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May 13th saw Coulson garage manager Mark Rolph face his fears and abseil 80 feet down the face of the Guildhall on Cambridges' market square. In doing so Mark was very pleased to have raised over £550 for a charity dear to his heart - EACH, East Anglian Childrens Hospices.
The Guildhall, in Market Square, is a Grade II listed building designed in 1939 by Charles Cowes-Voysey. It is ordinarily used for a range of events, weddings and conferences but is frequently offered to charities and their supporters with a head for heights for events such as this one organised by EACH.
For further information on EACH and to see the fantastic work they are able to due thanks to people like Mark please check out these links
The Coulson Group enjoyed a successful night at the Cambridge Design and Construction Awards (CDCA) run by the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry (CFCI) and held at the wonderful St Catherine’s College.
Firstly congratulations go to our Ian Keys who was selected as Site Manager of the year for his work at Holy Trinity Church - here is what the judges said about Ian …
"He has a calm manner and positive, problem solving attitude and quietly but expertly took care of the Holy Trinity Transform project, managing his own team and his subcontractors as well as steering a careful and considered path with all the Consultants and the client team. He quickly developed a rapport and good working relationships with the whole team."
Ian would be the first to acknowledge that this is a nod to all of our Holy Trinity project team and that performance was further recognised when we collected the Cambridge City Council's Considerate Contractor award supported by the Chamber of Commerce. - Again this is what the judges said…
"This was a very difficult project not just in the centre of Cambridge but in the centre of the centre of Cambridge"
When one considers the other landmark projects happening in and around the City such as the North West Development, Station Road, Cambridge Assessment, Judges Institute amongst others it is a demonstration of the Groups commitment and success in achieving excellence.
As an accredited Living Wage employer Coulson Building Group welcomes the increase in the Living Wage Foundation wage rates, announced on 6th November 2017.
Coulson is in its second year as part of a movement of over 3,500 employers who voluntarily opt-in to paying the real Living Wage. The Living Wage is a voluntary hourly rate set independently and updated annually. It is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK and is set at a rate higher than the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation said:
“Year-on-year, we see organisations and businesses across the UK embracing the real Living Wage as they recognise that a fair day’s pay is not only the right thing so to but can improve the quality of staff’s work, reduce absenteeism and increase motivation and retention.”
“Today’s increase acknowledges that the cost of living continues to rise for workers everywhere and the leadership shown by businesses who welcome this is a cause for celebration during Living Wage Week, sending a positive message to the business community to show what others can achieve.”
For more information about Living Wage Week go to http://www.livingwage.org.uk/living-wage-week
Coulson employee Jason Heard took to the saddle recently to complete the 77 mile ‘Cambridge to Norwich bike’. The riders set off from Coldhams common in Cambridge and made thier way through the beautiful Autumnal East Anglian countryside to finish at Earlham Park, Norwich where the riders were warmly welcomed with live music and of course a beer tent!
Well done to Jason who completed the ride in 4 Hours 40 Minutes and raised over £350 for the Andenbrooks Charitable Trust
Jasons 'gofundme' page is still open so please feel free to donate!
Once again the ‘Cream of Coulson’ team successfully completed the Chariots Of Fire race on Sunday 17th September with a very respectable time of 1hr 11mins 12secs putting them in 68th place out of 333 teams. Having competed the race every year for more than 15 years this is our best time yet so well done to those that ran and equally well done to those that sponsored the event, The ‘Cream of Coulson’ team managed to raise over £1,100.00 to which the company will add £500 meaning over £1,600 will go to this years chosen charity - Alzheimer Research UK
Chariots of Fire is one of Cambridgeshire’s largest annual charity events. Teams of six each run a 1.6 mile course in relay format. Chariots of Fire is organised and managed by Hewitsons Charitable Trust and has raised over £1M for local and regional charities.
Coulson have just welcomed their latest intake of undergraduate students for their yearlong work placement opportunity. Following our selection process Matthew Fernandes and Alexander Longbottom emerged as the successful candidates joining us for their yearlong placement, which forms an integral part of their degree.
Both Matthew and Alexander are studying Construction Project Management at Sheffield Hallam University and will be spending a year with us to gain invaluable experience to assist them in their pursuit of a career in the industry.
They will each spend half of their time in the office assisting Surveyors, Estimators and Project Managers and the other half out on site assisting Site Managers.
We wish Matthew and Alexander the best of luck during their year with us.
Coulson has begun work on site on the £8 million local co-housing development known as Marmalade Lane, which is located just up the road From our head quarters at Orchard Park.
The project comprises of the development of 42 stylish Swedish-made homes ranging from one bedroom flats to four bedroom family homes with shared facilities designed to “foster community spirit and sustainable living”.
In addition to private homes, residents will have the use of extensive shared gardens and a ‘common house’, with a children’s play room, guest bedrooms, laundry facilities and a large hall and kitchen for shared meals and parties.
