Thinking Business Kent August 22

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Chamber Business Awards Now open for entry - See page 4


HOW CAN THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE? n Ask the Digital Expert with Sharon Bowles of The Digital Lookout p15 n The Big Interview with Malcolm Clarke at Baxall p16 n Skills - Building the future with T Levels p23 n Kent Construction Expo p24 n Helping International Trade in testing times p36

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Welcome & Contents

Helping export traders during challenging times The long queues of traffic outside ports like Folkestone and Dover have been frustrating for families and companies alike. Probably not something local businesses and communities in Kent wanted or expected to see in Summer 2022.

Welcome to the latest edition of Thinking Business. It has been an interesting summer so far with a change of leadership in Number 10 and ongoing pressures relating to inflation and supply issues.

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Chamber Business Awards 2022 Legal Update Chamber News Members News Patron News Members News Ask the Digital Expert

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On a more positive note, at least businesses are finally enjoying a summer without lockdown restrictions. After a pandemicravaged few years, companies across numerous sectors can now forward plan with greater certainty.

1016 16-17 18-21

The Big Interview Members News


Kent Construction Expo


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Cover Feature Construction

Members News

International Trade

In this issue we look at how companies might need to adapt as the rules on international trade change.

Trading in a new territory brings with it challenges as well as opportunities and we explain how the British Chambers of Commerce can play an important role. Each Chamber knows its local economy inside out and can provide the advice, training, support and encouragement needed for any firm looking to export. We also look at how Artificial Intelligence can be used to

measure the effectiveness of a building’s design. Clearly showing how a building has delivered on a number of levels not only reassures those who have been handed the keys; but also provides crucial feedback to the design and build team on efficiency and the net zero drive.

Jo James OBE, Chief Executive, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

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36 Editorial and General Enquiries Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Ashford Business Point, Waterbrook Avenue, Sevington, Ashford, Kent. TN24 0LH Chief Executive: Jo James OBE Tel: 01233 503 838 Fax: 01233 503 687 Media No. 1867 Published August 2022 © Benham Publishing


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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. © 2022. 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.

cover image courtesy of Clague

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Legal Update

The Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution By Nicola Webster, Associate Solicitor

Resolving disputes, particularly in the construction industry can be costly both in relation to time and money. Court action is one route parties may take to resolve an issue but alternative methods of dispute resolution are usually preferable for all parties. The construction industry has for a long time led the way in its adoption of alternative forms of dispute resolution to resolve disputes without recourse to the courts. Parties to a construction contract have a statutory right at any time to refer a dispute between the parties to adjudication. If a construction contract exists, then the parties to it cannot opt out of the statutory right to refer disputes to adjudication and, therefore, any other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) are either voluntary or contractually agreed between the parties. Although traditional methods of dispute resolution like adjudication and arbitration are common in the construction industry, other forms of early intervention dispute resolution are available and are set out in the Guide to Conflict Avoidance and Dispute Resolution for the Construction and Engineering Industry prepared by the Conflict Avoidance Coalition Steering Group. Early intervention techniques include, Conflict Avoidance Panels, Early Neutral Evaluation, Project Based Dispute Boards, and Evaluative Mediation.

Conflict Avoidance Panels (CAP) Parties to a contract may opt to include a clause allowing either party to refer a potential or actual disagreement to a CAP. A CAP often consists of one to three members and each will have relevant expertise. The CAP's role is to facilitate communication between the parties and make recommendations on how the issues between them could be resolved. The CAP's recommendations are not binding but the hope is that where there is likely to be a continuing relationship between the parties, the CAP’s recommendations will be followed. One key advantage of a CAP is that because they operate during the course of the contract they resolve disputes at an early stage before they are allowed to escalate. Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) ENE is a process by which an independent evaluator is appointed to give the parties to a dispute an early indication as to the likely outcome of their case if the matter were to proceed to court or arbitration – the purpose of which is to give the parties a base from which to negotiate settlement of the dispute. ENE is often particularly helpful if one party is seriously contemplating issuing court proceedings or other escalation of their dispute. Project Based Dispute Boards Dispute Boards tend to be project specific whereby the parties will generally agree

the identity of the board’s members (which is generally made up of three members although it can vary) at the outset of the construction project. Consideration will be given to identifying impartial individuals with relevant expertise. As the board is appointed at the outset, they will, therefore, be familiar with the project and have foresight of potential problems. There are different types of Dispute Boards, including Dispute Adjudication Boards, Dispute Conciliation Boards, and Dispute Review Boards (amongst others). Evaluative Mediation (EM) Unlike ordinary mediation, in EM, the mediator assesses the respective strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ cases in order to assist with facilitating an agreement to settle between them. Similarly to a standard mediation, the parties remain in control of the process meaning that they do not have to make any agreement they do not wish to make but the hope is that by receiving an objective analysis of their case, the parties will use this information to assist them in reaching a decision on settlement. If you would like to know more about ADR please visit or call and ask for Nicola Webster, a specialist lawyer in commercial dispute resolution.

For further information, please contact Nicola Webster Associate Solicitor Tel: 01233 667 340 Email:

Chamber News

How Firms Can Tackle The Rising Cost of Doing Business We’re all now familiar with the cost of living crisis - how households are struggling to keep up with bills and afford the rapidly rising cost of food, fuel and other essentials. But there’s another crisis, similar to the struggle households are going through, which is dramatically hitting businesses, and that’s the ‘cost of doing business’ crisis. Firms across the country are being confronted by rapidly rising costs of vital raw materials, fuel, wages and, of course, energy.

global delays that are being seen years later.

Many businesses simply don’t have either the spare income, or the spare savings, to manage such instant and dramatic increases.

Battered businesses now face a stark choice – whether to pass on the increases to their customers, or to try and absorb these new expenses to keep prices down.

What’s caused this? The current price inflation is one of many impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, which interrupted supply chains, clogged manufacturing, and created the


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This has been worsened by worldwide issues such as the conflict in Ukraine, and the continuing Covid-19 lockdowns in China, which have also increased prices.

A positive step for businesses In order to cope with these dramatic cost increases, firms need to get a grip on their expenditure. Unexpected bills

are the last thing they need in this current climate – and in particular energy bills are a significant worry for a lot of bosses. There’s some good news though - installing a smart meter is a positive step in taking control of business outgoings. Once installed, energy readings will be sent directly to the supplier, bringing an end to estimated bills. That means that businesses will only pay for what they use – and some energy suppliers may also offer an in-home display screen, to show exactly how much energy is being used. A handy way to bring an end to shocks at the end of the month!

Firms with 10 employees or less could be eligible for a smart meter.

To find out more please visit https://www. about-smart-meters/geta-smart-meter. You can also contact your energy supplier or broker.

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Direction Law has a strong local client base of both private individuals and businesses to whom we provide a range of services. For over 45 years our growth has been borne from our relationships with clients, peers, agents & staff alike.

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Members News

The University of Kent confirmed as research powerhouse of the region The University of Kent’s position as the leading research institution in the county has been recognised in its outstanding Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results.

School and School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research were ranked as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the UK respectively, recognising Kent’s world-leading expertise in the areas of creativity, culture and heritage, social justice, and social care and wellbeing.

The REF, led by Research England every seven years, informs where the Government allocates around £2 billion each year in funding to support research and provides a means by which anyone can compare the quality of research within higher education institutions.

Professor Shane Weller, DVC of Research, and Innovation at the University of Kent, said of the results, “The University’s outstanding results in REF 2021 demonstrate both the world-leading quality of much of our research and the significant positive impact of that research across the breadth of our portfolio, from the arts and humanities to the sciences and social sciences. Among the University’s particular strengths, it is very encouraging to see this confirmation of how our research is benefiting communities in a wide range of sectors, working closely with private, public, and third-sector organisations. We look forward to building on this achievement in various ways, particularly through further partnerships with businesses in the region and beyond.”

The University submitted 1,700 research examples showcasing our exemplary research, with seventy-eight of these demonstrating the social, cultural, and economic impact of Kent’s research beyond academia. The majority of our examples were rated as being world leading or internationally excellent. The University has risen eleven places to 38th in the Times Higher Education’s (THE) ranking for overall research quality in the REF. The School of History, Kent Law

Overall, the results reflect the strong and diverse portfolio of cutting-edge research across the arts and humanities, sciences, and social sciences at Kent, which advances knowledge and drives innovation locally, nationally, and internationally. When combined with the networks, funding, and student talent that the University has to offer, it forms a backbone of support to help businesses innovate and grow. Contact the University’s Business and Innovation Gateway team at businessrelationships@kent. or visit their website at to find out how their highly acclaimed research and expertise can drive business and economic growth.

Using his knowledge of sales and marketing Paul will grow the various arms of DemonSkinz (design, printing, cut and fit) into a company that will continue to support local businesses in Crowborough, East Sussex, and Kent, allowing him to follow his other passion within the CSR (corporate social responsibility) arena. From small individual die-cut stickers to large printed and cut graphics for vehicles, premises, and shop windows DemonSkinz

Kenward thrilled to be back on Chamber map again

Kenward Place, in Yalding Kent, offers visiting companies 15 acres of beautiful and tranquil countryside. The venue can hold conferences, be used for awaydays and team building - including alpaca trekking, archery and an ever popular 18hole disc or ‘frisbee’ golf course. But where Kenward really excels is as a home for recovery, ultimately the charitable Kenward Trust saves lives. We offer residential rehabilitation for those with alcohol and drug addiction issues, as well as supporting family and friends of those affected by addiction. We are proud to have an 86% recovery success rate. As a charity we rely wholly on funding and fundraising. The activities and offering we provide at Kenward Place directly supports our charity work.

Jo James, Chief Executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce

A new addition to the Kent business community DemonSkinz based in Crowborough and has been serving the Kent market since 2010 and is a new addition to the Kent business community. DemonSkinz is owned and run by local man Paul Marden who has been in the marketing industry for over 35 years and who, alongside the DSZ team, designs and supplies printed and cut vinyl branded products to businesses helping them stand out from the crowd.

applauded the successful results. “The Chamber has a long-standing relationship with the University of Kent and have seen first-hand the fantastic work the University does to ensure that their research makes an impact, especially within the local business community. We are delighted to see this recognised formally and look forward to continuing our work with them, as Patrons of the Chamber, to meet the region’s needs.

offer a comprehensive range of products and services to satisfy all promotional and display requirements. Whether you require promotional and display materials for a one-off exhibition or sale, a major brand overhaul, internal and external displays for a retail outlet, advertising materials or even just promotional stickers, DemonSkinz can improve the visual impact of your business and the all-important image that it portrays. Paul is thrilled to be part of the Kent Invicta Chamber. If you have any questions about the range of DemonSkinz products visit

Meet R. R has a long history of drinking. He started drinking socially as a teenager but then alcohol became a big part of his life. Whilst R has been at Kenward Trust, he has focused on his recovery well and been selfmotivated to remain sober. He has also learned a lot about himself and the person he wants to be. “I would highly recommend Kenward. You’ve got addicts here who understand each other, and that is a big thing. You have to put the work in, which I’m quite proud to say I’m doing. If people can get here, I would 100% encourage it.” Kenward Place is the subsidiary of Kenward Trust, we hope and look forward to members and the Chamber making use of our facilities whilst supporting our charitable work here in Kent. For more information on Kenward Trust

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Kent Business Leaders Dinner Patron News

Held at The Pumproom@Copper Rivet Distillery in Medway The latest Kent Business Leaders Dinner, staged in association with the Kent Invicta Chamber Patrons, was held at The Pumproom, part of the Copper Rivet Distillery at the old Chatham Dockyard. The distillery was built in 1873 as a pumphouse, to pump water into and out of the dry docks as ships were mended or built. Having opened a very successful spirits distillery in part of the building in 2016, the Russell family, Bob and sons Matthew and Stephen opened The Pumproom as a fine dining restaurant in the remaining part of the structure in April 2021. Over fifty guests were welcomed by Kent Invicta Chamber Chief Executive, Jo James and Copper Rivet Founder Bob Russell. Prior to dinner, guests were treated to a brief tour of the distillery and drinks on the restaurant’s riverside terrace. Before dinner Richard Hicks, Director of Place and Deputy Chief Executive at Medway Council, gave an animated and passionate presentation on why Medway is a great place to live, to work, to learn and to visit. Guests then enjoyed a truly delicious meal created from local produce accompanied by wines from Westwell and Biddenden vineyards and Chapel Down beers.

Thinking Business Business 10 Thinking

Guests enjoying a brief tour of Copper Rivet Distillery

Patron News

Speaker Richard Hicks, Medway Council

Jo James, CEO, hosting her table

Richard Lavender, President of Kent Invicta Chamber

Guests networking on the Terrace by the River Medway

Jo James, CEO of Kent Invicta Chamber, touring the distillery Patrons Andrew Osborne. Ashford Borough Council and Ventsi Tsankova, MHA MacIntyre Hudson in conversation with Tom Cole, XT Biomed

Bob Russell, our host at The Pumproom

Graham Mitchell (left) from Patron Caxtons Property Consultants hosting his table of guests

Lee May, Mei Ling McNab and Sarah Mannooch from Patron Brachers

Liz Gibney (left) from Patron Lee Evans Partnership hosting her table of guests

Supporting colleges, training providers and employers to design and develop qualifications based on employers’ skills needs. Tel: 01206 911211 Charity Registration No. 1114282 Registered in England Company No. 5502449

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Plans unveiled for a community project on derelict land in Ashford •

Key 1 Bed 2 Bed 3 Bed

Site access - There are a number of access routes onto the site, but vehicular access is potentially limited:

Community Sheds

Parking Parking

open green community park

Affordable residential homes

35 affordable homes, as a mixture of both houses and flats.

commercial and workshop units


Ashford Borough Council has launched a public consultation into ambitious plans to develop derelict land at the rear of Eastmead Avenue which often attracts flytipping and anti-social behaviour. The council is proposing to create a multi-purpose site which will include a community project aimed at combating isolation in older people, a brand new parkland area, additional parking, a small number of commercial units for start-up businesses, and 35 affordable homes comprising of a mix of houses, flats and town houses. The housing will be the enabler for the other proposed improvements on the site, which is a derelict patch of land that is currently overgrown and drab and has become an area used for fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour. It is no longer allotment land, having been declassified by the Government for the purpose of potential development some time ago. It is currently divided in two – there is land that was previously used for allotments to the west of the site, and to the east there is hard standing which was previously used by the Coneybeare Engineering Company. The site has the potential to provide better green space, much-needed affordable homes and community facilities. It is also well placed to make use of the cycle lanes into town. The Council is planning to develop the site into distinct but linked areas: •

A park and enhanced green space.

