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    NASC members and Contractor working together deliver on safety

    The National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) has published a case study showing how main contractor Holloway White Allom (HWA) worked with NASC members to remain competitive whilst maintaining safety during the economic downturn.

    We publish the case study in full.

    “With Main Contractors trying many new innovative ways to remain competitive and efficient within an uncertain economy, one particular company has already established one best practice which has positioned them very well to weather the storm.

    It was in April 2001 that the Directors and Senior Managers of Holloway White Allom (HWA) agreed on an initiative to strengthen their relationships in key areas with their Sub-Contractors/Suppliers. This was partly in response to their desire to demonstrate to their Clients that there was a ‘joined-up’ supply chain behind them that can deliver their project on time and budget, and to the high quality expected and specified in HWA’s ‘niche market’. The initiative was also intended to create a working environment of trust and development that all participants would benefit from, effectively a ‘Strategic Alliance’.

    One of the first initial ‘key’ trades that were chosen to launch the initiative was Scaffolding.

    HWA selected a small team to instigate and develop the Alliance with each chosen trade, including a Senior Manager and Director to monitor and mentor the development.

    The first task was to decide on the parameters and ‘rules’ that participants would be required to meet in order to be considered as a suitable partner to join HWA’s Strategic Alliance. It was hoped that the relationship would ultimately develop into one of absolute trust, where HWA would feel comfortable sharing confident and sensitive issues and benefit from mutual training and development schemes.

    It is no secret that within HWA, matters of safety always occupy a prominent place in their project planning and consideration. On virtually all of their projects there is a sensitive interface between their work area and the public. Inevitably this dividing line will consist of scaffolding. HWA were also mindful of the impact on the local environment and are sensitive to matters affecting their corporate image. Scaffolding plays a prominent role in all of these areas.

    Added to all these initial items is HWA’s interest in the well being of its Managing Director who made it clear at the outset that he would like to sleep soundly each night!

    Clearly scaffolding plays a very prominent and important role in virtually all of HWA’s projects. They had to ensure that their chosen partners were up to the demanding expectations they were going to require. HWA considered very early on the important part an effective trade organisation could play in their selection process.

    The Strategic Alliance Scaffolding team was aware of the existence of the National Access and Scaffolding Association (NASC) and set about investigating the ideals and workings of the organisation. The results HWA found were very impressive.

    The NASC appeared to be a trade organisation with demanding ideals which HWA would be very happy to be associated with. Not only did the NASC represent its members, it also pursued improvement in training and employment for individual employees, matters of safety were also high on the agenda. HWA realised quickly they had the starting point for their ‘joining rules’!

    In 2002 HWA adopted the company policy that any scaffolding company that wanted to belong to HWA’s Strategic Alliance initiative would need to be a fully paid up member of the NASC. HWA have a very select group of scaffolding companies on their approved list. All of their current companies have been with them since the commencement of their initiative nearly nine years ago. HWA also recognized that some of their scaffolding contractors had already been members of the NASC prior to the start of their Alliance initiative.

    The Alliance members have developed into key team players, in line with HWA initial ideals. They have been involved in significant changes in the way they and HWA do business together, and share in confidential matters, tendering opportunities and joint training. HWA are convinced that their ‘work winning’ potential has been improved because of their input and assistance.

    Among the other targets HWA set themselves nine years ago, was to eliminate confrontation, a time wasting unproductive and unpleasant experience for all involved. HWA have set up a procedure where a senior point of contact within the company (the Strategic Alliance Team Leader), has an opposite point of contact within the scaffolding company (at Director level). These two meet on a regular quarterly basis to keep in touch and discuss any relevant points. They will also contact each other if there is any inkling of a ‘situation’ developing from either side. Both parties are pleased to report that any incidents of this nature are very rare, but when they have reared their head a phone call and intervention from either side has resolved matters within the day. This has resulted in HWA having not to resort to writing a ‘contractual’ letter for nine years!

    HWA’s safety record with regards to scaffolding is now exceptional. Going forward HWA and its Strategic Alliance partners continue to refine and improve the integrity and standards of the scaffolding and look for ways to streamline the whole process, from enquiry to erection and final striking.

    There is no doubt that HWA’s Scaffolding Strategic Alliance initiative has been a total success. This has proved evident since it’s launch in 2001 by reference to their various monitoring systems and the goals they set at the outset.

    Like other similar systems, HWA set ten ‘Key Performance Indicators’ to measure project by project, the overall contribution of any particular subcontractor to an individual job. These ‘Indicators’ cover a comprehensive range of items from their tender performance and pre-start assistance through to safety items and finalising their contractual responsibilities. The performance is expressed in percentages and can be compared in a number of ways, illustrating their progress from beginning to end of a particular project, against average scores from other associated trades on the same project or on an individual company basis over a period of time on various projects. From this information they can, at a glance, gauge the trends in overall or individual aspects, of a particular subcontractor. HWA are pleased to report that the performance of their NASC Scaffolders has consistently been at the ‘right level’ and the line on the graph is going in the right direction!

    HWA are keen to point out that this monitoring activity is not ‘one way’. At the conclusion of each project a similar ‘KPI’ report document is presented to the scaffolding company for them to report on the performance of HWA staff. Therefore they progress forward together as a partnership, both honing their operation for mutual benefit.

    Another target set by HWA was to eradicate ‘contractual correspondence’ by using their ‘one point of contact’ to nip problems in the bud. This initiative has been a total success. HWA’s project files contain only the subcontract documents, no further written communication has been necessary!

    HWA remain impressed with the continual striving of the NASC to refine and improve their ideals. The recent development of the NASC ‘Guide to Good Practice; TG20 -08′, which will ultimately replace BS5973, and is recognised by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), is further proof, should it be necessary, to confirm the status of the NASC within our industry.practices are now so well recognised that Contractors and Clients increasingly insist that scaffolding companies have NASC membership as a prerequisite to working on their site.

    Holloway White and Allom
    Holloway White Allom has an unrivalled reputation in the construction of quality residential and commercial buildings and in heritage markets. 

    Their high reputation for outstanding work on listed buildings, historic monuments, country estates and prestigious London homes, means that excellent standards will always be met, however exacting. Based in Mayfair since 1902, the company also provides planned property maintenance and has an existing delighted client base reinforced by its century of experience, enabling new The practice has over a 100 years experience, with offices in Mayfair and the Cotswolds and employs 185 staff, 115 of which are in-house specialist craftsmen. www.hwaltd.co.uk 

    The NASC (National Access and Scaffolding Confederation) accounts for over 75% of the UK’s scaffolding industry turnover. Members are regulated and must meet the NASC objectives of maintaining and developing best practice throughout the scaffolding industry. Membership requirement is strict and reinforced with an initial and subsequent audit after 12 months and then every 2 years to ensure compliance.

    The NASC’s good work and practices are now so well recognised that Contractors and Clients increasingly insist that scaffolding companies have NASC membership as a prerequisite to working on their site.

    For further information please contact: Neil Tomlinson, NASC Marketing Manager NASC 4th Floor, 12 Bridewell Place, London, EC4V 6AP Tel: 0207 822 7400  |  Fax: 0207 822 7401 e-mail: neil.tomlinson@nasc.org.uk Website: www.nasc.org.uk

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