Case Study: Platinum Projects Europe
With collectively over 70 years experience in the construction industry, the team at Platinum Projects Europe (PPE) are trusted to build and refurbish the likes of Morrisons’ retail stores, to multi-million pound apartments in London.
More recently, the company has expanded to include an arm focused on civil engineering, whilst another solely concentrates on new homes. In order to demonstrate their commitment to quality service, the company is Safe Contractor and Constructionline approved. In 2012, they approached the British Assessment Bureau (BAB) to increase credibility with certification to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.
With an impressive list of clients, PPE’s experience and technical ability has helped the company build a solid reputation within the industry. The Group’s Health & Safety Manager, Steve Holt, has sought to demonstrate how seriously they take their work by securing various accreditations already. This has helped both satisfy existing clients and strengthen PPE’s chances of winning further contracts. Steve helped explain the Group’s strategy;
“We’re committed to demonstrating that we go beyond legal minimum requirements. As such, we’ve been looking to move forward continuously to prove to our clients that we would always be working with their best intentions in mind. We have CHAS, Safe Contractor, Constructionline and Acclaim accreditation already, but in a competitive industry, we wanted to ensure we were in the best position for both public and private sector contracts.”
Steve saw ISO’s suite of management standards as the answer. Being internationally recognised, they are respected industry-wide as a demonstration of both conformance and best practice. ISO 9001 is, in fact, the world’s most popular management standard implemented by millions of organisations. However, PPE decided to opt for ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 too, allowing the organisation to demonstrate effective management of environmental and health and safety respectively – hot topics within the construction industry.
With these standards selected, it was over to Steve and the company’s’ management team to manage their implementation. With achieving certification no simple task, it was important for Steve to choose a Certification Body that he felt would work well with PPE. He explained;
“I liked the BAB’s suggestion of an integrated management system which would enable us to set new benchmarks, helping us to maintain a high standard going forward. My initial impressions were they were an approachable and friendly company.”
Once happy to move forward, PPE were visited by their auditor for their Stage 1 visit in order to ascertain how the company’s existing processes aligned with the requirements of the standards. Director David Chinejani recalled;
“The initial visit was quite lengthy, in order to determine the current standards and systems within the company. We found the feedback from the auditor very informative and it identified the areas in which we needed to improve in order to gain the certification.”
Whilst many companies fear achieving certification will be onerous, or turn their business upside down, many don’t realise they have many of good things already in place. Projects Director Craig Fairfield commented;
“We had no problems to overcome per se; it was just a case of making all the staff aware of the system and requirements and getting them to ‘buy’ into the system and believe in its positive status.”
When ready, in agreement with their auditor, PPE were booked in for the all important Stage 2 audit. By combining what they had learnt from their initial audit, together with the company’s existing good practice, they passed their audit first time of asking. Craig shared his experience of the overall process;
“The process was very friendly across all the facets of the company. We initially believed that the process would be very long and drawn out, not to mention at large financial cost, but it didn’t turn out to be the case.”
Being a well run company already, achieving certification proved to be a useful benchmarking exercise for PPE. Fundamentally, the intention of management standards is to help promote best practice for the benefit of staff, suppliers and clients. The outcome of greater harmony between these parties brings greater efficiency, which can only result in benefits all round. Steve reflected on the main benefits gained from implementation;
“We now have a more robust health and safety system in place which all the staff has bought into, a better system for monitoring our current standard, and processes to improve customer service. We’re more confident than ever that will deliver both on time and on budget, whilst meeting all legal requirements.”
Janet Crabtree, the company’s Business Development Manager, added;
“Now our credentials have been overseen by a respected third-party, we hope clients will be reassured further that dealing with us will be a trouble-free, positive experience.”
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