Making no compromises on safety is one of our key principles. The safety of our staff, contractors and the communities we operate in is our utmost priority.
In 2019, the Group achieved 2.5 million hours worked with no reportable incidents and as at 30 September 2019 has an Accident Frequency Rate (AFR) of 0.12.
The safety culture is driven by strong leadership from the Directors and senior staff. Project Managers and members of the Operations team all provide input to developing and improving standards on site, and everyone is empowered to intervene to reduce risk and prevent injury or harm.
The Group has recruited a highly experienced Health and Safety team that reinforces the safety culture throughout the business. Engagement with the supply chain is a priority to ensure the highest standards of safety performance across all projects and sites.
We recognise that as our construction arm grows, so does the volume of high-risk activities. Therefore we have introduced annual health and safety workshops, with the first held in January 2019 and our second in January 2020. These workshops provide the opportunity to refocus minds for the year ahead.
Our emphasis on high safety standards from the start of each project filters through to our supply chain and encourages good safety habits from subcontractors.
Accident Frequency Rate
As the building arm of the business grows, so do employee numbers, with 161 employees as at 30 September 2019, compared to 105 in 2018. Most of the roles are technical and site-based although support staff roles have also increased. We continue to focus on maintaining the quality and strengths of the team.
Attracting new talent and retaining experience gives us a competitive edge. We offer competitive salary and benefit packages, and extensive training opportunities, providing an average of 4.45 days training per employee over the reporting period. We invest in employee health and well being as a priority and recently launched a new no-cost benefit plan. This enables our staff to claim back the cost of everyday health and well being needs, including dental, optical and physiotherapy expenses. It also provides access to round-the-clock confidential support, either by phone or face-to-face.
To accommodate the increase in staff numbers, in May 2019 we moved to a new head office, in Beaconsfield. Working with appropriate specialists, we have created an environment that supports the responsive nature of the Company and showcases our ability to create high-quality, sustainable spaces. Importantly, we have designed the office to accommodate our growth. Staff feedback has been extremely positive and we look forward to working in our new home for many years.
Staff at 30 September 2019 (30 June 2018: 105)
In 2019 we also opened a regional office in Cheshunt, in one of the existing buildings on our Cheshunt Lakeside development. We use the office primarily for members of the project team, but can also accommodate additional staff, in line with our flexible working ethos.
We work hard to maintain a family style environment, as we feel this is what has helped us grow the business and is what makes us uniquely Inland. Staff communication continues to be a priority and we have introduced several engagement measures to build on the introduction of our employee intranet last year.
This includes ‘Meet the Executive’ breakfasts for all new starters, project updates, site visits for head-office-based staff and regular staff updates from the Chief Executive. Staff also enjoy a number of social activities including ‘Bring Your Dog to Work’ days, summer and Christmas parties and charity fundraising events, which boost engagement and foster inclusion.
In the coming year, we will run a survey to help understand how employees feel about our culture and we will use the feedback to make further improvements.
Fantastic ethos which is visible through every site I’ve had the pleasure to work with them at!
Delegate Subcontractor conference delegate
As part of our commitment to adding lasting value through our business activities, we continue to invest in programmes that will alleviate the issues caused by this continuing labour shortage.
We recruited four new apprentices during the 2018/19 reporting period, bringing the total number of apprentices in employment to eight. Most apprentices undertake a Level-4 apprenticeship training in Construction Management, taking approximately two years. The apprenticeship includes a rotation of different parts of the business, to offer an understanding of the various professions and how they link with their role.
The work placements are combined with one day a week at college. Additionally, we have entered into a formal partnership with Bucks University Technical College to give students firsthand experience of the career opportunities available in the industry. The programme involves facilitating classroom and site based visits for students in Years 10-12.
We continue to support community initiatives that open up students’ eyes to the career paths available. In October 2019 we exhibited at the Bucks Skills Show, talking to students about the rewarding and diverse career opportunities available in our industry. We have also hosted a number of school visits to our development sites, as well as work experience placements throughout the period.
