acr

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from acr is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

acr.org.uk

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | WINGNUT
A shrinking recruitment pool
The biggest challenge we face is
recruitment. At the moment, in our
sector, it can be very difficult to
find the right people. Many more
young people are pursuing academic
qualifications rather than a vocational
profession, and this leads to both a
lack of skills and desire.
Furthermore, we have found that many
people are moving towards wanting
to work in an office environment
rather than installing outside. While
we used to fill the gaps with a number
of ex-miners and EU citizens, this is
becoming increasingly difficult.
On a political level, we believe local
authorities often have too much
power. It is impossible to achieve
anything without their express
permission, and the punitive fines
they charge if anything goes wrong
can cost any company in our sector
dearly. As their budgets are stretched
further, there is often an incentive to
penalise private companies financially
to fill their own gaps, and they have
become more aggressive in this regard
over recent years. While their intention
may be to target the larger companies,
any such legislation will naturally affect
companies like us too.
As we move into the future, we are
looking to continue our growth. We
will continue with our partnership with
Virgin Media, and we have developed
a very efficient, and mutually
beneficial, working relationship.
Currently, our contract with Virgin
constitutes roughly 90 per cent of
our turnover, and we are looking
to expand the areas we operate in,
reducing this figure to around 40 per
cent. We are specifically looking to
diversify our provision, particularly
through expanding our ANPR
activities. In the New Year, we will be
moving to new offices, a sign of our
growth, expansion and, I am sure, our
futuresuccess.
Wingnut
Utilities have
extremely good
relationships
with a number
of local
authorities in
the North West
Members of staff at our
old office complex
33ACR |
INFRASTRUCTURE & DEVELOPMENT
Managing Director Simon Robinson
The 380,000 square foot regional
distribution centre that acr helped
deliver for Movianto UK Ltd
A
multidisciplinary building design practice celebrating 50
years in business, acr has been a family-run concern since
its inception in 1969. Managing Director Simon Robinson
refers to the acr bespoke approach as “a fusion of building
design and facilities management services”, which has been
cultivated through its niche involvement with the pharmaceutical
sector. Simon tells
The Parliamentary Review
about the culture at
acr and discusses the company’s richhistory.
acr is a multidisciplinary practice with 50 years of experience and a back catalogue of
achievements drawn from a rich vein of cross-sectorial involvement and a specialist
input in pharma. From concept development to project completion, our cross-
discipline building consultancy division works with its clients to provide solutions
which exceed 21st-century expectation. Our facilities management division seamlessly
takes responsibility for aftercare, including preventative and planned maintenance.
As a family business started by Clive Robinson, acr began as a structural
engineering consultancy. In 1996, following his retirement, I took the helm and for
over two decades, have greatly diversified the practice offer. The past 12 months
have seen the business grow beyond measure.
As good as the last job
acr has always adopted a best-in-class culture, recognising that we are only ever as
good as the last job we have worked on. Our 49-year relationship with Pilkington
Glass is testament to the depth of ourpedigree.
FACTS ABOUT
ACR
»Managing Director:
SimonRobinson
»Founded in 1969
»Located in Merseyside
»Services: Building design,
project management, health
and safety consultancy and
facilities management
»Nationwide coverage
»No. of employees: 14
acr
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | ACR
When I took over the company at the
turn of the millennium, the practice
only had three fee earners, but through
a process of sustainable growth
we now have 14. While turnover
is important, we recognise that
cashflow is king and delivery critical.
We place great emphasis on building
client relationships, and consequently
the majority of our instructions
emerge from recommendation or
repeatcommission.
acr’s FM capability is born out of a
fruitful four-decade association with
AAH Pharmaceuticals. When we
were first approached, our specialist
knowledge was primitive, but through
studious endeavour and shadow
working we have now developed
unparalleled expertise, which makes our
offer unique within the marketplace.
When AAH’s directors moved on, we
migrated with them into their different
new companies. We believe that our
clients’ faith in us is our greatest asset.
Brexit means business
In the middle of difficulty lies
opportunity; for our practice the
challenges presented by the uncertainty
of Brexit have been justthat.
We currently have 31 live projects
within our present portfolio,
whichinclude:
»A 5,000-pallet pharmaceutical
coldstore
»A 20,000-pallet pharmaceutical
ambient temperature-controlled
warehouse
»A 400,000-square foot ambient
temperature-controlled warehouse
to service the NHS.
Some of our most challenging
responsibilities sit within our FM
division. Changing legislation, and
indeed the basis of prosecution for
non-compliance, has meant the
practice has directed much of its
energies towards education, awareness
and strategy formulation to help
clients avoid the crippling effects of
statutoryfailings.
One of the most important aspects
of our work is in advising directors
of their ever increasing obligations. It
has been more than three years since
the HSE and the Fire Service became
self-funded. As a consequence their
operational model fundamentally
changed and with it an explicit
need to generate an income stream.
Accompanied by legislative changes
to the grounds for sentencing,
companies now found in breach of
this legislation are fined a percentage
of their turnover as distinct from
their profit, providing a fresh focus
irrespective of company size, which
can prove absolutely crippling.
Indeed, these guidelines can extend
to custodial sentencing and can result
in suspension or even incarceration.
On average, three directors receive
custodial sentences each month for
failure to properly maintain their
businesses. Having witnessed how
directors often resolutely ignore the
importance of their safety obligations,
we understand better than most how
critically important it now is to develop
systematic maintenance planning.
Proposed parish room
extension at Mossley
Hill Parish Church being
delivered by acr
When I took
over the
company at
the turn of the
millennium,
the practice
only had three
fee earners,
but through a
process of
sustainable
growth we
now have 14
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | ACR
When I took over the company at the
turn of the millennium, the practice
only had three fee earners, but through
a process of sustainable growth
we now have 14. While turnover
is important, we recognise that
cashflow is king and delivery critical.
We place great emphasis on building
client relationships, and consequently
the majority of our instructions
emerge from recommendation or
repeatcommission.
acr’s FM capability is born out of a
fruitful four-decade association with
AAH Pharmaceuticals. When we
were first approached, our specialist
knowledge was primitive, but through
studious endeavour and shadow
working we have now developed
unparalleled expertise, which makes our
offer unique within the marketplace.
When AAH’s directors moved on, we
migrated with them into their different
new companies. We believe that our
clients’ faith in us is our greatest asset.
Brexit means business
In the middle of difficulty lies
opportunity; for our practice the
challenges presented by the uncertainty
of Brexit have been justthat.
We currently have 31 live projects
within our present portfolio,
whichinclude:
»A 5,000-pallet pharmaceutical
coldstore
»A 20,000-pallet pharmaceutical
ambient temperature-controlled
warehouse
»A 400,000-square foot ambient
temperature-controlled warehouse
to service the NHS.
Some of our most challenging
responsibilities sit within our FM
division. Changing legislation, and
indeed the basis of prosecution for
non-compliance, has meant the
practice has directed much of its
energies towards education, awareness
and strategy formulation to help
clients avoid the crippling effects of
statutoryfailings.
One of the most important aspects
of our work is in advising directors
of their ever increasing obligations. It
has been more than three years since
the HSE and the Fire Service became
self-funded. As a consequence their
operational model fundamentally
changed and with it an explicit
need to generate an income stream.
Accompanied by legislative changes
to the grounds for sentencing,
companies now found in breach of
this legislation are fined a percentage
of their turnover as distinct from
their profit, providing a fresh focus
irrespective of company size, which
can prove absolutely crippling.
Indeed, these guidelines can extend
to custodial sentencing and can result
in suspension or even incarceration.
On average, three directors receive
custodial sentences each month for
failure to properly maintain their
businesses. Having witnessed how
directors often resolutely ignore the
importance of their safety obligations,
we understand better than most how
critically important it now is to develop
systematic maintenance planning.
Proposed parish room
extension at Mossley
Hill Parish Church being
delivered by acr
When I took
over the
company at
the turn of the
millennium,
the practice
only had three
fee earners,
but through a
process of
sustainable
growth we
now have 14
35ACR |
INFRASTRUCTURE & DEVELOPMENT
Company compliance
Legislation dictates that companies
must be 100 per cent compliant. Our
unique service offer – FM Technical
Help Desk, ensures that all reporting
and updates are provided in a
systematic manner, as we take over the
day-to-day administrative responsibility
from our clients.
Like all consultancies, we are
influenced by market vagaries. As
managing director, I have had to
remain fleet of foot, promoting an
agile mindset capable of exploiting
to the full opportunities as they
have arisen within an ever-changing
business landscape.
Leadership
My leadership style is self-energised,
proactive and motivated by delivering
beyond our clients’ expectations, with
a passion for excellence and procedural
efficiency. As the business has evolved,
I have however become acutely
aware of the need to strengthen the
management infrastructure and to
appoint a deputy to help bolster the
leadership dynamic.
After a thorough search we are
delighted that one of the former
directors from a highly respected
national architectural practice has now
joined the team as deputy MD. Their
appointment has brought further focus
to our management systems, provided
fresh opportunity for client nurturing
and has been instrumental in acr being
able to recruit two further staff to its
FM Division.
Our ambition, predicated on a culture of
continual learning, is to manage growth
sustainably, to further strengthen our
client base and, in partnership, to ensure
our service outstrips client expectation,
always remaining best in class.
Looking to the future
Conscious of our need to remain
sustainable, we see ourselves continuing
to grow in a controlled manner,
servicing clients throughout the UK.
We believe it is also important to
educate companies in the importance
of understanding and interpreting the
legislation that impacts the safety of
workplaces and their employees.
My leadership
style is self-
energised,
proactive and
motivated by
delivering
beyond our
clients’
expectations,
with a passion
for excellence
and procedural
efficiency
New service centre
for ITT at Normanton,
designed and delivered
by acr

acr.org.uk

This article was sponsored by acr. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.