A community area for the Community Sheds Project, also referred to as ‘Shedders’ and ‘Men in Sheds’. This project aims to tackle isolation and loneliness in older people, providing them a space to connect, converse and create.

A commercial area, with sensitively-clad shipping containers offering a place for small business start-ups to trade.

Cllr Andrew Buchanan, portfolio holder for Housing, said: “There are currently around 1,500 people on our waiting list for affordable housing. Like every other authority in the UK, we must do our bit to try and alleviate the housing issues that we face and we are committed to delivering as much affordable housing as possible. “These are very exciting and bold plans that will transform this derelict area of land and I would urge local residents to have their say and help us to shape the final proposals.” 3-stage public consultation

The Council’s housing services team is undertaking three consultations in relation to the site, to best capture the views and thoughts of the community. The current consultation represents our initial stage one consultation where we share the site vision and explain the kinds of things we have considered thus far. It also includes a view from the Council’s Planning department as part of the pre-application process that we have engaged with. The first stage runs until 22 July. Stage two will be presenting a revised plan based on the feedback we gather from the public during stage one, and stage three will be the formal consultation as part of the planning application process. We will make the consultations as accessible as possible to all and hope to include a face-to-face event as part of the second stage of the consultation. What do you think?

Your views will help us to determine how we proceed. What do you think of the number of homes? What do you think about the parking? What do you think about the proposed commercial use? We would really welcome your feedback on the initial vision we have for the site. Printed copies of a consultation questionnaire have been delivered to surrounding homes and they can be returned by post or the public can visit our consultation portal at and respond online. If you leave your details any questions you raise can be answered.


• We believe that partne

Branding agency Oak most powerful way to Creative explains why brand isKent to • Weyour champion more important than local economies ever before

• We value people and h network of clients and

Is there a right time to rebrand?

The words “rebranding exercise” are often followed by a series of groans and eyeball rolls. However, if a business is going through a big transition, it can be the perfect opportunity to consider the brand as a whole.

• We deliver creative kno brand building expertis

A rebrand can generate a refreshing energy and stability for stakeholders, offering a chance for reflection and to consider the way in which you communicate with the rest of the world.

For construction businesses, honing your brand identity is more important than ever. The world is a different place to what it was a few years ago, with the spotlight shining on renewables and wellbeing. When you add in other factors such as marketplace competitiveness, supply chain issues, rising costs and employment challenges your brand is the only thing setting you apart. So why should customers choose you? Does your brand represent what you stand for? Does it communicate the values you bring to your customers? If not, then you’re missing a trick.

Marketing & Advertising

Rebranding presents an opportunity to listen. To listen to your employees and how they feel about the business, and what they would like improved - about what they like and dislike about the current brand and culture. It presents the perfect opportunity to inform customers about new business operations and set up; what it means for them and how it will benefit them. A brand isn’t just about your identity. It represents your mission, vision, values and plays a huge part in building a company culture from the ground up. Brand values and vision can be redefined during the rebranding process, ensuring business culture is exactly where you (and everyone else) wants it to be.

Illustration & Animation

Once finalised, your brand needs to be communicated clearly across every touch point. From van graphics to your company brochure. From your website’s homepage to the tone of your tweets. Your brand is the part of your business that makes you stand out, so building it should sit in the centre of your business plan for the year ahead. Visit Oak Creative at Kent Construction Expo, Stand 345.

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Members News

Help us keep Kent’s taps flowing this summer As temperatures climb, so does demand for water.

With the continued hot weather across the South East, combined with very little rainfall, demand for water in Kent is exceptionally high. Our daily water demand graph highlights the millions of additional litres of water we are treating, pumping and supplying each day. We have asked our domestic customers to be more mindful of their water use during this recent hot spell and now we are asking businesses across Kent to do the same. The main thing you could do to help is to try and reduce your water use by 10% over the next ten days, especially during our daily peaks of 7.30 to 10 both morning and evening. Small changes make a big difference, for example: • Check for leaks on toilets, taps and urinals. Even a small constant dribble can waste up to 400 litres a day. • Educate your employees on being more water efficient – from turning off taps to using the small flush, there’s actions we can all take to save water • Delay any non-critical water use until the temperatures start to fall • Order some water-saving freebies Taking these simple steps will help us keep taps flowing this summer – for you, and the rest of our 2.3 million customers across South East England. For more top water saving tips, visit our business website. And don’t forget to keep an eye on our website for daily updates waterlatest

14 Thinking Business

World Class Systems for Charities at an affordable price! Over many years working in the IT Consultancy field we became aware that charities and non-profits need world class systems but cannot afford the rates charged by most Consultancies. This is true for charities of all sizes, but particularly so for small and growing organisations.

We decided to break the mould and start a new type of consultancy business that caters exclusively for charities, provides world class systems, but charges affordable rates. NGO Business Services was born from this simple idea, and

we have been serving charities and non-profits for eight years. Over this time, we have worked with organisations in the UK and around the world, from Brazil to Kazakhstan, the USA to Jordan. We have worked with some of the largest non-profit organisations in the world, such as the Red Cross and the United Nations, to the smallest UK charities run by a handful of volunteers and staff.

assist with data management, system migrations, fixing implementations that went off the rails, grants management, Website fundraising and any number of similar tasks.

Our projects range from providing simple customer relationship management systems through to setting up online portals for thousands of grant recipients. We advise and

Your passion is what your charity does, our passion is to help you do that better.

Why do website or social media images need ALT text? Companies spend thousands of pounds marketing their products or services and pay special attention to ensure that their messages are tailored to their audience. But are these messages accessible to everyone? Technology is opening up more opportunities for people with a visual impairment to engage with companies. With computers or phones that read out text or magnify it, it’s easy for people to shop or search online.

However, people with a visual impairment often get frustrated with websites or social media posts because the company relies solely on the image to showcase the product or service. With little or no descriptions for the images used, people just simply cannot engage with your company. ALT (Alternative) text explains what appears on the image. Using ALT text allows web images to be ‘searchable’ and can increase search engine optimisation.

We are particularly proud that all our clients have come to us through word-of-mouth and that we have a strong, long-term relationship with these clients. Images with no ALT text will rely on a person’s screen reader to read aloud the filename of the image – which often won’t make sense to the person at all! So please remember to use ALT text on images on your website and on social media. And if you’re unable to add an ALT text to social media, then write the image description in the post itself. Tip: You don’t need to explain every single detail of the picture. Pick a few key details that give the person a mental picture of what is seen on the image. Hashtags can also cause issues for people who use screen readers. Our hashtag #loveyoureyes will be read as one word and may not make sense to someone. Use initial capitals instead like this #LoveYourEyes. Kent Association for the Blind can audit your website, using a range of different devices to check how accessible it is. Drop us an email at to see how we can help.

Ask the Digital Expert

WHAT MAKES CONSTRUCTION MARKETING DIFFERENT? AND WHO THE HELL ARE WE TO TELL YOU HOW TO DO IT? By Sharon Bowles Ask any marketing agency in Kent if they work with construction clients and 9 out of 10 will say yes. Of course they do! Construction is Kent’s biggest industry, and every business needs marketing. But do they ‘get’ construction? Construction is complex and ever changing. It can’t just be put in a box alongside other industries. It’s in a league of its own. Keeping up to date with the construction industry’s developments and changes is a fulltime job. It’s no wonder then, when you think of all that the industry has to deal with: skills shortages, material costs and new building regs to name a few, that proper marketing often falls by the wayside. All too often, the task of marketing falls to someone in the office to ‘get some socials out’, ‘get a brochure made’ or ‘build a new website’. Don’t get me wrong, an online presence and something to hand out is all well and good, but proper marketing, that brings you leads and a quantifiable return on investment takes input from someone who doesn’t just know your business, but knows the construction industry, and knows marketing.

The breadth of the industry is huge. For starters, no other industry has as much attention from government and regulating bodies, so awareness of these is vital. Then there are the multiple disciplines across the construction process, from town planners to product manufacturers, that each have vastly different objectives and routes to market, not to mention target audiences. On top of this, they each have a language of their own. So, yes, we’re all in construction, but there are acronyms that apply to each sector, as well as across the industry and that is why not every agency ‘gets’ construction. What about the ‘sales process’? This differs for every discipline too. The tender process, the specification process, the long tail buying process, all of these elements mean the product or service you’re looking to promote has multiple targets, multiple messages and multiple channels to distribute to. What other industry has over 400 different digital publications and news websites to serve it? And make no mistake, digital is the way forwards. Traditional forms of marketing and advertising will always have their place, but we can’t ignore the power of digital, especially since the pandemic hit. People’s habits have changed over the years as well as technology having

continued to develop. Digital not only provides a wide range of platforms for your marketing, it also provides a source of invaluable information about your targets and allows you to track them and ensure that the messages you put out there are having the desired effect. Our focus as a digital marketing agency is on research and reporting using all the tools available to us, to prove what proper marketing can do. Hold up. Who are we to advise you? In case you hadn’t realised, we’re experts in construction marketing. We have clients across every discipline. And as part of our day-to-day, we’re constantly researching what’s going on in the industry, as well as being involved in various bodies and groups that support and develop the industry. We also carry out in depth research to facilitate our content creation service for clients, including the most technical of requirements, from whitepaper writing to submitting applications for sustainability accreditations. So yes, we’re a full-service marketing agency but we’re unlike so many others. The difference being, we ‘get’ construction and know how to increase your profits through marketing that actually moves the needle.


The Big Interview

Evidence-based approach to building performance As a company Baxall has spent a lot of time and effort to understand precisely what its impact is on the environment. Areas of focus have included transport, vehicle emissions and on-site operations. This has now developed into both embodied carbon and carbon in use. 16 Thinking Business

Malcolm Clarke, MD Baxall

The Big Interview

Our view is that the design and build contractor should be there to help the occupier and ensure they are using the building effectively and efficiently. Ideally, we won’t take on a project unless we are involved at the earliest stage and are able to still play a role once the building has been handed to the end user Malcolm stresses it is just as important to ensure the buildings that it constructs are carbon zero in operation and we reduce embedded carbon in the design. He believes progress is being made but also warns that there are still issues within the industry in relation to waste and inefficient design in construction. Too often, he explains, a property is built but there is little or no follow up from the contractor and hence no feedback from the user on how the building and the people that use it are performing.

Delivering what the client needs

“Our view is that the design and build contractor should be there to help the occupier and ensure they are using the building effectively and efficiently. The ‘soft landings initiative’ has part way addressed this but there is more to be done. Ideally, we won’t take on a project unless we are involved at the earliest stage and are able to still play a role once the building has been handed to the end user. We are then able to offer continuous support and receive essential feedback, including performance data so we can continuously improve both design and construction”.

collective responsibility rather than pushing the risk to the lowest common denominator who are invariably ill equipped to deal with.

process, materials and design, Baxall can then provide clients with evidence that the building and people in it are performing to their optimum.

He believes the onus should be on those that have constructed a building to measure how well it performs. “We need to collect data, not just on the performance of the building, but the performance, health and wellbeing of those living or working within it”

For the retrofit market, Baxall is able to offer consultancy services using its ‘smart monitoring’ to evaluate buildings and use the data to offer evidence-based solutions to address existing problems.

As a company we’ve spent a lot of time and effort to understand precisely what our impact is on the environment. Areas of focus have included transport, vehicle emissions and on-site operations. This has now developed into both embodied carbon and carbon in use. Last year Baxall successfully secured government funding for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Project. Working alongside academics from the University of Kent, Baxall are developing an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-framework using data related to the construction process, and ‘smart monitoring’ sensors to assess the operation of buildings alongside occupancy performance data.

Baxall have a number of clients that they are now partnering with to provide a whole life solution to their built environment.

Ultimately, it will assess the performance of the people within a particular building. Taking for example, a school: has pupil absenteeism decreased, have exam results improved and have staff retention levels increased?

The key point, Malcolm explains, is that the industry needs to take

By helping to make intelligent decisions on the construction

This knowledge all links back into understanding the industry’s impact on the environment and how it can use rich data to continuously improve and refine the brief, while driving the zero-carbon agenda.

The next generation

Using AI to measure building performance and efficiency is just one way Baxall is able to evolve and improve as a company. Another major commitment is Baxall’s continued focus on education, specifically its Academy. Set up in 2016, the Baxall Academy provides an opportunity for all through apprenticeships, a management training scheme and ongoing continuing professional development. Baxall works with apprentice organisations, local colleges and its supply chain partners to deliver an annual commitment of learning opportunities across all trades. In addition, its new management trainees are sponsored to study part-time while undertaking a programme of eight -week

departmental work experience, personal mentoring and regular reviews. Malcolm appreciates that recruitment into construction remains a significant challenge but is optimistic that over time this will change and diversification will improve across the industry. “There is a wealth of talent out there that has not been directed towards us. Have students at school been told that construction is even an option? Thinking outside the box and realising the broad range of skill sets required in the sector, is an important starting point. As Malcolm explains, one graduate who joined Baxall recently initially wanted to be a site manager but it became evident to her and the company that she was better suited to design management. A major positive is that the calibre of people coming through and beginning their career in the industry are of a high standard and this bodes well for a sector that continues to innovate and improve. “Our successors need to be top rate to take us forward. I genuinely think the sector is an exciting place to be right now and there are so many great career opportunities,” Malcolm enthuses. “We took someone on recently who studied Waste in construction and net zero – and got a first-class degree. How great an asset is that for our business?”

Thinking Business


Members News

The Abbott Family and Workforce Celebrate 75 years! Steve Abbott started the Canterbury based contracting firm in 1947, his son Tony succeeded him and now Tony’s son Paul is at the helm, steering what has consistently been a steady ship.

75 years in construction is a milestone not many can boast. The Abbott Construction team have successfully weathered recessions, navigated constantly changing regulations, embraced new technology and survived the pandemic. Their values which are focused on strong client and sub-contractor relationships, delivering value and exceptional quality, are what continue to ensure they retain clients year after year,

as well as attracting new clients who benefit from their experience and passion to go the extra mile.

Supporting our local industry, Abbott’s have been involved in many development and redevelopment projects within Kent over their 75 years. One example being their first ever commercial project back in 1952 demolishing war damaged cottages, and then constructing Hallets Service Station on St Dunstan’s Road in the centre of Canterbury. 60 years later, the site was then redeveloped, again by Abbott’s; demolition and rebuild then provided the town with new student accommodation and a Sainsbury’s Local store. Commitment to their clients has seen them work outside of Kent in more recent years.

In 2009 the successful handover of a new rehoming centre for The Dog’s Trust in Canterbury, led the client to appoint Abbott to deliver three further centres, including one in Essex and one in Berkshire, without entering into a tender process, such was their confidence in the Abbott’s team. Abbott’s focus remains in Kent however, where their approach is respected by some of Kent’s biggest clients in residential development and education. With project sizes ranging from £1-5M, in 2022 they’re currently working on a number of new school developments in the county and a large residential development in Canterbury, spanning five years.

All under one roof

Lock Roofing Contractors Ltd carries out all disciplines in house, covering areas within Kent, Surrey, East Sussex, Essex & London. Our expanding Client Base leads to a variety of projects from Commercial, Heritage and Domestic taking on Slating, Tiling, Leadwork, Felting, Single Ply and Liquid Waterproof Systems. With our first-class workmanship and offering the best quality materials sourced by our subsidiary company, Discount Roofing Merchants Ltd, we can undertake all types of roofing contracts at a competitive price to an exceptional standard resulting in a proven record of customer satisfaction and repeat business. We pride ourselves on delivering a first-class service at every stage of the project. The team has over 20 Years of experience, tackling any issue encountered with confidence. Our Management Team have also been in the industry for several years overseeing small Commercial/ Domestic projects to large Commercial / Housing Developments for various Main Contractors. We are looking to strike up long standing working relationships with several contractors and businesses to add to our already growing portfolio.

Working WITH YOU, not just FOR YOU Tel: 01233 630000

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18 Thinking Business

Business development advice Inheritance tax advice

Succession planning Payroll 07/06/2022 15:08:29

Members News

Xmas illumination trail event looking for stallholders It may still be summer, but winter plans are being made by Glow Arts, for their Illumination Trail. After a successful first year, the illumination trail will be back at Cobtree Manor, Maidstone, with a new theme of ‘Nature After Dark’. And they’re looking for vendors and stallholders to sell their products to the Christmas guests in the new Market Street. Last year, the event sold out, with around 26,000 people visiting –

numbers were restricted due to Covid. But this year, more are expected each day and the event will run from December 1 – 31; a week longer than last year.

Sponsors who want to get their businesses in front of the expected 45,000 audience are also invited to get in touch to discuss tailored opportunities. The woodland will be turned into a nocturnal landscape, coming alive with a kaleidoscope of colour, art installations will light the way

and guests can enjoy an evening under the stars with friends, family or colleagues. New for this year is the welcoming of dogs, so that people can enjoy the evening with the whole family. Also returning, is the sensory nights – sessions to suit people who need a quieter experience; music is turned down, the lights are dimmer and there are less people.

There will also be a Santa’s Grotto, walkabout performers and a delicious food village to create a wonderful night out. Stallholders will have a huge audience to sell to and with Christmas just around the corner, will be looking for gifts. If you’d like to find out more about having a stall in Market Street, contact Lisa Carpendale:

Raise your glass to Chuko Chuko beer – an IPA with spice Chuko Chuko is essentially the same as saying Cheers, Skal, cin cin, santé or salute. And this is the name given to a distinctive spicy Indian pale ale recently created during the lockdown by master chef Paul Babra and brewed in Kent. Babra’s IPA beer is infused with spices such as cardamom, fennel and chilli and was reviewed by University of Kent MBA students. Paul was thrilled with the response to his beer which he proudly admits is very different.

Paul insists that drinking tastes keep changing and there is always room for a new beer that offers something special.

He sees a bright future for Chuko Chuko, attracting new customers with his spicy brew and forging fresh business opportunities in new markets. “My beer is about understanding the art of brewing and crafting a truly unique taste. It has taken a lot of hard work and a great deal of skill – but the aromatic and spicy results are remarkable.

“I have tried to capture new tastes both locally and around the world and produce something that is incredibly enjoyable to drink.” I’ll be brewing in Belgium then in Australia for the wider audience. The beer’s founder urges those who have the chance to drink this great IPA to do so. As they say in Punjabi, Chuko Chuko!

Jean de Bethune, vice governor Provincial Government of West Flanders, Kristien Vandamme, Business Advisor and Moustapha Assahraoui Head of Trade Belgium Embassy in London

Internet access is the fourth utility Over the past couple of years fast and reliable internet access has become a necessity, not a luxury at home and at work. Internet access is the fourth utility, and many would not be able to live without an internet connection. This became especially apparent through Covid-19 lockdowns when children were home-schooled, and parents worked from home. Throughout rural Kent where the old copper telephone lines were not up to the job and fibre is not and will not be available for years. It was apparent that another solution was needed that could deliver now, not in years.

At Broadband for rural Kent Ltd, we have delivered a few different solutions to provide superfast internet access faster than other companies. There are three key technologies we use, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), High-Gain LTE and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). Two of these are slow to deploy, require significant investment and only cover small areas. But one is a game changer; our High-Gain LTE solution does not rely on building a new network, we leverage the mobile phone networks to provide superfast internet access. We do this by installing a highgain dish antenna that is capable of connecting to the mobile network even where there would normally be no signal on a mobile phone. Thinking Business


Members News

How a family packaging business in Aylesford are driving sustainability forward in Kent

Priory Direct is the online division of a family business established in 1989 now successfully based in New Hythe near Aylesford. With 21,000 customers and a mission to minimise the impact of moving goods on the planet they are making a big difference to the footprint of e-commerce and supply chains on the environment. was launched in 2010 to address the needs of the fast-growing e-commerce market, Priory always had sustainability as a core value, so this new venture represented an exciting opportunity to create a truly triple bottom line business with sustainability and contribution to society at its core. Along its journey, Priory Direct has helped remove over 280,000km of bubble wrap from the supply chain, sold over two million paper mailing bags as poly mailer alternatives, and helped over six thousand retailers eliminate single use plastics and reduce their carbon footprint through better material choice, process design, and packaging optimisation. In addition to helping businesses solve their packaging challenges and minimise environmental impact Priory have taken some great measures to contribute back to the planet and society. Charity partnerships with 1% for the Planet, Cancer Research UK, Save The Children, and the Heart of Kent Hospice have generated over £30,000 in the last 12 months. Through Conservation Circle Membership of the Rainforest Trust Priory Direct have protected over 4.7 million square metres of rainforest. Priory Direct’s team have completed 20 days of active volunteering in community and environmental projects in the last 12 months and aim to complete 90 days in the year ahead. Priory have been Chamber members for 3 years now but have not been actively involved, they want to champion sustainability in Kent by supporting more local businesses with their packaging needs, sharing their story and ideas on how to be triple bottom line and reduce environmental impact, and by speaking with more Chamber members - so please visit and look out for them at upcoming events.

Middle Management – The key to business growth There comes a time when we need change in our lives – for instance, it could be moving to a larger property or even planning a holiday of a lifetime.

When we reach this turning point, we make provisions and sacrifices to enable it to happen and finally we commit to it. By planning ahead, we are able to progress. Yet in business, companies often struggle with this idea. They tend to just carry on juggling all the various elements and steadily lose the ability to look at growth (or progress) at all.

Finding key personnel who can take over elements of the dayto-day running of the business comes with its challenges. Employment costs are not cheap. The time and money taken to get someone up to speed is significant and let’s be honest, it doesn’t always work out and you’re back to square one again.

Greg appointed main board director at Inkerman Group

He has already brought significant operational and management experience to Inkerman Group activities to date, particularly in regard to the company’s ongoing global expansion. Greig has been instrumental in establishing key operational activities and services to Inkerman’s clients throughout the world.

The Inkerman Group has appointed Will Greig as an Executive Director. Greig has joined the main board, having worked with the company as Group Operations Director for the last two and a half years.

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Growth and strategy are crucial for future proofing the business, and if there isn’t a sound structure in place with the right pipelines, processes, policies, strategy and implementation, there is a very real threat of stagnation- or worse.

His team delivers key services such as corporate intelligence, crisis management, cyber response and emergency evacuations and repatriations. They provide 24/7 support and response to Internationally based clients, including most recently in Ukraine.

So why not outsource the function? Fortress provide the middle management function into your business on a fixed hourly rate, allowing you, the business owner to focus on the larger issues. With affordable rates, flexible rolling contracts and the agility to respond quickly to your requirements, Fortress can provide the crucial element lacking in your business. So why not commit to change this year? Commenting on his appointment, Greig explains “I am extremely pleased to be invited to join the Board at this time - it is an exciting opportunity, in particularly challenging times for our clients. “The Inkerman Group continues to spread its influence and continues to grow and develop its client base and specialist products and services globally”. Gerald Moor, CEO at Inkerman insisted Greig skills are exactly what the Inkerman Board needs to take business to a new high. “His knowledge of AI and cyber coupled with his exposure to hostile environments will give clients an added leverage on their competitors. “He has witnessed and been instrumental in the company’s step change which started during the last two to three years.” Moor added: “Will brings a unique level of knowledge and experience, particularly in handling risk management issues for clients and operational service delivery.”

Members News

Quest – the ultimate app to get you out and about exploring

The summer holidays are long – and if you’re looking for something fun and free to do with the kids, Quest might be the answer.

• Charles Dickens Rochester • Faversham town • Oare Gunpowder Works – Faversham • Eastling Village • Whitstable coastal • Folkestone harbour • Barham village • Fort Amherst, Chatham.

It’s a free adventure app that’s been designed by Canterbury digital creative agency Red Bullet to get outdoors, together and active.

Whether you want coast, country or town, there is a Quest for you.

Locate checkpoints, collect clues, solve puzzles and find your way to the end. Just choose a Quest, download the app, enter your activation code and away you go; with the kids, on your own, with family or friends. It's for all ages and abilities and can be enjoyed walking, running or cycling. You can also stop and start, so if you don’t finish it, you can come back another day. So far, there are a number of Quests to choose from in Kent: • Curious Canterbury • Canterbury heritage

You can also licence your own Quest – Red Bullet currently partners with Park Holidays, UEA, and Medway Council, offering bespoke Quests to their guests. Creative Director Gareth Payne, said: “The app has been particularly popular with families and with summer still here and the autumn weather fairly good, it’s a great time to use it. “We are passionate that the great outdoors should be free to explore and any activity that enhances the experience for people should also be free, so we don’t charge – we just want people to get out and explore places while having fun too.” For more information, go to

How much are you worth to How business? much are your you worth to By Peter Colechin at Advanta Wealth your business?


Sadly, history is full of stories By Peter Colechin of business leaders at successful Advanta Wealth who have died and whilst everyone’s immediate thoughts are forhistory the welfare their Sadly, isisfull Sadly, history fullofofstories storiesof family, the business business they ran successful leaders who of successful business leaders finds itselfand with a leadership have died whilst everyone’s who have died and whilst immediate thoughts arethoughts for vacuum and a financial everyone’s immediate the of their family, challenge. financial are welfare for the This welfare of theirthe business they ran finds itself challenge impacts everyone family, the business they ran with athe leadership vacuum and a from remaining directors, finds itself with a leadership financial challenge. This financial employees, vacuum andinvestors, a financiallenders, challenge impacts everyone trade creditors and debtors. challenge. This financial from the remaining directors, challenge impacts everyone So, what steps can a business employees, investors, lenders, fromto the remaining directors, take protect itself? trade creditors and debtors. employees, investors, lenders, trade creditors and debtors.take So, what steps can a business Loan Protection – this is protection for the bank to protect itself? So, what steps can a business that any business loans will take to protect itself? be repaid in the event of the Loan Protection death one of the Protection –Loan this isof protection fordirectors. the bank that Whilst the bank can insist on the – this is protection for bank any business loans will bethe repaid in insurance they the ofcover, the death ofcannot one thatevent any business loans will of the insist which company directors. Whilst bankof can be repaid in insurance thethe event theinsist or adviser arranges for cannot you. on the of insurance they death one of cover, thethis directors. insist which insurance company or Whilst the bank can insist on Keyperson Protection the adviser arranges this for cannot you. insurance cover, they – usually a requirement by an insist which insurance investor in the businesscompany or by Keyperson Protection or adviser arranges for you. the business itself tothis ensure –Keyperson usually a survival requirement an corporate in thebyevent Protection investor business by of losinginsomeone whooris key – usually athe requirement by an thethe business itself to to success theensure company. investor in the of business or by corporate this survival in the event Typically, would the the business itself tobe ensure of losing who is key CEO, MD,someone or Sales Director corporate survival in the event to the the company. but wesuccess are nowofoften seeing of losing someone who is key Typically, this would beand the IT CEO, the CFO, Compliance to the success of the company. MD, or Sales Director but we directors asbe well Typically, included this would theas the are now often seeing the employee who wrote theCFO, code CEO, MD, or Sales Director Compliance and IT directors for business operating or IT butawe are now often seeing includedGenerally, as well as the employee system. this and insurance the CFO, Compliance IT who wrote the code for a to be cover would be expected directors included as well as the business operating ortime, IT system. for a short period of say up employee who wrote the code Generally, this insurance cover to five years. for a business operating or IT would be expectedvalue to beon fora a Putting specific system.aGenerally, this insurance short period of time, say up to five director or employee requires cover would be expected to bea years. Putting a and specific value on mix of science art and will for a short period of time, say up a director or employee requires usually include a combination of to five years. a mix of -science and art and will factors: Putting a specific value on a usually include a combination of director or employee requires a factors: mix of science and art and will usually include a combination of factors: - Wealth Advanta 130 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9SA Advanta Wealth 130 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9SA


• Contribution to turnover • An assessment of a multiple of profits impact • Market contacts and industry Contribution to to turnover turnover •• reputation Contribution • An Anassessment assessment of of aa multiple multiple •• Cost of replacement i.e., ofprofits profitsimpact impact of head-hunter fees, joining Market contacts and industry •• bonus Market contacts industry and equityand participation reputation reputation Shareholder Protection Costofofreplacement replacement i.e., •• Cost i.e., – established tofees, enable the head-hunter joining head-hunter fees, joining bonus or anditsequity participation company directors to bonus and equity participation purchase the shares held by a deceased director shareholder. Shareholder Protection Shareholder Protection Shares normally pass tothe a –– established toenable enable the established to surviving membertoin companyfamily company or its its directors directors to a Will so unless the company purchase the held purchase the shares shares heldbybya a doesn’t want control over who deceased director shareholder. deceased director shareholder. the inheritor sells thetoshares Shares normally pass Shares normally pass toa asurviving family member a Will soin unless to, a competitor perhaps, then surviving familyinmember a the company doesn’t want agreements need be in control place Will so unless the to company over who the control inheritor sells alongside insurance tothe doesn’t want over who shares to, a competitor perhaps, protect the business. the inheritor sells the shares then agreements need to be in to, a competitorProtection perhaps, then Partnership place alongside the insurance to agreements need to be in place –protect for partnerships, the business.many of the alongside the insurance to but same keyperson issues exist protecttothe business. added this, is the requirement Partnership Protection to repay partnership capital on Partnership Protection – for partnerships, many of the death. –same for partnerships, many ofbut the keyperson issues exist same issues exist butto addedkeyperson to this, is the requirement Common mistakes to avoid added to-this, is the requirement repay partnership capital on death. include: to repay partnership capital on •Common Incorrectmistakes tax treatment to avoid death. resulting include: - in policy proceeds Common mistakes avoid being treated as atotrading include: - tax treatment resulting • receipt. Incorrect •• Insurance for treatment a purpose in policy proceeds being treated Incorrect tax as allowed a trading receipt. not under the resulting in policy proceeds Memorandum & aArticles being treated as trading • ofInsurance for asuch purpose not Association as the receipt. allowed under the Memorandum company not having legal • Insurance for a purpose & Articles Association powers to of purchase the such not allowed under as the company notthe having shareholding. Memorandum Articles the legal powers to&purchase of Association such as the If you would like to discuss shareholding. company legal how we can not helphaving you protect powers to purchase the If you would like to discuss your business, please call us on shareholding. how we can help you protect 020 3668 7480 please call us on Ifyour youbusiness, would like to discuss 020 3668 7480 how we can help you protect your business, please call us on 020 3668 7480

WORK WITH US TO BUILD THE FUTURE As an employer, you could develop the next generation of talented professionals in your industry! With an aging workforce, it’s never been more important for construction companies to consider where they’ll get their next crop of employees from. Some of Kent’s top construction firms are already working to develop a pipeline of skilled tradespeople to ensure they can continue to grow and flourish. In partnership with EKC Group’s family of Colleges, employers can take advantage of a range of ways to ensure they have the skilled staff of the future.

You can help young people through: ● Apprenticeships ● T Level work experience ● Site visits ● Class talks

Here’s what our employers say…

We have really enjoyed hosting students for work experience, it is great to see young people showing enthusiasm to join the construction industry. All the students have been polite, well mannered, and respectful of the site rules.

It was an absolute pleasure having them visit our site. I was very impressed with how engaged the students were and really enjoyed their enthusiasm. I hope they all do well in their careers.

Angela Gardiner, HR Advisor, WW Martin Ltd

Get involved today by searching

Graham Rumsey, Project Manager, Wates Group

Building the future WITH T LEVELS


How Britain’s latest qualification can boost your business Combining work experience with specialist study, the new T Level qualification is already proving successful in crafting the next era in construction.

in jobs like town planning, civil engineering, or building control. On top of the core units taught in Folkestone College’s course, students will also be trained in project management, budgeting, procurement, and risk management.

At EKC Group – which has Colleges in Ashford, Broadstairs, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Sheppey – students are seeing benefits already from the courses designed by industry leaders to create graduates who are immediately well-equipped to enter the workplace.

Instead of specialising in a certain trade, learners focus on Surveying and Design for Construction and the Built Environment.

With 20% of each two-year programme consisting of work experience, equating to around 45 days, T Levels are a perfect choice for anyone wanting to quickly progress into the career of their dreams. Particularly exciting for the construction industry are the Onsite Construction and the Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction T Levels. At the Group’s Folkestone Campus, the Onsite Construction course teaches prospective construction professionals core information such as building regulations, safety standards, construction methods, and the science behind building design, surveying and planning. The course’s focus on environmental impact and digital engineering techniques will futureproof the students, with learners

also getting to specialise in trades including Bricklaying, Carpentry and Joinery, Painting and Decorating, and Plastering.

Canterbury College’s Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction option is more geared towards those who aim to work

Aimed at people aged 16-19, each T Level is equivalent to three A Levels. Employers are also encouraged to get in touch if they’re interested in providing work experience. Prospective T Level students and employers can find more information at

Thinking Business


Thursday 6th October 2022 Kent Event Centre, Detling Kent Construction EXPO is the largest gathering of construction industry professionals, contractors, and suppliers in the South East. Book your FREE place and join us on Thursday 6th October for a day of fresh inspiration, new ideas, networking and doing business!


FREE Meet the Buyer Appointments

FREE Tea & Coffee

FREE Parking

Plus: FREE exhibition featuring hundreds of essential suppliers The event is also the perfect platform to promote your business and raise your company profile. For more information on exhibiting or sponsorship please contact Emily Taylor on 01892 820939 or Produced by

Key Partners

IS THE DATE IN YOUR DIARY? Join the largest gathering of construction industry professionals in the South East this October! After the knockout event last year, we can't wait to bring together 2,000 construction industry professionals, contractors, developers, specialist suppliers and industry experts back together again for another phenomenal day of networking and inspiration at the Kent Event Centre near Maidstone on 6th October 2022. Brought to you by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, this major annual gathering offers a fantastic line-up of speakers, alongside the South East’s largest exhibition of construction suppliers: providing a unique opportunity for you to get the inside track on major infrastructure projects and the latest industry developments, while making valuable new contacts and building your business. We already have a great programme line-up confirmed, with inspirational keynotes and practical workshops that will provide you with fresh insights into current construction industry challenges and opportunities on the horizon as well as emerging technologies, practices, and

innovations - helping you to keep up to date and thrive in the years ahead. Back by popular demand, our roundtable stream provides a focussed platform for discussion where you will have the opportunity to share your challenges and opportunities, hear your peer’s points of view and learn from their experiences, ask questions and voice an opinion. A key feature at the event is the exclusive opportunity to put your business in front of leading contractors, suppliers and government departments, with over 600 FREE meet-thebuyer appointments available. You can also benefit from: •

Over 150 market-leading exhibitors

Invaluable networking opportunities to build and maintain business relationships

Live Demo Areas showcasing the most dynamic and innovative products in the industry

Big Networking Breakfast with a focus on collaboration in the construction sector

Post-Event Gala Dinner with after-dinner entertainment by magician, Ben Hanlin, the perfect way to unwind, network and celebrate excellence within the industry

The event is FREE to all in the construction industry! For more information and to register visit:

Exhibiting and Sponsorship Opportunities For the latest up-to-date floorplan and more details on pricing and sponsorship opportunities available please contact: Emily Taylor 01892 820939

Thinking Business


Construction Ella Brocklebank is Head of Communications and Business Development for longstanding and award-winning Kent-based main contractor Jenner Group, as well as holding many voluntary roles including co-chairing the Kent Construction Focus Group; Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce’s sector specific support group, for over 10 years. With a career in construction that spans almost 20 years she has witnessed first-hand the trials and tribulations of working within such a challenging industry, and yet proactively vocalises her love of the industry and the rewarding career path it offers. Here she gives a candid overview of the current situation within the Kent market and beyond.

Construction, but at what cost?

Having the honour of writing this feature for the third consecutive year, and again with an open-ended brief to cover absolutely anything topical in the industry right now, I am left wondering where exactly to begin? Adopting a tongue in cheek fairytale ‘once upon a time’ style of writing last year, perhaps in the hope that by now we might be out of the woods and enjoying a little bit of blue-sky trading, a true account this time around could probably rival the most dramatic of soap opera storylines. As we slowly begin to dust ourselves off and emerge somewhat battleweary and a little bruised in the aftermath of the past few years, it is safe to say, it has been tough. Ever the optimist that I am however and certainly a glass over-flowing kind of person, it leaves me with a dilemma. Do I gloss over the cracks, painting a rosy picture of construction with tales of how busy we all are (because in all honesty, we are) or illustrate the challenges we continue to face, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, three years on? Perhaps that decision is taken out of my hands by the facts and figures themselves. Quite simply, the statistics do not lie, and despite a bustling industry with demand and intent as strong as ever and opportunity a plenty, the messages are mixed, region by region and sector by sector, and we remain deeply embroiled in the most uncertain times. According to monthly figures released by the Builders Conference the overall

26 Thinking Business

number of construction companies in the UK has dropped by 20% in just one month from May to June, and this statistic alarms me greatly. Not only does this illustrate a high proportion of longstanding and previously successful companies that are failing, which is so saddening to witness, it is also what this means to the lives of those affected. So why are these businesses unable to survive? Frustratingly, the major factors pressurising our industry the most are those beyond our immediate control and undeniably are the haunting legacy of COVID, BREXIT and the current state of political unrest in Europe. Whether it is the ever-escalating cost of fuel; labour shortages; the availability and price of materials or general inflation, trading conditions are incredibly difficult and are undoubtedly hindering our industry, enough to dampen the spirits of even the most optimistic amongst us. With margins already compressed in a highly competitive market, and with many pre-existing contracts procured on a fixed price basis prior to the exponential increases in costs, it leaves contractors in an incredibly vulnerable position and struggling to deliver to the agreed contract sum when faced with such eye-watering materials

Cover Feature

The possibilities are boundless, and what we do best in construction is pulling together to overcome adversity, in a combined act of resilience, determination and resurgence. so many with the perception that they must shoulder the burden alone, and we must remove the judgement and overcome the stigma that mental ill health is a sign of weakness. The responsibility to change this is ours, that of every single person in the industry, and the time is most certainly now. Thankfully, times are slowly changing and perhaps the proverbial silver lining of the clouds hanging over us, is that we are now sitting up and finally paying attention.

inflation. It’s a true test of the strength of client-contractor-supply chain relations and of personal resolve for those steering their ships in such unsteady waters. The pressure is immense, and it is taking its toll. Fundamentally the once vast pool of contractors, and SME’s in particular, is shrinking alarmingly fast as a result. The construction industry has never been without its challenges; health and safety, ever-changing legislation, bureaucracy and planning red tape, and that’s just for starters. Add to that more localised issues such as the Phosphates and Nitrates debacle we are experiencing across many parts of Kent and construction grinds to a halt. Technological advancements mean it is no longer sufficient to deliver on time, on budget and to the required quality, we now have an ever-increasing list of targets which we must work tirelessly to achieve. Whether it is a focus on collaboration and partnership working, the push for digitalisation and data capture to allow buildings to operate more efficiently, a sustainable drive towards net-zero and carbon neutral building, or the future skills agenda, there is so much to contend with that it really comes as no surprise that we are an industry in crisis. With all these factors inhibiting our ability to simply get on and build, and ultimately causing businesses that would otherwise have been thriving to now fail, I am compelled to ask, what is the true cost of construction today? Whilst physical health and safety has improved beyond measure over recent decades due to a targeted drive towards zero-tolerance to non-conformance, mental health or more pertinently mental ill health, is the real problem that now looms heavily, but also fairly silently, over our industry and one that has been ignored for far too long.

Two lives are lost each day within the UK construction industry due to suicide. Read that again! This, quite simply, is needless tragedy and worryingly, with the current state of play, could get considerably worse. Of all the facts and figures our industry generates there are none more shocking than this. What troubles me the most is not that suicide accounts for more deaths in construction than physical falls but that this figure is wholly preventable and therefore

totally inexcusable. Aside of the devastation of suicide;- stress, anxiety, and depression account for a fifth of all work-related illnesses and over half a million days are lost to mental ill health every year which brings about its own challenges for businesses, the economy and our industry as a whole in its already burdened state. In an industry striving for equality, it is time we move beyond the inadvertent ‘macho culture’ that pre-exists and has troubled

Nonetheless, and despite the somewhat sombre tone of my writing I do intend to end on a positive note (being that glass overflowing person) and as a firm believer that it doesn’t do to dwell nor should you ever look back; you’re not heading that way after all. That said, it is imperative we learn our lessons from the past and use these to make us stronger and more strategic in our approach to the future. We have no option but to push forwards. Construction is essential to society and our economy and to our future generations and we have a responsibility to ensure its longevity. I for one am proud to work in an industry, and in a business at Jenner that feels more like a family, and with so much to be proud of given the world-class state-of-the-art iconic buildings we are continuing to deliver, regardless of the challenges. Perhaps, it is time to remind ourselves, whatever our prior outlook, that the glass is neither half full nor half empty, it is refillable. The possibilities are boundless, and what we do best in construction is pulling together to overcome adversity, in a combined act of resilience, determination and resurgence. Thinking Business



When the only certainty is change Uncertainty is part of life, but the world has changed so rapidly that finding creative ways to keep pace is a huge challenge. We provide ambitious businesses with pragmatic advice to help them adapt and grow. 01892 510000 @pragmaticlawyer

Base Quantum launch training and recording studio in Kent Base Quantum (part of the SOCOTEC Group) is a chartered quantity surveying and expert witness consultancy, renowned for its team of industry-recognised experts and delivery of quality services. We work from our offices in the UK on projects across six continents, with commissions valued from below £50,000 to over £1 billion. Our clients include lawyers, insurers, government bodies, developers, contractors, specialist subcontractors and major transport and infrastructure providers. Over the past five years we have been extending our expertise to the wider industry, providing training for our clients and their teams on a variety of topics – from sessions on most standard forms of contract and commercial and contractual awareness, to our APC training programme to achieve RICS chartership. This training has been a huge success and has led us to strategise ways to expand the number of services we can offer, as well as their reach and their quality.

As a result, we are delighted to announce the opening of our new dedicated training facility at our offices in Tunbridge Wells. This facility includes a recording studio with top of the range digital equipment, a training room with capacity for up to 60 people and multiple breakout rooms. It is equipped with cutting-edge technology (Made Worldwide Ltd) and designed for ease of use and access whilst enabling the highest quality output. The training suite provides a versatile, multifunctional space, perfectly located for service providers in Kent and the Southeast.

Please contact us for more information: Telephone: +44 (0)1892 337800 – Emma Honeysett Email: Address: 2nd Floor, Dowding House, Coach & Horses Passage, Lower Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 5NP

28 Thinking Business

Services provided: • Live training courses to be delivered to our clients, our team and the wider industry, both in-person and remotely. • External hire for companies who want to provide training but lack the facilities and resources to do so in-house. • External hire for events/meetings. • Recording studio rental for the production of videos, interviews, training materials and podcasts.

Keep your eyes peeled in the coming months for exciting opportunities and launch events.

Cover Feature

Acoustics in Construction

Why it Matters

Specific Employer Requirements may also apply. Most hotel developers, for example, have bespoke acoustic criteria for their projects. Similarly, many private and public sector clients require BREEAM certification, particularly with ESG being a prominent topic. Most of the acoustics-related credits, Pol05 and Hea05, are generally relatively easy to achieve and therefore worth targeting. Pol05 covers noise pollution whereas Hea05 requires anything from sound insulation to reverberation depending on the type of development. For residential developments in England, ensuring compliance with the Building Regulations is also important. This is primarily in the form of adequate sound insulation. Part E of the Building Regulations requires party walls and floors to achieve a minimum level of sound insulation. Part E also covers educational developments.

By Stephan Booi, PgD AMIOA Principal Acoustic Consultant Lustre Consulting Ltd

Besides Part E, the recently introduced Part O, which looks at overheating, also has an important acoustic component for residential developments. Essentially, noise affecting your site has an intrinsic role in shaping the overheating mitigation strategy.

Acoustics play an important role in our everyday lives, often unbeknown to the end-user. From the microphone in your mobile phone, the door slam of your car, to the sound insulation of the walls in your house.

Getting an Acoustic Consultant involved at an early stage can be the difference between costly delays or getting your site approved and built.

In a similar way, acoustics can be a critical element during stages of a development.

How does a Quantity Surveyor add value?

There is a lot to lose if you have not assessed acoustics including: •

Planning Delays

Unexpected Design Changes and Costs

Compliance Failures

As part of the planning process, reference is often made to BS8233 and BS4142. These British Standards provide guidance for internal noise conditions and plant noise limits. For longer-duration projects within populated areas, a BS5228 construction noise and vibration assessment (and compliance monitoring) may also be required.

Emma Railton-Hoad, Director – Hawk Surveying Limited The nature of construction works and the contracts and procedures by which they are administered mean that there is ample opportunity to maximise opportunity whilst minimising risk. But how do you know if your QS is “adding value”? A project that

has lost money may have been managed extremely well whilst a project that returned a healthy profit may not. What factors should you consider? A good QS should possess sound technical skills and requisite soft skills to appreciate the big picture with all its potential future risks. For example, by understanding the contract in detail, a QS may identify a variation which has been overlooked by the client, whilst sensitive reporting may help reduce the potential for dispute where a client may not have budgeted for this eventuality. The QS has also gained the opportunity to enhance value by pricing the variation in accordance with the terms of the contract whilst appreciating that different contracts have different pricing regimes. Generally, clients and senior management do not like surprises. A good QS will be able to set up an effective project cycle (payment dates, meeting schedules, reporting dates etc) and work to these, providing information that takes full account of project specifics with assumptions stated and alternatives evaluated. Costs are thereby managed, value enhanced fairly, and clients and senior management kept fully informed. In other words, the QS is adding value.

BIM is a standard, a way of working, not a task Matt Samways – Managing Director – AIMIS “Oh, BIM? Yeah, we do BIM.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. As soon as I hear the term ‘do BIM’ I know the respondent misunderstands what BIM is.

They’re thinking models. When they say ‘we do BIM’ what they mean is, ‘we have someone in our office who creates models’, or that they have an outsourced expert who creates models for them. BIM is about communication, information management and collaboration. It’s about working with a culture of sharing digital information across your businesses and every other business you’re working with on a project. BIM is about DATA. The collection of data and the ability to store and share that data easily. Some construction project data comes in the form of models but also in many other forms. A planning application contains data. A building product spec sheet contains data. A labourer’s timesheet is data. BIM enables a collaborative way of working, where anyone involved in the project has access to data from any stage in the project to assist them in their stage. Last year the Building Regulations Advisory Committee produced a paper setting out the principles of the ‘golden thread’ to encourage centralised digital record-keeping to reduce the risk of fire and improve compliance data to ensure the right people have access to information when needed, and consequently make buildings safer for residents. The best reason for working to the ISO 19650 standard are the users’ safety, but also, to save time, minimise risk and increase your profitability. Changing the way in which you work through digitising your business has so many benefits and will ensure your business is future proofed. Soon you will need evidence of BIM standards, to be involved in almost every project. Thinking Business



Cover Feature

Building Safety Act 2022

The Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA22) came into force 28 April 2022, introducing measures, overseen by a new Building Safety Regulator (BSR) and obligations for the industry, which will apply throughout the building’s life-cycle. Other requirements of the Act relate to the competency of those involved with buildings including residents, a means of enforcement for breach which includes criminal sanctions, an extension to the limitation period for civil actions and a levy that must be paid prior to construction beginning. More broadly BSA22 extends the limitation period for certain types of legal claim, leaseholder liability for the cost of remedial work and changes the rules around architects’ competence, fire safety legislation and construction products. The owners of new homes will have greater recourse if defects are found through the New Homes Ombudsman. A question those in the industry should be asking themselves now is should they review and amend their construction contracts?

The answer is undoubtedly yes, especially where construction of higher-risk buildings is involved, as BSA2022 has a more onerous regime during the design and construction phases and now during their occupation. The BSR’s powers are broad with the power to prosecute (including all offences under the BA 1984 and BSA2000) if the offence is committed by a corporate body with the consent, connivance or neglect of a director, manager or other similar individual. Companies and individuals may both be prosecuted.

Blinds • Shutters • Curtains • Motorised • Shaped • Conservatories

Local Family Run Business

The BSR can issue a compliance notice requiring an issue to be remedied by a specific date or a stop notice, requiring all work whether in the design or construction phase to stop until the non-compliance is remedied. A failure to obey either a compliance or stop notice is a criminal offence with a maximum of up to two years in prison and unlimited fines. For more information about how the Act will affect your business or to attend a seminar discussing this subject in more detail contact David Brown is a Partner at Gullands Solicitors T: 01622 689700

F IN D U S at the

Kent Construction Expo 6th October 20

Stand 299

22 • 01227 720881 •

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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 Business Hub. We are specialists in the fields of: • Shareholder and Partnership Agreements

• Employment Law

• Commercial Contracts

• Commercial Property Law

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How can the construction sector combat climate change? design buildings from scratch, but also to consider existing buildings. What do we do with the building stock that already has a lot of embodied carbon? How do we effectively refurbish the existing building stock? In cities, particularly in the UK, this is a big resource that we must consider.”

Buildings and the construction sector account for approximately 40% of CO2 emissions globally. From design and construction to the operation of buildings, there is a lot we can do to address the problem – but how do we choose the right approach? In July, businesses had the opportunity to discuss this challenge in a workshop led by Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou and Professor Henrik Schoenefeldt from the University of Kent’s School of Architecture and Planning. With Marialena, founder of the School’s Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment, reported as being in top 2% of the most influential researchers in the world, and Henrik leading a large research project within the Houses of Parliament’s restoration programme, they are well-positioned to offer businesses advice on reducing the impact of their building stock.

Heritage properties can pose a particular set of challenges when it comes to retrofitting – but these can be overcome. In 2017, Marialena and colleagues proved this through the development and retrofit of a heritage townhouse owned by Kent County Council in Margate. They have since monitored the thermal environment of the building compared to that of a non-refurbished property with positive results. This data fed into a Sustainable Heritage Toolkit to support sustainable development in coastal towns. One size doesn’t fit all

New technology is not the answer

Just as you wouldn’t retrofit the Shard in the same way as the Natural History Museum, Henrik urges us to avoid treating all heritage buildings in the same way. As Henrik explains “Environmental thinking is not new. Architects in the past were trying to address very similar problems to the ones we are facing now, and there is much that can be learned by engaging with them.” Henrik’s project on the Palace of Westminster is helping to enable this by investigating how historic knowledge can be applied by industry to enable the re-use of historic infrastructure.

Are innovative new technologies the key to bringing our carbon emissions down? Not as much as we’re led to believe. As Henrik explains, “Government strategies focus on technology as a means to fix everything. Technology is important but it can’t work in isolation. Heat pumps, for example, are only effective in an energy efficient home. The priority needs to be to bring energy demand down by finding ways to intelligently integrate existing technology.” A fabric first approach, carefully designing the building fabric and individual components before the implementation of building services is crucial if we are to achieve zero carbon buildings. The gold standard is already out there

One example of this is the PassivHaus, the first of which was built over 30 years ago in Darmstadt-Kranichstein in Germany in 1991. Despite requiring over 80% less energy input than the average end-of-terrace house in Germany, uptake of the PassivHaus standard in the UK has been slow.

To address this, Henrik has led several initiatives to embed low-energy design into the teaching of professional architects. This included the establishment of the PassivHaus Working Group and the creation of a Masters programme to ensure that graduates from the University of Kent are equipped with the core knowledge and working practices required for net-zero carbon design. Retrofitting needs to be made a priority

Only 1.5% of buildings are new. As Marialena reminds us, “‘It is important not only to

Get in touch with their business and innovation gateway team at

The Net Zero Built Environment workshop was part of the Net Zero Pathway to Change programme, a joint project between the University of Kent, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and Kent County Council and funded by the Government’s Community Renewal Fund, with qualifying businesses able to apply for £5k funding to work with University of Kent academics to help them achieve their net zero goals. To find out more about opportunities to work with the University to drive innovation and build for the future, get in touch with their business and innovation gateway team.

Locate in Kent is the official inward investment agency for the Kent and Medway region. We help businesses fulfil their potential. • Accessing the right business funding • Finding the right commercial property • Helping to grow your workforce • Gaining invaluable specialist sector expertise • Future proofing your business success

“Kent gives us access to a large pool of highly skilled workers. We are based in a highly populated area with a lot of local talent and experience in the construction sector.” Barry Foster Managing Director, BJF

Get in touch for free, continental support to grow your business: +44(0)1732 520700


Cover Feature MKA repeatedly find that the ability to take a project through the entire development process reaps huge benefits for its clients. This ‘one stop shop’ approach has proved to be a success, with clients looking to take advantage of our years of expertise and choose either specific elements or the whole service.

The challenge of building a house in the countryside Developing land in the countryside can be financially and personally rewarding for homeowners and developers. However, the challenges to achieving this must not be underestimated. MKA’s Planning Director, Joanna Russell assists clients by undertaking planning appraisal work to unlock the potential of a site. The architectural team will then carry out feasibility work to respond to its strengths and constraints and realise its value. Joe Martin, MKA’s Director has helped many clients over the years thanks to his broad range of experience on residential and commercial projects. The use of established and reputable professional specialists can

MKA Director Joe said “our team have an open and honest approach, offering advice that we believe will achieve successful planning approval. Good communication is at the heart of everything we do.”

Navigating a Perfect Storm

identify challenges early on and enhance the value of a site.

Once a brief is established, the exciting process of designing a proposal begins! Early engagement with the Council helps to ensure the process runs more smoothly. The use of professionals who have a solid working relationship with the Council is very beneficial at this stage. Once plans are agreed, the planning application is submitted. This is when the benefits of the initial work are felt, and the application should be determined efficiently. The final stage is to prepare technical drawings for Building Control submission, and tender for Contractors. MKA see the benefit to clients of offering this and their Contract Administration service - coordinating the planning, design and build.

By Chris Whittington Thomson Snell & Passmore The construction industry is undoubtedly going through a challenging time: a vicious combination of problems in securing both materials and labour, coupled with runaway price inflation. Material shortages and long lead times have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, particularly for bricks, steel,

plasterboard, timber and electrical products. According to the ONS, compared to three years ago, there are nearly 250,000 fewer construction workers. Unprecedented increases in energy costs serve only to compound the already large price increases for materials. This makes it difficult for both employers and contractors to establish the proper price for a project, or to pre-agree an effective contractual mechanism to share risk, particularly for projects with a longer duration. None of these pressures occur in a vacuum. The above pressures are occurring simultaneously, alongside the ongoing consequences of Brexit, the pandemic and the continuing possibility of future Covid restrictions worldwide affecting supply chains and site operations. Any clauses designed as a mechanism to share these risks require very careful thought, particularly as to how, in practical terms, it may or may not be possible to reliably attribute an external factor to matters within or outside the scope of such clauses. Demonstrating the specific impact and its cause will be necessary, which is often easier said than done. Because of the combination of long lead times and price volatility, more contractors are seeking advance payments from employers to fix material prices. This creates a risk for employers – advance payment bonds can provide protection here. Whatever is agreed over prices, whether cost increases will be permitted and what events will allow an extension of time for completion, it is vital that the contract is carefully drafted so that everything is clear and watertight, and will work in practice.

Thinking Business


Izzy PR cleaning up with new client

blogs, creating social media content and looking for PR opportunities. Karen said: “We have moved the business in a new direction this year and with that, we need a new input into the marketing.

Calibre Cleaning has appointed Chamber member Izzy PR as its new marketing agency. The company is looking for growth this year and has asked the Favershambased agency, headed up by Sarah Hawes, to come in and help. Run by Karen Thomas, Calibre Cleaning has previously undertaken marketing in-house but with staff focusing on the growth plan, outsourced support was needed. Larger commercial contracts across a wider geographical area are helping the company to grow; recommendations are frequent and high quality. New clients are coming on-board each month to join Kent Cricket and The Maidstone TV Studios on the roster. Izzy PR will be refreshing their website content, writing news and

Placing the power of good financial advice into more hands Evelyn Partners is the UK’s leading integrated wealth management and professional services group, created following the merger of Tilney and Smith & Williamson.

With £55.8bn of assets undermanagement* it ranks as the second largest UK wealth manager and the sixth largest professional services firm ranked by fee income.** It has a network of offices across 27 towns and cities in the UK, as well as the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands. Through its operating companies, the group offers an extensive

“Sarah comes recommended and has worked with many Chamber members. “Every client is different and has different requirements and so we work very closely with them. This is what we need to spend our time doing, whilst Izzy PR runs the marketing strategy for us.” Sarah said: “Calibre Cleaning is, like many of us, getting on with the client work whilst at the same time, wanting the marketing done too – but there are only so many hours in the day! “We’re excited to be working with Karen and the team to raise their profile, refresh their website to reflect their current services and put some interesting social media content out there.” range of financial and professional services to individuals, family trusts, professional intermediaries, charities and businesses. Evelyn Partners’ purpose is to ‘place the power of good advice into more hands’, and it is uniquely well-placed to support clients with both their personal financial affairs and business interests. Evelyn Partner’s personal wealth management services include financial planning, investment management and advice, personal tax advice and, through Bestinvest, an award-winning online investment service for self-directed investors. For businesses, its wide range of services includes assurance and accounting, business tax advice, employee benefits, forensic advice, fund administration, fund governance, recovery and restructuring and transaction services. *As at 31 March 2022 ** Source: AccountancyAge 50+50 rankings, 2021.

Members News

BAE Systems in Rochester: world leading technology in the heart of Kent Did you know that some of the most advanced electronic and avionics equipment are developed, manufactured, and maintained at BAE Systems in Rochester? Home to more than 1,400 employees, with a heritage stretching back for almost a century, BAE Systems is one of Kent’s largest employers and is continually expanding and developing for the future. A global business, with customers in over 40 countries, BAE Systems is one of the biggest aerospace and defence technology companies in the world. Employees in Rochester work on a range of exciting technologies, from flight controls and augmented reality displays for pilots, to electric propulsion for buses and boats. This year, the local council approved plans for a multi-million pound redevelopment of the site. The plan is set to change the look and feel of the Rochester facilities and will include the construction of a new state-of-the-art factory and a welcoming office space. The upgrades are in line with the business’ expectations for

growth over the coming years, for which they’re currently recruiting employees. The company aims to recruit and develop talent from all backgrounds, championing the strength that a truly inclusive and collaborative workplace offers to company culture and performance. Committed to investing in the communities in which it operates, BAE Systems supports programmes that are closely connected to the business, from working with charities that support armed forces personnel and their families, to encouraging young people to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects and pursue engineering and technology careers. Rochester employees are encouraged to volunteer with one of the site’s sixteen community investment partners, including Age UK Medway, Medway Food Bank and Medway Street Angels. Earlier this year, the Rochester site donated £100,000 to the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) Centenary Village development in Aylesford, which will support armed forces veterans and their families. Employees at Rochester continue to volunteer at the RBLI, and the company provides ongoing donations to the veterans there. For further information, visit

Build your business on solid marketing foundations Izzy PR can help you to reach Chamber members with: • Member News: 250-word story in Thinking Business (£100) • Member Blog: Published on the Chamber website (£100) • Directory listing: Chamber website – to make sure you can be found (£45) • Member 2 Member offer: An advert for the Chamber website to share an exclusive member offer (£95)

£250 Full package - everything above Get in touch today 07748 631100

Thinking Business


International Trade

The BCC - helping international trade in testing times Businesses that identify a gap in the market, invent an energy-saving technology, or develop a service to help other companies become greener and more sustainable, will all prosper in a world of international trade.

Whether we are talking about a firm established for decades or a start-up of a few-years’ standing, there are usually opportunities to expand from local and national trading partners to overseas ones. Of course, trading in a new territory brings with it new challenges as well as opportunities. Accredited Chambers of Commerce in every nation and region of the UK are trusted to help British goods reach customers overseas. By certifying the origin of goods, Chambers help ensure the smooth passage of UK goods across international borders. Last year alone, more than 600,000 shipments were supported in this way. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) offers 350 qualified specialists in the Chamber Network, available every working day, to help business and international trade flourish.

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Expanding overseas

In every city, town and county, Chambers of Commerce provide crucial support and receive over 1,500 enquiries every week from businesses seeking advice – whether they want to expand overseas or bring parts and goods into the UK. The Chamber was first set up in 1860 and its reputation established over 150 years means it is a trusted third party for businesses who want to expand overseas. Each Chamber knows its local economy inside out and can provide the advice, training, support and encouragement needed for any firm new to the world of exporting. The BCC’s brokerage business, ChamberCustoms also provides training and advice as the customs clearance agent. It aims to help businesses expand and diversify the number of exports from the UK across the world.

In every city, town and county, Chambers of Commerce provide crucial support and receive over 1,500 enquiries every week from businesses seeking advice – whether they want to expand overseas or bring parts and goods into the UK. Its expertise means it can save businesses large chunks of time and resources by dealing with their customs declarations; simplifying the process, filing the forms and covering all additional paperwork.

Covid and Brexit

These are testing times. The combined impact of Covid-19 and Brexit means the challenges for businesses which export are the most significant in decades. According to the Office of National Statistics, at the height of Covid in April/May 2020 the majority of exporting businesses, 72% reported that they were exporting less than normal. Similarly, 59% of importing businesses reported that they were importing less than normal. COVID related transport restrictions, increases in transportation costs, destination countries changing their border restrictions, and closure of infrastructure all impacted export trade levels. While lockdowns may be a thing of the past now, the impact will have left a lasting impression. With regard to Brexit, EU data reveals that exports to the bloc declined by nearly 14% in 2021 compared with 2020. Even with the impact of the pandemic being factored in, the EU insists, the increase in red tape since the transition period ended in January 2021 has taken its toll on trade in goods and services with the UK.

The Philippines – Market Briefing Session & Virtual Trade Mission: Food & Drink (SEED) The South East Export Development (SEED) Project provides FREE support to help Food & Drink businesses in Kent & Medway, East Sussex & Essex to get into overseas markets. This virtual market briefing session and virtual trade mission, as part of SEED’s ‘Food & Drink – the Philippines’ programme, aims to connect SELEP-based businesses to business opportunities in the Philippines market. 01 & 02 September 2022 Email:

Tech world vector created by liuzishan -

The return of a customs border between the EU and Great Britain is a reality. This means paperwork for virtually every product being shipped between markets, and daily checks on thousands of goods being exported. Essentially, the goalposts have been moved but this is nothing new for businesses - trading restrictions have been tweaked or completely overhauled at various times over the centuries. Businesses will inevitably still look for trade opportunities regardless of changing regulations that is the nature of competition; but they will need to adapt. This is where the BCC, as champions of international trade, play an important role in providing advice and support at times when it is needed. Trade may not be as frictionless as it once was, but the BCC’s aim is to make it as easy as possible.

Thinking Business


CELEBRATING 75 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE IN CONSTRUCTION Founded in 1947, Abbott Construction has successfully been producing quality construction for 75 years. This has been achieved by a teamwork approach to establishing and building on relationships with our clients, subcontractors, and supply chain.

Abbott Construction, established in 1947, developed over 3 generations

Person behind the business

The local building contractor continues to go from strength to strength.

Set up just after World War II, the business has been under the management of Paul Abbott for over 15 years, as the third generation of family owners. Was there ever any doubt that Paul would follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps? “Not really, no. I studied building at college and then went to work for the family firm – I wasn’t pushed in any way, it was something I wanted to do.”

Branching out

As to how the business has changed over the years, Paul explains that while the business remains predominantly Kent focused in terms of projects it takes on, Abbott Construction is a much bigger organisation now and does a lot more than just the housebuilding that is his grandfather’s legacy. “When my grandfather started the business in 1947, he built individual houses one at a time, rebuilding the area post-war. Since then, we have diversified and we now take on much larger projects with a specialism in schools, student accommodation, industrial and commercial properties.” Abbott Construction in 2022 is experienced in design management and delivery of projects valued between £500k and £5m. The range of projects vary from the construction of a new single storey club house at Whitstable & Seasalter

Golf Club, to the construction of a B&M Homestore in Canterbury. This is not to say that Abbott Construction is neglecting its role as a provider of high-quality housing – the newly built Inspired House 12-apartment development in Canterbury stands as testimony to this. “Being diversified in business is good, we benefit from a team with varied experience that we can introduce to every project, including sustainability standards, changes in regulations, material choice and method of build. We have grown the business through commitment to embrace innovation and change”. With talk of recession and a slowing housing market, is Abbott Construction feeling the impact on workload? Not yet, is Paul’s considered response. “Our order book is good, and we are feeling positive. We enjoy good levels of repeat business with clients that we value”. He adds: “We have several decent sized projects on the table at the moment; the only thing I would say is that it is taking longer for projects to come to fruition.”

Changing times

In what way does Paul run the business differently to his father and grandfather? To a large extent he has continued the best practice methods that were handed down to him – retaining staff for a long-time and establishing and

maintaining trusted relationships with subcontractors. That said, he believes that over his fifteen years plus as managing director the company has had to move with the times, embrace technology and respond to changes in clients’ expectations. Quality of build is no longer enough. Clients want visibility, more involvement and exceptional delivery. Abbott meet their clients’ needs by exceeding standards and going beyond compliance and regulations, including holding the environmental management certification ISO 14001 as well as ISO 9001 (in quality management) and ISO 45001 (in health and safety management).

Reputation and trust

The business may indeed look very different to what it did in the 1940s or 1990s for that matter, but some

things are passed on through the years – notably the importance of reputation. Paul picks out one piece of advice that has stuck with him over the years: “My father taught me the principle that his father instilled in him, in that you don’t go back on your word. When you shake hands on a deal, that’s it”. Given the strong client and subcontractor relationships that Abbott Construction enjoys, this level of trust has stood the company in good stead. As to the future, is there another Abbott in the wings to take over the reins at some future point? “My son is only 11 so it is way too early to say. Like me, he won’t be pushed into it, but it is certainly a great option for him in the future.”

We benefit from a team with varied experience that we can introduce to every project, including sustainability standards, changes in regulations, material choice and method of build Thinking Business


Members News

We have joined Locate in Kent Rap Interiors are delighted to announce that we have joined Locate in Kent’s Co-working Collective as a founding sponsor. The Kent Co-Working Collective, established in November 2019, is a network of co-working and flexible workspaces across Kent and Medway. The group’s mission is to position Kent and Medway as a location that supports the development and the use of co-working and flexible workspaces. There are currently around seventy-five operators either set up, setting up or expanding into Kent with at least ten additional spaces in the pipeline.

free and confidential service. Rap Interiors also works as a Corporate Partner of Locate in Kent to support the agency’s wider client base. Rap Interiors Commercial Director, Martyn Pilcher, comments on the news: “We are proud to be the founding sponsor of this fantastic initiative to promote and deliver flexible

Locate in Kent, based in Ashford, is Kent and Medway’s official inward investment agency. Its aim is to encourage more businesses to set up and expand in Kent through an extensive

The Next Generation of Electrical Engineers

eco Electrical are working towards building better futures in electrical engineering by offering apprenticeships within our company to progress the industry. To grow our employees’ skills and abilities is one of our most important objectives and a company value. As we look to recruit further, we’re taking the opportunity to nurture aspiring electrical engineers and offer training in a handson approach. Our apprentices are guided by highly qualified engineers which gives them an insight to our methods of delivering quality workmanship.

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Another of eco’s core values, promoting energy efficiency, gives a unique opportunity to learn about sustainability in the future of construction, and how this is applied within electrical engineering. We provide invaluable knowledge on the job to accelerate the learning experience, mentorship and support, and pay a salary whilst learning. In return, we request our team have a strong drive to complete their qualifications and put the relevant skills into practice with us. We take pride in expanding our company and want every employee to feel like the valued team members they are. We want to smash through the huge gender disparity in engineering and encourage anyone to join us in understanding the future of construction and guide keen engineers to success. We are continuously adapting to the changing industry, building relationships, developing skills and looking towards the future, and we want more apprentices to become a part of who we are, and watch them grow with us.

workspace opportunities in Kent. As an office fit out company, we know all about the booming flexible workspace market and are excited by the prospect of assisting with its development in the county.”

Gavin Cleary, Locate in Kent CEO, says: “With over 30 years of workspace design and build experience, Rap Interiors is exactly the kind of company we want to work with to support the burgeoning co-working sector in Kent. The partnership will undoubtedly help us on our mission to create even more brilliant co-working spaces across the county.” To learn more about Kent’s Co-Working Collective visit: inspiration/news/rap-interiors-sponsorskent-coworking-collective/

New film raises awareness of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Over the past few years, New Planet Film & Media has been working closely with Kent-based charity FASD Awareness to create factual content on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Medical Officer and the Deputy Chief Midwifery Officer. A recent project, a three-minute science film which describes how alcohol affects a developing foetus was completed during the pandemic.

FASD is an umbrella term used to describe a group of conditions caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol.

Alcohol affects cell migration as well as gene expression, and can affect the development of the brain at any point during pregnancy.

It is the most common preventable cause of non-genetic learning disability (more prevalent than Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Down’s Syndrome combined) and can cause numerous complex, physical and psychological problems. Individuals with FASD are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health issues, self-harm and suicide, substance abuse and behavioral difficulties. An individual with FASD will require lifelong support. Our films have included contributions from the Deputy Chief

The film is available on YouTube and has been used as part of training programmes around the country. New Planet is an award-winning company producing video content of all kinds for businesses and charities, including video-based training. Visit the New Planet website at for samples and more information about what we do. For more information on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, visit

Members News

Stay in Maidstone touch Innovation Centre – A sustainable with your building for the future vehicles Maidstone Innovation Centre is a new flexible office space incorporating several sustainable features including electric vehicle charging pods, smart lighting and solar panels to help the building reduce its environmental impact.

The most impressive feature is the 90.5m2 Green wall Covering 90.5m2, the wall will help to reduce the carbon footprint of the building by keeping it cooler in summer

and warmer in winter. It will also act as a natural sound insulator, and oxygen released by the plants will assist with air purification. A stunning focal point, the wall incorporates a range of species indigenous to the local area, which will bloom all year round, attracting bees and butterflies.

Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) processes, which ensures best practice for the environmental performance of buildings. As such, the MIC is on track to score a BREEAM rating of ‘very good’, putting it among the top 25% of buildings in the country.

Environmental impact was also a key concern during construction. Contractors Rydon reported that 98% of waste was reused or recycled offsite and applied

Maidstone Innovation Centre was part-funded by European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020.

Autosparx are Accredited & Insurance Approved Vehicle Security Installers and approved Auto Electricians.

Established in 1991, we are a family business, we offer a first-class service throughout Kent & beyond. We have built the business on customer service excellence. Fleet Management, Tracking, Security and Dash Cams are just some of the main areas of our services offered to fleets and business customers. We are aware of the issues faced by Fleets, Vehicles (Including plant) duty of care, vehicle safety, productivity, rising fuel costs, driver behaviours and not to mention theft. Benefits of Dash Cams

• Protection against the common crash for cash scams • Time and Date stamp footage as evidence for RTA claims which leads to faster claims process • Can reduce insurance premiums

unIMPORTANT ART “Creativity is intelligence having fun” Albert Einstein Creativity is a vital part of our life. It opens our minds, makes us happier, helps us survive troubled times and discover innovative and elegant business solutions. Recently the UK government took the disappointing step of devaluing the importance of art, by reducing the funding for creative subjects in schools and halving financing for art courses across higher education institutions in England.

At Warnborough College we strongly believe that creativity is an important life skill (it is one of the few things that AI still struggles to emulate). We have not only started to offer more artistic courses to our students, but also decided to do something “creative” for Kent. In July 2022 we organised the annual Kent International Arts conference (, and now every Saturday we offer free art therapy classes. Our Ukrainian Art Hub is a FREE therapeutic creativity program for adults that empowers and inspires participants to create

a new chapter of their lives, help them deal with stress, and unlocks their potential. But you don't need to be Ukrainian to join us - everyone is welcome! We would strongly encourage all businesses to support our initiative and bring art to your office, village, or town. Open your premises, when they are unused, for art teachers and local communities, help boost creativity and innovation, create your own art hub. If you would like to talk to us or to see how it works, please contact us at

• Promote safer driving as they can also record internal driver behaviours Fleet Tracking offers solutions for Fleet Managers who are often faced with issues such as poor communication, vehicle downtime, ineffective route planning and productivity, inaccurate budgeting, and excessive fuel costs. Fleet Managers can monitor in real time their Fleet and Staff which undoubtedly improves productivity, safety, duty of care, resources, route planning, fuel efficiency and driver behaviours. If you currently have a fleet system in place, we can review to ensure it is cost effective and working for you. If you want to find out how our Fleet Tracking Systems can support your business or more on Dash Cams and Security, then visit us at:

Thinking Business


Every week we bring you an eclectic mix of information sessions, networking events, workshops, panel sessions and training sessions with some of the top local business professionals from an array of different industries. Each event is designed to offer invaluable up-to-date information tailored to our attendee’s wants and needs, as well as networking opportunities to help you grow your business. With many events held online and across Kent, you’re sure to find the right one for your business.

Chamber Connections Networking (Canterbury) Thursday 11th August 2022 Virtual Business Networking Tuesday 16th August 2022 Importing Goods Into The UK Know The New Changes Wednesday 17th August 2022 10 Ideas To Help Grow Your Sales Thursday 18th August 2022

Kickstarting & Refreshing Your Digital Presence With a small budget or minimal time available, getting started with digital marketing can be a bit of a mind-blower. In this workshop, we’ll look at easy-to-manage ways of boosting and launching your digital presence across paid advertising, organic optimisation and more, kickstarting your digital adventures and helping you look the real deal early doors. Tuesday 23rd August 2022 10:30am - 11:30am Members: Free to attend Non-Members: £5.00 + VAT

Growth of Ashford – Economic Development Seminar

Kickstarting & Refreshing Your Digital Presence Using Digital Marketing To Drive Traffic To Your Site & Store Tuesday 23rd August 2022

Ashford Borough Council has a rich heritage but is also embracing growth with its ambitious plans for the future. Join us for an update on the key local developments as well as an update on new ventures coming to Ashford.

Virtual Business Networking Tuesday 30th August 2022

The seminar, in partnership with Azets, will focus on key issues surrounding the growth and current developments in and around Ashford. Friday 9th September 2022 1:30pm - 4:30pm Kent Invicta Chamber, Ashford Members: Free to attend Non-Members: £10.00 + VAT

The Philippines - 2-day Market Briefing Session & Virtual Trade Mission: Food & Drink (SEED) Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd September 2022 Kent Construction Focus Group (KCFG) Tuesday 6th September 2022 Growth of Ashford Economic Development Seminar Friday 9th September 2022 Virtual Business Networking Tuesday 13th September 2022 Virtual Business Networking Tuesday 27th September 2022 Kent Construction Expo 2022 Thursday 6th October 2022

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Hosted by members of the KCFG committee, Cheryl Causebrook and Ella Brocklebank, we bring you KCFG Live! The Kent Construction Focus Group (KCFG) is a one-stop-shop for local businesses to discuss the future of Kent development, giving companies access to local knowledge, expertise and contracts. KCFG promotes the future role of Kent land development and construction businesses in the growth and development of Kent and its environment. The session will start promptly at 7:30am for a chance to be put into breakout rooms and network with the other attendees. The first Tuesday of every month 7:30am - 9:30am | The Village Hotel, Maidstone KCFG Members: £22.50 + VAT | Non-Members: £32.50 + VAT

10 Ideas To Help Grow Your Sales There are many challenges involved in running a company, but perhaps the biggest one is how to grow your sales. Join this event and hear from Jason Rainbird, Director at Flowbird ltd This workshop will give you 10 ideas which if applied could grow your sales by double digits. In fact, if you apply everything, this may more than double your sales! Ideas for people who want to get more out of their sales pipeline: seasoned sales pros or just starting out. No “magic formulas.” Just practical everyday steps you can apply to your sales process, starting today. Thursday 18th August | 10:30am - 11:30am Members: Free to attend | Non-Members: £5.00 + VAT

Virtual Business Networking is a bi-weekly, fun way of networking which is highly interactive, sparking interesting conversations and aims to bring like-minded people together, guide forward new ideas and form new business relationships.

Conversation with our guest speaker will be followed by three breakout room sessions where attendees can delve deeper into discussion, or discuss their own topic in more depth. Every other Tuesday | 10:30am - 12:00pm Members: Free to attend | Non-Members: Free to attend

Chamber Connections These informal events will give you an opportunity to promote your business and make invaluable connections with local businesses in Kent. ‘Chamber Connections Networking’ is a new networking event, free to both members and non-members.

Importing Goods Into The UK - Know The New Changes We have teamed up with ChamberCustoms Kent to bring you a step-by-step guide webinar for importers to help you to make sure you are ready for the changes.

Each month will be in a new location, so to be inclusive of all businesses in Kent.

On 30th September changes are coming into place for businesses who import goods into the UK. It is important you know about the changes now, otherwise your goods will be denied entry into the UK.

‘It is not just who YOU know, its who they know – the power of connections!’

Wednesday 17th August | 9:30am - 10:15am Members: Free to attend | Non-Members: Free to attend

10:30am - 12:00pm Members: Free to attend | Non-Members: Free to attend

Thinking Business


Members News

School Children Donate to Environmental Fund

Children from St Andrew's School in Rochester have donated £440 to the Kent Community Foundation Fund for the Environment

In May St Andrews School in Rochester celebrated 'Earth Day' and enthused by the lessons they had learnt, raised money through a series of ecological activities to donate to the Kent Community Foundation Fund for the Environment which supports projects across Kent. Prudence Sanderson, Teacher, St Andrews School in Rochester, said “The children in my class, had a fantastic day, learning about how to look after our planet through lots of engaging, practical-based sessions, including a ‘Recycle Against the Clock’ challenge,

where they collected and sorted litter into the correct recycling sacks, using litter pickers.” Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said, “We were delighted to hear that children from St Andrews, Rochester had chosen to donate the money they raised as part of their ‘Earth Day’ celebration, to our Fund for the Environment. One area that our Fund supports is community projects which educate children about environmental issues so we could not be more pleased that the children who learnt about the planet in class wanted to do something positive to effect change.”

UK couples turning to ‘pet-nups’ to help resolve disagreements over pets when relationships break down

With around 60% of UK households owning a pet, it is no surprise that who gets custody of any animals can be a key area of negotiation when relationships break down.

Megan Bennie, a solicitor specialising in divorce and family law at Kent law firm Furley Page, said: “For many people a pet is not just an animal, it is a fullyfledged member of the family, so it is no wonder that pets can be a particularly emotive topic for clients when relationships end. Unfortunately, a pet’s treatment by the law has not kept up with the way they are generally viewed by their owners.”

In the UK, the law treats pets as possessions, meaning in a divorce case, a beloved pet would, in theory, be treated by a Court as no different from an armchair or television. In reality, the Courts rarely deal with cases regarding pets for a variety of reasons, notably the cost of bringing legal action. When the Court does deal with animal matters, its focus is generally on who is the legal owner or provides the majority of the animal’s care. Megan continued: “For most people, cases are settled away from the Courtroom through direct discussions between the adults involved, with the needs of the pet and the wishes of any children in the family ideally being a consideration too. “Some couples are also using ‘petnups’ to pre-empt or avoid difficult

The Kent Community Foundation Fund for the Environment awards grants towards the planting of trees and hedging regeneration, restoration of local habitats, organised litter picking, and beach cleans, community garden projects, projects focused on educating children about local wildlife and nature, on learning about growing and cooking your own food or projects using solar panels or insulation to make community buildings greener. To find out more about the Fund for the Environment visit issues that could arise should a relationship break down. Although not legally binding, the pet-nup can be an essential tool in avoiding stressful and expensive disputes at a later date and keeping the matter out of the Courtroom and could be taken into consideration if the matter were to end up in Court. “Where issues cannot be resolved directly or there is no pre-existing agreement, a lawyer can help by negotiating on a client’s behalf to try to ensure they achieve what they want for their pet, whether that is continued ownership, visitation, or just to know the pet will be well cared for. “Mediation is another option, whereby an independent third party can help a former couple to work their way through the issues around pet ownership in much the same way they would with issues relating to children or finances.” If you’re experiencing a relationship breakdown and are worried about your pet, or if you think a pet-nup might make things easier if a relationship comes to an end please email Megan Bennie at

Staff Financial Wellbeing – the hot topic for employers

At a time of inflation at 9%, when 1.08million people are estimated to be using loan sharks, and 17% of people in the South East often use a credit card to buy food or pay bills, financial stress is having a huge impact on staff. The good news is employers are aware of this and are actively working to improve their staff’s financial resilience. Amongst the staff benefits schemes available, it is the partnerships with credit unions offering payroll deductions schemes that are seeing a surge in popularity and are championed by the Money and Pensions Service. These schemes give workers the opportunity to save and repay loans with their local not-for-profit credit union straight from their wages. Wave Community Bank – the credit union for Kent, Medway, and East Sussex - runs the Chorus scheme with employers and they can see the true benefits. Martin Harris, Managing Director of Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus said: “We have been working in partnership for many years as part of our commitment to encouraging local financial resilience and adding value for our staff. WCB offers something different to high street banks and many borrowers and savers are attracted by their ethical credentials and the work they do in our community. “ WCB offers savings accounts including PrizeSaver with a monthly draw to win £5000 as well as affordable credit to staff who benefit from lower interest rates on loans when repaying through payroll. Plus, WCB loans all have a savings element to repayments, so staff build a savings pot as they repay loans. Visit or Thinking Business


Business News

Cabot Square Capital acquires majority stake in Chartway Group Cabot Square Capital has acquired a majority shareholding in Chartway Group, one of South-East England’s leading partnershipsbased housebuilders. The investment is being made by Cabot Square’s existing portfolio company Public Sector Plc (PSP) to create a new merged Group. PSP is a specialist strategic asset manager that partners with public and private sector bodies to add value to land and property assets as well as deliver positive ESG outcomes for local communities. The investment will support the strategic growth of the Chartway Group.

Independently owned for over 25 years, London-based Cabot Square is a specialist mid-market buyout firm investing in European growth companies with a particular focus on businesses that generate attractive asset-based returns as well as positive ESG outcomes.

Cabot Square recently acquired Premier Modular, a leading provider of modular leasing and permanent solutions predominantly for public sector end markets, shortly thereafter creating the Premier Modular Group by adding to it their existing investment in NetZero Buildings. Keith Maddin, Partner at Cabot Square, said: “Chartway Group are a leading South-East England based partnerships housebuilder

Sevenoaks So Much More - Kent district launches its new place brand campaign Think you know the Sevenoaks District? There is so much more to see and do than you might think.

This is the message that Sevenoaks District Council is spreading far and wide as it unveils its new place brand, Sevenoaks So Much More, encouraging more people to visit, build their business or lay down roots in the district. After the town of Sevenoaks was named in The Sunday Times Best Places to Live in South East, the district is rolling out its new place brand to help support and build the local economy by attracting visitors, residents, businesses, and investors to the district.

46 Thinking Business

The core message declares that there is so much more to Sevenoaks than people from all walks of life might think, making it the perfect place to live, visit, work and invest in. Leader of Sevenoaks District Council, Cllr Peter Fleming said: “Our brand campaign was born from the excitement we feel about sharing the wider Sevenoaks story with the world, there is so much more to appreciate and experience here! “Sevenoaks is more than just the famous town of Sevenoaks itself. It is a diverse district with breathtaking countryside, towns, villages, real communities and so much history, all within 30 minutes of the capital - for those who need it.

with turnover in excess of £100 million and a track record of growing profitability year on year since they were established in 2009. We particularly like their capital-light and vertically integrated business model as well as the opportunity to help address the shortage of low carbon energy efficient housing. Their ability to work across all tenures of housing means they are well placed to adapt to changing market conditions over time”

“The new Group is well positioned to benefit from a number of attractive growth opportunities including synergies between the two businesses. Together they can build a high margin and high return on capital asset-based UK business that can also benefit all stakeholders” “There is also so much more potential here for businesses looking to start and grow as well. This is not sleepy Sevenoaks; this is a great place to take your business to the next level, with national and international firms and a genuine entrepreneurial spirit, and we want more people to share their own stories and show the world that Sevenoaks is the place to be.” Following extensive research and workshops with residents, local businesses, community groups and Sevenoaks District Council, the new Place Brand for Sevenoaks was developed by leading marketing agency Pillory Barn. The team then developed a full brand for the district, supported by a place ‘portal’ website to showcase the district’s USP, with information on the best things to see and do in the area, and guidance on how to build a future in Sevenoaks. The place portal will contain case studies from local business owners, entrepreneurs, and residents about

Ian Savage, Chartway Group founder, steps up to become Chairman and along with a number of the Chartway senior executives, will remain a significant shareholder. Steven Cresswell who recently joined Chartway from Thakeham Group will become the new Group Chief Executive with Paul Brown, Chief Executive of PSP, continuing to run the strategic asset management business. Ian Savage said: “We are very pleased that Cabot Square has recognised Chartway’s progress to date and their investment and platform building experience will help us continue in our next phase of growth. This also represents a fantastic opportunity for our staff and customers.” Steven Cresswell and Paul Brown added: “We are excited to be working together and see significant synergies between our organisations. Chartway can add to PSP’s delivery capabilities and PSP will be able to help Chartway expand its relationships with the public sector.” the benefits of living and investing here, highlighting the district’s creative and entrepreneurial community that accommodates both large-scale employers and creative digital SMEs. The campaign will be shared across social media, the national media and advertising channels in the coming months to boost visits and local spending. Cllr Fleming added: “While we would love to keep Sevenoaks as our local secret, we know that reaching new people means more support for the local economy. We are lucky to have space for new business without compromising the coveted scenery and historic splendour that makes our district so attractive to people looking for a new home. “The fact that the Sunday Times recently singled us out as the best place to live in the South East goes to show how much we have to offer.” Visit the website at:

Panattoni announces plan for speculative development in Kent Continued strong confidence in Kent as a home for highquality logistics and distribution companies has seen Panattoni, the largest industrial real estate developer in Europe, announce it is going to speculatively develop the final two units in Aylesford, Kent. The decision follows Panattoni’s success in already securing DHL, Fowler Welch and Hermes at its 90-acre Panattoni Park Aylesford, and pre-letting the rest of the space with prospective tenants.

Business News of this year. We look forward to welcoming them to the park, with other well-known and respected occupiers to follow.” The two units, each of 100,000 sq ft and 130,000 sq ft respectively, are expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2023. They will be built to a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ and an EPC rating of ‘A’. They will benefit from 15m clear internal height, two level access doors, electric charging points for cars, access to the park’s car share scheme and 50m yard depths. The development of the speculative units follows detailed discussions between Panattoni and other occupiers on the remainder of the park, which when fully occupied will be home to more than 3,000 employees.

Tony Watkins, development director at Panattoni, said: “Our decision to speculatively develop the final two units reflects the strong demand from occupiers looking to benefit from Aylesford’s excellent location.

“In the nine months since we acquired the site, we have let nearly 80% of the space. Our team is on site delivering multiple buildings with the first ones ready for occupation in the third quarter

Panattoni Park Aylesford is being developed as a high-quality logistics space on the former Aylesford Newsprint site, close to junction 4 of the M20, to serve London and the south east. The £180 million investment will secure a sustainable logistics development, infrastructure, parking, landscaping and access, including the new £7 million Bellingham Way link road.

Kent Community Foundation team go wild! Kent Community Foundation grant-makers enjoyed time away from the office at an Ashford Forest School with community group Step-Out.

Since 2012 Step-Out has been working with children and adults in the outdoors using the natural environment as a tool to inspire people. Kent Community Foundation spent two hours with them as part of its programme to spend quality time with groups that it has funded.

At the Ashford Forest School, the grant-makers were split into two groups to collect kindling and wood before competing to build the best fire and then design and make a pot holder that would suspend a kettle over the flames.

After boiling water they collected Elderflowers and left their chief executive to pick off the individual flower heads while the rest of the group collected stinging nettles and Cleavers. The Elderflowers were steeped with lemons and

limes to make an Elderflower cordial and the nettles and Cleavers were ground together in a pestle and mortar to make a spring tonic.

Josephine McCartney, chief executive of Kent Community Foundation, said: “Having spent so many months working on our own from home during the pandemic, and only meeting on Zoom, we have been discussing how important it is to spend quality time with each other. The team

has compiled a programme of activities for us to get together out of the office and find out more about some of the amazing groups that we have funded across Kent and Medway.” Kent Community Foundation had been funding Step-Out since 2019 and has received a total of £23,000 in grants.

For more information visit and

Thinking Business


New Members

Welcome to our new members Appataxi Ltd

Birchington 01843 296444 Taxi Booking Service App

Canterbury Kia

Canterbury 01227 208920 Car Sales and Servicing

Canterbury Music Vibe

Whitstable 01227 933713 Music Production

CCBD Group Ltd

Chatham 01634 968340 Integrated Construction Services

Consort Insurance

Witham 01621 890285 Insurance Broker

Construction Estimating Kent Ltd Ashford 07778 856287 Freelance Estimating Services to Main and Sub Contractors

Cyber Engineers CIC Chatham 0333 577 2443 Training & Consultancy

48 Thinking Business


Imago Community

Facet Technical & Resource Solutions Ltd

Intra Interiors

Orpington 07958 627005 Medical Sciences

Gillingham 01634 262848 Fire Alarm Installation & Fire Safety


Folkestone 01303 850186 Construction Industry and Health & Safety Training

Financial Advice & Services Ltd Folkestone 01303 273273 Independent Financial Advisers

H & K Training Services Ltd Ashford 01233 720113 Health & Safety Training Services

Howletts & Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks Hythe 01303 264647 Animal Conservation

Tunbridge Wells 01892 530330 Wellbing Support for Children & Young Adults Living In Kent

Folkestone 07979 552150 Sustainable Interior Design

JE Bennett Law

Tunbridge Wells 01892 487746 Court of Protection & Power of Attorney Solicitors

Laura Chambers Digital

Gillingham 07807 601005 Social Media Manager and Strategist

Lock Roofing Contractors Ltd Maidstone 07952 938 985 Roofing

Lockwood Building Projects Folkestone 07395 042331 Surveyor

New Members

Enhance LS Express Ltd Sittingbourne 01795 411596 Freight Forwarding

Maidstone Innovation Centre

Maidstone 01622 602462 Serviced Office, Hot Desking, Virtual Membership, Conferencing

Metal Frame Tech Ltd

Ramsgate 07866 056394 Light Steel Frame Construction

Metro Plumb Maidstone Northfleet 07387 593393 Plumbing

MKA Architects Ltd Tonbridge 01732 850995 Architect


Rochester 07745 901815 HR Consultancy

Prowired Electrical Ltd Sittingbourne 01795 470285 Electrical Contracting

Protect Redhound for Dogs

Headcorn 01622 297100 Manufacture/Retail of Sight Hound Clothing

Scream Digital UK Tenterden 01392 343050 Web Design

Solaris Energy Ltd

Canterbury 01227 935927 Heat Pump Design, Installation and Maintenance


Dover 07554 663184 Mobile Massage Therapist


Folkestone 01303 764580 CDM, Construction, Risk and Health and Safety Management Consultancy


Connect Tecnis Academy

Sittingbourne 07792 834542 Education - Online Private Tuition

The Aspinall Foundation Lympne 01303 264647 Conservation Charity

The Education and Skills Partnership Ltd

Ashford 01233 632111 Supporting UK Employers and Learners to Grow their Skills through Training and Skill Strategies

The Insight House West Wickham 07894 276239 Customer Strategy

Wave Community Bank Hove 0300 303 3188 Financial Services

Whitstable 07414 903868 Full Service Global Marketing Agency

Thinking Business


Last Word

Nishil Parmar Project Centre Ltd Associate Director I currently lead the Project Centre, Kent Highways and Transportation team based in our Ashford Office. I work with many clients including Kent County Council and the Kent Districts. I am a Chartered Civil Engineer with experience on a variety of projects from highways major projects to traffic safety and town centre regeneration schemes. I also have Middle East experience working in Qatar for several years on infrastructure projects for the World Cup 2022. What was your first job and what was the pay packet? Placement Student Highways Officer at a London Local Authority. Minimum wage with travel paid. What do you always carry with you to work? I am trying to be more health conscious therefore I carry turmeric tea to try to reduce the number of coffees per day. What is the biggest challenge facing your business? Recruitment of skilled staff in Kent – Civil Engineering, Highway and Transportation sector. If you were Prime Minister, what one thing would you change to help business? More project and industry visibility, less red tape and the green light for certain projects. What can you see from your office window? Hollywood Bowl in Ashford. If you could do another job what would it be? Some form of voluntary work as it is something I am keen to do but don’t have the time. As a business person, what are your three main qualities? Leadership, approachability and commitment. What was your biggest mistake in business? I haven’t got my own business but I would say being too analytical on a potential opportunity. What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Challenge yourself and keep learning. Who do you most admire in business? The Dragons in Dragon’s Den. Not only because of their TV personality but because of their knowledge and experience.

50 Thinking Business

New role for Bethan

Caxtons Property Consultants is delighted to announce the promotion of Bethan Smith to Head of Insurance Services. Bethan joined Caxtons in 2019 and swiftly became an invaluable member of the insurance team assisting rapid growth and the development of a successful business model. Announcing the promotion, Graham Mitchell, Financial Director, and

New Partner joins Furley Page’s Commercial Property team Leading South East law firm Furley Page has appointed a Partner with more than 20 years’ experience in commercial and agricultural property matters to its highly regarded Commercial Property team. Sarah Webster joined the firm this month after almost nine years as Partner and Head of Agriculture at another leading Kent law firm. She becomes the second Partner in the firm’s eight-strong Commercial Property team and will work

Antonio Fletcher to head Whitehead Monckton’s Employment team The directors and staff are pleased to announce and welcome the appointment of Antonio Fletcher as the firm’s new Head of the Employment team.

Director of Insurance said: “Bethan has been an invaluable member of our insurance team for the last three years, during which time she has shown her commitment to the highest level of performance and dedication in providing an excellent service to our clients, alongside her colleague, Sandra Strange. I was delighted to offer Bethan the position of Head of Insurance Services at Caxtons and feel that she is ideally suited to the role. I look forward to working closely with her over the coming years to develop the department still further.” Commenting on her new role, Bethan said: “As Head of Insurance Services, running the department day to day, I will be working closely with our clients, property managers and my team, ensuring that all client needs alongside Managing Partner and Head of Real Estate, Jeremy Licence, to offer advice on a full range of commercial property matters. She will serve as the new Head of the firm’s Agriculture and Rural Business team, which is recognised for its expertise by independent legal guides, The Legal 500 and Chambers UK. Sarah has also featured in both guides for her knowledge in the agriculture and rural sector for a number of years. As agricultural businesses seek to diversify their operations, Sarah’s experience in commercial property and real estate enables her to provide rounded property advice to any modern agricultural and rural business. Sarah has also acted for businesses in many other sectors, most notably, waste management and renewable energy companies on property-related matters, including the acquisition of sites and the use of restored landfill sites Antonio joins us from Brachers LLP where he was a Partner in their Employment Team and Head of their Education Sector Team. Antonio advises clients on all areas of Employment Law in addition to Data Protection matters. He is well known among his clients for providing astute, commercial advice based on their needs and objectives in a straightforward and concise way. The firm’s Managing Director, Chris Longden says: “It is always great to announce the appointment of new talent to our ever-expanding team, we are eagerly awaiting to see how Antonio will shape and drive the team going forward. We know that

Movers and Shakers

are met from the outset of our appointment and no matter how small or how large the claim.

“I am particularly looking forward to being able to take the insurance department into a new era, with new ways of working to ensure that we obtain the best possible outcome for our clients and the future of our department.” Bethan is a keen photographer and can often be found behind the lens, she even has time to help with her families’ photography business and enjoys unwinding with her family, husband and friends over dinner and days out in and around her hometown of Herne Bay in Kent. We wish Bethan every success! as translocator sites for strategic development projects, almshouse charities with significant property interests, and pension funds looking to acquire or lease property. Jeremy Licence, Managing Partner at Furley Page, said: “We are delighted to welcome Sarah to the firm. She has vast experience acting for clients across Kent and Sussex and her appointment greatly strengthens both our Real Estate and Agriculture and Rural business teams, ensuring we can continue to serve our clients by providing legal advice of the highest calibre. “Her wide-ranging expertise across a number of practice areas will be of huge benefit to our clients on all matters relating to commercial property and real estate, agriculture and rural business activities, and I very much look forward to working with her.” For more information email Sarah Webster at Antonio’s ambition and business network make him the ideal recruit to lead our team in the future.” Antonio Fletcher, our new head of Employment says: “I am delighted to have joined Whitehead Monckton. The firm’s desire to provide a topclass Employment Law service to clients across a range of sectors is entirely in line with my own. I look forward to building on the existing foundations of an experienced team to develop the practice further and contribute to the firm’s continued growth and success.” For more information, please visit

Copy Deadline: News items for the October-November issue to be submitted by 9th September

Solu�ons Provider for the Built Environment #doingitdifferently Baxall are commi�ed to con�nuously improve and grow the business through teamwork, innova�on, and efficiency, embracing our core values and the delivery of excep�onal performance to our valued customers from build to beyond. Baxall are a Solu�ons Provider for the Built Environment, providing a whole life solu�on, through design, construc�on, maintenance, and op�misa�on.