Page 1



Inside Return to Stowe School Wantage Office Expansion Ivor Goodsite Visit

Grade II* Listed Abbey Complete New Work Experience Scheme and much more...

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

A Busy Ten years! Grapevine is ten years old! It has witnessed significant change, both within the industry and within Stepnell. In December 2004 my Father was remarking on forty years of steady change that he had overseen as we were negotiating our PFI school in Hereford. Today, as we come out of a long recession, the industry is facing significant challenges, but the Stepnell Group has continued on its trajectory and is in an excellent position to benefit from the hard work put in by many to improve the business.

Brackley Property Developments to develop commercial and industrial projects; providing further opportunities for the Group. The next ten years look as though they will be just as busy. The Directors remain confident that the demand for our Stepnell construction service will increase as building becomes more technical and our supply chain becomes more collaborative. We are also witnessing the rise of digital construction and the need for better quality throughout a project than ever before. This will put new strains on our business that the Directors are working to mitigate. Activities include improvements to productivity through LEAN training, better risk management through our pre-construction processes, improving our procurement and continued investment throughout the business from our accounts package to our plant & vehicles.

“The demand for our Stepnell construction service will increase.”

Some of the key changes over the past ten years include the strengthening and creation of new teams and offices, a renewed emphasis on trainees and apprentices, the introduction of Horace, winning the Triple Standard and increasing our turnover from £32M in 2005 to £92M this year. Every office has also been involved in some fantastic projects which would be unfair to single out for particular praise. Corporately it has been a busy ten years. Our Whitecross subsidiary was formed ten years ago and more recently George Law staff and their customers have been welcomed into Stepnell, with the view that this company will be wound down to realise further efficiencies. Two years ago we bought a controlling interest in EvoEnergy and I am pleased to announce that the remaining equity has been acquired, further supporting our abilities in the energy sector and enabling us to offer a comprehensive service to our customers. We have also recently formed

Whilst change continues to shape our working environment we would do well to remember that it is our traditional values of quality, honesty, professionalism and competence that bring our customers back. Please remember this when grappling with the next change that arrives. If it fails to add value to our customers or our business then challenge it; if it does add value (or could) then embrace it, use it to your advantage and tell everyone else about it! Mark Wakeford Joint Managing Director

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

Return to Stowe

The Wantage team is starting work on a development which will create state of the art new science facilities for Stowe School. The team will undertake a £4.3m major refurbishment and extension of the existing Science Building – built in 1974 - at the independent co-educational school in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. The scheme will see the existing single storey section of the current Science Building demolished and replaced with a brand new, two storey extension. The team will also fully refurbish the current two storey accommodation. Once complete, the extended and refurbished building will provide laboratories, lecture theatres, a new sixth form science base and a new main entrance and exhibition foyer. It will also be fully wheelchair accessible. Externally, the extended building will feature extensive glazed facades. The spacious new entrance will be fully glazed and protected with a brise soleil sun shading system. This latest project follows Stepnell’s construction of Stowe’s new award-winning Music School which opened in 2013.

“We’re very excited to be working once again with Stowe School to deliver these state of the art educational facilities. The Science Building project will create a first class learning environment, designed and built to the highest standard.” Steve Burgess - Area Manager

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

Winton Primary School From an engraved brick laying ceremony to the Considerate Constructors’ mascot visiting, Poole office has certainly been busy this summer. The Poole office organised a visit by the Considerate Constructors Scheme mascot, Ivor Goodsite, who together with Site Manager Tony Smith talked to pupils about the rules of site safety and the dangers posed when they are not followed correctly. The presentation, which reinforced the safety message that building sites must not be used as playgrounds, was followed by a sequence of supervised walks through the site. The tours enabled the children to see the progress being made on the

new school building and put what they had learned about site safety into practice. Ivor was on hand to answer any questions at the end of the session.

