O R B S Electrical

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by O R B S Electrical'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 O R B S Electrical 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


A stylish, efficient LED lighting
column used for the University
of Birmingham Green Heart
Clive Pinnick, managing director, with some
of the younger members of the team at the
University of Birmingham
ORBS was established in the West Midlands in 1991; its
current managing director, Clive Pinnick, has been there
from day one. Since then, they have offered electrical
and mechanical design, engineering and installation solutions
for projects throughout the country. Their solid reputation for
excellent service delivery is built on a commitment to quality
and training, both sides of that interweaved with an eye for
technological changes to future-proof the business. As a small
business with big ambitions, they have been able to create a
unique position within the industry where they work alongside
main contractors to drive projects forward.
Focus on the client
Client relationships are an often-overlooked factor in successful project delivery.
We find like-minded customers to be critical assets, the kind of resources that have
allowed us to align our performance with business goals. The supply chain, then, in
effect, becomes an extension of our business in both directions; we are not afraid
to turn down a tender if we feel it does not best represent our aspirations. We use
specialist subcontractors for different elements of our projects, so it is essential that
our relationship with these suppliers is built on the same level of expectation in
quality performance.
A successful project starts with truly understanding both a client’s requirements
and the architect’s vision – this is translated into a workable design. It is important,
however, to recognise that this process doesn’t happen in isolation; in contrast,
»Managing director: Clive
»Established in 1991
»Based in Solihull, West
»Services: Electrical and
mechanical design engineering
and contracting
»No. of employees: 17 fixed
with 40 core subcontractors
ORBS Electrical
Highlighting best practice
it involves and generally requires
collaboration with all stakeholders.
Though this can take longer, it usually
results in accurate first-time delivery.
We provide this same attention to
detail to site preliminaries, system
installation, testing, training and
handover. This cycle of ongoing
customer commitment resembles an
unbroken loop which has recently
been incorporated into a new logo
design for our business.
Quality partnerships
Recently, we and our main contractor,
Willmott Dixon, have developed
inception workshops. These are utilised
at the start of a project to provide
absolute clarity on the brief, outlining
a further bedrock for collaboration
throughout the duration of a build.
Prior to our involvement in this process,
inception workshops were the sole
domain of the main contractor.
Quality has always been at the heart
of our organisation. This year, we
decided to formalise matters with
accreditation to the newest version of
ISO 9001. Work is underway to bring
existing systems into line with the
requirements of the standard, which
brings the opportunity to scrutinise
how the business performs in every
area, not just service delivery. The
whole team were consulted about and
are involved in the ISO 9001 journey,
and every member of the ORBS
team is committed to achieving this
Two unique case studies
We have been instrumental in
realising the sustainable aspirations
of the University of Birmingham’s
Green Heart project. Incorporated
within these 12 acres of green space,
there is an LED lighting scheme
with individually controlled fittings,
sustainably sourced timber lighting
columns and an energy-generating
footpath system. Every aspect of the
project has the ability to link to existing
building managementsystems.
Additionally, a design brief for the
Milton Keynes Museum we worked on
required the project to be completely
carbon neutral. We designed and
installed a multi-rooftop solar photo-
voltaic array; this will generate an
estimated 60,000 kilowatt hours of
energy a year – enough energy to
boil 24,000 kettles and make 2.88
million cups of tea. Air-source heat
pumps and LED lighting finished the
expectations of the brief and allowed
us to complete the project.
New working practices
An ability to change and adapt
working practices is a necessity in an
industry where pressures to reduce
energy consumption, make cost
savings, reduce waste and incorporate
new technologies are all increasing.
We have always looked to the future
to inform business decisions, and work
with building information modelling
(BIM) – a 3D modellingprocess
Clive discussing work
with the contract
Success is built
on sustainable
growth, so, in
the short
term, we are
looking to
diversify our
client base
maintaining a
to quality and
– toenable collaborative access
for design data across different
construction disciplines. Although
we saw an initial resource outlay in
terms of training and software costs,
it has been worthwhile to be able to
exchange meaningful information in
a quick and efficient manner, and the
project will soon pay itself back.
We also issue site supervisors with
a robust handheld computer which
enables effective communication
between the office design team and
the site. The device also allows site
staff to take photographs, email orders
and file reports without having to
return to the office.
Finally, we believe at ORBS that people
are central to any service-related
business. We have a mix of apprentices
and qualified workers that are trained,
promoted from within and hopefully
retained in the business. Both myself
and the technical director were
hands-on electricians 20 years ago,
but we recognise that formal training
and development is essential to build
the kind of all-round team required
for a diverse business. Yearly staff
development reviews provide a formal
basis to outline hopes and ambitions
while aligning them appropriately
with business needs. It’s important to
train and develop team members, of
course, but we must always focus on
a business benefit to make things truly
Grow, adapt, develop and
To reflect how the business has
developed in recent years, we have
introduced a new company logo
and updated our website. Larger
organisations might typically employ
the services of an external marketing
agency; for us, however, this meant
me taking time out to specifically
consider our brand image. Although
not a core part of our business
offering, current operating conditions
make this an essential activity.
Success is built on sustainable
growth, so, in the short term, we are
looking to diversify our client base
while maintaining a commitment to
quality and customer service. While
we embrace change and the use of
smart technology in our everyday lives,
we do also try to reflect and remind
ourselves that, without the backing of
our support team, we would not be
where we are today, nor ready for our
industry’s future.
ORBS helps us
to ensure that
we have a
product that
astonishes our
customers, is
defect free
and operates
in accordance
with their
Martin Adie,
director of quality,
An ORBS electrician
connecting a lighting
control panel


This article was sponsored by O R B S Electrical. 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 Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy