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Inside: Chamber News

Providing the infrastructure for growth

It is imperative that infrastructure within Kent receives sufficient investment to cater to the predicted economic growth

Spotlight on Tunbridge Wells

Big Interview with Walker Construction Ltd


Welcome & Contents


Striking an optimistic note

Jo James

Chief Executive

Welcome to the latest edition of Thinking Business, which focuses on the construction industry in the area. Construction is one of those barometer industries. When it’s on the up so is the economy, when it suffers a slump so does the wider country. The Chamber recognises the importance of the sector through our support of the Expo 2017 Construction event in October, which is expected to attract more than 3,000 visitors. You can find out all the details on page 44. Indeed, many business analysts seeking to predict trends look first to construction, which is why it is good news that our feature starting on page 22 is able to strike such a positive note. Just over a year ago, when the country had just voted to leave the European Union, there were plenty of predictions about economic collapse, it was all doom and gloom. However, the dire scenarios have not materialised and one of the reasons is the strength of the construction sector. Yes, there are some areas of concern about slowdown but, by and large, the construction boom in London and the wider south east is supporting a sense of optimism despite the turbulent economic landscape. Adding to the sense of optimism is the subject of our big interview on page 18. Phil Webb, who runs Kent-based Walker Construction (UK) Ltd, tells us how his

Contents 4-5

Chamber News

6, 9-10 Members News 7 9 11

Focus on Finance Healthy Workplace Update Patron Comment

12-14 Members News

Our Patrons


company is taking advantage of the upturn. The order book is healthy and opportunities are opening up all the time. However, he also strikes a cautionary note because he is concerned at the skills shortage affecting the industry, and explains why the company has launched a campaign to encourage more young people to consider construction as a career. As he points out, we need to do more to encourage our young people to consider construction. It is a responsibility for all us because, if the UK economy is going to thrive on the back of infrastructure spending on roads, railways, commercial properties and houses, we need young people coming through to build them, especially as time-served men and women retire, taking their expertise with them. Nevertheless, the industry has a good story to tell, as does our area spotlight on Tunbridge Wells on page 15, which narrates a tale of business growth driven by innovation. And finishing on another positive note, do please go to page 4 and share in the success of the Chamber and its members in the Kent Excellence in Business Awards. Well done to everyone who was honoured.

15-17 Spotlight on Tunbridge Wells 18-19 Big Interview 22-31 Cover Feature Construction 35 The Economy & Us 36 Members News 37 Ask the Expert

38-39 40 41 42-43 44-45 48-49 49 50

International Trade Business News 24 Hours with.... Chamber Events Chamber Exhibitions New Members Movers & Shakers Last Word


Editorial and General Enquiries

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Chief Executive: Jo James Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687

Published August 2017 © Benham Publishing




Benham Publishing Limited, Aintree Building, Aintree Way, Aintree Business Park, Liverpool L9 5AQ Ian Fletcher Tel: 0151 236 4141 Fax: 0151 236 0440

Advertising and Features

Karen Hall Tel: 0151 236 4141 Media No.1521

Production Manager

Mark Etherington Tel: 0151 236 4141

Thinking Business is published for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and is distributed without charge to Chamber members. All correspondence should be addressed to the Editor at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Views expressed in Thinking Business are not necessarily those of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. Reprinting in whole or part is forbidden except by permission. © 2017 Please note that submitting an article does not guarantee publication. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of material published in this journal, Benham Publishing and its agents can accept no responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributions in advertising or editorial content. Benham Publishing cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in web or email links supplied to us.

Front cover image courtesy of University of Kent

Thinking Business


Chamber News

BCC Director General speaks at first Kent Business Leaders Dinner

British Chambers of Commerce Director General, Dr Adam Marshall, was the keynote speaker at the first Kent Business Leaders Dinner on July 11.

Held at the beautiful Port Lympne Hotel in Hythe the dinner event allowed leaders of Kent’s top businesses and organisations to exchange opinions and ideas in a confidential and supportive environment. Jo James, Kent Invicta Chamber Chief Executive said: “At a time of much uncertainty for business, both economically and politically, I believe there is more value than ever in local business leaders coming together to support each other and to exchange ideas and opportunities. With this in mind. Kent Invicta Chamber along with its Patrons, have launched this series of dinner events to enable like-minded business leaders to gather in an informal and relaxed environment.” This first event kicked off with Bob O Connor, Managing Director

of Howletts & Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks welcoming guests to one of Kent's top tourist attractions. He outlined how he and his team have been developing the 'short stay' opportunities at the Park to bolster income and that they can now offer nine unique ways to stay at Port Lympne. He also gave details of exciting future plans for new accommodation buildings that will offer further unique overnight accommodation to visitors. Bob O'Connor said: “I was delighted that Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce chose Port Lympne Hotel for their inaugural Kent Business Leaders Dinner and honoured that they invited me to attend the evening. Our four star hotel is not only set in an ideal location for corporate events, with the wild animal park surrounding us, but we also pride ourselves on our ability to provide

excellent facilities for all manner of events and the dinner gave us a perfect opportunity to showcase our offering.” After dinner, keynote speaker Dr Adam Marshall gave details of how the BCC are representing the views and needs of business to government, not just about Brexit, but also important issues related to the country’s industrial strategy. Jo James commented, “We were so lucky to have Adam with us just one month after the General Election. Our guests were fascinated by his honest appraisal of the Brexit negotiations and he gave some engaging responses to challenging questions from the room.”

The next Kent Business Leaders Dinner will be held at The Mount Vineyard on September 21st.

(L to R) Bob O Connor MD Port Lympne and Howletts, Jo James, Kent Invicta Chamber Chief Executive and Dr Adam Marshall, British Chambers of Commerce Director General

Chamber Member’s celebrate success at the 2017 Keiba Awards

Now in its 9th year, the Kent Excellence in Business Awards (Keiba) is the County’s premier annual awards scheme staged and produced by KM Media Group and Kent County Council to recognise and reward excellence in Kent’s businesses. There are four areas of business excellence recognised through the KEiBA scheme: • General Business – business recognised for success qualified by the scale of their business • Sector Specific – business success in certain sectors that are central or of growing importance to Kent’s economy • Business Operations – recognising success in specific areas of business management or operations • People – recognising an individual’s contribution to success in business and acknowledging young achievers.


Thinking Business

Jo James, Chamber CEO Outstanding Contribution to Business

Infinity Group Large Business of the Year

Infinity Group Customer Service Award

Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems Manufacturer of the Year

Directline Structures Construction Project of the Year

Bedfont Scientific Exporter of the Year

The annual Awards Ceremony has certainly become a prestigious event, attracting over 600 delegates this year. Kent Invicta Chamber Members scooped the top prize in seven of the 16 categories, with many others being selected as a finalist. Our own Chamber Chief Executive, Jo James, was presented with an Award for her Outstanding Contribution to Business in Kent. So many congratulations to all our Members who celebrated success at this year’s Keiba Awards.

Bedfont Scientific Medium Business of the Year

Luke Quilter - Sleeping Giant Media The Historic Dockyard Chatham Entrepreneur of the Year Tourism & Leisure Business of the Year

A new local event for the senior IT community Chamber News

The event, organised by Kent Invicta Chamber and Custodian Data Centres, is to become the first in a series of tech events for senior IT professionals to share their ideas, experiences and knowledge in a sales-pitch-free environment.

Just recently, Kent has seen a record number of companies active at any one time, with more than 100,000 currently spread across the county. The majority of companies, ranging from SME’s to £200m+ businesses, will rely on an IT department. With this conclusion, Kent’s largest data centre Custodian Data Centres and Kent Invicta Chamber saw an opportunity to create a local hub for leading IT professionals from businesses across Kent to gather information on what best practices to apply to their business.

The event, Talking Tech, will take place on

Thursday 19th October at the Maidstone Studios. Attendees will enjoy a breakfast upon arrival before entering a roundtable discussion in an open forum layout. The first event aims to discover topics for future events and offer up a platform to share presentday problems that anybody has with their industry peers.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has certainly created a sense of urgency among businesses and will be a focus for the first event. BT’s Head of IT Security (UK Security Professional Services), Damian Kinney, will discuss the necessary IT capabilities and controls to protect personal data before the forthcoming regulation comes into force. Computing’s Top 100 Tech Leader and Head of IT for Holiday Extras, Damien Turner, will host the first event. He had this to say, “We, Holiday Extras, are thrilled to be involved with

In My Opinion

Caroline Armitage Consultant Solicitor Corporate & Commercial

this event. “The ambition of bringing the Kent IT community together and creating a hub for someone like myself to share industry issues, ideas and initiatives, is fantastic. I can’t wait to kick it all off at the Maidstone TV Studios in October.” This event is free to attend on Thursday 19th October at Maidstone Studios. It will run from 8.00am until 11.30am.

The first event is limited to 100 places on a first come, first served basis.

For more information or to book a place, visit or call the events team on 01622 524042.

Please note, this is strictly a sales-free event and open to senior IT professionals only.

TV Licensing – a guide for business owners

The nature of watching live TV is changing, with employees now able to watch TV on their company desktop computers, laptops, tablets and even mobile phones. To help businesses and staff understand the legal implications of watching programmes live at work, TV Licensing and Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce are working together to make businesses in the Kent area aware of the need to have a valid TV Licence, and avoid prosecution or a maximum penalty of up to £1,000. Your business needs to be covered by a TV Licence if any staff, customers or visitors watch or record live TV programmes on any channel at your business address, for example if

customers watch TV while waiting to get their hair cut, or while waiting for a takeout order to be prepared. As of September last year, that includes downloading or watching any BBC programmes on iPlayer, and applies to any device provided by your business. For a single property like a shop or an office, only one licence is

needed. If you have more than one address, you may need more than one licence, but most businesses only need one licence to cover everyone on the premises. You can find out more information at

Joint ventures in the construction industry are increasingly common given the many potential benefits they offer, particularly for smaller businesses.

For one, they allow the smaller business to bid on and complete larger projects – which are often the most profitable – whilst also sharing the associated, increased risk with their chosen partners. A joint venture is the coming together and combining of the resources and expertise of two or more businesses; it is not a merger. The structure of such an arrangement can vary – and it is always advisable to take advice on which is most suitable for your particular circumstances – however it often takes the form of a separate company, and is created for a particular job or an indefinite period of time. One of the key factors to success is a well drafted joint venture agreement. Key provisions include those dealing with: • Control: who is to be in control of the joint venture and/or have responsibility for its day-to-day operations? Is a deadlock possible, and if so, how is this to be resolved? • Funding: how is the joint venture to be financed? Are the joint venture partners to contribute funds and/or are funds to be raised externally? The importance of this is emphasised by Arcadis’ 2016 global construction disputes report which found that 25.5% of joint ventures end up in dispute. The report went on to identify three of the most common causes as: 1. A failure to properly administer the contract. 2. Errors and/or omissions in the contract document. 3. Employer/contractor/subcontractor failing to understand and/or comply with its contractual obligations. In my opinion, it is critical that the issues important to the joint venture partners are considered and thrashed out early on to allow them to be correctly documented. For this, and the smooth running of the relationship and its undertaking more generally, it is also critical that the lines of communication between them are open from the outset, and that information is effectively shared between them.

Caroline can be contacted on 01233 664711

Thinking Business


Members News

Introducing Artemis Recruitment Consultants Ltd

Artemis Consultants’ understand how hard it is in today’s competitive markets to attract and retain the right staff.

As experienced Consultants we are adept at searching for and identifying the right person fit for each individual client. Our job is to understand exactly how you and your company culture work and to select exactly the right people for you so that not only do they want to work for you, they want to stay with you and contribute to your company journey.

Meet our team


Sam Bambridge has a vast 20 years experience in recruitment and has worked both nationally and internationally across a diverse industry spectrum. Her specialist sectors are Information Technology, Finance and Executive Search. With a BSc in Psychology, Psychometric administration qualifications and a CIPD in Human Resources and Employment Law, Sam is able to be particularly astute in understanding the personal characteristics of both candidates and employers. Carol Partington spent 16 years in Sales and Customer services for the Broadcast and Video Games Industry so has vast knowledge of emerging technologies as well as the importance of building good client relationships. Monika Monro has 15 years of experience in recruitment having run successful temporary and permanent desks. Monika heads up our construction and property recruitment and is always pleased to hear from people looking to hire more staff or those looking for the next step in their career. Lucy Carson has a strong background in sales and marketing so is perfectly aligned to overseeing this sector in recruitment. Lucy works with a vast array of media companies looking for the best people to contribute to their bottom line. If you need help with any of your recruitment, please do not hesitate to email us at or visit Thinking Business

Ultrafast broadband boost for 8,000 premises in Kent town

Ashford – long recognised as one of the best connected towns in the South East thanks to its high speed rail services to London, Eurostar links to Europe and speedy motorway access – will also soon boast some of the fastest broadband access in the UK. Ashford – long recognised as one of the best connected towns in the South East thanks to its high speed rail services to London, Eurostar links to Europe and speedy motorway access – will also soon boast some of the fastest broadband access in the UK. Virgin Media has announced that homes and businesses in the Kent town will be next to benefit from an ultrafast broadband and entertainment boost.

As part of its Project Lightning expansion, Virgin Media plans to extend its fibre optic network to up to 108,000 homes and businesses across Kent. Work has already begun in Ashford to connect up to 8,000 new premises and is expected to be completed across Kent before the end of 2018. Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “A growing town like Ashford needs the very best modern technology and we are delighted

Bigger is better! Virgin Media brought a big red armchair to Ashford High Street to draw attention to their launch of ultrafast broadband services. Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council (right), welcomes Neil Bartholomew, Regional Director for the South East at Virgin Media, to the town.

Virgin Media has chosen our borough for such a significant digital infrastructure investment which will mean we will have some of the best broadband access in the country.

KIMS Hospital’s Summer Family Fun Day Raises over £1000 for Heart of Kent Hospice

KIMS Hospital, Maidstone put on their first ever Summer Family Fun Day with all proceeds raised going to their Charity of the Year, Heart of Kent Hospice. With a carnival atmosphere and the opportunity for staff, friends and family to join in the fun, KIMS Hospital raised over £1,000. Claire Whybrew, Corporate Partnership Manager at Heart of Kent Hospice says, “The team at KIMS are always challenging themselves in their fundraising efforts. What a fantastic achievement, the atmosphere was really welcoming and the generosity of all those involved is greatly appreciated.” Staff at KIMS Hospital organised their own stalls which ranged from pin the heart on the skeleton to a cake stall to running mini sports day events. The catering team laid on a feast of healthy salads and bbq meat. Local companies

donated prizes for the raffle, local musician Ian Ingles played live music and face painters created beautiful designs on both children and adults. The executive team took part in wet sponge throwing and the theatre team wowed with laparoscopy game that may have helped identify surgeons of the future. People were encouraged to make a small donation at the different stalls which raised £1,048.07 for Heart of Kent Hospice. Simon James, CEO KIMS Hospital comments, “We put a lot of emphasis on our people at KIMS Hospital and having a family fun day where we can show our friends and family where we work and introduce them our

colleagues is all part of our one team approach. Everyone worked very hard to make this a great day. I am proud of our team who continue to support Heart of Kent Hospice, our Charity of the Year, giving donations generously and raising a huge amount of money for them as part of our commitment to supporting the people of Kent.”