“Stepnell is always keen to promote site safety and construction training to young people at the earliest possible opportunity, particularly when they are in close proximity to a live building site” Trevor Middleton - Contracts Manager

Contracts Manager Trevor Middleton, says: “Stepnell is always keen to promote site safety and construction training to young people at the earliest possible opportunity, particularly when they are in close proximity to a live building site. Ivor Goodsite visits are a fun and stimulating way to communicate the dangers of playing on construction sites and to also get children interested and thinking about a possible future career in the construction industry.”

Working closely with the school, the Poole team arranged a fantastic opportunity for pupils, parents and staff from Winton Primary and members of Bournemouth Borough Council to celebrate the schools longstanding ties with the town with a special brick laying event which raised

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

£500 for school improvements. The money was raised through the school’s Buy-a-Brick campaign which invited friends of Winton Primary to sponsor a brick in the school’s new £1.7m building extension.

The Poole team are working to deliver the much needed teaching and classroom facilities that will expand the 630-pupil school from a three-form into a fourform entry primary school which will accommodate up to 840 children.

Former bricklaying apprentice Tadek Barnes was on hand to help local members of the community lay their specially engraved bricks into the building’s special commemorative wall. Among the sponsors laying bricks at the event was a former head teacher, a former pupil who attended Winton School during the 1940s and several local families who have had five generations of children educated there.

Back row L- R: Trevor Middleton, Contracts Manager, Stepnell. Anita Ellis, Project Manager, Bournemouth Borough Council. Neil Goddard, Service Director, Bournemouth Borough Council. Neil Tarchetti, Head Teacher, Winton Primary School. Front row L-R: pupils from Year 6. Tadek Barnes.

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

Photo (L-R) - John Stafford, Ground Worker. Dean Moore, Site Manager. John Stubley, Machine Driver

OGEE Business Park The Grantham team is developing land just outside Wellingborough on a Stepnell development site for client Tripal International. Site Manager Dean Moore, Ground Worker John Stafford and Machine Driver John Stubley are all hard at work on a ÂŁ647k storage and distribution unit due for completion in October. The brand new 900m2 industrial unit will incorporate trench fill pad foundations, reinforced concrete slabs and steel framing. The project will also benefit from fully insulated composite cladding with a block paving service yard. The project is being constructed for Tripal International, a business that specialises in the procurement and supply of high quality safety footwear in the UK and global markets. Currently, the team is contracted to construct the building envelope and external service yard. However negotiations are underway to secure additional works within the unit.

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

Sneak Peak at Eversfield Nursery pupils at Eversfield Preparatory School in Solihull donned hard hats and high visibility safety gear for a ‘sneak preview’ of the Prep School’s soon-to-be completed leading edge new sports and performing arts facilities. Site Manager Kevin Hudson took pupils aged three and four on supervised tours of the £2m project, known as the ESPACe. The Rugby team is currently putting the finishing touches to the stunning new centre, comprising a multi-purpose school hall and swimming pool, which is on schedule for completion this summer. The new hall will triple the prep school’s indoor sports space, with facilities for badminton, mini tennis, mini basketball, indoor hockey, cricket and many other sports. The building will also be used for large assemblies and drama performances. In addition, the project has replaced the prep school’s former outdoor swimming pool with a brand new indoor pool. The new centre includes a foyer, office and reception area linking the hall and indoor pool to the existing sports changing rooms.

Nursery pupils at Eversfield Preparatory School during one of the supervised tours with Site Manager Kevin Hudson, on left, and Assistant Site Manager Marcus Darcy.

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

West Midlands finish Stanbrook Abbey AmaZing Venues (part of the Clarenco Group), which has a market leading portfolio of iconic and unusual properties across the UK, chose Stepnell to carry out the latest phase of redevelopment at its magnificent

Stanbrook Abbey wedding and events venue at Callow End near Malvern in Worcestershire. The conversion of approximately 90 former nuns’ cells at the 19th century Grade II* listed Abbey (a former

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

Benedictine monastery) featuring the designs of E.W. Pugin – into 52 luxury en-suite bedrooms and suites is now complete. The project, designed by Kidderminster-based architects Howl Associates, included an impressive new stone clad extension to the

Abbey’s north wing to create a brand new reception area, bar and an enlarged, double height banqueting space. An impressive new gated entrance has been created for guests within the walled grounds of the Abbey.

