Minster Group

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Minster Group'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 Minster Group 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, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

www.minstergroupltd.com

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
16 | MINSTER GROUP
Managing Director
Bruce Spencer-Knott
Minster lays and resurfaces roads for
local authorities across the country
Lincoln-based road surfacing contractor Minster Group has
a reputation for innovation and sustainability. It strives to
continuously improve the way it operates, using the latest
technology to improve its work at every stage. It serves clients
across the country, including local authorities, major developers,
housebuilders and the Ministry of Defence as a trusted supplier.
Managing Director Bruce Spencer-Knott started working on the
roads when he left school at 18, and his career has taken him
from digging up roads with jackhammers to running an award-
winning surfacing firm, with a turnover now approaching
£20million.
Minster Group was founded in 1999 and is named after the magnificent cathedral
that towers over the city of Lincoln. During the ten years I worked on the roads
before establishing the business, I learnt that road surfacing doesn’t have to be
the dirty, low-tech and dangerous job it sometimes appears to be. By embracing
change, technology and innovation, road surfacing can be made safer, greener and
less disruptive and we can achieve better results at the same time.
The journey to innovation
When I remortgaged my house and started the company, I promised myself that
I would do everything I could to eliminate some of the most dangerous tasks we
undertook and that I would never accept the established way things are done.
Technology can bring improvements at every stage – that ethos has influenced our
work every step of the way.
FACTS ABOUT
MINSTER GROUP
»Managing Director: Bruce
Spencer-Knott
»Established in 1999 as Minster
Surfacing
»Based in Lincoln
»Services: Road surfacing and
civil engineering
»No. of employees: 40
»Minster Group is currently
developing new systems that
will enable it to create roads
that are 95 per cent recycled
»Bruce was named Director of
the Year for Innovation 2019
by the Institute of Directors
East Midlands
»Minster won Circular Economy
Project of the Year at the
BusinessGreen Leaders Awards
2019
»Became Minster Group in
2019 as the firm reached its
20th anniversary
Minster Group
17MINSTER GROUP |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
During that first year, I started working
on site at the crack of dawn before
going to the office to sort out the
paperwork. It was hard work but it
paid dividends – in our first year, we
turned over around £1 million.
When I started the business, veteran
tarmacker Tony Cole matched my
£30,000 investment to start the
company and helped us grow. In 2012,
I bought out his stake – and I have
been steering Minster to continued
growth ever since.
The right partners have paved
the way to success
Local developments and infrastructure
projects helped us to grow, and
gradually we began working on
national surfacing contracts with the
likes of Balfour Beatty, CarillionAmey
and Tarmac. We now work with
Lincolnshire County Council and
Oxfordshire County Council to
resurface, repair and construct new
roads while also working on some of
their more high-profile projects.
In 2007, we won our first contract with
the Ministry of Defence. Our team now
works nationwide for the British Army,
Royal Navy and RAF; we even have
a satellite office at RAF Brize Norton
from where we cover prestigious
bases and stations including Sandhurst
and Victoria Barracks, and have even
resurfaced Horse Guards Parade.
Thanks to the high quality of work
we’ve consistently delivered, we are
now recognised as a trusted supplier
by the MOD.
Two years ago, we completed our
largest single contract to date for the
MOD: replacing the 8,000-square
metre refuelling yard at RAF
Waddington. More than 6,000
tonnes of the material we removed
was recycled, and the project was
completed both on budget and
ontime.
Deploying sustainable
technology
In 2014, we started using recycling
technology. This has transformed the
way we work – we became one of
the first companies in the UK to use
Foambase technology. Developed
by OCL Regeneration, Foambase
is a foamed bitumen alternative to
traditional hot asphalt which is created
by recycling the material we remove
from roads and pavements.
Foambase produces 32 per cent less
CO2 than traditional hot asphalt,
and it also enables us to safely reuse
hazardous coal tar, which can cost
local authorities up to £100 per tonne
to take to landfill. Green technology
has always been something we have
sought out, but using Foambase has
enabled us to recycle material on a
scale that we’d never been able to
achieve before.
In 2016, we moved into a new three-
acre headquarters which enabled
us to grow our team to 40 full-time
employees and increase the amount
of work we can undertake. It has also
helped to cut our carbon footprint