Getting safety right

The subject of Health and Life Safety is often seen by business owners as an inconvenience; unnecessary work that gets in the way of making money. However, the unimaginable horror of recent news events highlights the necessity of a Fire Safety and Systems Policy that is fit for purpose. New Chamber members D2 Fire and Security Ltd have developed a range of Compliance Gap Analysis that provides business owners with the peace of mind that their Security and Life Safety systems are comprehensively serviced, in line with current regulations and that they have

a robust emergency plan in place. Drawing on his extensive experience in the sector, D2 Fire and Security Director, Jordan Howard said: “Using the Compliance Gap Analysis, we can pinpoint any areas of concern within existing installs and then put corrective measures in place.” Jordan added: “As a young, innovative company we have been able to harness the latest cloudbased technology to offer our clients a cost-effective solution

that is guaranteed to be triggered and provide detailed reporting in a worst-case scenario.” During July, August and September D2 Fire and Security are offering Chamber members the opportunity to take up a free Fire Testing Compliance Gap Analysis Review.

If you would like further information on this offer or any aspect of the D2 design, install and commission products please email

D2 Ltd Director Jordan Howard

Focus on Finance

Building on brownfields doesn’t have to cost the earth Rick Schofield

Tax Partner, Kent Region 01233 629255 (Ashford)

The housing shortage is constantly in the headlines and local authorities are feeling the pressure to address the housing stock. The Government has started to look at how brownfield sites could come back into use and be renovated to help cater for this demand – and there could be some tax advantages to enjoy along the way too. Land remediation relief can greatly reduce the overall costs associated with building on brownfield sites. It can also help improve cash flow and, in some cases, can even attract a land remediation credit in the form of a tax repayment. The relief is worth up to 150% for owner occupiers and investors, but developers can benefit from 50% relief. If you are a loss-making company, you can claim a payable tax credit of 16% of the enhancement. Qualifying costs include things such as removal of asbestos, remediation of contaminated land, treatment of harmful plants and organisms. It could even be

claimed on the cost of employing staff who are brought in to carry out the remediation task in hand, including any preparatory work such as consultancy fees, risk assessments or site investigations. In most cases, you can even claim for these retrospectively up to three years after work has been carried out. Relief is available on developments, fit-outs and refurbishments, and it is also available on regeneration projects. The land must be in the UK and acquired by a company for the purposes of its trade.


If a company spends £50,000 on qualifying land remediation, in additional to the standard tax relief on the expenditure, the company can also claim relief on an additional £25,000 (£50,000 x 50%). Based on a 19% tax liability, this would result in a £4,750 saving.

It is worth considering whether this would be applicable for your business, to ensure you aren’t missing out but it is always recommended that claims are appropriately assessed and meet the requirements of HMRC. Any businesses considering claiming land remediation relief can contact Wilkins Kennedy’s local offices in Ashford, Canterbury, Maidstone, Orpington and Sandwich for more information.

“Land remediation relief can greatly reduce the overall costs associated with building on brownfield sites. It can also help improve cash flow and, in some cases, can even attract a land remediation credit in the form of a tax repayment.”

Thinking Business



Thinking Business

Members News

Cake and goods galore at Ashford Farmers’ Market birthday bash

Visitors soaked up the sunshine and enjoyed browsing all the homemade delights from traders at Ashford special Farmers’ Market third birthday event.

Deputy Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Jessamy Blanford, kicked-off the celebrations by cutting a birthday cake. The three-tier cake, created by local trader Blé Couture, featured a handmade sugarcraft basket of fruit and vegetables.

The Little Teapot were getting into the party spirit too and handing out free cups of tea for visitors to enjoy with their slice of cake. Visitors enjoyed hot street food, lunchtime snacks and drinks from local traders as they sat outside on the bistro tables and chairs, soaking up the sunshine. Que’s Smokehouse were also there on the day promoting their new restaurant (located in Bank Street) by handing out free samples from their menu. As people meandered the cobbled streets, Miss Holiday Swing performed jazzy tunes while DJ Gideon played

50s and 60s hits, adding to the buzzing atmosphere. Ashford Farmers’ Market Manager, Rachel Heather, said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better day; the sun was shining, the atmosphere was buzzing and there were so many delicious treats on offer from our popular local traders.” The Ashford Farmers’ Market is part of the council’s drive to increase footfall in the town centre, particularly on Sundays, and to support local businesses. The market takes place on the first Sunday of the month between 10am and 2pm on the lower High Street.

Children’s literacy charity receives huge funding boost

National children’s charity Beanstalk has received a significant funding boost to double the number of Beanstalk-supported children in Kent schools by the end of the 2018-19 academic year with the aim of raising literacy levels across the county. Beanstalk recruits, vets and trains volunteer reading helpers to provide one-to-one support in primary schools and currently supports just over 1,000 children across Kent and Medway. A cheque for £60,000 was presented to Beanstalk by Kent Community Foundation – a charitable foundation which connects generous people, families and businesses with local causes that make a genuine difference in the community. Funds have been donated by the Crown Charitable Fund

and the Amity Fund both administered by Kent Community Foundation. The money will fund Beanstalk’s ‘Read and Achieve’ project, which will identify and work with primary schools in areas of Kent and Medway where reading levels are at their lowest among children aged 4-11. The ambition is to recruit an additional 360 volunteer reading helpers, taking the number of children supported in Kent to over 2,000 by the end of the academic year 2018-19.

L to R - Malou Bengtsson-Wheeler of Beanstalk, Natalie Smith of Kent Community Foundation, Melissa Murdoch of Amity Fund and Michael Head of Crown Charitable Fund

If you would like to get involved in the ‘Read and Achieve’ project, either to volunteer as a reading helper or to become a Beanstalk partner school, please contact the Kent and Medway office on 01622 662026 or apply via the website:

Celebrating twenty five years in business

This year, Afnor UK are celebrating 25 years in business. We started auditing to ISO standards in the early nineties, when ISO 9001 (quality management) was first published. Since then, we’ve expanded both geographically and in our portfolio, and we now offer certification and training in a wide range of standards such as business continuity and information security. In 2001, we became part of one of the world’s largest groups of accredited certification bodies,

contributing to the 60,000 certificates issued in more than 100 countries around the world.

This year, we’re looking closer to home, and expanding our contacts and business across Kent. Membership of the Chamber has an important role in achieving this objective.

At their heart, standards are all about improvement: better quality service, higher customer satisfaction, safer products, greater business

resilience. Embarking on an ISO certification project can be daunting - there are so many ‘experts’ out there but actually it’s mainly common sense. Taken step by step, a management system can help you to identify solutions to your own specific challenges and implement them. Our aim is to assist you in understanding that standards can help, not hinder you in improving business. Feel free to ask questions and pick our brains.

No matter the size of your business, we are here to meet the healthcare needs of you and your staff.

As the largest independent hospital in Kent, we offer prompt access to the most advanced diagnostic and clinical facilities in the county. Find out how your business could benefit from: • Private GP service • Prompt access to diagnostic tests • Access to highly experienced consultants across more than 35 specialties • Self-Pay fixed price guarantees & finance packages We accept private medical insurance, or you can pay for yourself and your staff. Contact us on: 01622

237 727 or email: For a full list of our services, visit:

Thinking Business


Members News

Driven by a strong vision

For more than a century, Dale Carnegie has been improving individual and business performance around the world.

Whilst our training techniques continue to evolve, our core principles remain true to a single vision: real transformation begins within. Our Southern England office is based in Kent and offers a range of courses, FREE events and online resources, which are created to activate realbusiness-change providing viable, measurable results, by transforming and developing the people within the business. We operate by meeting with business owners, HR Directors, or anyone in a company looking to train and develop their staff. Fundamentally, each company is different; we like to understand your exact requirements and present courses that will meet your objectives, to ensure you get the most value from Dale Carnegie. Our modules can be completed either on site or at suitable locations, spread over days or weeks most convenient for your employees and your business. We offer training courses in key topic areas such as Sales: Winning With Relationship Selling, Leadership Training for Managers, High Impact Presentations and finally the Dale Carnegie Course, which embodies elements of each. Our popular FREE events are held throughout the region, giving participants the opportunity to sample our training techniques before undertaking a full course.


Thinking Business

Building resilience into your organisation

By Connie Nolan, Programme Director, Canterbury Christ Church University

“May you live in interesting times” is a Chinese curse but 2017 is certainly an interesting time for all sizes of organisation. In Kent and the South East we are often a barometer of change that will affect the UK. So how to weather these interesting times? One way is to build resilience into our business; of course resilience can be seen as another management buzz word: what’s wrong with sustainability, or flexibility you might ask? Nothing, except that resilience has the connotation of accepting that we are living through interesting times. In challenging times all organisations look to their resources and assets: finance and capital available, staff, methods of working, automation and of course their customers and markets. A quotation that has been variously attributed to Richard Branson, Rocco Forte and even Winston Churchill is:

“Employees are an organisation’s greatest asset”. In 2017 staffing an organisation has particular challenges: Brexit, skill shortages, demographic changes are just a few. So the key to survival is building resilience into all areas of the organisation including Human Resources – recruiting and selecting the right skills and competences; developing the core staff to be able to manage the operational aspects and also to lead others. Managing the operational process so that the right number of staff are available and trained to deal with customer demand, yet not overstaffing and incurring un-necessary expenditure. Brexit brings its own particular issues on 29th March 2019. The UK is likely to leave the EU: at the first level there is uncertainty about recruiting staff with 60% of organisations anticipating increased difficulty in recruiting senior and skilled/technical staff, and

40% anticipating increased difficulty in recruiting operational staff (CIPD Resourcing & Talent Planning Survey 2017). The Spring Labour Market Outlook Survey (CIPD Adecco 2017) shows that the UK demand for labour remains robust with employers reporting that specialist vacancies are hard to fill. Historically, the UK is a low investor in developing staff, relying on recruiting skilled people from elsewhere. The change in access to the EU labour force challenges this. Do companies spread the recruitment net wider afield? Or build in resilience by investing in staff? The main difference between the Labour Market Outlook Survey 2015 and 2017 showed that organisations were anticipating difficulties in recruitment and were investing in their staff and new applicants. They were also developing a closer relationship with local educational centres.

MHA MacIntyre Hudson moves to new Canterbury office to accommodate business growth

MHA MacIntyre Hudson, the top 20 UK chartered accountancy and business advisory firm, is moving to a new, larger office at 71 New Dover Road, Canterbury to accommodate its growing team and client base in East Kent.

The existing Canterbury team will also be welcoming partners and staff currently based in the Folkestone office, bringing together the growing East Kent team under one roof. Alongside colleagues in the Maidstone office, the Canterbury team will serve the current 3,000 business and individual clients across Kent and provide the appropriate resources in the two locations to develop business in the region.

The MHA MacIntyre Hudson Kent team offers |a comprehensive range of services covering areas including tax, audit, business strategy, corporate finance and business recovery to owner-managed businesses, multinationals and high net worth individuals across the south east. Kent based partner at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, Duncan Cochrane-Dyet, said:

"MHA MacIntyre Hudson has significantly grown its presence here in Kent in recent years as part of its overall expansion across the UK. We’re excited to move into the new office as we believe the combined locations will enable us to continue to deliver outstanding services to our clients.”

70 Years of Success Inspire, Challenge &

Patron Comment

Every entrepreneur would like to identify the ‘recipe’ for business success.

Excel Programme

Carole Barron

Director of Innovation & Enterprise, at the University of Kent.

I am passionate about supporting women in realising their ambitions in their personal and working lives.

We spoke to some of the senior team at AC Goatham & Son, multi award winning apple and pear growers with 23 Farms across Kent, to find out what has contributed to their 70 years of success. Clive Goatham, Senior Partner puts business success down quite simply to “The long-standing business principles of AC Goatham that set it apart from the rest when my parents set up the business in 1947.” From modest beginnings as agricultural contractors, his parents, Arthur and Phyllis worked hard to build a business buying fruit from the farm gate. They only began growing fruit in 1980, with the purchase of their first farm, Street Farm in Hoo. It now grows an estimated 1 in 4 of the British apples sold in the UK each year and 1 in 3 Conference Pears. Clive continues: “They built the business on the foundations of their principles and sheer sweat, effort and commitment. Their principles of hard work, commitment, honesty and the value of an old-fashioned hand shake to finalise any deal. Never shake a man’s hand if you do not have every intention of seeing that deal through to completion was drummed into me from an early age.” These values are the core and beating heart of AC Goatham & Son today, although the handshakes are accompanied by more formal contracts as well. Commercial Director Carol Ford explains: “Clive has assembled

a fantastic and talented team of people to manage the business as it grows. We are all equally important and collectively we all work together with one ultimate objective to do things differently to all that has gone before. This continues to make this business exceptional.” “In a world which is increasingly insecure, it is more important than ever to provide a safe, secure and sustainable food source for the British public and we are working hard to achieve this. Investment in latest technology means we are achieving this for 10 months of the year with fresh eating apples and 12 months with Bramley cooking apples. Our objective now is to continue with our extensive programme of orchard planting of over 1.5 million fruit trees planted by 2020.” Kent’s tradition as the garden of England is thriving thanks to AC Goatham & Son.

I am a Leadership Foundation Role Model and I mentor a number of women both within and outside the University. I have been fortunate to witness amazing role models but, despite progress in supporting women in the workplace, there is still much to do to ensure women are equipped with the skills and support they need to progress their careers. My work with students and business women has highlighted a lack of confidence and self-belief in imagining that they could possibly aspire to try new things and compete equally amongst others. I frequently come across women who find the thought of networking a daunting task rather than something to enjoy and benefit from. This was most evident in feedback following the Women in Enterprise Conference, hosted by Kent Innovation and Enterprise, in 2015. At the conference a number of female entrepreneurs, from across Kent and the UK, presented the secrets of their success to students, university staff and business representatives. After the event I was asked by a number of delegates to establish a formal support programme that would bring together students, staff and women in business and tackle some of the issues explored at the conference. And so the Inspire, Challenge, Excel Programme (ICEP) was developed. This programme will bridge the

gap between the university and business communities, creating opportunities for women to try something new, encourage others to go beyond their comfort zone and work together to effect change. It will work in partnership with established professional bodies and organisations to provide as wide a support programme, and network, as possible. The programme will be officially launched by the University’s incoming ViceChancellor, Professor Karen Cox, at an event on the 22nd September which will feature a talk from an internationally renowned scientist, academic and social entrepreneur. The event is free and open to all. I hope you will be encouraged to be part of ICEP, and if you would like to find out more please email We will make sure you are kept up to date with information about the Programme.

“This programme will bridge the gap between the university and business communities, creating opportunities for women to try something new, influence others to go beyond their comfort zone and work together to effect change” Thinking Business


Members News

A new approach to windscreens

By Debbie Cripps, Director, SuperGlass Maidstone

Windscreens are an integral part of a vehicle’s safety, offering structural support in an accident and protecting the occupants inside.