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

Assistant Site Manager Tom Owens with Leicester College Students

New Training Initiative The Nottingham team was successful in securing the build of Leicester College’s new Motor Vehicle Workshop. This leading-edge facility will cater for the growing numbers of students signing up for motor vehicle engineering courses at the college, which is one of the UK’s largest further education institutions.

40 week-long work placements giving students the chance to work under the close supervision of qualified tradespersons including electricians, carpenters, plumbers, plasterers and painters and decorators. There were also opportunities for workshadowing placements with the company’s site management team.

In collaboration with Leicester College we launched a careers and work experience training initiative in April on the MVW site and at the city’s De Montfort University site, which is a refurbishment of the John Sanford building to create a new conference centre, run by Site Manager Steve Gordon. The Initiative has provided the students seeking a career in construction with real life industry experience,

Careful planning and preparation and the management of expectations on both sides was a key part of the programme’s success. There has to be a direct correlation between on- and off-the-job training so that the work experience complements the student’s current programme of study. The student must fully understand their role in meeting an employer’s expectations in areas such as health and safety and time-keeping, while the employer must also be clear about their responsibility in providing opportunities for the learner to develop their skills in the work place.

We launched the partnership at the College’s employability week by presenting to more than 60 construction students on the qualities and skills employers are looking for and the different routes there are into the industry. Our apprentices and trainees took part, sharing their direct experiences of the industry and of their own training. We have successfully completed over

As well as being carefully selected for the programme, students were briefed on the rules and requirements on site in advance and also received a full induction from the site team. A member of the site team was appointed to be their mentor once the placement began. Work experience packs were developed

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015










Ad m






rlo tt Froe Ch n t am Ro b e w; rs, L e Lei ice ce for each ste ste rC rC olle olle g e ge student Wo Wo rk rk P Ex la which compiled p e ce rie me nc n t eS C all the necessary risk tud oord e n i na t G to eo r A assessments, health and safety rge nd Th rew om Ba and trade-related questionnaires, pso rlow n, , S Ste te pn p n e along with a record of the student’s time on ell ll J Sit oin e M er an Ant site, a log of their experience and feedback on ag h o er n y R i c R ic ha r ha potential their performance. d G rds ree , Ste n pn

By having these robust protocols in place, which have been developed over time, reduced the administrative and management burden.

Office Administrator Charlotte Chambers supported the students and site teams ensuring paperwork was completed. She also liaised directly with the College to ensure that any problems that might arise, such as non-attendance, were quickly identified and resolved. Through this process we have been assisting the College further to look at other ways of further promoting placements with other construction firms as we have a strong record of delivering work placements for both school and college students. Bringing the next generation into the industry is crucial – especially at a time when it faces a

e ll skills Bes t Pr act shortage. ice M an age r Ka ren R As the construction yan sector’s recovery continues, industry training body CITB expects an extra 200,000 construction jobs to be created over the next five years making it vital that the industry keeps developing and attracting skilled workers.

This has been a fantastic opportunity for the Leicester students to showcase their skills to us and our subcontractors, giving them the chance to carry out what effectively is an ‘extended interview’. Karen Ryan Best Practice Manager

Project Updates

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

Here’s a roundup of the latest project news from around the business Rugby Nearing completion is a £2.8m new build sports hall at Stratford Grammar School for Girls. A £2.6m brand new day care centre in Bletchley is set for completion in August. Well underway is a £1.2m project to open a second store for cut price German food retailer, Aldi in Kettering.

