Building Craftsmen Dumfries

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Building Craftsmen Dumfries'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 Building Craftsmen Dumfries 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.buildingcraftsmen.com

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | EMD GROUP
We think this problem cannot be
solved by construction companies
themselves, but assistance from the
Department for Education could be
the key to match supply with demand.
The shortage of skills, however, is not
the only issue the construction industry
encounters in terms of labour – and
EMD is no exception in this sense – as
we are talking about one of the values
that contributed to its success since
thebeginning.
Work ethic
We found that an inadequate work
ethic is another challenge that is
quite common in construction, and
this contributes to the large level of
employment of migrant workforce in
the sector; 26 per cent of employers
believe foreign workers have a better
work ethic than British workers. We
do not have the appropriate tools to
tell whether this is true or not, but
it certainly is an issue we deal with
every day, regardless of the origins
ofemployees.
In order to see improvements in terms
of work ethic, we are planning to
implement new benefits, promote
a friendly atmosphere, undertake
monitoring and organise events, and to
take action against any discriminatory
behaviour. Feedback from employees
is important, and we listen to them
regularly to address any issues.
Financial support
Receiving financial support is critical
for any construction company, but
we have found it difficult to obtain
this kind of support from banks
and financial institutions. In spite of
offering a fair and adequate collateral
and having seen constant growth in
the past years, banks would not risk
offering us the liquidity we needed to
develop projects and our company.
This is a challenge we cannot control,
and all we can do is hope things will
change, although we understand the
cause of such a low-risk policy might
have its origins in what we mentioned
above: uncertainty about the future of
the country.
When the situation settles after Brexit,
and the future scenario is clearer, we
are sure more challenges will arise, and
a careful assessment of our options
will be necessary in order to ascertain
how we can progress in the market.
We do not believe it is possible to
make a reliable forecast, nor can
we set our goals. Our hope for the
future is to obtain more support from
publicinstitutions.
An important
challenge we
face is finding
skilled,
qualified
labour
»CLOSING THE SKILLS
»Specialised apprentice courses: we think an apprenticeship course
could help young professionals to understand how the business
works, like a warm-up run
»Traineeships: the current education system lacks a practical
approach, with the consequence that young workers do not always
have the chance to prove themselves or to be tested on the job in
terms of what they have learned in their years of education
»Funds for companies that offer training: companies can still provide
specialised training, but costs are not sustainable; a contribution
from the government could be a fair compromise.
EMD is a multidisciplinary
construction company
31BUILDING CRAFTSMEN (DUMFRIES) LIMITED |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
Managing Director William
“Billy”Hewitson
Actual affordable housing
for sale
Committed to supporting the local areas in which they
operate, Building Craftsmen Dumfries aim to work with
local subcontractors and keep the money they earn in
the regions where they work. The business is split between
contracting, house construction and clinical services. To address
the housing shortage, they focus on constructing affordable
housing and are being supported by the Scottish government
to build 120 homes for sale over the next two years. The
business appreciates the importance of early engagement with
local academic partnerships to create early awareness and the
importance of skilled practices in the UK. Managing Director
William “Billy” Hewitson tells
The Parliamentary Review
more.
The company was created in its present form in 1988 and remains an independent
family business, led by myself, my brother Neil and previously my late father David.
We focus on contracting and construction throughout the UK. We originally
focused on contract maintenance; since then, we have branched out to complete
works on behalf of the NHS and local authorities. We still complete contracting
work alongside this and have built up a strong workforce to support our efforts.
Currently, contracting makes up 50 per cent of our projects, housing makes up 30
per cent and the rest is made up by commercial projects.
The business is divided into three focus areas: construction, housing and clinical
services. This focus emerged after the financial crash in 2008, as niche areas did not
seem to be suffering in the same way as the wider market. We became engaged
in a variety of projects, and this brought significant benefits to the company.
FACTS ABOUT
BUILDING CRAFTSMEN
DUMFRIES
»Managing Director: William
“Billy”Hewitson
»Established in 1975
»Based in Dumfries and
Somerset but covering the
whole of the UK
»Services: Construction,
contracting and NHS services
»No. of employees: 75 to 10 0
Building Craftsmen
(Dumfries) Limited
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | BUILDING CRAFTSMEN (DUMFRIES) LIMITED
Withinthis industry, we focus on
building new factories or renovating
existing ones. We are supported by
bases in Somerset and Scotland,
but our workforce is spread across
the UK. Once we implemented our
business strategy, our growth was
fast, and we expanded our workforce
and upskilled our labour to meet the
challenges. We now employ around
85 full-time employees, alongside
severalsubcontractors.