Superglass Maidstone Aston Martin Before & After

Agreement – harmony, accord, consensus Doing business is all about agreement - the price, delivery date, quality, components. Get the agreements right - everybody wins - get them wrong, no one does.

For some, this will be covered by their insurance excess, but for larger fleets the cost comes off their bottom line.

Don’t hope for the best and perhaps have to deal with the worst - get expert advice at the right time regarding your contracts, terms and conditions and agency agreements.

Privately-owned and company vehicles work hard and finding the time to get a chip repaired can be difficult, so we ignore it ....until the screen cracks.

Whitehead Monckton’s Commercial Team can provide you with expert advice and support so contact us today.

Superglass is a high quality 'repair only' company dedicated to saving glass. We may be new but already we have a very impressive track record, working with businesses large and small, saving them money in replacement glass costs, reducing valuable downtime and helping to support their environmental values too.

Tel: 01622 698047 E-mail Whitehead Monckton Limited (no. 08366029), registered in England & Wales. Registered office 72 King Street, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1BL. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under no. 608279. TB /1


With all the advances in technology, it is no longer just a piece of glass. A windscreen can incorporate cameras, ADAS, rain sensors, heated screens, heads-up display and light sensors. The list is long and will continue to grow. Although these advances are improvements for the driver, they come at a financial cost to businesses and individuals, pushing prices up in relation to replacement glass.

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It takes six gallons of water to manufacture 1lb of glass. With the average car

windscreen weighing 26lb, and the average tractor unit 69lb, that is a lot of water. Add the carbon emissions and energy required, every new screen manufactured has an impact on the environment. For these reasons and what I believe makes Superglass unique, is that we genuinely wish to save glass. The 'big boys' may tell you a piece of damage is too large or too far gone to be repaired. In many cases this is simply not true. I joined the Superglass franchise network eight months ago and brought it to Kent because Superglass encompasses everything I would expect as a customer high quality, great service, integrity and the knowledge and expertise to advise on exactly what is required. We are also a lot cheaper than a new windscreen!! Our other specialist services include glass scratch removal from windscreens, panoramic roofs, to domestic glass, new builds, shop fronts and most things in between. Headlight technology is also gaining momentum and Superglass can remove scuffs and scratches from these, too.

AC Goatham & Son celebrates 70th Anniversary

AC Goatham & Son held a party for 600 of its team, friends, family and business contacts at its HQ at Flanders Farm, Hoo, to celebrate its 70th Anniversary and say thank you for all their hard work and commitment to the business. The business also celebrated several of the senior team’s own personal landmarks: • Clive Goatham, Senior Partner celebrating 50 years with the business • Steve Everard, Director celebrating 40 years with the business • Nigel Stewart, Technical Director celebrating 10 years with the business and 40 years in the fresh produce industry • Debbie Roberts Packaging and Fruit Quality Standard

Getting the message out

Mirador Digital is a consultancy focused on helping businesses use their websites and pps to maximum commercial advantage. With a background of more than 14 years in online retail, Mirador’s founder Andrew McClelland, has a deep knowledge of the challenges that retailers and businesses face in having a profitable online presence.

This experience has been provided for clients in the business-to-consumer and business-to-business industries. Projects have spanned supplier review / selection; developing commercial models to help manufacturers deal direct with the end user, often benefiting existing wholesale partners; developing business and project plans for investment in website operations and consulting on customer experience, service, recruitment and retention - from search / website to receiving a parcel. Mirador also has experience in online payments, marketing and pricing / promotion strategies.

Increasingly our work involves helping clients expand into international markets, using websites as a tool for extending market reach, and then fulfilling local customer requirements and expectations. More recently, Mirador launched a service to help businesses get ready for the new data protection laws (GDPR) which come into force in May 2018. These impact B2B and B2C andwe can help you get your business ready. Services include training sessions, audits, developing processes and sourcing legal advice. GDPR could impact how you collect customer information, how you store it, how you use it and what happens if you lose it. We can help you get closer to your customers and comply with the new rules.

For further information visit

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Manager, celebrating 25 years with the business. • Ross Goatham, Managing Director celebrating 20 years with the business. Carol Ford, Commercial Director at AC Goatham & Son, said: “We hosted a fun filled, family friendly afternoon and evening and it was wonderful to see so many families come along to join in. “The business has changed considerably since it was started in 1947 by Clive’s parents Arthur and Phyllis

Goatham, who began buying fruit directly from the farm gate, picking it, packing it and taking it to wholesale markets. “AC Goatham & Son is now one of the largest apple and pear growers in the UK and 1 in every 4.5 British apples sold in the UK and 1 in 3 Conference Pears is grown by the business here in Kent.” During the evening, an auction was held which raised more than £13,000 for the charity Help for Heroes.

A double win for Bedfont Scientific Ltd

Medical device manufacturer Bedfont enjoyed success in the Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBA), an annual awards ceremony organised by Kent County Council and KM Media Group. Now in its ninth year, the awards were established to recognise and reward excellence and achievements by companies across Kent and Bedfont has been entering since 2011, having previously won the accolade for Science Business of the year and SME Business of the year categories as well as being a finalist in Technology Business of the year and Success in International Markets categories. This year, Bedfont secured a double win, collecting awards for Exporter of the Year and Medium Business of the Year. Additionally this year, Bedfont won Exporter of the Year at the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Awards and Small Business of the Year at the Maidstone Business Awards, bringing their total to four business awards in the first half of 2017.

Jason Smith, managing director, said: “We are truly honoured to have won four business awards so far this year; they are great recognition for us and our customers. Despite being a small family company, we export to more than 76 countries worldwide, so to win two awards for Exporter of the Year is truly inspiring and it really resonates with our extended family, our distributors.”

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Members News

Kent company celebrates 40th anniversary in style

Kent company Loxton Installations has celebrated its fortieth anniversary with continued growth.

Based in Aylesford, the company has developed a strong reputation for quality over the past four decades, working with some of industry’s biggest names.

Loxton is a professional electrical contractor, working within the industrial and commercial sectors. Operating principally in the South East of England, the company has been involved in a wide range projects, including working with international companies, among them firms from Japan and Germany.

in 1981 and was made up to site supervisor at the paper mill in Snodland shortly afterwards.

steadily increasing year on year. We are confident that this year will see similar growth.

Some years after this, a promotion to contracts manager was awarded and Kevin assumed the responsibility of looking after multiple sites.

“I think the key to our success is the quality of the work carried out by our teams and also the companies with which we work. We are a big believer in creating strong relationships and we work with some big-name companies to deliver projects.”

Now employing 40 people, its team includes designers, electrical engineers and estimators, all of them committed to providing a quality service.

Following a Management buyout in 1996, Kevin became Managing Director of Loxton and had endeavoured to drive the company forward and make it better known in the industrial sector. As a result, the company has undertaken work in all manner of industrial settings, ranging from paper and steel mills, water authorities, chemical plants and food processing and packing plants.

That commitment to quality is crucial for the man overseeing the company’s growth. Managing Director Kevin Wyatt, who joined Loxton as an electrician

Kevin said: “We are delighted to have celebrated our fortieth anniversary and to be doing so on the back of steady growth which has seen our turnover

Underpinning the reputation for quality is the fact that every project conforms to quality standards, including the ISO 9001:2000 quality system and the ISO 14001:2004 for environmental standards. Loxton is also a member of a number of national organisations, each of which demands high standards, including the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting, the Electrical Contractors Association, the British Safety

Council and the Alcumus Safe Contractor programme.

The company also achieved a “highly commended” status at the Engineering Excellence Awards in 2014 for the electrical installation of a Thames Water Sewage Treatment works as part of the project team. Kevin said: “Our commitment to quality means that we are growing steadily and increasingly big-name companies are demonstrating their faith in what we do.”

Kevin Wyatt Managing Director

Electrical Contractors R e l i a b l e S o l u t i o n s To d a y

Celeb rating

Established in 1977, Loxton Installations have been providing electrical contracting services to the paper, water, aggregate extraction and automotive industry as well as other industrial and commercial sectors. Our experienced staff includes designers, electrical engineers and estimators who ensure we understand each customer’s individual requirements to provide a cost effective solution. Our services include • • • • •

The onsite installation of Containment and Cables Control Panels and Motor Control Centres Trace Heating Testing and Thermal Imaging Lighting and Emergency Lighting Installations

40 Years Est.19 7


If you need a reliable NICEIC approved electrical contractor please contact us today to arrange your free, no obligation site survey

Tel: 01622 716131

Loxton Installations Ltd • Unit 14, Mill Hall Business Estate, Mill Hall, Aylesford • Kent ME20 7JZ


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Spotlight on Tunbridge Wells

Tunbridge Wells –

investing for the future

Tunbridge Wells has a reputation as a good place to live and work according to the recent 2017 Kent Economic Indicators report.

Businesses in Tunbridge Wells are growing with companies expanding their workforce by 26 per cent over the past five year and it ranks in the top ten per cent of districts for the number of employees working in the knowledge economy. Predicted employment growth is looking good at 8.3 per cent by 2024 and plans by the borough council to develop new, much needed office space in Royal Tunbridge Wells could see that figure exceeded.

Tunbridge Wells is an attractive business location. The economy is characterised by a large

number of small and micro businesses. 90.3 per cent of businesses employ fewer than 10 people and 80 per cent employ fewer than five. Tunbridge Wells has a high level of self-employment and also a high number of homebased businesses across a wide range of sectors.

Sector strengths

There are a number of key major employers that contribute significantly to the economic health of the borough. Sector strengths include: finance and insurance, scientific technical, wholesale and retail, health and social work,

hospitality, creative and education. In addition, there is a small, well-skilled manufacturing sector. Borough residents are very well qualified and there is a very low unemployment rate. A strong creative sector in Royal Tunbridge Wells is now supported by The House – a co-operative and collaborative hub centrally located. The House, which opened in 2016, provides much needed affordable workspace for small businesses, freelancers and start-ups. Regular events and training opportunities are held to welcome others into the hub.

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Spotlight on Tunbridge Wells

Royal Tunbridge Wells is rooted in culture, leisure and the arts. It’s what first made it a spa-town destination over 400 years ago and work to create a new cultural and learning hub bringing together the museum and art gallery, library and adult education centre in one conserved and modernised set of buildings continues. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is preparing a new Local Plan that will guide future development in the borough up to 2033. To inform the Plan, the Council is gathering evidence for housing, the local economy, retail, transport and the environment. Evidence studies already published can be viewed on the Council’s website The Economic Needs Study recommends that the Council should plan positively for economic growth (approximately 10,000 new jobs) which equates to between 11-15 hectares of new business floor space in the period to 2033. This is in addition to maintaining the existing employment floor space. Sites are needed in a variety of locations across the borough including within the rural areas. And, alongside the Local Plan a series of Neighbourhood Plans for local communities are being supported across the borough.

A Five Year Plan

A Five Year Plan for 2014 - 2019, produced by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, is being revised to take account of the substantial changes to both the national government and the local government landscape in the last three years – and because many of the objectives in the plan have been achieved! In the new Five Year Plan (2017 2022) the Council’s vision is to


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encourage investment and sustainable growth and to enhance quality of life for all, to maintain a prosperous borough, to support a well borough and an inclusive borough. Alongside the Five Year Plan an Economic Development Strategy is being prepared that sets out the approach that the Council and its partners will take to create the best conditions for business investment and sustainable growth in the borough in the next three years. The Council is seeking to work more effectively with local businesses and other partner organisations both to address the constraints to economic growth and to embrace opportunities as they arise. The Strategy includes an Action Plan that will be regularly reviewed and updated.

New town centre office development and theatre

Its own out-dated premises, recognition of the need for new office accommodation in the heart of Tunbridge Wells, and the desire to support the local economy, has led the borough council to bring forward its own development plans for the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells that will benefit the whole borough. The proposals, which are currently being considered, are for a new £72m civic centre, theatre and car park, including the development of 20,150 sq ft of new office space to let. The move to a new civic centre would see the Council reduce its office space by 70 per cent. Information about the plans can be seen at

Cllr Jane March, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, said: ‘We recognise that if we are to have a strong economy we need a vibrant business community who use the local shops, bars and restaurants at lunchtime and after work, and are able to recruit locally. ‘To achieve this, businesses need to have places to work, which is why the new office accommodation is an integral part of our plans for the new civic centre.’ Jo James, Chief Executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, which represents and supports businesses across the whole of Kent, said: ‘The new theatre would do for Tunbridge Wells, what the Marlowe has done for Canterbury which is to increase spending in the city. ‘The Marlowe has changed people’s reason to visit Canterbury. Many visitors to the Marlowe now eat, drink and shop before a show, or if they’ve travelled some distance many stay in a hotel afterwards. ‘The key is the quality of the shows being offered with residents getting Londonstandard shows on their doorstep. With the performances being consistently very good they return for other shows.

Spotlight on Tunbridge Wells Commenting on the proposed new office space, Jo James added: ‘With so many people living in the centre of Tunbridge Wells, the town has a strong night time economy. ‘What the new offices will do is also help keep the daytime economy vibrant by providing a home to office workers who spend their lunchtimes in the town or stay after work to enjoy their leisure time. ‘Importantly the new office accommodation will help to replace some of what has been lost over recent years back to residential and keep the local economy balanced.’ It’s an exciting time for Royal Tunbridge Wells as Altitude Real Estate Limited, on behalf of owners Prime Finance (Tunbridge Wells) SARL, has submitted a planning application for a development on the site of the former ABC cinema in the centre of town. The development proposal brings a mix of living, shopping, leisure and community activities back to this prominent but derelict site. Nearby, it looks like additional hotel accommodation will soon be available as a decision was taken by the Council’s Planning Committee in March, to grant planning permission (subject to conditions and a Legal Agreement) for the change of use of Merevale House from court and office to provide a 110 bedroom hotel. Another project shaping the future look of Royal Tunbridge Wells is the redevelopment, by Dandara Ltd, of Union House, at the southern end of the iconic Pantiles. This will see the existing 1960s office block demolished and replaced by a development including

127 new residential apartments along with around 850 sq m of retail, community and office floor space. The proposed redevelopment will also deliver a new public square, water feature and car parking. Flexible work space in a new business centre could be available in the same area of town if an application for change of use of the ground floor of The Corn Exchange receives approval. The new business centre is described as being a flexible working environment that can respond to the everchanging needs of the business market, both locally and further afield. A wide range of facilities and spaces are planned within The Corn Exchange to meet the needs of small businesses through to larger companies. Individual desks/meeting rooms will be made available for those who wish to share a workspace, but without the need to commit to expensive, longer term leases, or those that require a local meeting room to, for example, hold a seminar, a series of job interviews or business meeting/presentation.