Considerate Constructors score
Supply Chain: Stronger Together
We know that we are ‘stronger together’ and we invest in our supply chain contacts.
We continue to build strong relationships with principal contractors, to improve communication and make early notification of issues easier. We provide subcontractors with advance notice of our site plans and building programmes. This helps them plan and feel confident in expanding their workforce in anticipation of our requirements. For each of our projects, we review progress and cost forecasts regularly, to ensure we minimise any impact on suppliers.
In June 2019, we held our second subcontractor conference, with more than 200 people from 120 contractors in attendance. The conference provides us with a platform to set out our requirements and expectations and, in return, for subcontractors to outline their aspirations when working with us. Feedback from those attending was exceptional.
Our procurement policy has succeeded in securing a predominantly local subcontractor workforce.
We work closely with planning authorities and manage comprehensive community engagement strategies to ensure our developments add lasting value to each locality. Our consultation process involves talking to a range of people from each community, including local authorities, property owners, businesses, schools and residents’ associations. Where possible, we incorporate the feedback received into our project plans.
We contribute to local communities through more than just providing employment opportunities and new homes. We invest in parks and public open spaces, education and community buildings, and roads and other infrastructure. During the 15-month reporting period we paid £5.1m via Section 106, legal agreements and CIL payments (2018: £2.4m).
We recognise that construction works can disrupt and inconvenience communities, and we work hard to lessen our impact. Operating in what are often congested areas, we develop and implement comprehensive traffic management plans across our sites to manage activities effectively. All our sites are registered with Considerate Constructors, and we are proud to have achieved an average Considerate Constructors score of 42.5/50.
Our strategy of building high-quality affordable homes in the south and southeast of England continues to be successful. While many of our competitors face a tougher market in the face of political uncertainty, we have continued to sell reasonably well, with an average selling price of £250,000 over the 2018/19 15-month reporting period.
With self-build providing more control of our developments, we can ensure our finished products offer an exceptional standard of living, with a quality specification included as standard.
Recognising that many of our buyers are entering the property market for the first time, we have targeted offers to support them, with furniture packages and stamp duty-paid offers proving very popular. Hard Hat and First Home buyer events have also supported customers, with potential home buyers benefitting from professional expert advice.
In the unlikely event a customer is dissatisfied, we are able to respond quickly. We operate a customer service mailbox for each development. Our database enables our Customer Service team to log all reported issues and enquiries, monitor progress and keep the customer informed.
Our process means that regardless of whether the development is managed by us or by contractors, we can ensure the issue or enquiry is forwarded to the correct person to be resolved.
Average Sales Price (2018/19 15 Month Reporting Period)
In line with our strategy of adding lasting value, we focus on limiting our impact on the environment. With our legacy of brownfield site regeneration, we have the experience and expertise to deal with the challenges these sites present, including where sites have been heavily contaminated by the previous land use.
Year on year, we build on this experience, implementing policies and measures to improve our environmental performance.
We continue to carry out biodiversity and ecology risk assessments as part of our site-planning process, ensuring we understand the full impact of development, and can apply appropriate mitigation measures where necessary.
During the period to 30 September 2019, we implemented a Sustainable Procurement Strategy. The strategy enables us to meet our needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money while generating social and environmental benefit at the same time.
Planning sustainable developments begins at the earliest stages of a project, when we assess potential sites, for example, considering what materials are present on the site and if we could reuse these in the construction. We make decisions that make both financial and ecological sense throughout the project.
On larger projects, we have the scope to undertake ambitious environmental projects, such as installing blue roof water systems to recycle rain water on site and electric vehicle charging points. In line with legislation, all of our timber suppliers and manufacturers are registered with either the PEFC or FSC.
We aim to reduce or recycle waste wherever possible. Our methodology can be summarised as 'reuse, recycle, recover'. We regard disposal at landfill as a last resort. At our Lily's Walk development, for example, we recycled 97% of materials on site between January and September 2019. Not only does this reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, it also reduces the number of vehicles (and emissions) needed to transport it.