A £7.9m new build scheme for extra care apartments in Cheltenham, with associated car parking and external works has reached its midway point.

A £1.9m refurbishment scheme of the first and second floor classrooms at Stratford College has been completed.

West Midlands A £1.8m scheme to construct a brand new boarding house at Ruthin School has just started on site. The £2.8m extension and refurbishment of the Dining Hall at Bromsgrove School is nearing completion. Phase two of a £3m project to design and construct a new, two storey Art Block and a separate two storey classroom block at Pershore High School is well underway. Stratford Grammar Site Manager


Ian Tomes

Newly on site is a £1.2m refurbishment project at the Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building.

Paul Charnock

Contracts Manager Quanitity Surveyor Colin Darch Stratford College

Recently on site is a £687k remodelling scheme at the Portland building for the University of Nottingham. Currently in progress is a £3.6m refurbishment project at De Montfort University’s John Sandford Building.

Site Manager Steve Graham Contracts Manager Tom Sewell Quanitity Surveyor Liam King

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015


Letcombe Regis

Acoustic work and a light refurbishment project at Cranborne Middle School is now on site.

Contracts Manager

A £1.2m phased refurbishment scheme at Nuffield Hospital in Bournemouth is set for completion late October.

Quantity Surveyor

The refurbishment work at Ferndown Library has now been completed.

Contracts Manager

Grantham The £1.5m extension to Leicester University’s Richard Attenborough Centre is well underway and set for completion in October.

Pete McDonald Site Manager Steve Cook Joachim Daniel Bath Street

Mark McLean Site Manager Andrew Bennett Quantity Surveyor Iain Quantick Bromsgrove Contracts Manager

A two storey extension and refurbishment scheme at Linden Medical Centre has been completed.

John Shuttleworth Site Manager Matt King Quantity Surveyor

Wantage The Wantage office is growing. We have just acquired the house adjacent to the Wantage Office to allow for the expansion of the Wantage team. New on site is a £1.1m scheme to re-roof and internally refurbish the North block at Marlborough College. The refurbishment works at St Catherines House and Bath Street has recently been completed. The demolition, extension and refurbishment of the existing Bayards

Mark Delahunty

Hill School in Oxford has now been completed. A £1.2m project to construct six homes at the luxury retirement village, Letcombe Regis has been received by the client ready for use. Starting on site at the end of August is a £6.1m care home in Trowbridge for The Orders of St John Care Trust. Now also working with Oxford County Council on a £2m extension to Hill View School in Banbury.

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

Congratulations Events from around the business... 40 Years West Midlands Site Foreman Richard Meredith has completed 40 years of unbroken service with with Stepnell this August.

Well Done! Sorry to see you go Rugby Purchase Ledger Clerk Pauline Scotton has retired after working with Stepnell for over 16 years. Poole Director Derek Middleton retired in June after over 40 years with Stepnell. Poole Site Manager Gordy Bush has hung up his boots after over 17 years with Stepnell.

Good Luck!

Not to brag, but... Last year George Law completed work on a very unique ÂŁ500k renovation scheme to expand the heritage railway run by Gloucester Warwickshire Steam Railway. In recognition of the outstanding effort contributed to this project, they were honoured with receiving the ICE Project Award 2015. Site Manager Neil Perrins and his team, Richard Meredith, Mark Rochelle and Mark Baker received much praise for their efforts to complete the work with maximum co-operation and minimal disruption. Brackley continue with their 100% success record at converting Graduates to Chartered Surveyors. They are rightly very proud of Victoria Turner for passing her APC and joining her fellow chartered team.

Grapevine ǀ Summer 2015

New Arrivals Rugby Portfolio Manager Edward Wakeford and wife Eleanor celebrated the birth of baby Rory weighing 7lb 3oz

rd Rory Wak/e1fo5 7 0 02/

Grapevine catches up with... Mark Thomas - Contracts Manager, Rugby What’s the best part of your job?

Rugby Senior Buyer Kris Young and his partner welcomed the arrival of Harrison Young, weighing 7lb 15oz

Exceeding the clients’ expectations and satisfaction by handing over a building on time, within budget and having no confrontation during the project. What do you think differentiates Stepnell from its competitors?

Harrison Lew is 01/07/15 Young

Stepnell puts its clients first. We endeavour to have the same goals and see a project as more of a team effort between client, consultants and contractors to achieve the completion of any scheme. Who has most influenced your career?


son Harve Parker JMacckLean 14/04/15

Wantage Contracts Manager Mark McLean and his wife Naomi celebrated the birth of baby Parker weighing 8lb 3oz

A gentleman named Derek Anderson, Director of Wates Construction. He promoted me to General Foreman and gave me good guidance in the four years I was employed there. What’s the best advice you have ever been given? Don’t eat yellow snow. If you weren’t a Contracts Manager what would you be? A Hotelier because I enjoy meeting people and providing a service.

Rugby Bid Manager Adam Maine and wife Jennifer welcomed the arrival of their son Theodore, weighing Theodore Mat th 7lb 13oz 11/06/15ew Maine

Where is your ideal holiday destination? Mauritius because I haven’t been there yet and it’s been recommended, Alternatively, I enjoy cruising. Which three people (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party? Richard Branson because he has a positive outlook on life and thinks outside the box, John F Kennedy because he had a vision to improve lives and Elizabeth I because I would like to understand life in Elizabethan times and learn how Elizabeth had such a strength of character in a male-dominated era. What would your ideal day be? Walking from pub to pub with my wife and meeting up with the family for an evening meal.

Nicky, Clare, Janet and Tania, from the Poole office, held a cake bake sale for Comic Relief this year. They sold the cakes both in the office and out on sites. Everyone donated very generously and they raised £50.

Rugby based Purchase Ledger Clerk Abby Diston took part in the London Virgin Marathon in aid of Kidney Research UK. Abby and purchase ledger organised two cake sale events raising a total of £139.70 towards her £2,000 target.

Rugby Estimator Chris Patterson held a cake and savoury sale to raise money in aid of Hope for Children as part of his participation in Marathon des Sables 2016. The event helped raise £180 towards his £8,000 goal.

Rugby receptionist and document controller Liz Hardiman took part in her annual charity run. To help aid her efforts, Liz held a Cake Bake sale in the office and raised a total of £86.80, which went towards her £300 target.

Joining the Team The Stepnell Group would like to welcome...

Nottingham Steven Crane Michael Rankine Paul Higgins Charlotte Chambers Richard Varney Thomas Owen

- Bricklayer - Bricklayer - Labourer - Office Administrator - Quantity Surveryor - Assistant Site Manager

Poole Robert Speirs William McGrugan Tony Edwards Thomas Palmer Hugh McKelvey

- Regional Director - Site Manager - Advanced Plumber - Bricklayer - Decorator

Rugby Deborah Noott Lee Perkins Stuart Smith Marcus Major Lee Turner Terry Mousley Colin Howell Elaine Glover Daniel Watters Lewis Bloxham Daniel Young

- Accounts Clerk - Assistant Buyer - Assistant Site Manager - CAD Technician - Design Manager - Fitter - Commercial Manager - Proposals Co-ordinator - Subcontract Payments Clerk - Apprentice Groundworker - Trainee Technician

Wantage Sean Tohill Stephen Burgess Mark Wallace Nicolas Garlick Alistair Cobb James Harris Jonathan Ralph George Ford Sean Cutler Sam Mattock James Dance

- Apprentice Bricklayer - Area Manager - Bricklayer - Commercial Manager - Estimator - Project Manager - Site Manager - Trainee Technician - Senior Quanitity Surveyor - Trainee Technician - Site Manager

West Midlands Mark Wilson Ryan Home

- Labourer - Labourer

Grapevine Issue 18 Summer 2015  

Stepnell internal newsletter