Basement Masters

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Basement Masters's best practice article

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 Basement Masters is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.basementmasters.co.uk

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
24 | THE TRADITIONAL VERANDAH CO
One project we weren’t expecting,
however, was a large development of
a residential care home in Tunbridge
Wells, Kent. This particular project,
by Goldfinch Developments, was a
special one; as much as the vision was
to create a “home from home” for
any residents, it was also intended
to provide a feeling of individuality
throughout the development.
This was certainly achieved – we
constructed and installed nine structures
at the site, some of which were built
over doors for private accommodation
and others installed in communal areas.
We have since been specified as the
supplier for verandahs and shelters on
large renovation projects at two separate
central London commercial premises.
Building on current and past
success
We hope to use our success to build
on the solid foundation we already
have – by reinvesting, we will be able
to update and improve our machining
mill. As it is used in every project for
fine tolerance engineering of our
bespoke components, an upgraded
mill would provide us access to a far
wider range of possibilities, with a view
to improving our capabilities further.
More importantly, however, we want
to relocate to larger premises in the
future, with a view to being able
to buy materials in larger quantities
thanks to increased storage capacity.
This would allow us to plan ahead on
a greater scale and improve our lead
times for the sake of our clients.
Once we have achieved this, we would
like to consider developing a wider
range of products, to enlarge our
portfolio and consequently provide a
greater variety of options for clients to
choose from.
We hope to
use our
success to
build on the
solid
foundation we
already have
One of two large free-
standing structures
erected at The Old
KentBarn
25BASEMENT MASTERS |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Managing Director EricMorson
A cosy basement completed
Eric Morson started out in the construction industry as an
apprentice plasterer in the mid-1970s and has seen a lot
of change in the sector over the past four decades. After
leaving school at the age of 15 with no qualifications, he is now
the Managing Director at Basement Masters, one of London’s
leading basement specia lists. Eric tells
The Parliamentary Review
more about his and the company’s journey.
I was thankful to get an apprenticeship as a plasterer when I left school. The work
was hard and labour intensive; my plight, arising from a lack of education, and then
finding my way into the building trade, wouldn’t have been too uncommon then.
One of the advantages that the building trade has to offer, should you have lost
out on early education or just be a late developer, is a genuine opportunity going
forward. Of course, there are also plenty of opportunities for further qualifications
in fields such as engineering, surveying, architecture and project management.
As I enter the back end of my career both the company and I, have ascertained
the knowledge and developed skill sets that help us progress more effectively.
My inner desire to create and achieve forced me to educate myself and gain
qualifications along the way. There was no structure to my early learning, and to
be honest, no real guidance. A good education, parental support and professional
guidance, would be best for all starting out in life, but where life does not afford
it to everyone, it is good that later opportunities can be found. It took me time to
understand business and as I always say, I paddled my own canoe and took the
long route.
FACTS ABOUT
BASEMENT MASTERS
»Managing Director:
EricMorson
»Founded in 2004
»Based in the London Borough
of Enfield
»Services: Installation of
basements all over London
»No. of employees: 25
Basement Masters
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | BASEMENT MASTERS
Values
Our clients are our most prized asset,
and customer care is paramount to us.
The work we do is often misinterpreted
and the public don’t always
understand the complexities. There are
many steps involved before Basement
Masters are able to commence physical
build works, the extent of which work
is often news to the client. We aim to
be there from the beginning, through
to the finished work and beyond.
Precommencement works involve
designing and planning applications.
The level of information in a basement
planning pack can be vast compared to
that of a simple extension application.
The pack could include ground
surveys with geotechnical information
from ground boreholes dug prior to
application. There are construction
method statements, access statements
and flood risks assessments. We also
help to reassure, guide and provide
support for clients. We are often
installing basements while the family
is still living within the home, and we
appreciate that this can prove stressful
for clients and neighbours alike; for
this reason, we place a high value on
creating successful client relationships,
ensuring each party is informed.
The health and safety of staff
members, subcontractors and
employees, along with their welfare,
is also a key priority. When excavating
several hundred cubic metres of soil
from below an occupied house, while
keeping the employees safe and the
home stable, can be a challenge. In
this respect we are always seeking
to keep to the highest set standards.
Within construction, the health and
safety executives are currently helping
to raise and maintain better safety
standards than in the past.
What does a basement mean
to me?
Personally, I see basements as a way to
help create more quality space within
homes, as well as the ability to provide
more homes within towns and cities.
One day I visualise villages and towns
being built underground. In high-tech,
well-lit modern environments, there
would be many benefits in utilising
the space we have around us: cities
expanding downwards instead of up
and out; schools keeping more of their
playing fields with classrooms below
ground; while hospitals could avoid
being sited further and further out of
town if designs took advantage of the
space below the surface to cater for
the demand for increased capacity.
To date, we have built basements for
expecting parents for their expanding
families, young couples setting up
home within the parental home,
granny flats for ageing parents and au
pairs, offices, gyms and playrooms, or
simply in order to improve the quality
of family life. I am an optimist and I see
a great future for a growing basement
market, with Basement Masters playing
a leading role in delivering this.
Upcoming challenges ahead
There are always obstacles that need
overcoming, but some make achieving
More family space
I visualise
villages and
towns being
built
underground
in high-tech,
well-lit
modern
environments
27BASEMENT MASTERS |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
goals harder than others. I have
recently set about putting together
an ambitious business growth plan
for Basement Masters. The goal is
to take the business from its current
turnover of £1.3 million to £10 million
profitable business within the next five
years, starting from January 2019.
Brexit is certainly one of our obstacles.
It affects our business in many ways,