Our involvement in the factory industry
is an integral part of our business, as
we work to bring their operations up
to date, covering the entire site, from
clean areas to machinery. Over time,
we have developed our expertise and
skillsets. The company has always
focused on niche areas of the market
and reinvents itself every five to seven
years. This means we must be able to
adapt and move with the times, no
matter the industry.
Our commitment to local
areas
Our business has been supported by
a high proportion of repeat clients
and a core group of main long-term
clients. The key factor that sets us
apart is our commitment to the local
areas where we work. We conduct a
large amount of training, buy locally
and support our local areas wherever
possible: whether by building houses,
providing solutions to meet healthcare
demands or training the local
population. When we work in an area,
we always keep the money we earn in
that region, supporting local initiatives
and prosperity. We collaborate with
Scottish government to deliver a
housing strategy that will support
people through the construction of
affordable homes for sale that are
environmentally efficient, providing a
low utilities cost to theowner.
Our homes will be built to silver
standard, and this level of quality
can only be achieved using high-
quality personnel. We work alongside
external training companies and local
colleges and universities to ensure
that our staff remain as effective as
they can be.
Safety is a key priority, and we
always work to extremely high
safety standards. This commitment
is reflected in our stellar safety
record, and we never employ any
subcontractors who do not conform
to our expectations. We make
sure that we are always up to date
with any changes to regulations;
wherever we work, we apply the
same standards. In terms of the
subcontractors we work with, we
try to use a core group of reliable
businesses but will always look to
work with local firms. We give all local
businesses a chance to tender for our
contracts, and this is supported by our
core group, combining reliability with
support for local people.
A factory extension
under construction
The interior of a typical
home for sale
The company
has always
focused on
niche areas of
the market
and reinvents
itself every five
to seven
years
33BUILDING CRAFTSMEN (DUMFRIES) LIMITED |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
The need to address the skills
gap
Labour remains our biggest challenge,
and the skills gap that is currently
affecting the entire country only
exacerbates this issue. There has been
a significant lack of training in the
last 20 years, and this is something
that has slipped out of focus. We are
still playing catch-up to remedy these
issues, which will only get worse if not
properly addressed. We believe that
due to the lack of available workers,
within the next ten years, houses
will have to be built in factories and
transported to the site.
Currently, 33 per cent of school leavers
go into higher education, and this can
often be the wrong focus: trades need
a supply of high-quality workers. As
everyone has different skillsets, it is not
true that people must go to university
to earn a good living. More needs to
be done to channel people away from
going to university, identifying those
with the skills that would be put to
far better use in the construction and
manufacturing industries. If we go
back 30+ years, we had workshops
and laboratories in our schools; these
have been replaced with computer
suites. The importance of labour
skills is not at the forefront of the UK
curriculum delivery.
Our focus on affordable housing is
trying to address the housing shortage
that is affecting the entire country.
What we undertake locally needs
to be expanded across the country,
with a specific focus on affordable
housing. There needs to be a national
discussion on the best steps forward,
studying demographics and the type
of housing that needs to be built.
We are open for regular discussions
with the government to create a
structured approach in all regions
throughout the UK to support the
needs of communities, delivering
affordable, energy-efficient homes that
will improve lifestyles and support the
health needs of our citizens.
We have the energy and determination
to strengthen our business while
expanding our services and offering
them to every corner of the country,
engaging with communities and
businesses to understand their needs
and provide solutions that add real
value. We are passionate about
our collaboration and engagement
with academic partners around the
country to ensure that we improve the
perception of a skilled workforce. This
will address the labour shortage and
allow us to highlight the many benefits
that the construction industry can bring
for generations now and in thefuture.
