau services to monitor, analyse and report on water consumption.
These services have been rolled out to clients in the retail, corporate, education and government sector.
To find out more information on how we can help you manage and save water, please click here
The Reading from the Start (RftS) programme, in partnership with our client Peabody, has been vital in supporting families and their children; it encourages parents with children under five years old to make reading part of their everyday lives.
Through the programme, VINCI Facilities sponsor the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to donate one book every month until the child’s fifth birthday. They also receive two hours of reading time and activities per month with teachers and trained volunteers.
RftS is now in its’s fifth year and the programme has continued to go from strength to strength. Over 614 children have registered onto the programme and as a result we have delivered over 11,000 books to homes across Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Islington, Thamesmead and Chingford since the start of the programme.
We have received amazing results from a recent evaluation:
We will continue to support the Reading from the Start programme to ensure the love of reading is fostered from a young age which not only currently impacts the families involved, but has proven to positively impact longer term educational outcomes for the children. By 2023, we aim to see the programme reach 2,000 children across the Peabody Estate.
Social Value is here to stay; and strong words need to be backed up by actions. But how can we record the social value in our activities?
VINCI Facilities became the first Facilities Management and Building Solutions company to join Social Value UK, the national network for all those interested in raising the profile of social value and social impact. We have designed a Social Value Framework to encourage our teams to collect data that provides support for creating as much social value possible within our contracts.
Find out more here: How do we know where the social value is in our activities?
VINCI Facilities Building Solutions South have been shortlisted for two awards in this year’s National tpas Awards.
The awards are designed to celebrate the success stories of tenants, landlords and contractors working together to create better engagement for communities across England.
This year we have been shortlisted for the Outstanding Tenant Engagement – Contractor award for our work with Peabody Quality Homes and Josephine O'Connor, our Head of Business and Community Investment, has been shortlisted for the Contractor Customer Service Champion award.
We look forward to hearing the final results on the 29th March.
The VINCI Facilities Building Solutions South team working on the Royal Mail Group framework have once again partnered with their client to collaborate on another social value initiative.
Whilst undertaking a project at the Medway Mail Centre, the team engaged with the local charity champion at the Royal Mail to discuss the opportunity to deliver a Stand Out! Make a Difference initiative in aid of Action for Children. The charity supports disadvantaged children from across the UK from birth through to their twenties, they act on behalf of 301,000 children, young people, parents and carers across the UK.
Action for Children run an early years’ children’s activity centre where the external play areas needed restoration. The tasks included a thorough clean, removal of shrubs and weeds, repairs to doors, gates and fencing, repainting the fences, the creation of a sensory garden and adding toad stool seating areas in the play kitchen.
Frances Farren, Director of Property Programmes and Projects for the Royal Mail Property and Facilities Solutions commented that:
“This is a fantastic example of our framework relationship working together for the benefit of the wider community and for such a great cause supporting young people’s mental health.”
VINCI Facilities and Royal Mail staff were joined by our Supply Chain Partners to deliver the makeover; staff and guardians from the site also supported the teams. This initiative provided an opportunity to encourage team building across the project and restore the children’s play area back to a safe and desirable space.
Across our VINCI Facilities contracts we are celebrating Thank Your Cleaner Day, designed to recognise the hard work of our cleaning teams and to make sure they know they are valued and appreciated within the business and on our contracts.
Every day our skilled, hard-working cleaning teams are onsite ensuring our premises are clean and ready to go for the next business day. They work day, night and weekends to keep working and living environments clean, safe and hygienic; this is often outside normal office hours.
VINCI Clean is a member of the Responsible Cleaner Scheme which protects and promotes the welfare and development of employees in the cleaning industry. We make sure their experience and capabilities are recognised and developed.
Today is an opportunity for both our clients and our employees to get to know our cleaning teams and to let them know their work is appreciated and does not go unnoticed.
VINCI Facilities is pleased to announce our VINCI Clean team has successfully won another award at the BICSc Annual Awards and are finalists in another category.
Winner: Cleaning Excellence in the delivery and practice of Health and Safety through BICSc Training
We operate with safety at our core; all our employees receive a comprehensive induction and ongoing training programmes. VINCI Clean provide in-house inductions, where all employees receive a personal copy of our Health and Safety Handbook, containing COSHH and RAMS which incorporate BICSc methodology. In addition, Manual Handling training is given to all employees by the trained VINCI Clean team.
All sites are regularly audited by our Senior Management team. During these inspections correct safe working methodology is audited, as well as hygiene, to ensure adherence to the company safety practices and procedures. Best practice is also identified and included in our excellence report.
We host monthly toolbox talks on the latest safety findings to refresh our teams’ knowledge of our policies and procedures. We celebrate safety with our annual ‘Take a Break for Safety’ day where the teams take time out of the working week to talk about safety and debate various safety topics relevant to their work.
Finalist: Assessor of the Year - Marie Allen
To ensure we are compliant on our Welsh Government contract, we guarantee all cleaning activity is done to an extremely high standard, whilst being completed with the highest regards for HS&E standards, both for individuals completing the tasks and the stakeholders. To achieve this, our staff complete mandatory training which includes manual handling and BICS MU units.
We employ a diverse cleaning team with varying levels of confidence, communication skills and education. Experience has taught us that many cleaners find the prospect of training daunting and where possible avoid participation. Marie Allen immediately knows how to coach each individual in order to help them succeed; she treats each team member differently and introduces them to the training in a way that makes them feel comfortable and able to cope with it.
We constantly see our staff embracing their ability to succeed and achieve, resulting in a boost in confidence and understanding how to work correctly to gain the expected results. The high success rate on the contract is due to the care, understanding and pleasant nature Marie has when working with the cleaning teams.
VINCI Clean are also finalists in the Diversity in Cleaning Award for Fairness, Inclusion and Respect in the cleaning category in the European Cleaning Awards.
VINCI Facilities Building Solutions South Special Projects team collaborated with clients on our Royal Mail contract to give a much-needed and deserved refresh to the War Memorial and Gardens at the Edinburgh Mail Centre project site. This was done as part of the Stand Out! Make A Difference scheme.
The garden is regularly used as a centre piece for the mail centre and required an uplift to restore it to its original state. The refresh consisted of jet washing all paving and stone walling, stones repairs, decorations and repairs to the benches, removing weeds, re-bedding raised plant areas and planting various flowers and shrubs. The memorial plaque was also refurbished.
The event was timed to coincide with the centenary year of the 1918 armistice of The Great War. Employees from the Edinburgh Royal Mail Centre served in the war; 224 employees sadly lost their lives in WW1 and a further 43 people in WW2. In honour of their sacrifice the team laid a wreath on behalf of VINCI to mark the occasion.
This was a true team effort and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone involved; it was only possible due to the kind donation of people’s time as well as materials and equipment via the VINCI Supply Chain partners.
VINCI Facilities are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted as a finalist for the BIFM Newcomer of the Year and Team of the Year awards, in addition to the PFM Partners in Cleaning (public sector) and Partners in Retail awards.
BIFM Team of the Year – London Stadium
Marking VINCI Facilities’ entry into the event-management sector within the UK, the FM team at the London Stadium deliver sector-leading maintenance and event management solutions. The contract has seen the team traverse a steep learning curve, continuously innovating and going beyond the call of duty to provide a world-class experience for every visitor. VINCI Facilities manage the maintenance of the world class 35,000m2 stadium, providing full asset management across 27 complex systems.
BIFM Newcomer of the Year – Paul McNally
Paul McNally established himself as a pioneering leader within VINCI Facilities. He’s an avid ambassador for the FM sector, working tirelessly to develop talent, share best practice and promote FM as a powerful strategic business function. After a 14-year career in the services industry, Paul has been an active member of the FM world and is currently the Facilities Manager on our St Helens Hospital and Whiston Hospital contract.
PFM Partners in Cleaning (Public Sector) – London Stadium
Key to the success of the London Stadium contract is our unique approach to cleaning the facility; in a bold move, we moved away from the traditional sub-contractor model. Our unique approach saw the development of a rigorous cleaning framework ensuring the efficient roll out of an in-house offering. Major focus was placed on training, with the entire cleaning team receiving BICS accredited Level 3 training, along with significant investment in the latest innovative and green technologies to maximise efficiency and minimise environmental impact
PFM Partners in Retail – Debenhams
When Debenhams decided to outsource hard FM activities for the first time in its 240-year history; the retailing giant chose VINCI Facilities as its partner. Central to this partnership’s ongoing united approach is the shared vision between both parties to deliver an end-to-end maintenance strategy. We have introduced numerous initiatives that are transforming Debenhams’ operations, including a detailed asset verification and dilapidation survey providing an accurate overview of the volume and condition of its 24,500 key assets for the very first time.
We look forward to finding out the results of the awards later on this year.
The NHS Sustainability Day is a national day of action across the health sector; over the last five years VINCI Facilities have organised NHS Sustainability Days to engage the local community, patients and staff. This year was no exception, at St Helens and Whiston hospitals we once again partnered with the Local Authority’s Healthy Living Team to promote exercise, healthy eating, recycling and energy efficiency.
We stationed two smoothie bikes in the main entrance atrium of Whiston Hospital, where eager participants pedalled the bikes to power a blender, making their own healthy fruit smoothie served in a biodegradable corn starch cup. This was a powerful way to promote healthy eating and exercise, whilst also demonstrating energy efficient behaviours.
We also distributed our sustainability newsletter and encouraged visitors to take part in our sustainability quiz.
In the wider community, we partnered with local schools to educate and encourage the children to recycle. Currently each month St Helens and Whiston Hospitals recycle hundreds of AA batteries that are still 50-70% charged; we provided some of these batteries to the schools for them to re-use and set up collection points for the free battery recycling service.
VINCI Facilities strives to create value for our customers by integrating social, environment and economic aspects of sustainability into the core of our business.
Arc in the Park, a major community initiative in Newham, London, is the latest example of VINCI Facilities’ leadership on social value in the facilities and social housing sector.
The project provided Barking and Dagenham College students with practical work-experience whilst refurbishing the Arc in the Park – an important community hub in desperate need of repairs. The students worked side-by-side with experienced employees of VINCI Facilities and their supply chain, many of whom were locals who had lived in the area their whole lives.
This really interesting movie was produced by a student media team from the College. It captures the events as they unfold and shows the value this project created to the local community: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEzfPF-PAnA
“The feedback we have had has been remarkable. It shows how we can do much more than just delivering our contracted services, through creating social value that cuts right into the heart of the community”, said Josephine O’Connor, business & community investment manager, VINCI Facilities.
Because delivering building and facilities management solutions is not only about enhancing our client’s facilities. Working with the public sector and social housing in particular, automatically nurtures an emphasis on service that truly benefit people’s homes, schools and hospitals. It is about making a difference to whole communities and the lives of the people in these. VINCI Facilities is committed to deliver social value, and their leadership within the FM industry has been recognised with awards and certifications, but is also highlighted through their choice, as the first FM provider, to join Social Value UK.
Social value does not only benefit a few recipients and communities, it creates win-wins where innovative approaches to social value helps delight clients and boost team moral, which doubtlessly contributes to business sustainability and success. As Tony Raikes, managing director, VINCI Facilities explains: “We deliver projects like Arc in the Park, because it makes sense. It benefits our people, our business and our client’s businesses. But most importantly it helps us to make a true difference to people’s lives in the communities where we operate”.
VINCI Facilities is driving the social value agenda and reaching out to its suppliers and anyone seeking advice via themed workshops with the Supply Chain Sustainability School (SCSS).
In July over 100 suppliers and contractors attended a social value themed day hosted by VINCI Facilities and the SCSS with the sole objective of breaking down barriers and demystifying everything around social value and sustainability.
Since the Social Value Act in 2012 all public bodies in England and Wales are required to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area. But, despite publicity and the best efforts of FM providers such as VINCI, many organisations remain nervous about what social value means and how best to deliver it as part of support services provided in the public sector.
Delegates heard examples of VINCI’s work with its clients and partners to not just meet its contractual obligations, but go further and deliver real value and benefits to local communities affected by its work.
Veronica Kirwan, director of community programmes for Peabody explained how the joint VINCI and Peabody literacy programme ‘Reading from the Start’ has made a significant difference to the tenants living in and around the Peabody housing estates. VINCI’s business and community investment manager, Josephine O’Connor and supplier Michael Demitriou Director from Piggott & Whitfield de-mystified social value for many of the attendees via some practical examples on how you can get involved.
Of the 100 or so attendees 69% said that they now “fully understood” social value is, compared to 26% at the beginning of the presentation.