– our offices are powered by solar
panels, which in turn provide more
green energy for the National Grid.
Additionally, we are close to finalising
construction of a wind turbine on
site which will generate even more
cleanenergy. Minster currently
produces roads that are
50 per cent recycled
Our team now
works
nationwide for
the British
Army, Royal
Navy and RAF
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
16 | MINSTER GROUP
Managing Director
Bruce Spencer-Knott
Minster lays and resurfaces roads for
local authorities across the country
Lincoln-based road surfacing contractor Minster Group has
a reputation for innovation and sustainability. It strives to
continuously improve the way it operates, using the latest
technology to improve its work at every stage. It serves clients
across the country, including local authorities, major developers,
housebuilders and the Ministry of Defence as a trusted supplier.
Managing Director Bruce Spencer-Knott started working on the
roads when he left school at 18, and his career has taken him
from digging up roads with jackhammers to running an award-
winning surfacing firm, with a turnover now approaching
£20million.
Minster Group was founded in 1999 and is named after the magnificent cathedral
that towers over the city of Lincoln. During the ten years I worked on the roads
before establishing the business, I learnt that road surfacing doesn’t have to be
the dirty, low-tech and dangerous job it sometimes appears to be. By embracing
change, technology and innovation, road surfacing can be made safer, greener and
less disruptive and we can achieve better results at the same time.
The journey to innovation
When I remortgaged my house and started the company, I promised myself that
I would do everything I could to eliminate some of the most dangerous tasks we
undertook and that I would never accept the established way things are done.
Technology can bring improvements at every stage – that ethos has influenced our
work every step of the way.
FACTS ABOUT
MINSTER GROUP
»Managing Director: Bruce
Spencer-Knott
»Established in 1999 as Minster
Surfacing
»Based in Lincoln
»Services: Road surfacing and
civil engineering
»No. of employees: 40
»Minster Group is currently
developing new systems that
will enable it to create roads
that are 95 per cent recycled
»Bruce was named Director of
the Year for Innovation 2019
by the Institute of Directors
East Midlands
»Minster won Circular Economy
Project of the Year at the
BusinessGreen Leaders Awards
2019
»Became Minster Group in
2019 as the firm reached its
20th anniversary
Minster Group
17MINSTER GROUP |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
During that first year, I started working
on site at the crack of dawn before
going to the office to sort out the
paperwork. It was hard work but it
paid dividends – in our first year, we
turned over around £1 million.
When I started the business, veteran
tarmacker Tony Cole matched my
£30,000 investment to start the
company and helped us grow. In 2012,
I bought out his stake – and I have
been steering Minster to continued
growth ever since.
The right partners have paved
the way to success
Local developments and infrastructure
projects helped us to grow, and
gradually we began working on
national surfacing contracts with the
likes of Balfour Beatty, CarillionAmey
and Tarmac. We now work with
Lincolnshire County Council and
Oxfordshire County Council to
resurface, repair and construct new
roads while also working on some of
their more high-profile projects.
In 2007, we won our first contract with
the Ministry of Defence. Our team now
works nationwide for the British Army,
Royal Navy and RAF; we even have
a satellite office at RAF Brize Norton
from where we cover prestigious
bases and stations including Sandhurst
and Victoria Barracks, and have even
resurfaced Horse Guards Parade.
Thanks to the high quality of work
we’ve consistently delivered, we are
now recognised as a trusted supplier
by the MOD.
Two years ago, we completed our
largest single contract to date for the
MOD: replacing the 8,000-square
metre refuelling yard at RAF
Waddington. More than 6,000
tonnes of the material we removed
was recycled, and the project was
completed both on budget and
ontime.
Deploying sustainable
technology
In 2014, we started using recycling
technology. This has transformed the
way we work – we became one of
the first companies in the UK to use
Foambase technology. Developed
by OCL Regeneration, Foambase
is a foamed bitumen alternative to
traditional hot asphalt which is created
by recycling the material we remove
from roads and pavements.
Foambase produces 32 per cent less
CO2 than traditional hot asphalt,
and it also enables us to safely reuse
hazardous coal tar, which can cost
local authorities up to £100 per tonne
to take to landfill. Green technology
has always been something we have
sought out, but using Foambase has
enabled us to recycle material on a
scale that we’d never been able to
achieve before.
In 2016, we moved into a new three-
acre headquarters which enabled
us to grow our team to 40 full-time
employees and increase the amount