Cultural capital

Royal Tunbridge Wells is rooted in culture, leisure and the arts. It’s what first made it a spa-town destination over 400 years ago and work to create a new cultural and learning hub bringing together the museum and art gallery, library and adult education centre in one conserved and modernised set of buildings continues. The project has secured funding from both the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England and is now well advanced having reached the stage of concept designs. If the Council’s plans for a new theatre get the go-ahead the vision for Tunbridge Wells as the cultural capital for the Kent and Sussex High Weald look set to be achieved. A new town centre manager, Karen Pengelly was appointed by Royal Tunbridge Wells Together (RTWT) in February 2017. Karen is now leading on initiatives to grow footfall and support businesses across the town centre including co-ordinating a September Food Month 2017 event. Membership of RTWT is growing and work to explore the feasibility of a Business Improvement District for the town will start within the next six months. Plans to run events in support of Small Business Saturday are already underway. Another boost for businesses will be the completion, later this year, of the Highways England project to dual the A21. The public transport network is vital to local businesses. The Council continues to work with Southeastern, the current rail franchise holder, Network Rail

and local bus operators to get the best services possible for local people to access goods and services. For example, the Council has recently responded to the Department for Transport’s consultation on the Southeastern franchise asking for the inclusion of requirements for: • increased capacity (12-car trains) • smart, flexible ticketing • improved station facilities including better information for passengers • increased service on the Medway Valley Line • re-introduction of the Tonbridge – Gatwick Service

Working with the West Kent Partnership

The West Kent Partnership authorities of Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells continue to deliver employability and skills initiatives. This includes a Jobs & Training Fair planned for September working with Jobcentre Plus, and a Skills Fest in October in partnership with local schools and AXA PPP, one of Tunbridge Wells’ major employers. In July the West Kent Enterprise Adviser Network launched. This is a fully funded initiative for schools and colleges that aims to connect education and business at the local level and will be delivered by the Careers & Enterprise Company, the Hadlow Group, Kent County Council and the West Kent Partnership. An Enterprise Co-ordinator has been appointed who will recruit business advisers and schools to the network, matching them up and signposting them to a range of programmes available.

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Big Interview

Big Interview

Phil Webb

Managing Director Walker Construction (UK) Ltd


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Skills shortage a concern for construction company boss

Big Interview

These are good times for Kent-based Walker Construction (UK) Ltd. The order book is healthy and opportunities are opening up all the time. However, according to Managing Director Phil Webb, there is a major problem looming, not just for his company but for the construction industry generally – an acute shortage of young people willing to work in the sector. That is why the company has launched a campaign to encourage more young people to consider construction as a career at a time when it seen by many of them as ‘unfashionable’. Recruiting more young people is crucial for Walker Construction, according to Phil, who says that his company, like the wider industry, is having to balance the retirement of experienced staff with finding the next generation of talent. Those young people who do apply to Walker Construction will be joining a company on the crest of a wave as the construction industry in London and the South East continues to boom. Walker Construction has benefited from the upturn, doubling turnover in just four years. Now more than fifty years old, Walker Construction employs about 250 people on building, civil and railway projects in sectors ranging from education and healthcare to refurbishment and housebuilding.

its move into building and general construction works.

December 2012 saw Raymond H Walker step down as Managing Director after 30 years in the position and the board appointed Phil Webb to replace him.

“It is difficult to say what the effect of Brexit will be on the construction industry but we are concerned about the effect on the free movement of workers.

Phil has been with the company for more than 20 years, stepping up from his previous role as Rail Director, and he realised that a new approach was needed as the business prepared for the next step in its evolution.

“The industry has always relied heavily on workers from Eastern Europe – they are good, skilled workers – so we are worried what will happen when the UK leaves the European Union.”

The problem was that between 2008-2013 annual turnover had remained static at about £28m but a new approach means that it has now risen to £50 million.

That might not be as big a worry were it not for the UK skills shortage that has afflicted the industry for many years and Walker Construction is running a campaign to recruit more young people.

Phil said: “When I took over as Managing Director, our turnover had been static for some time so we set out to change the way that we worked. “With 250 staff, there had always been a pressure to pay wage bills so we had been pricing up any job that came our way. “However, from 2013, we became more selective in what we tendered for, focusing on our three main areas of Civil, Building and Rail. “It has taken us two or three years to get where we want to be but we have seen turnover almost double through taking the new approach.

The company was founded in 1964 by brothers Hector, Stephen and Ray Walker as Walker Bros (Civil Engineering) Ltd. Originally operating from Edmonton, North London and specialising in paving works for local authorities, the family moved to Folkestone in the late sixties and expanded its activities to include highway, structural and drainage works.

“Being more selective means that we can deliver the service we want to, we have the right people on the right jobs and we can be sure that we can resource the projects properly.

Ideally placed for the expansion in East Kent in the early seventies the company concentrated on high-profile projects in the area.

“It has also meant that we have moved away from a short-term order book. I want to know what we will be building in a year’s time.”

In 1982, Hector Walker retired as Director and his son, Raymond H Walker, was appointed as Managing Director after which the company continued to enjoy steady growth, driven in part by new activities in the rail industry.

However, predicting what that workload will look like has always been a challenge given the cyclical nature of the industry. For instance, Phil says that spending on rail projects is currently down on previous years due to public sector cutbacks whereas investment in housebuilding is on the up.

The year 1996 saw the start of a new era involving non-family member directors and the company name changed to Walker Construction (UK) Limited to better reflect

that we will continue to see high levels of investment in housebuilding over the next three to five years.

Phil said: “It is always difficult to predict the future of the industry because it has always been boom and bust but I think

Phil said: “The skills shortage is a real worry for us. We feel that educational institutions are not doing enough to persuade young people to become project managers, site engineers, surveyors or the men and women who work on the coal face. “We are winning new contracts all the time and need to know that we can recruit the new talent that we need. In addition to running a high-profile campaign to promote the company, we run a big in-house training programme. “Ensuring that we have enough young people involved is important because, like the construction sector generally, we are continually losing experienced people to retirement and we need them to pass on their knowledge before they go.”

“It is always difficult to predict the future of the industry because it has always been boom and bust but I think that we will continue to see high levels of investment in housebuilding over the next three to five years.” Thinking Business




Providing efficient & cost effective projects across the UK.


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Cover Feature

One year on from the momentous decision to leave the EU, the future prospects for the UK economy are no clearer.

With article 50 triggered in March of this year, we now have a timetable for our departure, but little detail on the likely terms of trade or immigration restrictions, let alone any kind of vision for what we want to be as a post-Brexit nation. The UK therefore feels almost stuck in limbo at present, with many institutions and businesses holding off investment and development decisions until the picture becomes clearer. As the closest county to the continent and as the location of two of the principal access points to Europe, it would be easy to assume that the economic picture for Kent would be even less certain, and largely at the whim of EU negotiations. However, many of the issues affecting the success of the Kent economy were in place long before the referendum, and will require investment in local infrastructure to put right, regardless of the Brexit terms.

Providing the Infrastructure for Growth 22

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Like many of the traditional home counties, the outlook for Kent has always been closely tied to the trends and prospects of London. Although house price growth in the capital may be slowing, homes are still far from affordable, and the expansion of high speed rail services into the capital from the Kent coast has made Kent an even more attractive place to live within a reasonable commuting distance. According to data collected by the local authority, net migration to Kent from London totalled 110,000 between 2002 and 2011, but lost 49,000 to other regions in the same period. Many of these migrants bring wealth to the region, and have helped to boost house prices in certain areas, but they are not working in the local economy. In 2015, the gross value added (GVA) per head of population in the region was £20,355, significantly less that the national average for the UK

of £25,601, and well shy of the £27,847 average for the south east as a whole.

Why should this be? Unsurprisingly, there are a multitude of factors. Chief among them is the commuter migration into the capital to work, but this is not the whole story. The vast majority of migrants into Kent are over 60 and looking to the region as a downsizing and retirement destination. Allied to this issue, the demographic band most likely to migrate away from Kent are those in the 20-30 age group, robbing the region of much of its young talent. The result of this is a shortage of skilled workers in the region, with only 32% of residents possessing a professional qualification of NVQ level 4 or above, compared to a national average of 38%. This is despite demand for skilled occupations in the region remaining high, and a median salary only just below the national average. In the highvalue knowledge economy, Kent languishes on only 16% of the workforce engaged in such activities, against a national average of 21%. With the county experiencing something close to a ‘brain drain’, it is imperative that infrastructure within Kent receives sufficient investment to cater to the predicted economic growth, especially with Brexit just around the corner. It is estimated that employment within Kent will grow by 18% by 2030: another 135,000 new jobs in sectors such as publishing, real estate and professional services. We should be aiming to provide the population of Kent with the skills required to take advantage of these opportunities, grow the economy from within and encourage talented young people to see Kent as a place to grow their careers, rather than migrating to the capital or beyond.

John Morley, Assistant Director of Estates for the University of Kent commented: “The new Sibson Building represents a major investment by the University of Kent in the future expansion of the two schools and establishment of joint programmes and collaboration. Since the opening in March this

year, the building has instantly proved very popular with both students and staff and admired by visitors. Already the building has hosted several external high-profile conferences that promote the University and contribute to further income generation for the University and spend in the local economy”. Another issue traditionally affecting the outlook for Kent is the economic imbalance across the region. Only Dartford, Canterbury and Maidstone saw inflows of commuters in 2015, with areas such as Shepway and Dover experiencing outflows of up to 20,000 workers. Projected job growth over the next decade also varies greatly, with growth of up to 40% in areas such as Dartford and Ashford whilst Dover and Shepway can expect negligible growth in jobs by 2031. Clearly, this disparity cannot be allowed to continue, and the provision of skills infrastructure requires heavy investment to address these imbalances in the region. Last year, Willmott Dixon handed over the new Christ Church School in Dover, the first part of a long-term plan to address place shortages and quality of education in the Dover area.

The adjustment from traditional mining and manufacturing jobs towards a more knowledge and services based economy has not always been easy for Kent, and it still suffers in relation to neighbouring regions that were less industrialised. But through the development of specialist facilities such as Discovery Park and the Kent Medical Campus, and the expansion of the further education institutions such as

University of Kent and Hadlow College, Kent is making encouraging steps towards redressing the balance. Whatever Brexit may bring to the national economy, the potential inherent in the Kent economy can only be realised through investment in skills infrastructure provision, and Willmott Dixon will be there to assist as much as possible.

“With the county experiencing something close to a ‘brain drain’, it is imperative that infrastructure within Kent receives sufficient investment to cater to the predicted economic growth, especially with Brexit just around the corner.”

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Images courtesy of University of Kent

It is for this reason that Willmott Dixon is particularly proud of its relationship with the University of Kent. In a region that has not been traditionally known for the strength of its academic institutions, the University of Kent is building an ever stronger reputation as a centre of excellence – particularly in the social sciences, design and psychology - coming 23rd out of 127 universities in the Complete University Guide for 2017. At Willmott Dixon, we recently had the pleasure of delivering the Sibson building, a new facility for the Kent Business School and the School of Mathematics. In January 2018, we will start on the construction of a new building for the School of Economics and additional teaching facilities, working to create a new business related centre and attract high-value opportunities within the county.



Cover Feature

Operating across the South East of England, Westridge Construction deliver projects across all construction sectors on time and within budget, achieved by collaborative working with our clients and their team. Every project has its own challenges and we have a long record of working with clients and designers to find solutions that reduce risk and maximise opportunities. This allows us to be extremely flexible in how we approach a scheme whilst reliably delivering in terms of quality, cost and speed. Our large, directly employed team of professionals, specialists and craftsmen has been built over many years by recruiting the best people. We then provide the necessary training, mentoring and support to enable them to develop the right values and to reach their potential. Ashford Office The Watermill, Hothfield Business Park. Maidstone Road, Ashford, Kent, TN26 1AE Tel 01233 646537


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Construction apprenticeships building a bright future

Cover Feature

Construction skills play an invaluable role in our progression of everyday life, and the key infrastructure developments planned for Kent and Medway over the next decade will see an increasing demand for new talent. The impact of apprenticeships on the productivity, efficiency and morale of apprentices across your business could be huge. There has never been a better time to rethink your approach to training. Rising university fees and a desire to get real experience 'on the job' is driving more and more capable students to consider an apprenticeship over university. Those who choose this route are typically highly motivated, keen to learn and ambitious to progress their career...and they could be working for your business!

About us…

Skills Hub Kent and Medway is a unique partnership between There has never been a better time to harness the potential of our increasing youth population and mature workers looking to retrain, and apprenticeships will create a workforce who take pride in 'learning while earning' in the highly sought-after trades we desperately need to recruit. A Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) poll of some 1000 construction employers found that 75% said the introduction of an apprenticeship scheme had a positive effect on their company. 92% of employers say that employing apprentices leads to a far more satisfied workforce. Skilled employees impart their knowledge and skills to colleagues resulting in a significantly improved team performance. Businesses with apprenticeship schemes have overwhelmingly reported experiencing an increase in positive public perception and associated brand reputation. Companies investing in commitment to staff training and development are seen to be forward thinking and worthwhile employers and this positive view is favourably observed by employees, shareholders and customers alike.

Attractive return

Apprentices deliver an attractive return upon investment. In basic terms, apprentices 'pay for themselves' in between two and four years. The National

Apprenticeship Service quotes an average return to a business of £28 per £1 spent on employing an apprentice. A number of grants and incentives are available to businesses to support the introduction of apprenticeship schemes and to enhance the offer of staff training. Larger businesses paying the Apprenticeship Levy can maximise their return on levy payments through planning staff development to make sure that levy payments are spent effectively.

Versatile and flexible

It’s tempting to limit our thinking about construction apprentices to the trades, but SMEs and large businesses alike require backoffice staff to handle finance, administration, IT and customer service – all areas where apprenticeships can thrive and make a significant impact on your business. And don’t forget your senior leaders too – with an everincreasing range of higher and degree-level apprenticeships, your management team can benefit from apprenticeship training too.

Rethink your approach to training

According to, 92% of apprentices in work felt that their apprenticeship was beneficial to their future career whereas 87% of employers stated that they were satisfied with the apprenticeship programme.

two of Kent’s most successful colleges MidKent College and North Kent College, offering a broad range of apprenticeships across business sectors, with the size and capacity to meet all of your apprenticeship needs. The strength of this unique partnership makes us the perfect training partner for larger businesses, so call now for a free levy consultation meeting with one of our dedicated business advisers. For more information contact Skills Hub Kent & Medway on 01622 625900 or visit

Who we are

Base are Chartered Quantity Surveyors, advising clients on all commercial and contractual matters across the complete construction lifecycle. In addition, Base provides specialist advice to both manage and resolve any contentious issues that arise during the course of a project.

What we do

From the inception of a construction project, Base will advise on construction costs, all aspects of procurement to execute the work, as well as managing and administrating all commercial issues during the construction phase. We also provide project recovery, dispute avoidance and resolution services.

How we do it

Base fully integrates into our clients project team, working seamlessly with developers, contractors, architects, engineers and legal advisors. Our experience covers all aspects of construction including building and civil engineering.

Where are we

Base has offices in Kent, Sussex and Central London delivering projects across the UK and internationally.