VINCI Facilities’ commercial director Rory Murphy said:
“Social value and sustainability is more than a narrow focus on preserving the environment and reducing carbon. It goes deeper. It is about organisations like ours being environmentally sound, socially aware and economically clever. We deliver long lasting value to local people – via literacy programmes, refurbishing community centres and providing opportunities for young people. Everyone in FM has a role to play and we’re proud to be one of the leaders in this area.”
VINCI Facilities is one of many partners and supporters of the SCSS along with BIFM. In September VINCI is again pushing the social value agenda with a second themed day – this time a workshop looking at how to get grips with social value which will also be run with the SCSS on 12 September. For more details, use the link here.
VINCI Facilities is the first FM provider to sign up to Social Value UK. This confirms the commitment that VINCI has demonstrated to social value since before the Social Value Act in 2012 and underlines its total support for working with the communities affected by its day-to-day operations.
VINCI Facilities has joined Social Value UK in order to facilitate a robust and industry-leading approach to managing and improving the social value they create for society, staff and customers.
Rory Murphy, Commercial Director for VINCI Facilities, says “social value return has been at the heart of our operations for many years. Membership of Social Value UK allows us to shape its future and raise the benchmark across industry creating more lasting legacies within the communities we work.”
As a provider of facilities management and building maintenance to both public and private sector clients, VINCI Facilities deliver a range of projects which are targeted at delivering social value.
Initiatives range from apprenticeships and employee volunteer days to programmes spanning years such as Reading from the Start, which is a joint programme to tackle the issue of illiteracy and poor educational support in three London boroughs. The most recent social value project was delivered in Newham, London in March, where a VINCI Facilities led collaboration provided college students with work-experience and training whilst improving the facilities of an important hub in the local community (‘Arc in the Park’).
Social Value UK: “We are pleased to welcome a new member from the facilities management and construction industries. The arrival of the Public Services (Social Value) Act in 2012 created a big opportunity for social value to be generated from companies providing large public sector contracts. It is encouraging to see some of the main players in these industries engaging with this crucial agenda.”
VINCI Facilities gained another three years’ accreditation with TPAS in March proving its commitment to social housing and working alongside the communities served by VINCI’s clients.
TPAS is an independent body dedicated to improving tenant engagement standards across social housing in England and Wales.
The accreditation is a clear indication a contractor is not just excellent at delivering services to its client, but is committed to community support and the wider goals around social housing.
The TPAS Accreditation Assessment Panel unanimously confirmed the award to VINCI Facilities for a further three years, acknowledging that VINCI’s team are at a very high standard.
VINCI’s work across England and Wales in social housing, and notably with Peabody in London and Sandwell BC in the West Midlands, consistently demonstrates its teams are responsive to the needs of tenants and potential residents. It seeks to engage with local people – supporting initiatives like Reading from the Start with Peabody and working alongside local schools and colleges in Sandwell and Barking and Dagenham
Operations director for VINCI Facilities, Garry McInerney, said:
"VINCI Facilities prides itself on providing services that are all about the end user experience and this is another great accolade for our operational teams who deliver first class services daily. In all our housing operations the residents are at the heart of everything we do. We work tirelessly to ensure we meet the framework recommendations and go the extra mile for our tenants. Achieving reaccreditation status for the third time is extremely rewarding and testament to our teams and their commitment.”
Kate Newbold, consultancy manager, TPAS said:
“The scale of improvement from the previous submission in 2013 indicates that VINCI takes the TPAS accreditation and recommendations very seriously.”
The NHS Sustainability Day is a national day of action across the health sector; the VINCI Facilities teams on our healthcare contracts take part to support and promote this day of action. Ahead of this year’s Sustainability Day we are looking back at some of our previous contributions to the day.
Last year at Whiston Hospital we collaborated with the local council and Mersey Travel and Transport to give away free bus passes, promoting sustainable transport and endorsing both the environmental and health factors. In addition, we hosted a stand in the hospital cafeteria to hand out recycled notepads and pens, bottles of life water, wildlife seeds and fresh fruit to those who answered our sustainability quiz.
Over the last four years VINCI Facilities have organised NHS Sustainability Days for the local community and this year is no exception. We have once again partnered with the Local Authority’s Healthy Living Team to share information on energy reduction, recycling and healthy eating.
Every two years, the Golden Service Awards celebrates excellence in cleaning; this year VINCI Facilities walked away with the award for the Best Cleaned Premise, office areas below 250,000 square feet, with the Welsh Government building in Aberystwyth.
Aberystwyth is an accommodation building providing 6600m2 of modern, energy efficient, open plan office and meeting space. It houses various internal departments, external bodies and houses 353 people excluding visitors.
Our cleaning delivery is structured to suit the building, with intrusive work being carried out in the evening due to the open plan structure, whilst the recycling and housekeeping tasks are carried out during the daytime.
Our delivery model has been designed to meet the building’s Green credentials and compliment the BREEAM excellent rating, building on sustainability and maintaining a consistency in an isolated location.
We have introduced several initiatives based on our LEAN study of the site operation, including investing in cyclonic battery vacuums which minimised downtime and are more ergonomic to the user. Secondly, the site uses ozonated water as its core cleaning agent which minimizes the risk to employees and building users.
VINCI Clean were also shortlisted for the Best Cleaned Premises, Large Education Establishment award with The Chappell Centre, Lincolnshire County Council.
VINCI Facilities is determined to maximise the potential to deliver meaningful social value to our projects and challenge traditional client/contractor relationships to deliver a partnership approach. We have several social value initiatives that benefit our end-users, particularly within education.
Firstly, under our 10-year contract with Peabody, we have partnered with the philanthropic Landlord to deliver the Reading from the Start programme. This initiative is an early literacy intervention programme designed to stop illiteracy in its tracks. Reading from the Start fosters a love of reading for children aged 0-5 growing up in some of London’s poorest boroughs, positively impacting their long term educational outcomes.
The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library donates books to the children, who receive an age-appropriate book every month until their fifth birthday. They also receive two hours of reading activities per month with teachers and trained volunteers.
After the first three years of the programme, we changed the lives of over 500 children, with in excess of 7700 books read. We will continue to collaborate with Peabody and the Reading from the Start programme as we are determined to benefit the residents across the Peabody estates where we refurbish social housing. By 2023, we aim to see the programme reach 2,000 children across the Peabody Estate.
Furthermore, we provided a 3D printer to Silverdale secondary school in Sheffield which they used to create a model Formula One car that they entered into a competition. We also supplied lithium-ion batteries for a robot that was entered into the BBC Robot Wars competition by Bradfield secondary school.
Social Value feeds into almost every aspect of our operations and our community engagement; it is our way of creating great places to live and work, delivered by people who care.
This week saw the Annual Workplace Future Conference which centred on the ‘Added Value’ that Facilities Management can create.
The programme included a number of speakers from across the sector who all addressed the value discussion from various angles including the value of our people, the values of an organisation and also some of the more typical presentations around the business value and benefit that can be derived from excellent FM delivery.
The day was punctuated with ongoing discussions around the recent failure of Carillion and the impact or otherwise upon the reputation and public perception of outsourcing and Facilities Management in general. The one sad irony of the event was that within the lecture hall attendees were happily debating the ‘value’ that FM can add whilst on the big screens in the break out areas there was a live feed from the Work and Pensions Committees who were grilling the top executives from Carillion on their business practices.
Rory Murphy presented on the Social Value that can be driven from Facilities Management and centred his presentation on the recent RICS Social Value case studies that were published in November. The ability for Facilities Management companies and businesses like ours to drive Social value is significant. The wide range of employment and development opportunities that are available across all the services we deliver is the real value add within our sector and this is supplemented by some fantastic bespoke schemes such as ‘Reading from the Start’ and strategic alliances with charities such as the Princes Trust and the DofE.
The case studies outlined in the RICS research included initiatives looking at access to work for ex-service people, strategies for working with an age diverse workforce, developing your own talent pools and from a community perspective the efforts going in on some projects to work more closely with SME’s. The case studies also included our own award winning ‘Reading from the start’ initiative as well as the work we have done with Barking and Dagenham college.