of work we can undertake. It has also
helped to cut our carbon footprint
– our offices are powered by solar
panels, which in turn provide more
green energy for the National Grid.
Additionally, we are close to finalising
construction of a wind turbine on
site which will generate even more
cleanenergy. Minster currently
produces roads that are
50 per cent recycled
Our team now
works
nationwide for
the British
Army, Royal
Navy and RAF
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
18 | MINSTER GROUP
In 2018, we trialled even more cutting-
edge technology; this includes the use
of recycled plastic as a binding agent
in pothole repair and GPS trackers
alongside 3D car-mounted laser
scanners to accurately measure roads
without closing them and disrupting
traffic. This allows us to create detailed
instructions for our machinery – accurate
to within 1.5 millimetres – so we can
resurface roads far more efficiently.
Previously, we would have had to close
roads to measure them with tape, or
have people on the roadsides with
laser measuring devices. As well as
being disruptive and hazardous, these
traditional techniques are only accurate
to within ten millimetres at most.
Media reputation: is the
surfacing industry unfairly
demonised?
Despite the technological innovations
of the last 19 years, road surfacing is
still widely seen as a dirty, low-skill,
dangerous and pollutive industry that
operates as it has done for decades.
This reputation helps nobody and,
from my experience, holds the
industryback.
Young people who are beginning
careers at the end of full-time
education aren’t interested in working
in the sector; that’s been making
it harder and harder to attract the
forward-thinking, energetic and
creative people we need to continue
pushing boundaries into the future.
Almost all of my employees are over
55, and while they’re all excellent
team members, I can see a real skills
shortage looming.
The most frustrating thing is that
this reputation doesn’t reflect the
industry as I see it. Undoubtedly, there
are companies that are set in their
ways, but this industry is a hotbed
for innovation and it presents a great
many opportunities for any young
people who recognise that.
Changing, investing
and innovating as we
moveforward
I’m passionate about changing
people’s image of the industry and
demonstrating that surfacing can
be clean, green, high tech and
highquality.
As we continue to grow, we’ll keep
investing in the latest tools and
techniques, and we are committed
to exploring the potential of new
technologies. I’m confident that
through embracing technology, all
areas in the construction sector can
slash their carbon footprints in ways
which can improve their service.
We’ve come a long way since we
started in 1999, but we’re on the road
to even brighter days ahead .
This industry is
a hotbed for
innovation
Minster is a trusted
supplier to the Ministry
of Defence
19BERKELEY ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS |
CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
CEO Irteza Piracha
Oil refinery in Saudi Arabia
Berkeley Engineering Consultants are a single access point
for specialist engineering services for the global oil and
gas sector and a strategic partner to major names in the
oil and gas sectors, providing process engineering services
which enable their clients to select the safest and most efficient
designs for their processing facilities. Based in London but operating
from facilities around the world, including in Saudi Arabia, India,
Pakistan, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and South Korea, they work closely
with the Department for International Trade and have recently
been awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade. CEO
Irteza Piracha tells
The Parliamentary Review
more.
We are a multidisciplined engineering business which focuses on the oil and gas,
refining, petrochemical, chemical, and project management sectors. A medium-
sized business, based in Berkeley Square, we have expanded rapidly, having an
engineering hub in Reading and regional presences around the world. We have
grown to approximately 400 employees worldwide and have an annual turnover of
circa £8 million to £10 million.
We are a firm driven by client alignment. It is vitally important to be on the client’s
doorstep, and in this globalised economy, we focus on client interaction, technical
resources and finance. Our presence in the regions helps us to capitalise on any
opportunities: being in the right location is a key growth enabler.
Our engineering philosophy is to align ourselves to client requirements at the very
beginning of the project so we can deliver a front-end engineering design which
FACTS ABOUT
BERKELEY ENGINEERING
CONSULTANTS
»CEO: Irteza Piracha
»COO: Mujteba Piracha
»Commercial Director:
AndrewBrewer
»Established in 2006
»Based in London and Reading
»Services: Oil and gas process
engineering services
»No. of employees: 400
»www.berkeleyeng.com
Berkeley Engineering
Consultants

www.minstergroupltd.com

The Parliamentary Review 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