Our Services • Commercial


• Dispute Mitigation and Management

• Expert Witness • Training

Tel: 0207 043 0993 Base Studios, Aldwych House, 71-91 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4HN

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Your office is our business Albion Office Interiors Limited Specialising in making the most of your business premises. Whether you’re a one-man band or a multi-national corporation, aoi has a solution to suit. Let us help you create a place you’ll be pleased to show to clients and somewhere your staff will actually want to come and work! Large or small, aoi can do it all! • • • • •

Specialist decorating • Mechanical and electrical services Partitioning systems • Health & Safety upgrades Bespoke joinery • Warehousing & storage facilities Flooring and wallcoverings • Systems office furniture & seating Property Maintenance - both planned contracts and reactive Tel: 01227 281281 Albion House, Joseph Wilson Industrial Estate, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3PS

A fresh approach in Construction Management

Red Keys Concepts is a dynamic, professional, forward thinking Construction Management and Development company based in Kent but covering the whole South East. We pride ourselves on our 12 years of specialising in the project management techniques to oversee the planning, design and construction of your project from the early ‘ideas’ stage to the end result. We aim to take away the stresses and strains that come with construction projects by being fully in control of your costs, time and quality.

The cost-effective and adaptive solutions we can offer for your projects and programmes continue to ensure that we provide you with the best service possible. We tailor the specific delivery system, project approach and pricing structure to fit each and every client's needs, for successful outcomes and solutions.

We are delighted to see our workload increase massively over the last 6 months of trading. We, as the Directors are encouraged this trend will continue on the back of our existing and secured workload which provides an enviable platform to grow the Company year on year.

For further information please feel free to call us on:

01227 649 030

or email:

For regular updates on our ongoing projects and exciting opportunities please visit:


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Getting the standard right

Taking advantage of opportunities

There are plenty of success stories in the construction sector. In February this year, the management team of Ricky Hemmings and Phil Brasier acquired the Ardula Group businesses of Ardula Limited, PTC (South East) Limited, and Mantransco Limited, which collectively comprise 50 vehicles providing a wide range of construction logistics services. The acquisition, from former owner Martin Dace, recognised the value in a business that Martin had built from a single vehicle operation in 1993. The original Ardula business has survived difficult times, to become a widely recognised and respected brand, with the management buy-out heralding a new chapter in the history of a business that will celebrate its 25th year of trading a year from now. Whilst Ricky Hemmings joined the company two years ago, with a brief to develop the long term sale of the business, Phil Brasier has been with the company for 17 years, and his elevation to co-ownership of the business is the culmination of a long career in construction haulage, which started when he joined the family firm Rother Cartage almost 30 years ago. Phil's early years behind the wheel of vehicles owned and

operated by his father, and subsequent career in transport management, have given him an almost unequalled working knowledge of Kent and Sussex. In an age where satellite navigation is common place, the Ardula customers can feel re-assured that the company understands the locale of the sites being supplied, the best routes to be taken, and the little considerations often needed when driving in the Kentish countryside or Sussex Downs. Known for his excellent telephone manner, Phil has built customer relationships over many years, and with Ricky Hemmings has formed a business partnership based on past, present, and future relationships. With Ricky overseeing the businesses as they establish and consolidate under the new Ardula Group banner, Phil's remit is to maintain and strengthen the core Ardula business, with both directors involved in the company's move into value engineering of construction waste and soil treatment. Few local hauliers can boast such a diverse fleet to serve primarily the construction industry, but also the farming and waste industries, as both sectors have recently featured on the 'new customer' list. The first six months of trading under the new management team has seen the group hit record sales of £1,000,000 in April, move more tonnes of aggregate than ever before, and trade with multi-nationals Tarmac, Hanson, Cemex and Aggregate Industries across all three businesses, in terms of both buying and hauling products.

It has taken us 6,000 years to be as bad at building houses as we were seen to be in the late 20th Century. Our inherited building stock performs poorly in terms of energy efficiency and internal thermal comfort. It is only with the development of the PassivHaus standard in the last 25 years that we have discovered a method of achieving a truly comfortable and efficient dwelling based upon the universal laws of physics and applying these with intelligent design; but even now our Building Regulations don’t require us to meet this, or any standard anywhere close to it. Our fossil fuel usage is causing irreversible climatic changes which threaten the long term viability of sustainable inhabitation of our planet. Global warming is removing the ice caps, which thereby reduces the albedo capacity of the earth, in turn increasing the temperature of the sea, and so on. Less reliance on fossil fuels is essential, but our buildings need to support the way we live AND use less energy.

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As the main environmental offender, we need to drive a change in the building industry and legislation is the most effective way to do that. Germany, Belgium and Ireland have all made successful transitions and are benefitting from world-leading building performance of wellventilated buildings that cost less to heat than it costs to run a vacuum cleaner; using less than 10% of the energy of our current building stock. The PassivHaus standard, backed by 25 years of detailed monitoring studies, actually works, delivering buildings that are healthy, comfortable, well ventilated, and cheap to heat, with heating bills and resulting carbon emissions

(Continued ...)

“As with his beloved Brighton and Hove Albion, Phil's delighted at Ardula's place in the top division of construction haulage in the South East - “Forget taking part" he comments "We're here to win."

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Get the best legal advice from Gullands’ Business Hub Gullands Solicitors offers a full range of legal services for businesses of all sizes under the umbrella of our recently expanded Business Hub. Experts in our field Don’t just take our word for it, both The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners give our solicitors and practice areas a great ranking. We will build up a detailed understanding of your business so we can tailor our advice for you. We are specialists in the fields of: • Shareholder and Partnership Agreements • Commercial Contracts • Finance Documentation • Management Buy Outs • Company and Business Sales and Purchases • Business defence

• • • • •

Employment Law Charity Law Commercial Property Law Construction Law Commercial and Management Disputes • Insolvency • Licensing

Whatever stage you are in the business cycle, contact us today to see how we can help you or call 01622 689700


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(Continued from page 27)

less than 10% of the average UK building stock. The standard is, by its nature, a Quality Assured building method, suitable for all building use classes, materials and design styles. While the Building Regulations are based upon the minimum acceptable standard, the building industry will continue to deliver buildings of low performance, with high energy wastage, poor comfort conditions and contradicting design and living practices. Every house built to Building Regulations standard is therefore an opportunity missed for the next three generations. Making the standard part of UK Legislation will ensure the UK construction industry is based on quality-assured, innovative construction; it will support the creation of jobs to deliver energy efficient products and services for use domestically and for export; it would eventually eradicate the problem of fuel poverty, which affects 20% of homes and it would send a decisive message out on climate change mitigation to the rest of the world, showing that ambitious efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions don't always mean sacrifice - they can actually make people healthier, wealthier and more comfortable. If you care about making a difference to the global environment, or the environment in our future buildings, please raise the standard with your project teams and help make a change that future generations will thank us for. HazleMcCormackYoung

Advanced visualisation: A new reality for construction

Modern technology is bringing advanced visualisation to all areas of construction. This is changing not just how structures are designed and built, but also how machinery is used, staff are trained, and how customers can be enticed to purchase. DURTY is at the forefront of this modern technology. Leveraging computer generated imagery (CGI), animation and virtual reality (VR) content, capturing client’s imaginations and visualising complicated processes. Here are our top recommendations for the construction industry: CGI and animation – incredible videos and photorealistic still images allow you to show finished products and ideas that stand head and shoulders above the

competition. Video content can be sent electronically, meaning that clients can share ideas for projects with the clarity and professionalism no other format can match. Utilising CGI means that structures, machinery and components can be split apart, ideal for showing how they look and work, or how they should be installed. Examples include showing final ideas to win new business, assistance between teams / partners at the planning stages of a project, or showing prospective buyers the inside and outside of new homes before they are built. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) – from plans to reality, VR and AR provide a completely immersive experience by allowing the viewer to look around and interact with their environment via a specialised headset or a mobile phone. There’s nothing quite like it! Applications include virtual tours for potential buyers, for example allowing a new home buyer to walk around and configure their home before the first brick is even laid (a great attraction for the sales offices!), or showing a potential structural idea to a client and allowing them to re-configure it and see changes in real-time. These aren’t simple 360-degree photo/video tours, which look distorted, lack engagement and impact. Instead, VR provides a fully rendered environment which looks real and can be explored from every angle. Drone and aerial vehicle technologies – drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles; UAVs) with mounted cameras allow for incredible footage taken from the sky, which simply can’t be produced using traditional filming techniques. Drones provide the most cost-effective way of filming around a building, or getting an aerial land survey, providing incredible high-quality and impactful footage. Drones can even be fitted with 3D scanning equipment, which allows you to rapidly create a 3D environment that your technical and design teams can work with. Most excitingly, we can use motiontracking, integrated with CGI and visualisation with drone aerial footage, to show your finished product in-situ on the land, before it’s even built! Ideal for planning, visualisation or just grabbing your customers’ attention. Previously, technology (and the adoption of it) was the barrier to immersive content and advanced visualisation within the construction industry. Previous solutions were too involved, expensive and cumbersome to be practical. However, recent technical advancements (did you know the iPhone 8 will include AR technology as standard?) mean that the only limit is our imagination.

DURTY is an ambitious new breed of production studio specialising in computer generated imagery (CGI), 3D animation, virtual reality (VR) and advanced filming techniques. Based in in Kent, it provides CGI, video and VR content tailored for any budget, as it handles all production in-house at its studios. DURTY are experts in their field and use the very latest technology to ensure their work not only looks incredible, but is delivered on time and within budget. Dan Lawrence, Founder and CEO of DURTY

Focused, practical construction advice Our top ranked team of specialist construction lawyers provide advice and support throughout your project, from procurement to completion. We deal with project documentation, provide project support to keep projects on track, and enable proactive and innovative resolution of any disputes.

T 01322 623700 @pragmaticlawyer

Here for you since 1570

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Getting the detail right Much of the construction industry is about getting the detail right. We look at some of the things companies need to consider. Grounds for rectification of a contract clarified The Borough of Milton Keynes vs Viridor involves rectification, an equitable remedy which corrects a document to reflect the parties contractual intentions. Grounds for rectification include common mistake and unilateral mistake. In this case, the Council carried out a public procurement exercise for waste recycling in its local area. Viridor was a successful tenderer winning a 15-year contract. Viridor agreed under the contract to make a fixed payment representing rent for an existing recycling facility and a variable payment representing a share of Viridor’s profits. As part of the tendering process, the Council invited two tenderers to submit final bids and the documents the Council sent out included an Income Generating Payment Mechanism (IGPM) document. When Viridor submitted its final bid, it had completed IGPM’s blank spaces to provide that the fixed payment would be £500,000 “indexed for inflation”. The Council selected Viridor on the basis of its final tender including the IGPM. However, the contract documents that were compiled for execution by the parties included the older version of the IGPM, which the Council had sent out with blank spaces. In particular it did not state the amount of fixed payments and made no mention of it being indexed to inflation. The contract proceeded for some years with Viridor paying a fixed rent of £500,000 without indexation and the error was only discovered during an audit of the Council’s contract. Viridor denied that the fixed payment should be indexed. Court proceedings were started by the Council for rectification of the contract by replacing the wrong IGPM with the correct version. The Court found the Council had made an overwhelming case for rectification and there had been a common mistake justifying it. Also, the Council was entitled to rectification on the basis of unilateral mistake, rejecting the proposition by Viridor that the contract’s entire agreement clause prevented rectification. The case underlines the need for care when compiling a contract bundle. Those involved in construction industry projects,


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will appreciate how easily mistakes can be made particularly in the final busy period of a tender exercise or contract negotiation exercise. It also demonstrates that the Court is willing to change a document that is clearly wrong.

Payment Schedules – beware of overruns, they could ruin your (financial) health By Chris Whittington, Consultant, Construction Department, Thomson Snell & Passmore

Despite a plethora of previous legal articles on this subject, many contractors still seem unaware of a potential problem with payment schedules, so revisiting this topic seems worthwhile. It’s quite common in construction projects –a comprehensive schedule of dates for monthly payments is agreed. The project overruns – what then happens to the contractor’s right to continued monthly payments? Without express provisions setting out how further dates are to be calculated beyond the schedule, that right could be lost. The contractor would then have to wait until the final account before receiving any further payment. The result? Potential cashflow problems for the contractor who is still going to have to pay his workers, and any sub-contractors and suppliers. Balfour Beatty was caught by this, suffering the temporary loss of a seven figure sum until the final account payment was due. It argued among other things that there was an implied term that interim payments would continue; the Court of Appeal rejected all their arguments confirming that the courts will not rescue a party from a bad bargain (Balfour Beatty Regional Construction Ltd. vs Grove Developments Ltd.). How best to avoid this? Make sure there is a suitable extension mechanism for interim payments. Two suggested ways : (1) ensure that the schedule goes way beyond the contractual completion date to cater for any delays; or (2) (probably simpler) include express terms in the schedule stating that if the project overruns, interim payments will continue, calculated on the basis set out in the schedule.

Construction Insurance

Maidstone based MPW Insurance Brokers have continually served the construction industry for the past 30 years. Founded in 1986 as a specialist independent construction insurance brokerage, we have developed close and long term relationships with major UK construction insurance companies and their senior underwriters and as a result, have developed enhanced insurance policy wordings and risk management solutions for the exclusive use of our clients. MPW work closely with trade associations, members include housebuilders, electrical contractors, roofing contractors and specialist underpinning and basement contractors offering them tailored insurance programmes and widest covers. It is vitally important the correct cover is in place and this can only be achieved by gaining a full understanding of the precise activities undertaken by the client, resulting in an insurance programme tailored

to their needs and arranged at the best possible terms. Our knowledge of the construction industry has resulted in the appointment of a wide range of clients throughout the UK. Working closely with principals, developers, building contractors and professional services providers, their bespoke insurance packages include employer’s liability, public liability, contractors all risks, performance bonds, special indemnities and building warranties for commercial and residential properties. In addition to annually renewable policies, we regularly arrange single project insurance programmes on behalf of property owners, developers and contractors. Our experienced team of brokers have a close understanding of matters such as contract conditions, site procedures, construction methodology, health

and safety issues and more. MPW will be attending the forthcoming Construction Expo, please visit them at stand 156.

Construction Insurance Brokers offering exclusive schemes to the industry, including Developers, Housebuilders, Contractors and Civil Engineers. Bespoke Policy Wordings Single Projects Building Warranties Performance Bonds Professional Indemnity & Collareral Warranties Substantial premium discounts available

For a free insurance audit contact our construction team directly at 01622 683913 7/8 Tolherst Court, Turkey Mill, Ashford Road, Maidstone, Kent ME14 5SF

Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority


Baxall Construction & BIM

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Business Information Modelling (BIM) was developed by a Government action group to improve the process of construction.

The essence of BIM is to be working in a collaborative environment where information is shared and is freely available to all members of the project team (including the client, their officials, the contractor, stakeholders and supply chain). This information includes design in 3D to which all parties contribute, enabling a complete virtual building to be created which can be tested for design inaccuracies or clashes (ie issues identified and rectified at the ‘drawing board’ and not on site).

The information developed from the 3D model is issued to the client and building end-users to enable them to manage and maintain their completed building more effectively. This process begins at project inception and is carried throughout the project via open and regular communication and review, essentially a collaborative approach which includes the client. The outcome is an operational building designed and built to their exact requirements with focused handover, aftercare and ongoing performance review thereafter (‘soft landings’)

Baxall have embraced BIM now for over 4 years and successfully delivered no less than 9 projects (with 3 live). Local Kent schools including Skinners’ Kent Primary (Tunbridge Wells), St Georges Primary (Broadstairs) and Holborough Lakes Primary (Snodland) are all exemplars of BIM and the Baxall team are currently on site delivering the new Wouldham All Saints C of E Primary School.