The year-long building programme was kicked off when members of K1 Cohousing put the first spade in the ground, marking the culmination of seven years of work to realise Cambridge’s first cohousing community.
Dave Teeboon, Site Manager for Coulson Building Group, said:
“It’s an unusual privilege to meet the residents of a housing development before you’ve built it.
With our HQ less than a mile away, it’s great to be working and employing local people on a local
Further information and related news items:
In support of our commitment to engaging with our local community, two Coulson employees recently attended Netherhall School and Sixth Form to give a talk on apprenticeships to year 11 students.
HR Manager Glenda Matthews gave advice on approaching employers, interviews and early days in the role whilst 1st year Electrical Apprentice Owen Mingay provided first hand insights into life as an apprentice.
The talk was delivered as part of the Year 11 Apprenticeship Programme at the school, aimed at preparing students with an interest in pursuing an apprenticeship with the tools they need to succeed. Glenda Matthews returned a short time later to conduct mock interviews with students, all of which will help to prepare them for the real thing. Mr Daniel Carlson, WRLE and Careers Co-ordinator at Netherhall School thanked Coulson for their involvement stating " Your expertise was invaluable and added greater credibility to what we delivered".
The Coulson Construction Team recently welcomed members of Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry (CFCI) to our site at Holy Trinity Church in the centre of Cambridge for a behind the scenes look at the project. The visitors gained an understanding of the many architectural, engineering, constructional and logistical challenges that come from building a 4 storey extension on to a medieval church on a cramped city centre site.
BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) is “the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings and communities. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the de facto measure used to describe a building’s environmental performance.” (bre.co.uk)
David Watson, Pre-Construction Manager at Coulson, has successfully completed the new BREEAM Associate course which is “designed to develop proactive sustainability teams and sets out the behaviours needed to drive positive and cost effective results in BREEAM projects”.
It is hoped this additional knowledge will further enable Coulson Building Group to embed consideration of all environmental issues throughout both the design and construction stages, therefore improving the opportunities for high performance.
Coulson welcomed three new apprentices in September 2016, in keeping with the company’s long standing commitment to apprentice training.
Michael Munnelly joins us as a Carpentry apprentice having already completed 2 years on the Carpentry and Joinery course at Cambridge Regional College.
Joe Mingay has just completed his GCSE’s at Impington Village College and is embarking on a Joinery apprenticeship with the Group.
Owen Mingay, like Michael, has completed 2 years at Cambridge Regional College but this time on the Electrical course, and joins us an Electrical apprentice.
These individuals follow a long line of apprentices that have gone before them, as Coulson have been training apprentices since the company was founded in the late 1800's. The company recognises the value of apprenticeships and the pivotal role they play in ensuring that we have the skilled workforce we need for the future.
Coulson Building Group has become the first construction company in Cambridge to receive official accreditation as a Living Wage employer from the Living Wage Foundation. The Living Wage is a voluntary hourly rate set independently and updated annually and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. It is set at a rate higher than the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and is credited with being ‘good for business, good for the individual and good for society’ (Living Wage Foundation 2016).
On their accreditation Coulson Director, Philip James said: ‘Becoming an accredited Living Wage employer demonstrates what we were already doing in most cases, as we have always recognised that to get and retain the standard of workforce we need to deliver a quality service you must pay a fair and decent wage.’
Coulson’s commitment to the scheme was acknowledged during a recent visit to their head office on Cowley Road by Cambridge MP, Daniel Zeichner.
Following a recent audit by EMB Excellence Ltd it has been confirmed that Coulson Building Group has successfully maintained their Investors in People accreditation for a further 3 years.
The report contains a number of positive comments and observations:
“Coulson is a caring organisation that operates on ethical, family values and is deeply committed to continuously improving and growing the business by “doing the right thing.”
“Many examples of personal growth, progression and internal promotion were provided.”
“People consistently demonstrated their loyalty to the Group and how committed they are to its success by stating how well the Group works together, providing local employment with financial stability and security.”
At Coulson Building Group we register many of our sites with the Considerate Constructors Scheme who make regular visits to assess the site’s performance under the headings of Appearance, Community, Environment, Safety and (valuing their) Workforce. At a recent visit to our site at Grove School, Cambridge we scored ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’ in all 5 categories which demonstrates our commitment to those areas and the efforts of the site team there.
Michael Scott, our business development manager, who volunteers for International charity Operation Orphan has just returned from eight days in Sierra Leone where he oversaw the construction of two new accommodation buildings for Ebola orphans. Michael said that each building is like a family home where they have a “mother” who cooks and washes for the children so that they can all go school. Michael also described how they picked a lot of the children up from where their parents had died because it had previously been too dangerous to go in because of the disease.
The charity now hopes to build a further four homes. See operation-orphan.org
Clik is a state-of-the-art, online management tool that gives exceptional control over our FM portfolio. With Clik our engineers have exactly what they need for every job: the task details, the right certification, a full database of previous work, all logged on a tablet. It’s making us more efficient and informed for the people who count most - our customers.
