Homeless charity Doorway is moving into one of Chippenham’s most iconic and historic buildings thanks to the support of contractor Stonewood Builders.
,Stonewood is celebrating after winning a prestigious safety award and being praised for its rigorous approach to protecting workers on site.
The 48-year-old Wiltshire refurbishment specialist, part of the Stonewood Group, has won the Building Safety Group’s 2020 Member of the Year award for the Central and South Region.
The construction industry advisor, which supports 600 members across the UK with health, safety and environmental guidance, made the award after a visit to a £1 million mill refurbishment project at Bishopstone, near Swindon.
Inspector Colin Reeves praised Stonewood’s Site Manager Valius Kisonas for the way “he has maintained a consistent approach to compliance and safety being the priority on site”.
He praised the traffic management plan on a “challenging” site near a primary school, the meticulous planning and execution of piling work, health checks and monitoring of staff working with dust and lead and the installation of a staircase “despite challenging space restrictions”.
Commercial Director, Joe Bergson said the award is a tribute to the way the company has kept health and safety as a key priority despite its rapid growth over the last ten years.
“The Old Mill in Bishopstone is on a really tight site on the edge of a road, by a river and on a hill, and there’s not a lot of room to manoeuvre,” he said. “They have completely gutted the inside, put in a new contemporary staircase and built a small extension on the side. It’s a really interesting job.
“The award is a nice recognition that we have been putting a lot of hard work in over these last few years to make sure we are being safe on site and our staff are really conscious about it. It’s nice to think that as a company that is growing with £60m turnover and more than 250 employees, our health and safety is going in the right direction and improving every year.”
Mr Bergson, who joined Stonewood as a graduate eight years ago, has nine staff working with site managers on up to 35 projects at any one time to maintain consistent levels of safety. BSG inspectors survey every site regularly and provide reports outlining what they find.
Said Mr Bergson: “All the site managers are copied in to everyone’s reports so when a report comes in, the directors, contract managers and the site managers all see it, which makes it a little more transparent and it has made sure everyone remains safety conscious.”
He added: “The award means a lot coming from the BSG, we really respect their advice. They are a good sounding board to us. They do a lot of training and development and they have been offering us a lot of guidance on Covid.”
BSG Regional Manager Andrew Harper said the group has seen Stonewood grow from 75 employees to 250 since it first began working with the company in 2012. “Since then BSG has carried out over a 1,000 site inspections on their behalf. At this time BSG are regularly inspecting 31 sites for Stonewood Builders and this information is then used to constantly review ongoing operations with the senior management team to ensure all health and safety duties are met.
“There has always been a clear ambition at Stonewood Builders to improve health and safety performance where needed and the welfare of their clients and staff have always been foremost in the management of all operations.”
Stonewood Builders was founded by Managing Director Matt Aitkenhead’s father Neill and taken over by Mr Aitkenhead and Chief Operating Officer Ben Lang in 2009. The Stonewood Group, based at Castle Combe, also includes housebuilding arm Stonewood Partnerships, Stonewood Design, groundworks outfit Earthstone and bespoke housebuilder Stonewood Homes and has offices in Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
Mr Lang said: “I’d like to congratulate Joe on this award, we are delighted for him and his team. He has really taken control of our safety procedures and made huge strides forward in our processes – and done it the right way so that he has taken people with him.
“This award has come at the back end of returning to site post-lockdown, with all of the new challenges we’ve faced. It has also come during some real growth within the group, both in terms of the original contracting business and the diversification into other areas. To have improved our safety performance through those two periods is really noteworthy and encouraging for us as a business.”
Pictured from Left to Right
Building Safety Group Regional Manager; Andy Harper, second left, presenting the Member of the Year award for the Central and South Region to Stonewood Builders CEO Matt Aitkenhead, left, Site Manager Valius Kisonas, Project Assistant Sophie Britain, Commercial Director Joe Bergson and Contracts Manager Alec Webb
We are delighted to announce a new partnership with Laurie Canter, Stonewood have been following Laurie’s progress for many years. Still only 30, we are convinced his ability and dedication will be rewarded on the global stage.
We’re excited to be supporting local sporting talent and we look forward to following Laurie on the PGA European Tour and also closer to home!
Laurie will resume his 2020 season on the European Tour with a busier-than-ever playing schedule. The Tour will restart with a "UK Swing" of 6 events, beginning with the British Masters at Close House Hotel & Golf Resort hosted by Lee Westwood, and will be followed by a 3-week "Iberian Swing" across Spain and Portugal. The 2020 season will culminate in December at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which he hopes to qualify for, after which he will immediately begin the 2021 season; his fifth playing on the European Tour.
Group COO, Ben Lang says "As huge golf followers, working with Laurie feels like a natural partnership. With a huge amount of sporting talent, Laurie looks to make big moves in the 2021 season which we can't wait to follow. We also worked alongside Laurie for Brain Tumour Research's #golfchipchallenge, which several of the Stonewood team took part in at home during lockdown."
Image by Andy Crook
Since we closed our sites back on the 24th March, we have been carefully considering how we can best work and operate our sites so we can get back to building our distinctive new homes.
With the health and safety of our employees, contractors, suppliers, clients and neighbours firmly in mind, we have taken time to instruct fresh policies, working practices and protocols which are in line with, or exceed, guidance from government, the Construction Leadership Council and Public Health Authorities.
With this in mind, we are now ready to commence a well-managed and gradual restart of our construction sites throughout May. As we start back on site, we will be regularly evaluating our procedures to reflect the current government guidelines.
We would like to thank our employees, contractors, suppliers, clients and neighbours for their patience, support and understanding.
On Friday 27th March, the Stonewood group took part in #WearAHatDay for Brain Tumour Research!
Unfortunately we couldn't celebrate in the office like we had originally planned so we decided to take part online, asking staff, family and friends to all take part to raise money for our charity of the year.