Another Year, Another Relationship

Our last news item was in January 2020 and it is clear that when it was posted we had no idea of what was to come. It turned out to be an awful year, but we managed to continue to work through the Pandemic by keeping ahead of the curve; watching, reading and putting measures in place to protect our staff and supply chain.

It wasn’t easy, but amazingly, the result was an increase in turnover thanks to projects like the Borough Market Jubilee Place development, the church hall at Holy Innocence Church, Orpington, the new Science Block at The Weald Of Kent Grammar School and the OPD pre-opp assessment unit at Kingston Hospital.

We witnessed some considerable changes over the past year at Corniche, too. Our Operations Director has moved on and we wish him well and thank him for his contribution. Although he was only with us a short time we made considerable progress in his tenure. The business now has a greater focus on H&S, we are spending more on training and we are more active in promotion from within, helping to expand and strengthen the management team.

So what’s next? We have a very healthy order book for 2021, some new clients onboard, various new work streams and three new employees. Best of all our work at Kingston Hospital which started as a single project has developed into an on-going series of projects. And we have built another relationship!

2020 vision

At about this time, each year, I start to think about what we can expect in the coming months. This year I am expecting our business to grow based on the current workload and the projects we have lined up. But with regard to the bigger picture I expect the environment will become an even more important consideration for the construction industry in 2020.

Looking back over the past few years, building regulations have been increasingly reflecting a concern for the environment and placing more responsibility on building design and construction. Architectural innovation in new build is now being driven by the need to maximise energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions. And in the construction industry we are striving to reduce the environmental impact of our activities and find more sustainable methods and materials.

As a company we are committed to continuous improvements in how we manage our operation with regard to sustainability and the prevention of pollution. All Corniche staff are trained in our Environmental Management System, which for example, seeks to reduce waste and recycle materials wherever possible. In 2020 we hope our business will grow but we will make sure that it is not at the expense of the environment.

We’ve made another friend

A key element in the way that we manage our business at Corniche is to finish a job to the complete satisfaction of the client. Anyone who has worked in the industry will know that things can go wrong. But we believe that one of our greatest strengths is overcoming any problems and getting the job done right.

We have just completed part of a redevelopment project at Jubilee Place for the Trustees of Borough Market in Southwark and it has not been easy, either in terms of logistics or scheduling, in a busy urban environment.

We are proud of the finished build but equally satisfying is the recognition that we did a good job so it was great to receive this message from Stephen Wall, Head of Asset Management at Borough Market:

“Hi All, as you know BMK has opened, which is all down to your hard work and as a way of saying thank you I would like to invite you for lunch in Jubilee Place. Really appreciate your hard work.”

We hope this is the start of another great relationship.

Corniche Staff Competence

Up until a few years ago we were an ‘Investors In People’ Company, having achieved Bronze status. This had a really positive effect on the staff but the impetus stared to dwindle and we needed something new, something to measure them against and something we could base reward on as well as pay increases.

We decided to go it alone and with Keen HR, our HR advisors, we have introduced competencies for developing our staff, linked to reward. This is now in it’s full roll out stage and we as a company as are the staff seeing benefits – they have something to measure themselves to, something we can monitor and set up training plans: something to aim at if they want to improve. The cost? There is never a cost for staff training.

One of our staff is now a fully competent Plant Operator as well as a Setting Out Engineer, two members of staff are moving to Supervisor status and our apprentice has changed from the NVQ route to City and Guilds. In addition to which, we are proud to announce that our Commercial Director has achieved Chartered status through the PMR route and is now a Corporate Member of the CIOB. Hard work and tenacity has paid off for Marc who has come up from the ‘trade!’

As Brexit Approaches

With Brexit still grabbing all the headlines we thought it was time to publish some news from Corniche. We have secured a project at Gordon’s School in Woking with Synergy CPC for the conversion of the existing Headmasters complex into a new Year 7 Dormitory and Staff accommodation.

We are currently working on one of the existing houses for the Headmaster and his Family to move into – a bit of ‘down-sizing’ working with the school direct. We have a long association with this school having worked there for over 15 years on many smaller projects. So it is nice to have a larger one to show what we can really do.

We have a refurbishment residential project in Holland park near a certain motoring journalists apartment and we are gearing up for the half term with a few school projects. The Learning Centre at Ashcombe School is in full flow as we come out of the ground and the next step is the Steel frame (progress pictures appear on Facebook).

Finally, we are about to hand over two houses we have built in Orpington. We say finally, as the project has over-run but as has the value – from £1.35m to approaching £2.0m with a considerable number of enhancements and changes.

A Fresh Start

We started the 2018/19 financial year a fresh  now that we have fully settled into our new home in Crawley with a new look to our operations and corporate plan:

Marc Smith our Commercial Director will assume responsibility for all major projects aided by Neil Kelly and Chris Smith. Anna Bataille will continue her role as Health and Safety co-ordinator/auditor, site set up and a PA role to the management team. Mike will take the role of Strategy, Marketing/Business Development, and PR in addition to his normal duties.

We have been aided this year by Holly Winnister in carrying on with our IIP system and have had a good outcome in defining roles and setting up competency profiles aligned with roles. This has enabled us to secure CITB funding for on-going training and set up our training goals for the coming year. Competency is important to us in terms of our employees and gives them a benchmark for continuous improvement whilst enabling us to support and develop them.

We have secured a number of local high profile projects the biggest being a New Build Learning support Unit at Ashcombe School in Dorking managed by Synergy CPC LLP with whom we have a 30 year relationship.

In January 2019 Rachel McHugh will be assisting in Business Development. She will be reaching out to new clients in the local area.

All Change

This year has seen some significant staff changes at Corniche with the tragic loss in January of a long standing employee, Julian Garcia-Sierra who had been with us for 18 years. Julian was a valuable member of our team, always went the extra mile with a smile. He is sorely missed by us and our clients who have sent in glowing tributes. We have also said good bye to John Long who joined us as a labourer in 2006 and rose to be one of our site managers. John has returned home to Ireland and a new life. We wish him well.

We welcome Trevor Brown as Site Manager and Ian Maynard as Assistant Site Manager who have both been thrown in at the deep end during our summer blitz and not forgetting Rhys Kelly who joins us as an apprentice Carpenter.

This summer education projects have been many and varied with jobs such as the refurbishment of The White House at Epsom College, Wrotham School in Wrothham Kent, George Abbot in Guildford, the refurbishment of toilets at Nelson Primary in Twickenham – 10 areas in total – managed by Kamil Michalowski, an extension at Lime College Sutton, safeguarding works at Gordon’s School Woking in additional to a new kitchen delivery access area. In addition, we took on some work at Drayton Manor School which involved security fencing and entrances initially but the added some re-modelling to form new access around the school.

Whilst that all goes on, we have been carrying out re-modelling work for Avenue Housing in Chertsey, and continue with building two luxury houses in Orpington, to name but a few.

We now settle back with some capacity, but new projects to start including Suncroft Place in Chessington, an extension to the hall at St Mary’s infants Carshalton, further work at Castle Hill Chessington, and South Street Baptist Church Greenwich.

All of these projects are regularly up-dated with progress pictures on our Facebook page and now on Instagram.