Why Edgeley Construction’s in-house retained construction team reduces risk for your project
News | 20.09.21 |
For years, there has been an ongoing discussion about the ‘skills gap’ in the construction sector. The media has warned of a looming crisis, with fewer companies offering apprenticeships in construction disciplines, and fewer school leavers opting for a career in the industry.
Now, that crisis is here.
The impact of Brexit, the pandemic and an ageing skills pool have created a perfect storm, with skilled operatives retiring or returning to their home country and a lack of new talent coming through the ranks. The issue is affecting the industry at all levels, but it is the lack of availability of skills in key trades, such as bricklaying, plastering and roofing, that is proving most significant. These are roles that require both skills and experience to ensure quality of workmanship and speed of delivery.
The situation means that many contractors who rely on contingent labour are now having to make hard decisions. Sometimes, they must choose whether to risk quality issues by contracting labour without the level of skills and experience they need, or risk cost management problems by paying rates inflated by the dynamics of supply and demand.
It’s a bleak picture for construction companies that depend on contingent labour to deliver projects. And a concerning for their clients too. Luckily for Edgeley Construction and our clients, that’s not how we operate. Instead, we have an in-house team of skilled operatives across all construction and fit out trades, along with experienced project managers.
Edgeley Construction’s Skills Strategy
A multi-disciplinary in-house team has been at the heart of Edgeley Construction’s business model and client service strategy since the company’s earliest days. Our leadership team has lived and breathed construction since the start of their careers, gaining excellent experience of construction disciplines, along with knowledge of what it takes to deliver a project on time, on budget and to the highest quality standards.
Our approach has always been to ensure our team includes both experienced tradespeople and trainees, so that we – and our clients – can be confident of succession planning. We leverage the experience of longer serving members of the team to help us train and mentor younger professionals, alongside their third-party training. We are investing in training across the team, along with digital construction management tools that deliver streamlined systems and improved accountability on site.
We also work with supply chain partners, enabling members of our team to benefit from accredited training from materials manufacturers. On roofing installations, for example, this means our clients benefit from the full performance benefits of the system, a neat and efficient installation, and the manufacturer’s warranty.
Above all we invest in our team. Our people are not just a vital resource, but also individuals who make a valuable contribution to the success of Edgeley Construction, every project and every client relationship. We don’t just focus on the skills and training needed to do a good job but also on wellbeing, motivation and health and safety. Only with a retained staff of trained trades can these values be consistently embedded across the company, prompting a clear commitment to making sure every project is delivered on time, on budget and to exemplary quality standards across the team.
How our in-house team reduces risk for developers
At Edgeley Construction, reducing risk for our clients is a key element of the way we approach every project. Alongside a thorough pre-construction process, effective cost planning and a detailed method statement, our in-house team helps us achieve reduced risk.
Firstly, because they are employed by us, we can plan the availability of different trades across all sites, ensuring that the right skills can be deployed at the right point in the programme, without the risk of delays or resequencing due to skill shortages. It allows us to be an agile business, flexible enough to respond in real time if there are unexpected changes of scope or materials supply issues.
Secondly, deploying waged employees on site means that we are not vulnerable to escalating contingent labour costs. Our team benefits from job security, fair wages and an employer that invests in their skills and wellbeing, so we have an excellent staff retention record preventing our clients from being exposed to risks of cost uncertainty and delays.
Finally, we know every member of our team well and nurture a culture of collaboration and taking pride in our work. Consequently, we’re always able to assign the right skills and experience to each site and implement effective quality assurance processes that maintain high quality standards and reduce the risk of snagging.
Hopefully, one of the outcomes of the pandemic will be a willingness for more people to try new careers and retrain in construction to boost the number of skilled operatives and reduce our reliance on skills from overseas. But there can be no quick fix. Even those already embarking on apprenticeships and the Kickstart programme will take time to train and gain experience.
At Edgeley Construction, our business model protects us – and our clients – from the cost, quality and programme risks of skills shortages. Working with a contractor with a retained in-house team is one of the best ways for developers to de-risk projects and achieve cost and programme certainty. At Edgeley, we will continue to nurture a skilled workforce that’s committed to quality.