“Workplace Futures is an unashamedly FM focussed event and my sense at the end of the day was of a profession/sector that has been shaken by the recent failure of a major services provider and the spotlight that has subsequently been shone upon the delivery of critical public services. The challenge we face in the immediate period is to demonstrate the excellent value we deliver across our contracts and how a sustainable approach to business which focusses on listening to you key stakeholders and balancing the Economic, Social and Environmental aspects of all we do will keep us successful.” – Rory Murphy
To pursuit one of her dreams and to develop professionally, our Senior Sustainability Advisor Charlotte Österman, was given a sabbatical leave to go volunteering in rural Nicaragua. This enabled her to develop new skills whilst co-leading a development project in Latin America.
Nine months ago, Raleigh International offered Charlotte a position to lead a young team of volunteers to deliver a sustainable development programme in Nicaragua. Nervously, she approached VINCI to see if a three-month break from her role would be possible. They said yes.
Four months later, Charlotte was in the mountains, in a coffee and strawberry growing region of Madriz; co-team leading a multicultural Raleigh ECHO 2 team and delivering the ‘Livelihoods’ programme. The programme set out to create sustainable businesses through the empowerment and training of young entrepreneurs. On a day to day basis she got to use skills and knowledge developed throughout her sustainability career with VINCI and before, in combination with a fair bit of innovation to make this applicable to the rural and poverty-stricken setting.
Quick problem-solving, dynamic risk assessments and big portions of motivation from the team was required when everything from rainstorms and illnesses tried to slow us down. But without hesitation, the team delivered all the training planned, to provide the entrepreneurs with knowledge crucial to enable them to set up their businesses and provide them with a sustainable source of income.
The team held fourteen training sessions for the communities, El Pegador and Nueva Esperanza, they carried out regular 1-2-1s with 24 entrepreneurs, delivered six Actions Days (e.g. the 31 Oct community party where we introduced the concepts of Halloween), took the entrepreneurs on a fieldtrip to learn about beekeeping, organised a community fair, etc., etc. As a leader and a team member Charlotte is proud to acknowledge that they delivered or exceeded on all the targets set and that they could already start seeing the difference they were making with the entrepreneurs.
By the end of the cycle, they organised a mock presentation for the entrepreneurs to get feedback on their business ideas. It was a great day and they had a strong turnout of twelve, despite being in harvest season. A few were nervous; this was something totally new to them, but they still presented and did an excellent job in explaining what kind of business they wanted to create and what their business plan looked like. It was great practice for the final presentation that they will have in April and at the end of the second cycle. This is when the entrepreneurs will pitch for financial aid; the aid that will further support them to make their business dreams reality.
“For me personally this has been an invaluable experience. I have not only learnt how to live in a setting and context massively different to ours’, I adapted to it and gained a new family.
I got to experience the inevitable challenges of managing a young team of volunteers, whom all came with different backgrounds, expectations and motivations. But I also got to celebrate the success of hard work with them.
I’ve learnt that leadership is not about being at the front and making the quickest decisions. It is about doing the groundwork in the background to enable the team to collaborate and find the solution and the plan, and then help them to execute it. Because they are truly the most important determinants of your impact, and the creators of the success.
I’ll stay in touch with the communities and Raleigh to hear what fruits the seeds we planted yield. And as time passes, the difference and long-term impact that we achieve in El Pegador and Nueva Esperanza will be more clear. Just like I, with time, will more clearly see what difference this experience has done not only to my professional skillset, but life.”
VINCI Facilities Energy and Water Management team recently launched our services directly to the market via the EMEX exhibition at London ExCeL. This was our must-do event to introduce our expertise to the wider market; it certainly paid off as we were highly visible throughout the two-day event.
Together with our supply chain partner Offgrid, we sponsored the Main Theatre; powering it with battery technology. It created quite a lot of excitement as we unveiled the first battery powered seminar theatre. Our exhibition stand was also powered by battery technology.
We delivered a series of thought-led seminars and were also shortlisted for two awards;
EMEX is one of the largest forums for Energy and Water management experts, buyers and suppliers to network, share knowledge and demonstrat
If you want to know more about what we do and how we could help your clients, please get in touch with Paul Lynch, Head of Energy & Water Management at email@example.com
In November, a team of 39 cyclists, including Phil Russell, VINCI Facilities Sales and Marketing Director, rode 500km from Vietnam to Cambodia in 6 days to raise money for The Urology Foundation.
The Urology Foundation is a charity that funds research to develop better diagnoses and treatments for all urological conditions for men and women – including cancer and diseases of the prostate, kidney and bladder.