Labour remains
our biggest
challenge and
the skills gap
that is currently
affecting the
entire country
only
exacerbates this
issue
Our diversity and structure
delivers quality solutions to
address UK needs
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | BUILDING CRAFTSMEN (DUMFRIES) LIMITED
Withinthis industry, we focus on
building new factories or renovating
existing ones. We are supported by
bases in Somerset and Scotland,
but our workforce is spread across
the UK. Once we implemented our
business strategy, our growth was
fast, and we expanded our workforce
and upskilled our labour to meet the
challenges. We now employ around
85 full-time employees, alongside
severalsubcontractors.
Our involvement in the factory industry
is an integral part of our business, as
we work to bring their operations up
to date, covering the entire site, from
clean areas to machinery. Over time,
we have developed our expertise and
skillsets. The company has always
focused on niche areas of the market
and reinvents itself every five to seven
years. This means we must be able to
adapt and move with the times, no
matter the industry.
Our commitment to local
areas
Our business has been supported by
a high proportion of repeat clients
and a core group of main long-term
clients. The key factor that sets us
apart is our commitment to the local
areas where we work. We conduct a
large amount of training, buy locally
and support our local areas wherever
possible: whether by building houses,
providing solutions to meet healthcare
demands or training the local
population. When we work in an area,
we always keep the money we earn in
that region, supporting local initiatives
and prosperity. We collaborate with
Scottish government to deliver a
housing strategy that will support
people through the construction of
affordable homes for sale that are
environmentally efficient, providing a
low utilities cost to theowner.
Our homes will be built to silver
standard, and this level of quality
can only be achieved using high-
quality personnel. We work alongside
external training companies and local
colleges and universities to ensure
that our staff remain as effective as
they can be.
Safety is a key priority, and we
always work to extremely high
safety standards. This commitment
is reflected in our stellar safety
record, and we never employ any
subcontractors who do not conform
to our expectations. We make
sure that we are always up to date
with any changes to regulations;
wherever we work, we apply the
same standards. In terms of the
subcontractors we work with, we
try to use a core group of reliable
businesses but will always look to
work with local firms. We give all local
businesses a chance to tender for our
contracts, and this is supported by our
core group, combining reliability with
support for local people.
A factory extension
under construction
The interior of a typical
home for sale
The company
has always
focused on
niche areas of
the market
and reinvents
itself every five
to seven
years
33BUILDING CRAFTSMEN (DUMFRIES) LIMITED |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
The need to address the skills
gap
Labour remains our biggest challenge,
and the skills gap that is currently
affecting the entire country only
exacerbates this issue. There has been
a significant lack of training in the
last 20 years, and this is something
that has slipped out of focus. We are
still playing catch-up to remedy these
issues, which will only get worse if not
properly addressed. We believe that
due to the lack of available workers,
within the next ten years, houses
will have to be built in factories and
transported to the site.
Currently, 33 per cent of school leavers
go into higher education, and this can
often be the wrong focus: trades need
a supply of high-quality workers. As
everyone has different skillsets, it is not
true that people must go to university
to earn a good living. More needs to
be done to channel people away from
going to university, identifying those
with the skills that would be put to
far better use in the construction and
manufacturing industries. If we go
back 30+ years, we had workshops
and laboratories in our schools; these
have been replaced with computer
suites. The importance of labour
skills is not at the forefront of the UK
curriculum delivery.
Our focus on affordable housing is
trying to address the housing shortage
that is affecting the entire country.
What we undertake locally needs
to be expanded across the country,
with a specific focus on affordable
housing. There needs to be a national
discussion on the best steps forward,
studying demographics and the type
of housing that needs to be built.
We are open for regular discussions
with the government to create a
structured approach in all regions
throughout the UK to support the
needs of communities, delivering
affordable, energy-efficient homes that
will improve lifestyles and support the
health needs of our citizens.
We have the energy and determination
to strengthen our business while
expanding our services and offering
them to every corner of the country,
engaging with communities and
businesses to understand their needs
and provide solutions that add real
value. We are passionate about
our collaboration and engagement
with academic partners around the
country to ensure that we improve the
perception of a skilled workforce. This
will address the labour shortage and
allow us to highlight the many benefits
that the construction industry can bring
for generations now and in thefuture.
Labour remains
our biggest
challenge and
the skills gap
that is currently
affecting the
entire country
only
exacerbates this
issue
Our diversity and structure
delivers quality solutions to
address UK needs

www.buildingcraftsmen.com

This article was sponsored by Building Craftsmen Dumfries. 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