the key factor being the potential
reduction in income, as our labour
force includes over 50 per cent of
highly valued Eastern European
workers. Our staffing issues persist,
not for want of trying, since we cannot
find a pool of home-grown youngsters
willing to do any form of manual
labour. We have a number of clients
saying they’ll be waiting until after 29
March 2019, prior to committing to
their projects.
Over the 20 years, I have focused my
working life on basements. There
have been key improvements in both
the designing of projects and the
implementation of the works. A key
component of this is the party wall. As
much as it is an essential and integral
part of basement construction, it can
prove to be a detriment, causing long
and unnecessary delays, as well as
adding stress rather than removing it.
Ihave seen some issues squabbled over
in an over-the-fence confrontational
manner, whereas around-the-table
collaboration would have benefited the
parties much more.
I have much respect for the needs of
environmental planning and the need
to be considerate of neighbourhoods.
However, I also believe that more
consideration should be given to
improving local neighbourhoods
rather than the discouragement we
oftenencounter.
Changing the industry for the
better
From my experiences I firmly believe
the answers are out there. A few
years ago, we received a £100,000
government grant to carry out proof of
concept on a new product that I think
will be revolutionary and which would
help the basement industry to develop
along the right lines. However, having
successfully completed the initial
concept process, both time and money
have prevented me from progressing
this, but it is certainly something I
intend to complete, and use to take
my business and the industry forward
in a more productive manner.
More
consideration
should be given
to improving
local
neighbourhoods
rather than the
discouragement
we often
encounter
Leisure and relaxation
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | BASEMENT MASTERS
Values
Our clients are our most prized asset,
and customer care is paramount to us.
The work we do is often misinterpreted
and the public don’t always
understand the complexities. There are
many steps involved before Basement
Masters are able to commence physical
build works, the extent of which work
is often news to the client. We aim to
be there from the beginning, through
to the finished work and beyond.
Precommencement works involve
designing and planning applications.
The level of information in a basement
planning pack can be vast compared to
that of a simple extension application.
The pack could include ground
surveys with geotechnical information
from ground boreholes dug prior to
application. There are construction
method statements, access statements
and flood risks assessments. We also
help to reassure, guide and provide
support for clients. We are often
installing basements while the family
is still living within the home, and we
appreciate that this can prove stressful
for clients and neighbours alike; for
this reason, we place a high value on
creating successful client relationships,
ensuring each party is informed.
The health and safety of staff
members, subcontractors and
employees, along with their welfare,
is also a key priority. When excavating
several hundred cubic metres of soil
from below an occupied house, while
keeping the employees safe and the
home stable, can be a challenge. In
this respect we are always seeking
to keep to the highest set standards.
Within construction, the health and
safety executives are currently helping
to raise and maintain better safety
standards than in the past.
What does a basement mean
to me?
Personally, I see basements as a way to
help create more quality space within
homes, as well as the ability to provide
more homes within towns and cities.
One day I visualise villages and towns
being built underground. In high-tech,
well-lit modern environments, there
would be many benefits in utilising
the space we have around us: cities
expanding downwards instead of up
and out; schools keeping more of their
playing fields with classrooms below
ground; while hospitals could avoid
being sited further and further out of
town if designs took advantage of the
space below the surface to cater for
the demand for increased capacity.
To date, we have built basements for
expecting parents for their expanding
families, young couples setting up
home within the parental home,
granny flats for ageing parents and au
pairs, offices, gyms and playrooms, or
simply in order to improve the quality
of family life. I am an optimist and I see
a great future for a growing basement
market, with Basement Masters playing
a leading role in delivering this.
Upcoming challenges ahead
There are always obstacles that need
overcoming, but some make achieving
More family space
I visualise
villages and
towns being
built
underground
in high-tech,
well-lit
modern
environments
27BASEMENT MASTERS |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
goals harder than others. I have
recently set about putting together
an ambitious business growth plan
for Basement Masters. The goal is
to take the business from its current
turnover of £1.3 million to £10 million
profitable business within the next five
years, starting from January 2019.
Brexit is certainly one of our obstacles.
It affects our business in many ways,
the key factor being the potential
reduction in income, as our labour
force includes over 50 per cent of
highly valued Eastern European
workers. Our staffing issues persist,
not for want of trying, since we cannot
find a pool of home-grown youngsters
willing to do any form of manual
labour. We have a number of clients
saying they’ll be waiting until after 29
March 2019, prior to committing to
their projects.
Over the 20 years, I have focused my
working life on basements. There
have been key improvements in both
the designing of projects and the
implementation of the works. A key
component of this is the party wall. As
much as it is an essential and integral
part of basement construction, it can
prove to be a detriment, causing long
and unnecessary delays, as well as
adding stress rather than removing it.
Ihave seen some issues squabbled over
in an over-the-fence confrontational
manner, whereas around-the-table
collaboration would have benefited the
parties much more.
I have much respect for the needs of
environmental planning and the need
to be considerate of neighbourhoods.
However, I also believe that more
consideration should be given to
improving local neighbourhoods
rather than the discouragement we
oftenencounter.
Changing the industry for the
better
From my experiences I firmly believe
the answers are out there. A few
years ago, we received a £100,000
government grant to carry out proof of
concept on a new product that I think
will be revolutionary and which would
help the basement industry to develop
along the right lines. However, having
successfully completed the initial
concept process, both time and money
have prevented me from progressing
this, but it is certainly something I
intend to complete, and use to take
my business and the industry forward
in a more productive manner.
More
consideration
should be given
to improving
local
neighbourhoods
rather than the
discouragement
we often
encounter
Leisure and relaxation

www.basementmasters.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Basement Masters. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster