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BGC News p1

19/11/10

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ISSUE 3

 Main Switchboard: 01782 826939

 Website: bgcgroup.co.uk

news ‘everything under one roof’

AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE

Renewable Revolution  SEE CENTRE PAGES


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By BGC Executive Directors Mark Sims and Steve Hancock T BGC there is always a willingness to embrace change and take up new challenges – whilst maintaining the sound business foundations on which our company is built. So we have wasted no time in gearing up to the important challenge of developing the know-how to install state-of-the-art renewable energy systems including a wide-range of solar panels and heat source pumps. As you will read in the renewables feature on pages eight and nine, BGC is already accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and we have invested in establishing a centre of excellence for training on the installation of renewable energy technology. We have quickly gained a track-record in working with this relatively new technology and we are winning contracts by competitive tender. BGC is a serious player in the renewable energy market which we are confident will be another growth area for us. Talking about growth, we are delighted that we have been able to sustain the expansion of our business despite the difficulties caused by national economic problems. In fact since the financial crisis first impacted, annual turnover has risen from £5.5 million in 2008 to more than £8million over the past year.

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Mark Sims, right, and Steve Hancock pictured outside BGC’s new Renewable Energy Training Centre.

This is a tremendous credit to everyone at BGC from the management to the tradesmen working on the frontline and doing a first-class job for our customers. The company is fortunate to have many excellent employees and we believe there is great team-spirit among the 100-strong workforce. This is epitomised by Steve Wright who has been appointed Operations Director with responsibility for the dayto-day managing of our services. Steve, who has been a key figure in the company for many years, will also be playing a pivotal role – alongside our new Renewables and Excellence Director Mark Davies – in continuing

our growth. Although BGC started life as gas heating specialists, the company now has the full-range of construction industry skills in-house and is firmly established as a “one stop shop” for home property, maintenance and improvements. We are always tendering for new contracts – and our reputation for completing jobs “on time, within budget” helps to support our pitch. But looking after our existing, much-valued customers is a fundamental principle of our business culture. Without our customers we would not exist – so making sure we maintain the highest standards of service is our constant challenge.

Key positions at helm of company’s parent group BGC founders Mark Sims and Steve Hancock have been appointed to key positions in the company’s parent group, Environ plc. Mark has become the group’s Chief Executive Officer and Steve has the role of Executive Director for the group which includes BGC, Newcastle upon Tyne-based building services company Fenhams and fire and corrosive protection specialists IPCL. They both have overall responsibility for BGC and the group’s registered office

2 BGC NEWS

is now at BGC’s Stoke-on-Trent headquarters to reflect their executive duties for Environ. Mark and Steve report directly to group Chairman Nigel Wray who is one

of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. Nigel, who is Chairman of Saracens Rugby Club, is Non Executive Director of Networkers International plc, English Wines Group plc, Seymour Pierce Holdings Ltd, Prestbury Investments Holdings Ltd, Play Holdings Ltd and several other private companies. The group’s name Environ reflects its green credentials and its commitment to growth in the renewable energy technology market.


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Pulling out all the stops on the peaks and plains ORK to improve hundreds of properties around Cheshire is earning BGC the highest levels of customer satisfaction. The company secured the work after winning a complex tender with Cheshire Peaks and Plains Housing Trust. Work includes installing 100 bathrooms and kitchens, around 60 major rewires and 250 improvements to heating systems. The whole range of BGC trades is involved in delivering the work, including joiners, bricklayers, plasterers, heating engineers, plumbers, tilers and electricians. And the Trust was so pleased with BGC’s proposals in response to the tender, they immediately expanded the

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Around 99 per cent of the people whose homes we have worked in say they are pleased with what we have done BGC Operations Director Steve Wright

workload to include a comprehensive separate programme of mains and earthing works to be completed by the electrical division. BGC Operations Director Steve Wright explained that the main internals contract covered kitchen and bathroom installations, multi-fuel heating solutions, rewires and electrical

 Electrician John Wheeldon working at a home in Manor Crescent, Knutsford, for Cheshire Peaks and Plains Housing Trust.

 Electrician’s Mate Ben Meredith spells it out – BGC are tops with wires.

upgrades. He said: “We were delighted to be successful in the tendering exercise and are enjoying working for Cheshire Peaks and Plains Housing Trust. The work is going very well and we are meeting our Key Performance Indicators. “More importantly we are achieving very high levels of customer satisfaction, with around 99 per cent of the people whose homes we have worked in saying they are pleased with what we have done.” The addition of the mains and earthing works – of which around 35 a week are being carried out by BGC electricians – bodes well for the future relationship between the company and the housing trust. Steve said: “They are a great organisation to work for and we are already talking to them about how BGC can add value to the contract by contributing to their social inclusion agenda and including Cheshire Peaks and Plains in our apprenticeship programme.” Carl Newby, who leads the housing trust’s Asset Management Team in charge of the refurbishment and improvement contracts, said BGC were one of the better suppliers they had dealt with. He said: “We are pleased with the work they are doing, the way BGC staff liaise with our customers and the fact that customer satisfaction levels are through the roof.” BGC NEWS 3


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 Steve Lockett flies his radio-controlled Raptor 30 model helicopter.

Flights of

FUN

Steve flies aircraft but keeps his feet on the ground N his spare time Steve Lockett likes nothing better than to take the controls of one of his three helicopters or two light planes. However the BGC bricklayer keeps his feet firmly on the ground while putting his collection of aircraft through their paces – for they are all radio–controlled models. Steve and fellow members of the Twister Rotors Club regularly fly their helicopters together in a sports hall near Nantwich where the perfectly scaled down versions of the real thing hover in the air and carry out mid-air manoeuvres, carefully piloted by a delicate touch on Steve’s hand-held console.

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As well as three helicopters (a Raptor 30, T-Rex 450 and Honeybee King 2) Steve has two fixed wing planes – a Rising Star and Electric Multiplex – which are both around four feet long and can reach up to 90 mph! His aircraft have engines powered either by nitro fuel or electricity.

Loop the loop Steve really reaches for the sky when he flies his planes outdoors as a member of the Spitfire Club from the club’s own airstrip at Acton, North Staffordshire, which has its own runway, and also from a piece of open land owned by a friend. He said: “Some radio-controlled planes can reach 200mph and cost £2,000 although mine were not that expensive. In fact I started up for about £120. It’s great fun and I particularly like to fly my planes through the loop the loop and

figure of eight. We also go to see the real professionals give radio-controlled flying displays at shows.” Steve’s pastime used to be radiocontrolled cars but he swapped wheels for wings and rotor blades after a friend introduced him to the aerial delights of flying radio-controlled aircraft. However he did once get to try the real thing – with a trial flight at the controls of a Cessna 182 as a 40th birthday present from his wife Lyn. “It was great fun,” said Steve. “I flew over Stoke-on-Trent and took an aerial picture of my own house,” His two grown-up daughters have never shown an interest in radiocontrolled planes, but Steve hopes that his 16-month-old grandson Daniel will share an interest in the hobby when he’s older.

Supporting community group in a very practical way BGC is looking to back a group for people with learning difficulties by helping a proposed project to refurbish their base. Speaking Up, Speaking Out – which has received support from Cheshire Peaks and Plains Housing Trust – is

4 BGC NEWS

applying for funding to develop the shop unit in Park Lane, Macclesfield. BGC have offered to provide a range of services, and to seek support from some of their suppliers who might chip in by donating fixtures and fittings such as items for bathrooms and kitchens.

Business Excellence Manager Mark Davies said:“This is one way BGC can help by putting something back into the communities we serve, and it gives our apprentices and employees an understanding of the diversity of our customers.”


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SOCIAL INCLUSION IS

part of business INKS with partners, customers and training providers are all being forged to strengthen BGC’s future. Filling the new position of Renewables and Excellence Director Mark Davies has a wide-ranging brief to develop all parts of the business. He plays an active role in tendering and pitching for business, while strengthening all aspects of the group’s performance to make it even more appealing to customers. That means looking for opportunities to diversify and generate new business while adding value to all of BGC’s operations. It is good news for customers, who can expect additional support from BGC, and for employees who

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might be able to take a break from their “day job” to do something completely different. The company’s status as a growing player in providing services to large organisations like social housing groups or local authorities enables it to give more back to the communities it serves.

Opportunities It is already strengthening its links with Cheshire Peaks and Plains Housing Trust by supporting a group for people with learning difficulties (see page four), and is also using its apprenticeship programme to provide job opportunities in the areas where it is working. Mark explained: “My role is as much about expanding the

business’s customer service and the added value we offer as it is about expanding the business. “Working across such a wide geographic area, for so many different customers, gives us an almost unique opportunity to create training and employment. And because so many of our customers provide homes for people in deprived areas, or people who are vulnerable or who have special needs, it’s appropriate that we can offer help like this. “Social inclusion is such an important part of our business and we are proud that BGC is able to make a difference to people’s lives,” BGC are finding that by offering to help with

 Renewables and Excellence Director Mark Davies.

community initiatives, or by building employment and training opportunities into contracts, they are building stronger relationships with customers. Links being forged now could pay dividends with additional business in the future.

Slick office team are vital to efficiency CUSTOMER service staff at BGC pull out all the stops to make sure the company’s huge range of services run quickly and efficiently. From the moment a call to the company’s contact centre flags up a job, the team organises the necessary survey and schedules the task for completion. And while most of BGC’s contracts have their own targets and timescales for turnaround, each and every job is covered by BGC’s own customer service pledge. Compliance Manager Sue Howell said: “Providing the highest standard of customer service helps us win and retain our contracts with local authorities, housing associations and other large customers. But looking after the people whose homes and lives we can help improve has always been an important part of life at BGC. “The headquarters customer service team liaise with our engineers and teams to make sure jobs are actioned and completed on time. And with so much expertise within the company, we can provide additional resources to areas wherever they are needed. “We also monitor the quality of work by including a customer satisfaction survey in every job pack. On Warmfront work we phone every customer to make sure they are happy with work, and address any issues prior to final inspection.”

 Sales Administration Officers Alison Howshall, left, and Kerry Buttery are part of BGC’s office-based customer service team.

BGC NEWS 5


CASE STUDY

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Matt’s mentor is vital ATT Wood wanted to be a musician when he left Wolstanton High School in 2009 at the age of 16 with several GCSEs – but his dad persuaded him it would be a better idea to find a skilled trade. That led him to PM Training and after a short period of pre-entry training during which he gained a City and Guilds qualification in Key Skills, Matt, now aged 18, decided he was most interested in becoming a heating engineer. Since taking that decision he has been placed with BGC as an Apprentice Heating Engineer and is now in the second year of his three-year training programme with the company. The young apprentice is mentored full-time by one of BGC’s team of fully

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As part of the training I have to be sure that I am always polite and treat the homes and property of customers with respect Apprentice Heating Engineer Matt Wood

qualified and experienced heating engineers, and so far Matt has been “on the road” with his colleague acquiring the skills necessary to install domestic central heating boilers. As well as spending four days on site Matt also attends Stoke on Trent College one day a week with the ultimate aim of achieving an NVQ level 3 in Gas

Engineering and the industry-recognised ACS qualification he will need to become a registered heating engineer. Matt said: “My mentor talks to me all the time he is working, telling me what he is doing and why, and I know I can always ask him about anything I’m not sure of.” Matt also carries out some of the practical work on site, though this is always done under close supervision. He added: “I’m really

enjoying the training. The support from BGC is first rate and I feel as though I am learning a lot about the skills involved. “Also, going into people’s homes as part of my work is developing my communication skills. “As part of the training I have to be sure that I am always polite and treat the homes and property of customers with respect because I am representing BGC.”

CASE STUDY

Tom is on the way to achieving ambition

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It’s brilliant experience and I love the work. I’m just looking forward to completing my portfolio now. Apprentice Electrician Tom Dean

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BGC apprentice Tom Dean is well on the way to achieving his dream of becoming a fully qualified and experienced electrician. The 19-year-old from Kidsgrove left Maryhill High School three years ago with 10 GCSEs and a clear vision for his future career. So he studied hard over the next two years at Newcastle under Lyme College to pass his City and Guilds Certificate in Electrotechnical Technology at both Levels 2 and 3. He then completed a 12-week course at the same college to earn the benchmark qualification covering the 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations. As he completed his courses, Tom continued trying to secure an apprenticeship but met with little success despite 30 letters to prospective employers. His girlfriend, herself an apprentice in Business

Management at PM Training, alerted him to opportunities at her organisation. Tom, through PM Training, is now scheduled to complete his portfolio with another year of training starting in September. He has been placed with BGC as an Apprentice Electrician and currently works five days a week at sites across the country under the supervision of experienced electricians. Tom said:“I work with different people all the time and get to see lots of different places apart from just sunny Stoke. “It’s brilliant experience and I love the work. I’m just looking forward to completing my portfolio now. My Mum and Dad are proud and impressed by it all.” ● BGC’s other two Apprentice Electricians are Adam Scarsbrook and Rob Cannon.


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Praise for commitment to

trade apprentices

COMMITMENT to providing high-quality trade apprenticeships for young people has earned BGC praise from a leading training organisation. The company employs 12 Apprentice Heating Engineers and three Apprentice Electricians – and prides itself on the resources and care it puts into on-site training and mentoring from experienced craftsmen. Stephen Rushton, Head of Partnerships for PM Training – part of the Aspire housing group – said BGC has shown exemplary social responsibility in giving school leavers opportunities.

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Impressed He said: “For them to take on 15 apprentices in the current economic climate is fantastic. “There is going to be a need for skilled tradesman in the future and BGC are making an important contribution. “We have been impressed with the time and effort made by BGC to ensure their apprentices receive quality on-site training – this is a credit to everyone involved including the craftsman who pass on their knowledge.”

Pre-entry training The apprentices are at various stages of a three year training course which includes one day a week study at college to train for City and Guilds qualifications. All of them have been recruited from PM Training who provide pre-entry training in basic skills. BGC Operations Director Steve Wright believes the apprenticeships are a vital investment in the company’s future – and a way of giving something back to the local communities they serve. He said: “We are proud to be able to give opportunities for young people to get on the career ladder by providing thorough and responsible apprenticeships. The added bonus for BGC

BGC’s Apprentice Gas Engineers pictured at the Seddon Building at Stoke on Trent College’s Burslem Campus: outer circle clockwise from the front, Daniel Ball, Ben Nallo, Matt Wood, Josh Hopwood, James Tatton, Alex Fisher, Jake Fallon, Tom Phillips, Adam Picking, and the two in the middle are Josh Hughes (top) and James Hackney. Unable to attend the photo-call was Matthew Pallington.

is that we have a conveyor belt of skilled heating engineers and electricians who, hopefully, will want to work for the company for many years to come.”

First awards day event BGC plans to hold its first Apprentice Day next spring to celebrate the achievements of its growing band of young trainees. At the heart of proceedings will be the company’s own Apprentice of the Year awards, and it is hoped to present prizes to the winners. There are also plans to use part of the day for team-building exercises like paintballing.

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BGC has quickly established itself as leading installer of renewable energy technology – and has opened up a pioneering national training centre

Why solar panels make economic sense... GOVERNMENT subsidies and huge savings in electricity costs make photovoltaic (PV) solar panels one of the most attractive green technologies, as they offer a huge return on investment over the years, while cutting costs and saving the planet. Registered social landlords like housing associations are already starting to convert their homes to offer fuel cost savings to vulnerable or low income customers. The Government is encouraging homeowners to generate their own electricity from renewable sources by:  Paying the homeowner 41.3p for every kWh a home solar power system generates.  Making the payments tax free and index linked, so they will grow in line with inflation for 25 years.  If you send power to the National Grid you will receive a bonus payment of 3p per kWh.  Electricity you generate and use in your home means you pay for less power. Each kWh is worth about 13p, which adds up to an additional saving of between £100 and £200.  Generating electricity using photovoltaic (PV) cells is environmentallyfriendly and releases no carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere.

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Leading the way towards

a greener future HE future’s green for BGC after the launch of a pioneering centre of excellence for training on the installation of renewable energy technology. As well as training staff for its own growing renewables division, the purpose-built centre in Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, will provide skills for a new breed of environmentally-friendly technicians, all set to install solar power and heat source pumps in homes and businesses. The BGC centre is fully kitted out to demonstrate the latest technology and train new installers in fitting the panels and converters needed to make electricity from the rays of the sun, called photovoltaic (PV) technology. Trainees can also learn to install air or ground source heat pumps, and solar panels which heat water.

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Above, Electrician Brent Berridge pictured with a photovoltaic solar panel outside BGC’s Renewable Energy Training Centre. Below, Renewables Supervisor Wayne Burnett working on the internal section of an air source heat pump at the Training Centre.

Groundbreaking work There are even pitched roofs at ground level to allow trainees to fit solar panels without having to work at height. BGC sees green energy installations as a major growth area in the future as they tie in with so much of the group’s current work and customer base. And the company is already accredited under the Microgeneration Certification

A solar panel domestic inverter – which is located in a home loft to convert the solar energy to mains power – is set up at the Training Centre by Apprentice Adam Scarsbrook.

Scheme (MCS) to carry out the installations. Experienced members of the BGC team were behind some of the UK’s biggest ever PV installations. They completed the groundbreaking work to install one of largest combined solar thermal and photovoltaic arrays in the UK on the side of utility giant E-ON’s head office in Coventry. Not only does the installation provide a working example of what a large commercial array could generate – 25 mega watt hours – it also saves 14.2 tonnes of CO2 per annum. As well as working on domestic properties, BGC will also be marketing the large scale benefits of PV arrays at commercial premises. Renewables and Excellence Director Mark Davies said: “As a group we are always looking to diversify and for new business opportunities. “Clearly renewable energy Apprentice is an exciting opportunity for Adam us to provide new skills and Scarsbrook new services. It saves the hangs a solar customer money by reducing panel on one electricity bills, can make of the Training them a significant return on Centre’s ground-level their investment through pitched roofs. government subsidies and is a 100 per cent green energy

MP hails company’s vision and action

source as it has zero carbon emissions. “We have identified local authorities and registered social landlords, private domestic properties and industrial and commercial as our main target market. Training at our own renewable energy centre fits in nicely with our commitment to apprentices and links with local colleges.” ● BGC plans to open up the centre to give local schoolchildren an insight into renewable energy technology. They will use practical demonstrations including solar-powered toys. BGC Compliance Manager Sue Howell sets up the new reception at the Training Centre.

STOKE-ON-TRENT North MP Joan Walley, pictured above, has paid tribute to BGC’s vision in setting up its renewables division and dedicated training facilities. Joan, who chairs Parliament’s influential Environmental Audit Select Committee, said driving forward environmentallyfriendly energy was a springboard to more job opportunities. She said: “Make no bones about it, the biggest challenge facing us is creating a zero-carbon economy. “By setting up this renewable energy training centre BGC is demonstrating that it is a local business at the cutting edge of the renewable revolution. “Having campaigned at local level for energy efficiency improvements in homes and commercial buildings and at national level for climate change action and a green investment bank to finance this step change – I am delighted to have a business in my constituency which is turning this vision into action. “I intend to do all I can to make sure local green jobs continue to be created.”

BGC NEWS 9


BGC News p8-9 ALT

22/11/10

10:32

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BGC has quickly established itself as leading installer of renewable energy technology – and has opened up a pioneering national training centre

Why solar panels make economic sense... GOVERNMENT subsidies and huge savings in electricity costs make photovoltaic (PV) solar panels one of the most attractive green technologies, as they offer a huge return on investment over the years, while cutting costs and saving the planet. Registered social landlords like housing associations are already starting to convert their homes to offer fuel cost savings to vulnerable or low income customers. The Government is encouraging homeowners to generate their own electricity from renewable sources by:  Paying the homeowner 41.3p for every kWh a home solar power system generates.  Making the payments tax free and index linked, so they will grow in line with inflation for 25 years.  If you send power to the National Grid you will receive a bonus payment of 3p per kWh.  Electricity you generate and use in your home means you pay for less power. Each kWh is worth about 13p, which adds up to an additional saving of between £100 and £200.  Generating electricity using photovoltaic (PV) cells is environmentallyfriendly and releases no carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere.

8 BGC NEWS

Leading the way towards

a greener future HE future’s green for BGC after the launch of a pioneering centre of excellence for training on the installation of renewable energy technology. As well as training staff for its own growing renewables division, the purpose-built centre in Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, will provide skills for a new breed of environmentally-friendly technicians, all set to install solar power and heat source pumps in homes and businesses. The BGC centre is fully kitted out to demonstrate the latest technology and train new installers in fitting the panels and converters needed to make electricity from the rays of the sun, called photovoltaic (PV) technology. Trainees can also learn to install air or ground source heat pumps, and solar panels which heat water.

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Above, Electrician Brent Berridge pictured with a photovoltaic solar panel outside BGC’s Renewable Energy Training Centre. Below, Renewables Supervisor Wayne Burnett working on the internal section of an air source heat pump at the Training Centre.

Groundbreaking work There are even pitched roofs at ground level to allow trainees to fit solar panels without having to work at height. BGC sees green energy installations as a major growth area in the future as they tie in with so much of the group’s current work and customer base. And the company is already accredited under the Microgeneration Certification

A solar panel domestic inverter – which is located in a home loft to convert the solar energy to mains power – is set up at the Training Centre by Apprentice Adam Scarsbrook.

Scheme (MCS) to carry out the installations. Experienced members of the BGC team were behind some of the UK’s biggest ever PV installations. They completed the groundbreaking work to install one of largest combined solar thermal and photovoltaic arrays in the UK on the side of utility giant E-ON’s head office in Coventry. Not only does the installation provide a working example of what a large commercial array could generate – 25 mega watt hours – it also saves 14.2 tonnes of CO2 per annum. As well as working on domestic properties, BGC will also be marketing the large scale benefits of PV arrays at commercial premises. Renewables and Excellence Director Mark Davies said: “As a group we are always looking to diversify and for new business opportunities. “Clearly renewable energy Apprentice is an exciting opportunity for Adam us to provide new skills and Scarsbrook new services. It saves the hangs a solar customer money by reducing panel on one electricity bills, can make of the Training them a significant return on Centre’s ground-level their investment through pitched roofs. government subsidies and is a 100 per cent green energy

MP hails company’s vision and action

source as it has zero carbon emissions. “We have identified local authorities and registered social landlords, private domestic properties and industrial and commercial as our main target market. Training at our own renewable energy centre fits in nicely with our commitment to apprentices and links with local colleges.” ● BGC plans to open up the centre to give local schoolchildren an insight into renewable energy technology. They will use practical demonstrations including solar-powered toys. BGC Compliance Manager Sue Howell sets up the new reception at the Training Centre.

STOKE-ON-TRENT North MP Joan Walley, pictured above, has paid tribute to BGC’s vision in setting up its renewables division and dedicated training facilities. Joan, who chairs Parliament’s influential Environmental Audit Select Committee, said driving forward environmentallyfriendly energy was a springboard to more job opportunities. She said: “Make no bones about it, the biggest challenge facing us is creating a zero-carbon economy. “By setting up this renewable energy training centre BGC is demonstrating that it is a local business at the cutting edge of the renewable revolution. “Having campaigned at local level for energy efficiency improvements in homes and commercial buildings and at national level for climate change action and a green investment bank to finance this step change – I am delighted to have a business in my constituency which is turning this vision into action. “I intend to do all I can to make sure local green jobs continue to be created.”

BGC NEWS 9


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Fire protection for

iconic buildings GC is giving peace of mind to leading UK construction companies with a comprehensive fire and corrosion protection service for new public buildings. Through its sister company IPCL, a raft of expert solutions can be supplied to organisations, including insulation, air and acoustic sealing, fire door installation and the application of a heat resistant “intumescent” coating. The 02 arena (formerly the Millennium Dome), the Greater London Assembly building and the Manchester Joint Hospitals facility are among the high-profile buildings the company has worked on. And a blue-chip list of companies rank among its clients, including AMEC, Sir Robert McAlpine, Taylor Woodrow and Bovis. IPCL provide a fully comprehensive one-stop shop of fire protection services. When completed it allows for comprehensive fire certification to be provided, minimising the need for multiple contractors and warranties on a single project. The company’s services are fully accredited by FIRAS – an industry recognised standard, which guarantees the quality of the work carried out. Ongoing projects include work

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THE SHARD: which will be the tallest building in the European Union when complete in 2012.

 The Greater London Assembly by Tower Bridge on the Thames.

to fireproof the iconic Shard building at London Bridge – which, when completed in 2012, will be the European Union’s tallest building. Mark Sims, Chief Executive of the Environ Group, said: “Through the close working with both clients and suppliers, IPCL are able to provide and implement solutions to all aspects of site fire protection and corrosion requirements. “This allows us, with flexibility and resourcefulness, to undertake and complete the most complex of projects on schedule and within budget.”  For more information about the fire protection service contact BGC on 01782 826939.

Copyright of Sellar Group

The O2 Arena in London’s Docklands. 10 BGC NEWS


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Kickstart scheme work set to enter new era

Roof Tiler Lee Matthews who is one of the BGC team working on a re-roofing contract for the Aspire housing group. Below, Lee pictured outside homes at Knutton which are having new roofs.

Winning their spurs

up on the roof VERCOMING the challenges caused by the most severe winter weather for many years helped BGC’s roofing team “win their spurs” on a major contract. The company won a tender to re-roof 38 bungalows and 90 houses for the Aspire housing group in the Kidsgrove and Knutton areas of North Staffordshire. BGC began the job last October at the start of winter, completing the work on schedule despite “downtime” caused by snow and frost. As a result, Aspire awarded them another contract this year to re-roof a further 75 homes. Aspire Senior Technical Surveyor Kevin Beattie said: “We have always had a good working relationship with BGC on other maintenance work but

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they had not done any roofing for us before. “Winter is not the best time to be carrying out roofing work and, bearing in mind the severe weather of the last winter, for them to complete the work to a high standard on time is an excellent achievement. As a result we were more than happy for them to do further re-roofing work this year.” BGC Operations Director Steve Wright said the Aspire work was the biggest roofing contract the company has won so far – so they were determined to hit the deadlines. He said: “We had a dedicated team of roofers and scaffolders with a ‘can do’ attitude. After we lost days because of the extreme weather we allocated more people to work on the contract on the days the weather picked up – to ensure the job was completed on time. “I like to think we won our spurs as a roofing contractor with Aspire and we were rewarded with more work.”

BGC is extending its major property renovation work as part of a Government-led scheme which gives vulnerable and low income home owners financial help to improve their properties. The Kick Start programme provides an innovative type of loan up to £30,000 to pay for home repairs and renovations such as a new roof, replacing doors and windows, installation of new central heating, kitchen or bathroom and improvements to the damp course. Six years ago BGC was appointed an approved contractor by Staffordshire Housing Association’s Revival Home Improvement Agency to carry out improvements and bring privately owned homes in Stoke-on-Trent up to the Government’s Decent Homes Standard. Since then BGC has carried out more than £3 million worth of work on hundreds of homes in the city – a success story that is now entering another exciting chapter. For BGC has been appointed as an approved contractor by the Revival agency so that the company can now also tender for Kick Start works in the Staffordshire Moorlands area. Under the Kick Start scheme the lender takes a percentage of the equity of the property to the value of the interest free loan which is repaid only when the house is sold on – and the money is ploughed back into the scheme so others can benefit. Andy Hughes, BGC’s Senior Contracts Manager for Building and Projects, said: “We have proved we have the range of building industry skills to carry out all types of refurbishments needed to bring houses up to present day standards.”

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Random site visits boost

health & safety AILY random site visits are helping BGC to maintain and improve its enviable record on health and safety. The appointment of full-time H&S Officer Andy Gallimore enables BGC to strengthen its monitoring and compliance in an area gaining in importance as the company grows. Andy, 38, retrained in health and safety two years ago after working as a site supervisor with large construction specialist Seddons. He completed the globally-recognised Health and Safety at Work qualification offered by the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) and in future Health and Safety Officer Andy aims to complete a degree-level NVQ 4 in the Gallimore makes a subject. unannounced site visit in Now, as BGC grows to provide even more Adderley Road, Norton, services across a wider geographical area where Heating Engineer for new customers, keeping the workforce Rich Price is working – safe and making sure everyone knows their and he gives him responsibilities is even more important. full marks.

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Protective clothing A typical day for Andy starts with a check of the work rotas for teams on roofing, gas, plumbing, electrical, renewable and general maintenance. He then plans a series of unannounced site visits to assess all aspects of health and safety in the workplace. Andy said: “We start with the basics like signage on site and protective clothing. It is vital that everyone working for BGC understands they have an important part to play in making sure our workforce, and our customers, remain safe at all times. “I then look at the worksheets, make sure electrical equipment is PAT tested, check that ladders are suitable, that risk assessments are complete and that survey sheets and asbestos assessments are in order.

Net GAIN on accreditation BGC has secured membership of the Grant Aided Heating Installers’ Network (GAIN) thanks to its quality accreditations and performance. Members work together to provide a higher level of professionalism for heating and renewables contractors serving the grant market. BGC’s ISO9001 and 14001 accreditations helped the company achieve GAIN status. BGC has also resecured its CHAS (Construction Health and Safety) status and is currently working towards ISO 18001 (health and safety) and ISO27001 (information security) accreditations. 12 BGC NEWS

Excellent record

 Gas Installer Joe Orlando working at a home in Meir gets a clean bill of health and safety from Andy during a site visit.

“It is no coincidence that BGC has an excellent record on accidents at work and all aspects of health and safety. It takes hard work, commitment and attention to detail across the whole group. “There have been no real issues in the past so we must now work together to ensure we continue to comply going forward.” BGC keeps up to speed with the latest compliance issues and legislation through its subscription to an online service from the Health and Safety Executive. Andy added: “It helps us make sure we are always totally up-to-date.”


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 Champion badge collector Simon Worthington with a selection of his 600 Stoke City badges in the background. Below, his oldest badge which was produced in 1902.

Simon’s Stoke City badge collection is in a league of its own ONTRACTS Manager Simon Worthington is a real Stoke City fanatic… and he has the badges to prove it. The 26-year-old, who started at BGC as an apprentice gas engineer six years ago, has collected more than 600 enamelled lapel badges of his beloved club over the last 11 years. He keeps his collection, worth around £5,000, in ring binders and admits he is so obsessed he even scans an image of each badge so he has a duplicate collection in picture form. Season ticket holder Simon, who has been going to Stoke games since he was about four, said: “I know I’m an anorak but I really like my hobby. It’s something nice to show for your money.” Simon caught the collecting bug when he was 15 and his dad gave him a jar containing about 20 Stoke badges, one of which is his favourite to this day – a yellow diamond shaped badge carrying

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the SCFC logo. He goes to collector’s fairs, buys off the Internet and has even been known to find badges while on trips abroad. He bought one in Turkey and another while on a stag weekend in Prague. His oldest and rarest badge is made of tin, dates from 1902 and cost him more than £100. He even found a rare example worth about £40 and selling for just a pound in a souvenir shop in Rhyl.

The going price Simon, who lives with his partner Francesca Costa in Milton, said: “Fran gets a bit embarrassed by it all, especially if we’re at a fair. “I used to buy 20 badges at a time but now it’s down to a few badges every two or three weeks. I tend to go for ones I haven’t seen before and then I’ll pay the going price. “My collection has to be one of the most extensive apart from dealers, who

buy to sell. I only buy. I’ll never get rid of my badges and hope to pass them on if I ever have children of my own.” His family share his passion and his granddad, Barry Worthington, who sits with him and four other family members in the Family Stand at the Britannia Stadium, particularly enjoys learning about the badges. When he is not indulging his hobby or playing football for Stone side Auto United in the City Traders League, Simon is busy at BGC running the gas contracts and as BGC’s Programme Manager for the Cheshire Peaks and Plains Housing Trust improvement contract. Simon liaises with the Trust on the £1.3 million pounds contract for work at Trust properties including new kitchens, bathrooms and rewires. BGC NEWS 13


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Feedback reflects customer

care

ONSIDERATE customer care is at the centre of BGC’s approach to its work in adapting homes to meet the needs of people with limited mobility or disabilities. The company carry out an average of 10 adaptations on properties every week including the installation of level-access showers, easy-access wash basins and toilets and the fitting of hand rails to aid mobility. Always being mindful of the individual needs of people and keeping disruption to a minimum are paramount. Andy Hughes, BGC Senior Contracts Manager, said: “We have to take into account that many of the residents are elderly or vulnerable. So when carrying out these adaptations we need enhanced health and safety in the

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 Another satisfied customer – Stafford resident Linda Timmins in her bathroom adapted to her needs by BGC.

workplace and finely tuned customer service skills. “We have a track record in producing quality work and working in partnership with our customers to make sure the job meets the exact requirements of the individual.” One of BGC’s adaptations contracts is with Orbit Care and Repair Stafford who help home owners in the area in need of such work secure funding. Orbit Senior Case Worker Lisa Pallin said: “BGC has carried out adaptations

– mainly level access showers – for us for the past six years and customer feedback has been very good. They complete the jobs quickly with minimum disruption and the work is consistently to a high standard. “They have a understanding of what is needed for this type of work and look after our customers.” BCG also has adaptation contracts with Cheshire Peaks and Plains Housing Trust and Stafford and Rural Homes housing group.

Leading from the front on the Warm Front scheme

 Heating Engineer Rich Price installing a new boiler under the Warm Front scheme at a home in Macclesfield.

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LOW income families over large parts of the UK will not be shivering in their homes this winter – thanks to thousands of central heating installations carried out by BGC under the Government’s Warm Front scheme. BGC is an approved Warm Front contractor in 13 areas as far apart as Lancashire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and the West Midlands. In fact, BGC and it’s sister company Fenhams Ltd of Newcastle Upon Tyne are now two of the largest contractors appointed by Eaga Partnership – the body that manages the Government energy initiatives across the country. A grant of up to £3,500 is available for gas central heating that may involve repairing an existing heating system or replacing it with a new one. In homes with no central heating, a surveyor will carry out the

initial site inspection and will recommend the most suitable system for the property. BGC also carries out Warm Front installations for heating systems that use all kinds of fuels – solid, LPG, natural gas and electricity. A grant of up to £6,000 may be available where oil, low carbon or renewable technologies are recommended. It usually takes two working days to install a central heating system which normally involves the installation of up to five radiators. Householders who opt for electric storage heating under the Warm Front scheme will have up to three electric storage heaters fitted. BGC Operations Director Steve Wright said:“We have had many kind letters and commendations for our Warm Front work which is carried out by qualified and experienced engineers backed up by our very helpful support staff.


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250-mile NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE OR BUST... in training for the charity cycle trek are, left to right, Steve Wright, Ruth Bell, Rob Brayford and Simon Worthington.

CHARITY BIKE RIDE OUR BGC employees are training for a 250 mile sponsored cycle trek which they hope will raise £5,000 for charity. The intrepid quartet – Operations Director Steve Wright, Contracts Manager Simon Worthington, Lead Gas Technician Rob Brayford and Management Assistant Ruth Bell – plan to make the ride over three days next April. They will bike from BGC’s headquarters in Stoke-on-Trent to the HQ of sister company Fenhams at Newcastle upon Tyne. The cash raised

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will be split between three charities – the Douglas MacMillan Hospice, the Donna Louise Fund for the Treetops Children’s Hospice and Aspire Realise Foundation. Steve said: “Covering 250 miles in three days is going to be a new experience for us all – so we need to get in some serious training and preparation. I expect we’ll all be a bit saddle sore but it’s for good causes.” Already the cyclists have had many offers of help from colleagues, customers and suppliers and there will be no shortage of volunteers to staff the support vehicle.

Steve joked: “We have had one bright idea – that we should bike from Newcastle upon Tyne to Burslem because it’s down bank!” The sponsored ride is BGC’s latest fundraiser for the two hospice charities – last year a golf day raised £7,000 for the Donna Louise Fund and previously raised £1,000 for Douglas MacMillan with a 50-mile bike ride. Set up by the Aspire housing group, The Aspire Realise Foundation is a new charity which aims to promote small regeneration schemes in North Staffordshire with a training and community involvement.

Junior football team scores with BGC sponsorship AN under-13s football team are proudly wearing the BGC logo on their shirts after gaining a sponsorship from the company. BGC has paid for the strips and training jackets for Sporting Milton, pictured above with their Manager Mark Almond, back row right, and Assistant Manager Andy Keon, back row left. The team, who have been together for four years, play in the Milton Youth League at the Hardman Centre, Stoke-on-Trent. Club Secretary Stuart Almond said:“We greatly appreciate the sponsorship which is a big boost for the team and it really encourages the lads.” Previously BGC has sponsored professional football – being the main club sponsor at League Two Port Vale for two seasons and a box holder at Premier League Stoke City.

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HRIS Glendinning is BGC’s jack-of-all-trades with a jackthe-lad secret... he still rocks out at the age of 65 as the bass player in a rhythm and blues band. Young at heart Chris learned the upright bass at school when he stopped playing the piano at 14 and has been in bands ever since. He first played a home-made ‘tea-chest’ bass in a skiffle group called ‘The Spartans’ with his mates and, after leaving school at 15 to work as an engraver in the pottery industry, splashed out 29 guineas on his first electric bass, a Futurama. A life of gigging followed and Chris has played in countless bands for thousands of people in hundreds of pubs and clubs across Staffordshire and Cheshire. Chris, from Forsbrook, married his wife Barbara 43 years ago this April and admits he has had to make musical sacrifices for his family. He sold his 1962 Fender Jazz when his son Chris, now 38, was born so they could buy a pram. The guitar, which sold for £40 at the time, would be worth around £6,000 today.

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Play for pleasure

arist Bass guit dinning n le Chris G a gig t a g in y pla band with his ead. H Whiskey ht, Chris ig r w lo e B outside pictured es in ic ff o BGC’s -Trent. Stoke-on

groupie. I’ve only got one. “I’ve never thought about finishing so I’ll keep going as long as I can carry my amp, though it is getting heavier!” In the meantime, the Pink Floyd fan is enjoying his day job at BGC where he looks after the stores and also carries out repairs and remedial work involving plastering, joinery, decorating and tiling. He has been with the company for four years after a 30-year spell self-employed and admits life at BGC really has hit the right note.

His family, including daughter Justine, 36, and his six grandchildren are all fans. Two of them Jessica, 11, and Jade, who is five, come to see him perform with his new band WhiskeyHead, which he joined six months ago. The eldest in the six-piece blues band is the 67-year-old drummer and the youngest is the keyboard The WhiskeyHead line player, who is in his 40s. The -up. band has played 30 gigs this year and already has 18 bookings up to October next year. Chris said: “We play for the pleasure. If we did it for the money we’d have stopped by now. It’s great being part of a strong musical community, it’s a nice thing to be in. “It makes me feel I’m ageless… I still feel as though I’m 18. One of my grand children thinks I’m a pop star and my wife Barbara is my 16 BGC NEWS


BGC News Issue 3 – Winter 2010