Each of these projects has been delivered achieving quantifiable savings and efficiencies to budget, programme and sustainable construction simply through the application of a BIM process. Early stage and ongoing engagement between the client, school, design teams and supply chain has enabled us to collectively value engineer solutions and essentially significantly reduce project waste such as lost time, duplication, defects, disruption and negative impact on the local communities.

In parallel to BIM, we have delivered some of these schools using Modern Methods of

Construction (MMC) including off-site timber manufacture and spray plastering. The efficiencies generated against a traditional build include significant programme certainty and savings (approximately 25%), improved quality and far greater sustainable and energy efficient buildings.

Baxall have placed significant investment into BIM software and training, including our supply chain partners. Moving forward this investment will continue as we develop further through more efficient design of standardised components.

The BIM process in action at Skinners’ Kent Primary School can be viewed at 01892 831000

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VAT Flat rate scheme

– are you a winner or loser?

Sue Rathmell, VAT Director

I think it is fair to say that successive governments have tried to help small businesses when it comes to tax administration.

One of these simplifications of the tax law is the VAT flat rate scheme which is widely used by businesses as diverse as farmers, estate agents and food manufacturers. However in the last few weeks I have seen two businesses that have been using the VAT flat rate scheme that would be far better off outside the scheme and so this article looks at why this is and what small businesses can do to make sure they don’t pay too much VAT. The flat rate scheme is a simplification introduced by HMRC to help small businesses account for VAT more simply. However as a simplification, it is not the best route for every business.

The flat rate scheme is available to businesses with a turnover of £150,000 per year or less and they can stay in the scheme until their turnover hits £230,000 including VAT per year. The idea is that instead of adding all the output tax charged on sales in a VAT return period and deducting all the input tax incurred on purchases to get to a liability to be paid or reclaimed from HMRC, the business instead applies a flat rate percentage to its VAT inclusive sales each quarter and this is the amount of VAT payable to HMRC. The business charges VAT as normal to its customers and keeps this VAT. However, with the exception of VAT on certain capital expenditure, it cannot recover any input VAT – the flat rate percentage makes an allowance for that. The percentage to be paid varies according to the trade category of the business but the lowest is 4% and the highest is 14.5%. In the first year of VAT registration, businesses can deduct 1% off the rate they use. In April 2017, HMRC introduced a new rule where businesses with very low values of purchases have to pay a higher flat rate percentage of 16.5%.

Businesses that decide to use the flat rate scheme should only do so after very careful comparison of their likely VAT position in the scheme compared to outside the scheme. Use actual projected sales and purchase figures to make the calculations and my advice is to redo the calculations every time you submit a VAT return to check that you are not overpaying by being in the scheme. Your accounting package probably prepares a normal VAT return for you in any case so you are unlikely to be saving much time by being in the flat rate scheme.

In general though the scheme might not benefit your business if:

• A high proportion of your sales are zero rated, exempt or to overseas customers – you will end up paying VAT on sales where no VAT has actually been charged to the customer; or • You incur more than a minimal amount of input tax on purchases because under the scheme, you cannot recover this input VAT; or • You fall under the 16.5% rate.

You can voluntarily leave the scheme by notifying HMRC in writing. If on the anniversary of joining the scheme, your turnover in the previous year has exceeded £230,000 including VAT, you have to leave the scheme. If you buy assets which fall within the capital goods scheme (including an item of computer equipment costing more than £50,000 or a VATable building costing more than £250,000) then you also have to leave the scheme. As always, the rules are complex! Although HMRC have the discretion to allow a business to leave the scheme with effect from a date in the past if you find that you are worse off in the scheme, they don’t often allow it earlier than the previous VAT period so you need to keep on top of checking whether it is a good deal for your business or not.

If you would like help with a VAT flat rate scheme issue or any other VAT issue please contact Sue Rathmell, VAT Director at MHA MacIntytre Hudson on 01227 464991.

MHA MacIntyre Hudson is the trading name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in England with registered number OC385090. A list of partners’ names is open for inspection at its registered office, 201 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 1LZ. MacIntyre Hudson LLP which also trades under the name of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, controls MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP and is an independent member of MHA, a national association of UK accountancy firms. The term ‘partner’ or ‘partners’ indicates that the person (or persons) in question is (or are) a member(s) of MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP or a member, an employee or consultant of its affiliated businesses with equivalent standing and qualifications. Further information can be found via our website MHA MacIntyre Hudson (Kent) LLP is registered to carry on audit work in the United Kingdom and Ireland and is regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is an independent member of Baker Tilly International. Baker Tilly International Limited is an English company. Baker Tilly International provides no professional services to clients. Each member firm is a separate and independent legal entity and each describes itself as such. Baker Tilly UK Group LLP is the owner of the Baker Tilly trademark. MHA MacIntyre Hudson is not Baker Tilly International’s agent and does not have the authority to bind Baker Tilly International or act on Baker Tilly International’s behalf. None of Baker Tilly International, MHA MacIntyre Hudson, nor any of the other member firms of Baker Tilly International has any liability for each other’s acts or omissions.

The Economy & Us

Nick Rowell

Director of Policy Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Direct line: 01622 753568 Email:

With mounting Brexit tensions but no coherent plan in view, our way of life is under threat – not from the usual suspects (foreign powers, extremists, techno-economic forces) – but from a few politicians who display the worst behaviours bred by ‘privileged’ schooling. It is time to reassure our MPs that we value proper parliamentary democracy. Let me explain. Recently I attended an event at my former boarding school. The school’s traditions were spartan. Luckily, extracurricular activities often let me escape my oppressive barrack-room of a boarding House. A headmaster who arrived two years before l left later described the culture as “brutal”. (He moved on to become a well-regarded Warden at Winchester.) So I believe I know a thing or two about typical behaviours that boarding schools breed in young men: notably a presumptive ‘keeping one’s end up’. This is not selfconfident mutual respect, but a swagger of intimidation and point-scoring, in denial of rational debate. To imagine this world, read Betjeman’s expressed relief on leaving school “Luxuriating backwards in the bath….” Or just tune in to the standard tone in the House of Commons. Mutual respect – or swagger? Point-scoring – or rational debate?

The Economy & Us Brexit - talk to your MP According to my school’s current headmaster, in a world with real incomes falling it’s time to review what education should deliver, and how. Likewise, I suggest, it’s time to refresh and support our Parliament to evolve what it should deliver, and how.

We in business understand that straightforward dealing, and delivering what you commit to, is the bedrock not just of the economy but of society itself. Our Parliament should set the example. And yet, last year we saw privatelyeducated politicians claim to champion “the people” with rabble-rousing slogans such as “take back control” – without a shred of any fact-based plan for doing Brexit. Some of these self-styled populists, put into ministerial office, are pushing the same agenda but still with no shred of a plan. I’m not arguing for or against Brexit, but for rational debate of the pros & cons, and hows. Our foreign minister says the EU can “go whistle” rather than negotiate a settlement of British commitments freely entered into; and problemsharing in Cabinet has been disrupted by Press leaks. As last year, privatelyeducated populist pretenders want to stifle responsible discussion and rubbish the legitimate interests not just of our EU partners, but also of our own businesses whose trade creates jobs

and generates cash for shareholders and our Exchequer. Why?

Can it be that they hope to trash attempts at honest dealing; to rubbish “Johnny Foreigner” as unfit for negotiation, making “hard Brexit” unavoidable … and then seek high office by claiming to “stand up for

Britain and take back control”? Could you entrust power to people like that? In the name of common sense we must get alongside our MPs. Let them know that there is such a thing as society. Give them the confidence to insist on honest, evidencebased political process.

“We in business understand that straightforward dealing, and delivering what you commit to, is the bedrock not just of the economy but of society itself.” Thinking Business


Members News

MHA MacIntyre Hudson rated a top employer for school leavers

Accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson, which has offices in Canterbury and Maidstone, has been recognised as one of the UK’s best places to work for people leaving school or college.

In a nationwide survey conducted by AllAboutSchoolLeavers, which helps school leavers understand their career options and find a job, MHA MacIntyre Hudson is a top ten employer in accountancy, and ranks 32 across all businesses, up from 61 in the 2016 survey. The rankings are based on direct feedback from trainees working at the firm. MHA MacIntyre Hudson has this year recruited 29 apprentices across its 15 UK offices. The firm has a long track record in employing school leavers, and some of its former trainees are now partners. Rakesh Shaunak, Group and Southern region chairman at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, said: "The success in the AllAboutSchoolLeavers survey reflects our commitment to providing young people with the opportunity to establish a career in accountancy, and to grow their responsibilities early on. “The fact that the result is based on feedback from our trainees makes the recognition all the more meaningful. At MHA MacIntyre Hudson, we’re focused on helping our staff and clients achieve their goals. The key to this is making sure our team is motivated and that their successes are rewarded. “There’s often a misconception that the same opportunities available to graduates aren’t available to school leavers. This is definitely not the case in accountancy and we work closely with schools local to our offices to deliver this message. The interest in our trainee scheme has been very strong and we continue to increase our intake each year.”


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Is your property compliant?

Make sure you meet the 2018 deadline By David Redgate

From 1st of April 2018 a financial penalty regime will start to apply to landlords who let out non-domestic premises that do not meet MEES Regulations (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards). To start with, a property is to have an energy efficiency rating of E or higher (G is the lowest rating). Over time, it is likely that the minimum E standard will rise. The Government does not indicate how quickly this will rise, or what the ultimate standard will be. The regulations will be implemented in stages: 1. From 1 April 2018 new leases and lease renewals where an EPC exists 2. From 1 April 2023 existing lettings but only if the property has a valid EPC (there is no obligation to obtain an EPC if one is not legally required)

The penalties for breaching the rules will be severe. A landlord could receive a fine for as much as £50,000 if the property has been let for less than three months without improving the energy efficiency, or a fine of up to £150,000 if let for longer than three months without improving the energy efficiency. The local authority may also impose fines if people put misleading or incorrect information on the exemptions register. Exemptions include: • Properties that do not need an EPC – for example, a listed building • A lease of six months or less, and a lease of 99 years or more • Substandard properties where all possible relevant energy efficiency improvements have been made

• Where compliance would devalue the property by 5% or more (this exemption lasts for five years). It is likely that lenders may require a property attains at least an E rating before it will lend money secured against the property, or may retain part of the loan advance until the rating is raised to an E rating. Where ratings are substandard, landlords should now be considering what steps can be taken to raise their energy efficiency rating to E or even D. There is always a possibility of course that the regulations could be repealed following Brexit…. For further information, contact Commercial Property Solicitor, David Redgate at Girlings Solicitors. T 01227 768374 E

Cripps advises on major private rented sector investment

Law firm Cripps acted on behalf of global real estate investment company Kennedy Wilson Holdings Limited on the sale of its private rented sector (PRS) investment at The Rock shopping centre in Greater Manchester. The 140,800 sq ft site, which sits in the heart of the centre and comprises 233 premium PRS units, was sold to Grainger PLC for £22.1m. The site was originally acquired as a joint venture with Fairfax Financial Holdings in 2012. During 2014 and 2015 Kennedy Wilson undertook a comprehensive internal redevelopment creating a mix of studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units.

The transaction was led by real estate partner Garry Brett, and supported by associate Natalie Campany and partners Stephen Hedley, Andrew Harbourne and Kate Robinson. Garry said: “PRS is a huge growth area and we are delighted to have acted for long-standing client, Kennedy Wilson on this sale, which is a great example of this firm’s ability to handle institutional size deals of kind.”

Ask the Expert Alistair Milne

Corstorphine + Wright Canterbury Office

Tel: 01227 786231

It is recognised that there are many complex, integrated and conflicting issues to consider when designing environmentally friendly buildings. During the initial stages of concept design 90% of the final design solution can be generated, therefore it is essential that designers are aware, confident and capable of understanding all the options and their consequences to the design at this critical stage. However equal consideration must also be given to public open space, which forms the major component of the urban environment and can significantly affect the buildings which define the space. Proper geometrical design is important to ensure buildings are comfortable to occupy, can allow pollutants to easily disperse and provide sun and/or shade as appropriate, both to the space itself and the surrounding buildings. The buildings we design share many common requirements,

Ask the Expert

“How have architects had to respond to the need for environmentally friendly buildings?” such as occupant density, comfort requirements, lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation. With careful consideration of site location, orientation, form and layout, the designer can take advantage of solar gain, shading, local wind effects and daylight in order to create a more ‘passive’ building and reduce its environmental impact. To maximise use of natural systems, internal spaces should be zoned according to heating, cooling, light and ventilation requirements. Reduced reliance on mechanical and electrical systems will result in lower operational costs and lower carbon emissions. Design decisions such as the overall form of the building, the depth and height of spaces, and the size and location of windows, can have a great impact on the eventual energy use of the building. There are also clear benefits for the occupants if the building and site are both planned to promote the effective use of daylight and a sense of connection to the natural environment. An overall reduction in environmental impact can be achieved by systematically

implementing a series of specific incremental measures to create pleasant and efficient built environments to foster health, productivity and creativity. Equally, it is widely recognised that, while new build has generally moved rapidly towards the low/zero carbon goal, the greatest challenge we face as an industry is the stock of buildings that already exist, acknowledging that the number of new buildings per annum may account for less than 1% of the entire existing building stock. It makes sense to acknowledge the historic embodied energy within these buildings, as buildings become more energy efficient in their operation the amount of embodied energy takes on a greater significance. Refurbishment projects can vary significantly to internal refurbishment through to strip back to structural frame and while generally being inherently more environmentally desirable, must give due consideration to the sustainability agenda. The integration of innovative features, materials or systems can dramatically improve the environmental performance of an existing building.

Creating exceptional places + spaces

Operational targets that focus on improved lighting, selection of finishes and materials, comfort conditions, better control and reductions in the energy use of the building should be set. Refurbishment may be prompted by the need for more space or the desire to refresh brand image. All too often though, change comes at the cost of environmental quality and results in properties which are more rather than less demanding of resources. But this needn’t be the case. We should encourage building owners and investors to embrace the business advantages that come with the adoption of sound environmental practice and that creating environmentally responsible and healthy buildings, simply makes good sense. Although it might seem obvious, opportunities to improve buildings in this way are, all too often, neglected. It is important that the potential to harness green building strategies is never overlooked, developing solutions which dramatically improve environmental performance and enhance the asset value, without resorting to energy intensive systems or compromising the comfort of building users.



Thinking Business


International Trade

Ready on day one

With continued uncertainty in the political landscape surrounding the outcome of the negotiations, businesses need to be making decisions now based on best case/worst case scenarios. 38

Thinking Business

The Chamber will be working at the highest level to influence policymakers and provide reliable information that will help businesses to form strategies in readiness for Day one.

To assist in this task, we will be publishing extracts from a range of sources that we feel will help businesses prepare. This edition’s article is from “The Brexit Challenge Report” written by Charlie Elphicke MP in April 2017 in which he presents some possible Customs scenarios. This article has been edited and researched by Lara Vittorio, Graduate Intern at Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce. You can download the full report from the Chamber’s International web pages.