Using a web browser, tablet or smartphone we can monitor the progress on every job to the point when our engineers will capture a signature on their device to confirm that the work is completed to the customer’s satisfaction.
Coulson invested heavily in Clik because it makes our FM service more streamlined and accountable. This has resulted in quicker response times, minimal paperwork, an integrated diary and a closer relationship with our customers. It’s an efficiency-driven system that allows us to provide customers with even better value for money.
Coulson Building Group has ranked No.10 in a list of 25 Cambridgeshire businesses to watch in a recent list compiled by Grant Thornton UK LLP and Cambridge Judge Business School. Their list is based on cumulative average growth over the last few years.
The authors state that “fundamental to the continued success of these companies is the fact that profits haven't been sacrificed in the hunt for growth. The EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Tax and Depreciation and Amortization) of the 'Ones to Watch' has increased by 43% over the past two years and these companies have increased employees by 18% over the same period”
Coulson concluded another successful work experience schedule in July which saw the company host a number of year ten students for their two week placement between March and July 2015. This year students from a number of local schools including Witchford, Linton and Cottenham Village Colleges were given the opportunity to work alongside a number of trades during their placement, giving them a real insight into the workings of a construction company.
Mariana Lopes from Cottenham Village College enjoys drawing and is interested in architecture, construction and interior design. Mariana used her skills to design a bread board (pictured) using our Cad software and then manufactured it on our CNC machine.
Bridge End Garden, Saffron Walden, is a series of seven interlinked gardens laid out by the Gibson family in the nineteenth century. These Grade II listed gardens are open to the public each day free of charge. Careful restoration has replicated designs typical of the Victorian era and has brought the garden back to its full splendour.
On 26th May Coulson began the demolition of a WW2 air raid bunker to make way for a new visitors centre with toilets. The project will take 15 weeks to complete and has been funded by grants from a number of sources including almost £100,000 from Viridor Credits and Violia Environmental trust, through the Landfill Communities Fund.
Mr Frostick, operations manager for the town council, said: “I am delighted that work on the visitor centre has started. We are looking forward to the completion of the project later in the year and the benefit it will provide to the whole community.”
On 18th May 2015 fifteen European construction students visited Coulson’s site at Millfield School in Littleport to gain an insight into construction processes and to witness first-hand the workings of a construction site. The visit was arranged in partnership with Cambridge Regional College who were hosting the students, from Germany, for the duration of their 2 week stay.
The visit included a presentation by the site and project management team who provided an overview of the project, which comprises of an extension to the existing school building to provide new classrooms, school entrance, reception and school office.
The students also had a guided tour of the site to view the work in progress. They gained valuable insights into the various aspects of a construction project and the visit reinforced the longstanding relationship between Coulson Building Group and Cambridge Regional College.
The recent audit carried out by ISOQAR found that our Environmental Management System (EMS) still meets the requirements of ISO 14001:2004 and has been recertified for another 3 years. Philip James, Director of Quality, Environment, Safety and Health said that “having an effective EMS is very important in ensuring we meet our legal obligations with regards to the environment but also is a great driver in helping us meet our wider environmental objectives of reducing our CO2 output and production of waste”.
Coulson Building Group have received a Recognition Award from the National Federation of Builders (NFB) for our work on the NFB’s Building Information Modelling (BIM) Exemplar Programme. The award was presented to Philip James by Sir Geoff Hurst at a ceremony at the House of Commons.
The NFB’s BIM Exemplar Programme has enabled Coulson to become ready before it becomes a requirement on some Public Sector contracts next year and to use the principles of BIM elsewhere for the benefit of quality, time, cost and collaborative working.
Following a recent audit by BSI, Coulson Building Group’s Quality Management System has been recertified for the next 3 years as meeting ISO 9001:2008 standard. Coulson Building Group’s Director for Quality, Environment, Safety and Health, Philip James said ‘This recognises the effort all our employees put into achieving a high quality of work on all of our projects’.
Two Coulson Building Group employees, David Grundy and Karl Davis recently took part in the Grand East Anglia 10K Charity Run and raised an impressive £1,625 through sponsorship which is being donated to The Sick Children’s Trust
Coulson Building Group has been awarded a Certificate of Achievement under the Considerate Contractor Scheme run by Cambridge City Council for their work at Gravel Hill Farm, Madingley Road for Cambridge University. The University will be using Gravel Hill Farm as their project office for the £1bn/10 year North West Cambridge development: www.nwcambridge.co.uk
Coulson Building Group continues to help Cambridgeshire schools via the Local Government Shares Services Framework as a number of new and exciting design and build projects are being prepared for construction.
New schemes to provide significant improvement to existing and additional teaching space have been secured at Girton Glebe, Dry Drayton, The Grove Cambridge, Cavalry March and Fordham Primary Schools. David Watson our Design manager commented “we have the benefit of experience having successfully completed other projects all over the County, Weatheralls Primary School at Soham is a great example of that”.