A total of 39 volunteers took part in the cycle, including Phil’s partner Niki and three tour guides; plus, a small group of local ‘outriders’ on mopeds and driving water trucks. It made for an interesting and sometimes quite spectacular sight, as they rode either strung out over a couple of miles or riding in Peloton formation.
The route, starting at Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam and finishing at Siem Reap in north-western Cambodia, was the riders’ home for a total of 9 days. During the cycle, they experienced breath taking scenery, ancient temples, the warmth of the local people and an appreciation of the devastation of both the Vietnam War in the 60’s and the genocide by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia of over 2 million of its own people in the 70’s.
The group of volunteers were of mixed ability group; some had trained hard for this event only to be reigned back to keep the group together and to all benefit from well organised water and lunch stops. Others quietly ‘pushed-on’ without any fuss, completing each section at an acceptable speed, safely.
Due to searing afternoon temperatures and intense humidity each day had to have an early start. At the same time, cycling at night was not an option as there were no street lights or bike lights. It was Niki who had the first accident, clashing head-on with a moped travelling on the same side of the road but in opposite directions. No serious damage was caused but it was a lesson in wearing a good helmet and understanding local riding habits. Others fell with one person concussed but otherwise they all arrived safely.
The highlights? The Mekong Delta is one. Its vast. Home to thousands in both Vietnam and Cambodia, strung out along its riverbank, there is a dense collection of fragile looking wooden houses on stilts; it’s not for swimming as it serves as the main sewage system. The rice (paddi) fields was another, boarded by palm trees with hidden settlements and a network of tiny paths that link everything together. Siem Reap is a World Heritage Site and for good reason, the temples are spectacular.
“The endearing memory is the people, especially in Vietnam who waved and shouted from their homes, schools, vans, scooters and who genuinely seemed pleased that we had chosen their country to host our adventure.” – Phil Russell
VINCI Facilities Customer Response Centre has been awarded the ServiceMark accreditation; we scored 88.8% against the 78.2% industry benchmark.
The Customer Response Centre first joined the Institute of Customer Service as a member in 2016. We decided to apply for one of the Institute's flagship accreditations ServiceMark; a national standard awarding an organisation's achievement in customer service and the devotion to keeping these standards.
The process involved three key elements; an employee survey, a survey of customers, and an assessment by an independent assessor from The Institute of Customer Service. We achieved over the benchmark score on both our employee and customer surveys.
The independent assessor held a total of 23 interviews with employees. The evidence was gathered by the analysis of written documentation, our website, company intranet, several individual and group interviews; informal chats, observations and a tour of our office.
Sally Duff – ICS Independent assessor quoted: "The Customer Response Centre seems to have its own clear identity, a strong degree of autonomy in how it runs and the strong ethos of team work, alongside close-knit working and employee inclusion. As a result, it would seem that engaged employees are able to play a bigger part in the development of new processes and in taking responsibility for change and improvements. The involvement of such employees in projects seems to enrich their roles as well as give them an opportunity to develop new skills and experience."
Obtaining the accreditation is a massive differentiator for us and an important part of our marketing and winning work strategy. The National Customer Service Standard Accreditation has been awarded to us for a period of 3 years.
VINCI Facilities have been listed as a BFIM finalist in the ‘Impact on Employee Experience’ award category for our work with Lincolnshire County Council. Our entry showcases how three partner organisations (Lincolnshire County Council, VINCI Facilities and Mouchel) united their workforces to create a first-class employee culture which puts collaboration and communication at its core.
Staff satisfaction on the contract significantly improved across all metric areas and our energised and empowered workforce have gone on to transform the standards of the county’s property management operations. The project team have achieved savings of over £1m to date, whilst also exceeding on all other key performance indicators.
Together this highly engaged and productive unit has successfully realised the Council’s visions and objectives, delivering an unprecedented level of service for Lincolnshire’s 715,000 residents.
We will find out the results on the 9th October.
VINCI Facilities is a proud partner of The Supply Chain Sustainability School – a free training resource and learning vehicle for sustainability.
We regularly organise events aimed to upskill our suppliers' sustainability knowledge; recently, 78 suppliers turned up to learn about energy at our joint supply chain event in Manchester.