The Brexit Customs Challenge

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU must act as a catalyst for financial investment by Government in our country’s border. The UK’s current customs system, CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system), operates at an annual capacity of 100 – 150 million declarations. After Britain leaves the EU, the total volume is expected to increase to 350 million. New customs processes will need to emphasise speed and simplicity. Britain currently has no appropriate system for applying customs to the 4.5 million journeys which hauliers travelling to and from the EU take each year. There must be special provisionfor certain products in any new system going forward. For example, around 24% of British meat is exported, while imports make up 45% of consumption. Of this, a huge percentage - around 80% of 2 million tonnes of imports in 2015 – comes from the EU. If tariffs are introduced, the meat sector is likely to undergo huge change after Britain leaves the EU, as tariffs for meat products are high. Meat makes up about 80% of checks at the border and as a perishable product cannot be kept waiting. Any new system should be fully integrated and digital so as to allow trade to move through the border, as seamlessly as possible. Changes to how customs checks are conducted must be introduced, minimising human intervention to reduce costs for both government and hauliers. The Government says it is committed to making trade with the EU as frictionless as possible after Brexit. Achieving this goal requires developing pragmatic solutions that build on existing processes. Evolution and familiarity are most likely to ensure that the system will operate effectively from day one.

The most important programme to simplify border controls is the ‘Trusted Trader Scheme’ (TTS), currently used in countries such as Canada and Australia. Under a TTS, companies register themselves with a government agency as a trusted trader. The benefits of such a scheme are obvious – hauliers spend less time queueing, and government agencies are better able to direct their efforts to tackle higher risks. Businesses can also remove the cost of running a separate system to deal with customs and have a clearer expectation of what those costs might be in practice. The UK currently operates an Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs) system, which could be adapted to become a TTS. When AEO status is obtained in one EU Member State it applies across the rest of the European Customs Union. Although this would no longer apply to the UK when it leaves the Customs Union, it should not be difficult to obtain a Mutual Recognition Agreement.

Comparable customs systems around the world

The main aspects of the systems in Singapore, Canada and Australia are outlined below.

(i) Singapore: efficient and high-tech

Singapore’s border agencies are so well regarded that they are in direct competition with commercial firms for tech talent. The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) proposed in 2005 that the best method of doing business was to implement a so-called single window system. This is comprised of a single point of data submission, a single process for analysing that data, and finally a single process for making decisions regarding customs release and cargo clearance. It is important to note that the UK’s current CHIEF system was designed with this purpose in mind, but has not implemented it. A future CDS would need to fulfil this purpose on day one. Singapore Customs is the sole facilitator of trade and customs at the border. This has the effect of huge increases in efficiency. Singapore Customs has responsibility not just for the collection of customs revenue and tax, but also for prevention of those seeking to evade duties.

It also has enforcement powers, such as preventing illegal imports and exports (or duty evasion) obligations under Free Trade Agreements. By keeping customs procedures simple, as well as acting as a regulator with enforcement powers, Singapore Customs is able to act rapidly to respond to the needs of both government and users. Adopting this approach in the UK should be considered, since traders can often find dozens of UK Government agencies all competing for jurisdiction over a single shipment, which causes unnecessary delays. It has been noted that keeping the two separate has the feel of an ‘unnatural’ divide, and that bringing them together with one chain of command would increase efficacy.

(ii) Canada: low-cost and fast

The Canadian example demonstrates that the costs of implementing a TTS can be low. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) estimates that the delivery of the three TTS in 2012-13 was around CAN$9.3 million, facilitating the movement of CAN$81 billion the previous year. Transportation times in Canada are also reduced by access to Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes that enables faster goods clearance at the border. FAST drivers must pay a notional (CAN$50) cost in order to obtain their status. The benefits for approved drivers include increased business, and can be used as a form of identification. Eligibility for the FAST scheme does however rely on all parties in the import chain – importers and hauliers – being approved. Unless all the importers are trusted, then the dedicated FAST lane cannot be used. The UK should consider adopting the FAST and

RFID / Nexus systems for use at Dover, which as a ‘land bridge’ has a uniquely high volume of Ro-Ro traffic.

(iii) Australia: Responsibility for Businesses

In Australia, the Trusted Trader Programme aims to expedite cargo checks, and to increase long term economic growth whilst cutting short term costs. The stated aim of this scheme is that 40% of Australian trade becomes trusted – which could amount to just a few hundred major companies. In order to qualify for the Australian Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) Declarations programme, there is a fairly non intensive process which must be followed. The initial stage is merely to express an interest followed by a self-assessment that must then be submitted. This is a far more rigorous questionnaire. This stage excludes new companies which have not been trading for more than one year, as they are unable to provide significant proof regarding their history of compliance. Finally the most intensive part of the process is a validation at the business’ site of the declarations made in the self-assessment. This is estimated to take around a day, provided that all relevant staff are present. The result of this is that the administrative burden is pushed away from the border to the factory door. This is better for the Government, but also for the companies themselves, since they are able to take some responsibility ‘in house’, for paying duties quarterly, rather than individually. Britain should seek to make any such scheme accessible to SMEs as well as big corporations. A self-assessment type system should be considered for implementation in the UK.

“The most important programme to simplify border controls is the ‘Trusted Trader Scheme’ (TTS), currently used in countries such as Canada and Australia. Under a TTS, companies register themselves with a government agency as a trusted trader.” Thinking Business


Business News

Business Stream: Understanding and meeting customers’ needs

Businesses often look to energy and broadband services when considering cost saving options. However, water – including wastewater – is vital too. Since its formation in 2008, Business Stream has been helping its customers generate cost, carbon and operational efficiencies through improved water management.

The company was formed following the opening of the non-household retail water market in Scotland. Since then Business Stream has saved businesses and public sector organisations over £160 million and helped them conserve more than 24 billion litres of water. In April this year, the retail water market opened in England. Following Business Stream’s acquisition of Southern Water’s non-household customer base, it is now one of the largest retailers across the UK. Headquartered in Edinburgh, Business Stream has also set up an office in Worthing to help support its customers in the south of England. In total, the company employs around 250 staff. As well as providing water supply services, Business Stream has developed over 60 value-added services and innovative solutions to meet its customers’ needs. Small enterprises can benefit from simple water-saving measures whilst larger multi-site organisations with more complex needs can receive the support they require to realise substantial savings, increased operational efficiency and regulatory compliance. Business Stream has a strong track record as the market leader in Scotland and is now, following the opening of the English retail water market, looking forward to achieving similar benefits for its customers in Kent.

For further information visit,uk


Thinking Business

Property Expo set to inspire the South East

A brand new ‘not-for-profit’ property event is coming to Kent in the autumn and is tipped to be Kent, Sussex and Surrey’s preeminent property show.

For those interested in the property market, the 12th October is a date to put in your diary. This is the date of the inaugural South East Property Expo taking place at The Hop Farm in Kent. The average house price in the South East last year was nearly £320,000*, a rise of around 7% per annum. Compare this with the national average of £237,000 and is clear that the housing market across Kent, Surrey and Sussex remains buoyant. In fact, it is the strongest outside of London according to The Office for National Statistics. Given the importance of property to the regional economy, the property experts at Thackray Williams Solicitors, who are organising the event, feel it’s

important that there is a show aimed at celebrating and supporting the people and businesses involved in it. It is clear when buying property either as a home for your family, as a premises for your business or for simply as a secure investment, everyone requires expert help and advice. The Expo aims to bring together, for one day only, buyers and sellers, developers, investors and landlords with trusted suppliers and advisors, providing help and assistance to those with an interest in all things property.

Alongside over 50 exhibitors, there is also the chance to attend a range of talks and seminars by respected industry experts on a wide range of property topics as well as plenty of networking opportunities. However, for tradesmen, investors, suppliers and advisors, who are interested in exhibiting at the South East Property Expo you need to be quick if you want to get involved. With only a few months left until the big day nearly 50% of the exhibition pportunities have already gone. * The Office for National Statistics

For more information visit about this exciting event visit For further enquires please contact James Bradshaw

Creative space soloutions

Manufacturers of quality timber framed buildings, Olson Timber Buildings Ltd., are a family-run business with a personalised approach. With combined experience exceeding 40 years in the timber building industry, each member of staff is in an expert in their field. From carriage houses, garages, home offices and equestrian buildings to an individually designed timber building for private or commercial use, they offer a variety of services to suit

every individual need. At Olson Timber Buildings Ltd., they recognise that everyone’s design needs are unique, and therefore may not meet the standard options available on the market. With the customer at the heart of the company, each of our buildings are bespoke made

to meet your unique requirements. The Classic and Elite ranges of each of their products are expertly constructed to create the basis of your timber framed building. Upgrade your building to include any of our optional extras, and make your building the perfect space saving solution.

Historic Dockyard project shortlisted for award

The Historic Dockyard Chatham, along with Baynes and Mitchell Architects, have announced that their Command of the Oceans project has been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize. The RIBA Stirling Prize is presented to RIBA Chartered Architects and International Fellows for buildings in the UK which have made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture over the past year.

The announcement follows the project winning three RIBA South East Regional Awards (Conservation, Regional Award and South East Building of the Year) and a RIBA National Award.

Alan Mitchell, Director of Baynes and Mitchell Architects, said: “We feel extremely honoured that Command of the Oceans has been shortlisted for this year’s Stirling Prize.”

Bill Ferris OBE DL, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said: “This project represents the epitome of what can be achieved in a highly sensitive historic environment, working with scheduled monuments and incredibly important archaeology,

to provide 21st Century facilities and galleries that place the heritage to the fore.”

The project was made possible with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and support from the Homes and Communities Agency, individuals, trusts and foundations and was opened to the public on 27 May 2016. The final winner of the Stirling Prize will be announced on 31st October 2017 at the Camden Roundhouse.

24 Hours with ...

24 Hours with ...

Diligent approach to project management leads to expansion plans

Nicola Coppen

Managing Director Diligence (PM) Services Ltd

Kent-based Diligence (PM) Services Ltd is a company on the up and guiding its growth as it prepares to expand its services is its Managing Director & 2017 Kent Women in Business ‘Women In Construction’ Winner Nicola Coppen. The business provides specialist infrastructure project management, mainly in the utilities and construction sectors although the company’s skilled team has experience in many other sectors as well. Key to Nicola’s working day is managing the relationship between Diligence’s people and the companies for whom they provide project management, either on the client’s site, from home or from the Diligence offices. Nicola said: “I tend to be up by seven and into the office by eight to eight thirty.

“The working day is shaped by the needs of the client and I will have usually set up the day the previous evening. “However, I like to start the day by assessing what has happened overnight and seeing if anything has changed. The companies that we work for are 24/7 so we need to respond to anything that changes overnight. “The working day revolves around managing the services that the client needs. There will be contractors to liaise with for example, and that could be everything from assessing work to progress meetings and or changes of project scope.” Diligence’s people deliver their services with a rigorous attention to detail and include specialist project managers and project teams, who are not just committed to the work they do but also to providing a very personal service. The company has offices in Bexley, Dartford and Ashford, which makes it ideally placed to manage projects in London and throughout Kent, and key to everything its specialists do is co-ordination and collaboration. Nicola said: “I use utilities as an example of what we do. A contractor may be about to

dig a hole and our job is to make sure that anyone else who needs to be there when that happens is present so we that do not end up going back again. “We do a wide range of other work, including ensuring that paperwork is in order should the client receive an audit visit and dealing with health and safety procedures. “Our people are effectively employees of the client during the project but we also want them to feel valued employees who work for Diligence. “To achieve that, we hold regular briefings which allow us to catch up on projects and plan for what clients will need. Getting together in that way allows us to make sure that the work is being carried out the Diligence way, that our culture is being followed.” The way the company approaches the task in hand is clearly paying dividends and Nicola and the team are now planning the next stage in its development. Nicola said: “We are in our third year now. The first year was spent assessing if there was a demand for what we did and the next two years have been about building the

business, during which we have brought in some very good contracts. Now we feel that we are ready to expand.” Overseeing that process means that her working days can be long ones. Nicola said: “Our project managers will work the hours that the client requires, maybe eight until five or nine until five, but my days tend to finish much later in the evening and I am already looking ahead to the next day.” You will soon see Diligence supporting the community too – from sponsors of community initiatives to the Ladies Team at Dartford FC! This growing business certainly has its specialisms and people values at its heart. 01322 838004

OUTSOURCE TO A TRUSTED BUSINESS PARTNER Specialist Project Managers & Project Support In: • Utilities, Power, Water & IT • Construction / Infrastructure

01322 838004

"Companies come to us for cost conscious, timely & quality delivery of their infrastructure, construction or regeneration projects. With our customers' values & requirements at the heart of our support & the values of an Employer of Choice for our people, we successfully collaborate & deliver quality, value & a Diligence difference"

Nicola Coppen, MD & KWIB Award Winner 'Women In Construction'

Thinking Business



Kent Invicta Chamber Events



Call 01233 503838

Kent Manufacturing Focus Group (KMFG) Information Session

Come along and stay informed about the latest legislation, funding opportunities and future developments. This session will focus on the apprenticeship levy. Only open to those based in Kent and in the manufacturing industry. 17th August Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, TN24 0HL 8:00am – 10:00am Free to attend Light Breakfast & Refreshments served

Kent Construction Focus Group (KCFG) Breakfasts

Join us for a KCFG meeting where future plans and developments in Kent are discussed with businesses involved in the construction industry. This event is only open to those in Kent and in the construction industry. 5th September & 3rd October Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE 7:30am – 9:30am KCFG Member: £18.00 inc VAT KCFG Non-member: £30.00 inc VAT Full English Breakfast included in cost.


Thinking Business

Muesli Mafia Networking

Come along to these informal business 2 business events in a congenial and relaxed atmosphere. Local business people can get together, enjoy mutual fellowship, share their good news, views and discuss topics of mutual interest.

Muesli Mafia Breakfasts 31st August

Sponsored by Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP

Ashford International Hotel Simone Weil Avenue, Ashford, TN24 8UX 28th September

Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE 7:30am – 9:30am Member: £24.00 inc VAT Non-member: £25.80 inc VAT

Full English Breakfast or muesli alternative included in cost.

International Events

Part of the 10 core courses accredited by the British Chambers of Commerce. Candidates achieving pass or in any of the courses will receive a certificate. Those who pass 6 courses will receive a nationally recognised Foundation Award in International Trade.

Customs Procedures and Documentation

This course highlights the company’s and the individual’s legal responsibilities when declaring cargo to HM Revenue and Customs and explains complicated procedures, which may save companies time and money when exporting/importing cargo 14th September Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, TN24 0LH 8:30am – 12:45pm Member: £90.00 inc VAT Non-member: £108.00 inc VAT Tea/Coffee & Light Breakfast included in cost.

Ready Set Export – Growing your International Sales

Raise awareness of opportunities for businesses that are seeking to export and the support that is available. Provide the Department for International Trade with insight and feedback to help them develop future support programs. Includes speaker: Robert Lewtas from DIT, Panel Discussion with Q & A and 'Partner Village' area. 12th September Discovery Park Innovation House, Ramsgate Road, Sandwich, CT13 9ND 8:00am – 11:00am Free to attend (Spaces are limited) A light breakfast will be provided.

Summer Business Lunch

Cyber Crime Special

Covering General Data Protection Regulation 'GDPR' Kent Invicta Chamber, with the help of sponsors Barclays and Kent Police, have put together a cyber crime event to help businesses understand and reduce the threats involved with cyber crime attacks & General Data Protection Regulation. 1st September

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, TN24 0HL 08:30am – 12:30pm Member: Free Non-member: £24.00 inc VAT

Big Breakfast with Damian Green

Join us for a networking special with guest speaker Damian Green MP. 15th September

Eastwell Manor, Rose Garden Room, Eastwell Park, Boughton Lees, Ashford, TN25 4HR

7:30am – 9:00am Member: £21.60 inc VAT Non-member: £27.60 inc VAT

Business Breakfast at The Sands Hotel

Enjoy a morning networking in a relaxed atmosphere with stunning sea views of the English Channel. 27th September

Sands Hotel Margate 16 Marine Drive, Margate, CT9 1DH

8:00am – 9:30am Member: £14.34 inc VAT Non-member: £17.94 inc VAT

Take the opportunity to put your business in the spotlight, highlight it’s products/services and how these can help other businesses. 7th September

Hotel Campanile Dartford Crossways Business Park, 1 Clipper Boulevard West, Dartford, DA2 6QN

11:30am – 1:00pm Member: £17.40 inc VAT Non-member: £20.40 inc VAT BBQ style buffet included in cost.

Business Coffee Hour

Make new contacts and generate business leads, whilst sharing ideas and experiences with like-minded business people. 20th September

Bridgewood Manor Hotel Walderslade Woods, Chatham, ME5 9AX

10:30am – 12:00pm Member: £8.40 inc VAT Non-member: £10.20 inc VAT Tea/coffee and breakfast pastries included in cost.

Growth of Ashford Seminar

Organised in partnership with Wilkins Kennedy, this seminar will focus on key issues surrounding the growth of Ashford and how they will affect commercial life. It will illustrate how the council intends to unlock major opportunities, deliver new jobs, housing, retail, business and cultural facilities.

Speakers include: Damian Green MP, Ashford Borough Council, Ashford Designer Outlet, Stanhope plc and Wilkins Kennedy

15th September

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, TN24 0HL 2:00pm – 4:30pm

FREE to attend


After Hours Club

Come along to one of our popular ‘casual’ networking events. The informal atmosphere and relaxed environment is the ideal place to relax and chat to fellow business people. FREE to attend & no booking required. Just turn up!

6:00pm – 7:30pm

16th August Guest speaker - Andrew Priestley Canterbury College, Business Suite B118, New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3AJ 17th August Burlington Hotel, 3-5 Earls Avenue, Folkestone, CT20 2HR

22nd August Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE 5th September The Conningbrook Hotel, Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, TN24 9QR

7th September K Sports Cobdown Station Road, Aylesford, Maidstone, ME20 6AU

12th September The Friends of Wisdom Hospice Ltd, High Bank, Rochester, ME1 2NU 13th September Hythe Imperial Hotel & Spa, Princess Parade, Hythe, CT21 6AE

20th September Canterbury College, Business Suite B118, New Dover Road, Canterbury, CT1 3AJ

26th September Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, ME17 1RE

3rd October The Conningbrook Hotel, Canterbury Road, Kennington, Ashford, TN24 9QR

Thinking Business


5 October| Kent Event Centre nr Maidstone | 8.30am - 4.30pm | FREE Conference and Exhibition

DON’T MISS THE LEADING CONSTRUCTION EVENT FOR THE SOUTH EAST ATTRACTING OVER 3,000 VISITORS AND 200 EXHIBITORS OVER 600 FREE MEET THE BUYER APPOINTMENTS Just take a look below at some of the contractors you can meet when you book your FREE place at Construction Expo.


Hurry, book now we have over 600 free meet the buyer appointments available, but be quick as appointments are allocated in order of you booking.

Just some of the buyers involved...

• • • • • •

Find out how to take advantage of £billions of projects Major developments and regeneration projects update The latest on digital construction including an update on BIM Construction in the 2025 How can we develop talent for the construction sector" Improving the competitiveness of the market What is stopping you building" Thames Tideway Tunnel development update FREE Meet the Buyer with over 600 FREE appointments

BOOK YOUR FREE PLACES NOW! Full list of buyers at WWW.KENTCONSTRUCTIONEXPO.CO.UK Find out the very latest from our keynote speakers, join in with panel sessions looking at existing projects as well as new opportunities. It’s a great opportunity for business leaders to meet, network and collaborate on improving cost HIÀFLHQF\DQGVXVWDLQDELOLW\

Book your places NOW | | 01732 758530 | Brought to you by




K Kent’s ent’s longest-running business exhibition is coming to Medway!

Don’t Don ’t miss... Q

Delegate & exhibitor networking


Expert speak speaker er sessions


Skills workshops


Exhibition zone featuring Kent the best of K ent


Luke e Quilter Q #%/OF3LEEPING'IANT-EDIA # %/OF3LEEPING'IANT-EDI DA From climbing Google rankings to o driving relevant elevant traffic to your website uke Quilter will wow K ent website,, LLuke Kent B2B Medway with the secrets of search mark eting marketing success. As well as digital know-how know-how,, his awardw winning approach to leadership will inspire de delegates as will his fresh approach ach to growing hiss bussiness and getting the most from his team. business

o register for FREE or book your stand To T please visit k

New Members

Welcome to our new members Abbey Design Architectural Services Ltd Canterbury 01227 250088 Architects

Afnor UK Ltd

Dartford 01322 314852 Accredited Third Party Certification Bodies

Ashford BME Association

Ashford 01233 879484 Charity

Aspire Achieve Advance

Maidstone 01622 685621 Educational Establishments and Services

Baumit Ltd

Maidstone 01622 710763 Building Materials Manufacturer & Supplier

BMI The Chaucer Hospital

Canterbury 01227 825102 Private Hospital - Healthcare

BoConcept Canterbury London 07768 352137 Furniture Design


Thinking Business

Business Help UK Ltd

JAMCEM Consulting Ltd


Jarmans Solicitors

Chatham 01708 706142 Bookkeeping & Accountancy Services London 020 3393 2204 Unclaimed Allowances in Commercial Research & Development Tax Credits

Dodgems and Floss

Canterbury 01227 455435 Design Studio

Express Carriers Ltd

Maidstone 0203 4051881 Building Materials Consultancy Sittingbourne 01795 472291 Law, Legal, Legal Services, Solicitors

Kent Design Studio

Biddenden 01580 230413 Architectural Services

Kent Recruitment Solutions Ltd

Gillingham 07575 161516 Freight Transport by Road

Chatham 01634 936813 Temporary & Permanent Recruitment

Longfield 01474 719036 Training & Development

Ashford 01233 645672 Transport Training

Fast Track Development Ltd

GServe Facilities Solutions

Farnham Common 01279 311923 Facilities & Property Management

HMS Commercial Services

West Malling 01732 424186 Commercial Cleaning & Security Services

Inkerman (Group) Ltd

Ashford 01233 646940 International Business Risk & Intelligence Company

Load 2 Go Ltd

Love It Here Holidays Goudhurst 01580 239239 Holiday Letting

Maidstone Community Support Centre

Maidstone 01622 609369 Office Space, Meeting Facilities, CafĂŠ

Middlestone Business Analysis

West Malling 020 7859 4875 Business Management Consulting

Movers and Shakers

Moreton Hayward Ltd

Canterbury 01227 471444 Quantity Surveyors

Motorline Toyota

Tunbridge Wells 01892 700500 Car Dealership

NatWest Bank Plc (Dartford) Dartford 03457 114477 Banking

New Level Results Ltd

Sandwich 07909 681627 Executive & Sales Coaching

Niche Networking & Events Rochester 01634 320170 Networking & Events

Oakland Invicta Ltd Redditch 01527 596222 Logistic Support

Olson Timber Buildings

Canterbury 01277 696111 Manufacture, Supply & Erect Timber Framed Buildings

Regus (Kings Hill / Dartford) West Malling 01732 424000 Serviced Offices

Simply Clicks Online Ltd Ashford 01233 670006 IT Marketing

SkyOps Ltd

Rochester 07876 782148 Aerial Film & Photography for Commercial, Survey & Leisure

Social Enterprise Kent CIC Herne Bay 01227 469955 Training Provider

First woman appointed to Caxtons’ board

with a Distinction in MSc Real Estate Appraisal. Her first job was with a small, independent firm of surveyors in Hertfordshire, working mostly on landlord and tenant and corporate real estate matters.

Space Between

Ashford 01233 800991 Web & App Development

Charlotte joined Caxtons in 2011 and now heads up the Commercial Management and Investment department.

St. James's Place - Michael Hughes Dartford 07535 679270 Financial Advice

Tailored Fire and Security (London) Ltd

Chatham 01634 790750 Security Services & Consultants

The Oast Osteopathy

Sittingbourne 01795 437710 Osteopathy, Sports Massage & Pilates

The Octopus Foundation

Rochester 01634 712884 Alternative Education Provider

The View Hotel Folkestone Ltd Folkestone 01303 252102 Corporate Hospitality

Total Accounting Kent Ltd

Chatham 01634 560755 Bookkeeping, Payroll & Tax Returns

Vital Parts Ltd

Maidstone 01233 713581 Plastic & Rubber Components

Charlotte Bland BSc (Hons) MSc MRICS has been appointed a full board director at Caxtons, one of the largest independent firms of general practice chartered surveyors and property consultants in the South East. Born, raised and living in Kent, Charlotte graduated from the London South Bank University

MHA MacIntyre Hudson welcomes new VAT Director

A new VAT Director has joined the Kent offices of Top 20 accountancy firm MHA MacIntyre Hudson. Sue Rathmell joins the firm from Saga PLC and has 24 years’ of experience in indirect taxes including duty, VAT and IPT gained in HMRC, a Big 4 accounting firm and a FTSE 250 business. Sue’s main areas of specialism are travel and tour operators, logistics, insurance, and partial exemption together with experience of advising on the VAT aspects of restructurings, acquisitions and disposals and stock exchange listing. She said “I am thrilled to join MHA MacIntyre Hudson.

Neil Chatterton, Managing Director of the award winning firm said “Charlotte’s experience, knowledge and passion ensure that clients benefit from her advice. She is a great advocate for all who enter the sector, which is seeing more women taking on influential and powerful roles across the property and construction industry.”

Charlotte said: “I always needed a career that I would enjoy every day - a career for life – and I found it in property.”

The depth and breadth of the advice they offer clients was a huge appeal for me and with access to our international team of VAT advisors, I can help with indirect tax problems anywhere in the world.” Partner Duncan Cochrane-Dyet said “Sue is simply one of the best in her field. Her appointment is part of our strategic plans to provide the very best advice to Kent companies, not least during Brexit. For example, Sue and I have recently advised a major transport company in Europe on their customs duties strategy in the UK, to be routed through Kent.” Thinking Business


The Last Word Name: Martyn Golesworthy Company: Albion Office Interiors Limited

Patron visits Maidstone for European School of Osteopathy’s Graduation Ceremony

Job title: Managing Director

Having grown-up in Faversham Martyn started his business life in October 1972 as a Junior at the local NatWest where he quickly gained promotions to achieve his goal of working in the City. In 1988 Martyn was head hunted to move into Office Furniture which in turn led to Contracting and then ultimately enabled him to start his own company in the Millennium year! This fledgling business has since grown and now owns a total of 9500sq ft. of warehouse/offices with a loyal team of permanent staff.

What was your first job and what was the pay packet? After my teenage years of many part-time jobs my job with NatWest had a starting salary of just £522 per annum. What do you always carry with you to work? My mobile phone … and a good sense of humour! What is the biggest challenge facing your business? Seeking and securing new long term business prospects. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? Reduce the compliance work required of SME’s as this is both time consuming and costly. What can you see from your office window? From my 1st Floor office I see plenty of trees plus parts of the other businesses on this estate. If you could do another job what would it be? I would like to develop my love of gardening and propagation … sadly this is only a part-time hobby for now! As a business person, what are your three main qualities? Hardworking, cheerful and dedicated to the business and my staff. What was your biggest mistake in business? Typically of a new business there have been a few hiccups over the years but the biggest mistake was getting involved in a restaurant venture which failed after just 1 year. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Always remember the saying that “people matter” … your staff are your best asset. Be prepared for the hours to be far longer than you expect. Who do you most admire in business? As a group, anyone who has the courage to start their own business. As an individual, my good friend and financial guru Scott Bowie who has thankfully steered me and my business successfully over our rocky course since 2000!


Thinking Business

As befits the ESO’s worldwide reputation, this was a truly international occasion with students from twelve countries represented and family members flying in from across the globe. This was the first official engagement undertaken by the Princess since

HRH Princess Eugenie of York visited Maidstone on 7th July to take part in the European School of Osteopathy’s Graduation Ceremony, held at the beautiful All Saints Church on the banks of the River Medway.

becoming Royal Patron of the European School of Osteopathy in April. After presenting the awards, Princess Eugenie spoke to graduates about their studies and their plans for the future. ESO Principal Charles Bruford said: “We are thrilled that Her Royal Highness was

able to take part in the ceremony. Graduation marks the culmination of four years of intensive study for our students and heralds the start of their osteopathic careers. Having the Princess here to celebrate with us has made the occasion all the more special.”

E.ON launches new Code of Practice

E.ON has announced a new set of standards for both Third Party Intermediaries (TPIs) and its own internal sales teams, aimed at giving all business customers better quality service and greater protection when agreeing energy contracts.

Using the insight gained from its involvement in creating the Independent TPI Code of Practice over the past five years, E.ON is aiming to improve standards in business energy sales to ensure customers receive an experience which enhances the reputation of the sector. Brokers signing up to E.ON’s Code of Practice can reassure customers they are using a reputable agent. All who subscribe to the Code are held to high standards and regularly monitored against a range of principles: • Customers should make their decisions based on accurate and complete information – including transparent unit rates and daily standing charges – as well as knowing the process for renewing or extending a contract and their rights when ending a contract.

• Sales teams will be assessed to make sure that sales practices are fair and products or services are appropriate to the customer. This includes making the customer aware of how much of the market was searched to obtain the offers proposed to them. • When dealing with customers, company representatives must clearly identify themselves and the company they represent. Sales teams must be monitored and appropriately trained. . • Monitoring will be carried out to determine whether energy brokers are adhering to the Code. Iain Walker, E.ON’s Director of Business Sales, said: “Our TPI Code of Practice gives customers the reassurance that with E.ON as their first choice energy provider they will receive great value for money and the support they need.”

Visualising your imagination

What we do:

What we can help with:

• 3D animation of structures and components

• Bid submissions

• Immersive video and VR tours of structures and show homes (from plans)

• Technical presentations

• Video training and VR simulation promoting health and safety • Aerial drone surveys with overlaid visualisation


• Public consultation and stakeholder engagement • Construction phasing     ï%,0VLPSOLĆFDWLRQDQGć\WKURXJKV

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Hauling Construction


Kent's leading independent provider of construction logistics

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Thinking Business August 2017  
Thinking Business August 2017  

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Business Magazine August 2017