Paul Lynch, our Head of Energy Services, spoke about how our supply chain partners can contribute to us meeting our clients' requirements. He also provided interesting and useful hints and tips that any supplier can adapt to improve their own practices:
"Let's use the School to improve. It's a great resource."
Other partners of the School and Carbon Trust also gave their advice, in between a mix of interactive group- exercises.
One of these was the ‘Innovation Bootcamp’. Teams were given a big poster of a location and with Post-it notes they then put potential energy opportunities on the building. They then also listed the potential blockers to these initiative. A really interesting exercise that brought many innovative ideas to the table!
Following the event, we were pleased to hear the attendees’ feedback. 89% rated the training good or excellent and 73% said they are certain or likely they’ll implement the training/ideas in their organisations.
“[The School can] create a better understanding and help in developing myself to drive culture throughout my team.”, one attending supplier said.
Our next event with the School will be a Fairness, Inclusion and Respect workshop on 4 July. Why don’t you join us?
VINCI Facilities has supported the Arc in the Park children's charity in Canning Town over the last couple of years.
It has undergone an enormous change, and we recently attended its renaming launch.
Cutting the ribbon was a mighty crew of football legends including Sir Trevor Brooking, former England midfielder and Terrence Brown Former chairman and honorary life president of West Ham United FC. There was also David Gold and David Sullivan both joint Chairman of West Ham United Football Club. The ground where the Arc is situated is the first site on which West Ham United played their very first game over 100 years ago.
The footballing gentlemen handed over a cheque for £12,000 to the Arc during its renaming ceremony at which they all spoke. Now known asTerrence Brown Arc in the Park their new owner is Ambition Aspire Achieve (AAA). AAA is still running with the same staff and its daily management by Kevin Jenkins OBE and his wife Paula but has broken away from the local Community Links charity to stand alone.
The children turned out with their families for face painting and shenanigans and even Sir Trevor had a go on one of the swings (in fact he needed help to get off it). A great day was had by all in what heralds the start of a new era for the Arc and its patrons, trustees and all stakeholders. VINCI of course will continue to support the Charity.
We are only halfway through 2017 and there has already been at least two significant achievements in terms of energy supply for our nation:
First, on April the 21st the National Grid announced Britain's first full day without coal power since the Industrial Revolution. This was then followed by the National Grid announcing that for the first time ever, renewable energy sources provided more than half UK electricity.
These are two historic milestone achievements that express Britain's shift away from carbon fuels and towards a low carbon economy. The Government has pledged to phase out coal - the most polluting fossil fuel - from the system completely by 2025, as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions in the UK.
Does this mean anything for VINCI? Yes. It's a change in perceptions and expectation that will, and already is, affecting us. Energy is higher on the agenda for everyone. Last year we were legally required to carried out ESOS audits to map where we as a business could save energy. This year that's being actioned. On contract level, there are already an increasing number of renewable energy initiatives being undertaken in various locations. We’ve also got our Energy Management Services team fully up and running to help us enhance our offering to clients.
In celebration of National Volunteers Week, we saw the beginning of a programme of 21 dates over the Summer where VINCI will participate in our very own, multi award winning, Reading from the Start Programme.
Kicking off this week in Hackney where the programme started back in 2013 was BSS's Josephine O'Connor, business and community investment manager, who will also attend the Chingford programme. Other dates will see Martina Hopper, resident and community liaison manager covering Thamesmead and Debbie Ashcroft, resident liaison officer looking after the Bow area.
National Volunteers Week ended following much social media coverage, when VINCI, along with its client Peabody and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library; have taken to the airwaves to ensure our programme is known.
VINCI has recently signed a continuation of the previous unprecedented funding and increased it by no less than £10,000 per annum. We really are seeing massive societal impact with this programme.
Housing director Russell Payne said, "This is a remakeable programme and our teams along with their counterpats at Peabody work hard to ensure its existence. To date, Peabody is working with over 100 volunteers which just shows that community cohesion and volunteeering are very much alive in the hiosuing sector."
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Note to editors
VINCI Facilities is a leading provider of facilities management services to the public and private sector.
Our solutions are commercially sound, are customer focused and provide clients with the information necessary to make strategic decisions about their estate.
By integrating services and introducing a range of best practice measures, including work flow and performance management against strict KPIs, we provide our clients with cost certainty, cost saving, consistency of service and efficiency gains.