14th May 2020
As The Slatter Group continues to expand, we’re following up with our newest recruits, taking the opportunity to welcome them to the team whilst getting an insight into their role and experience.
Andy Bingham joined our busy sales & estimating team as an Estimator in late March, bringing with him comprehensive experience in estimating – from light bespoke civils projects up to large scale main contractors’ projects.
Hi! Well they’ve been very busy actually, the sales team has generated a lot of leads and we’re on the radar of a lot a Sports Consultants so there has been a whole range of tenders to get stuck into. I’ve even managed to get out to the Channel Islands (I wasn’t expecting the ‘international travel’ side of things so soon)!
To be honest though, I’ve more or less had to find my feet immediately, which is no bad thing – as it shows the company is being very pro-active about moving forward and securing work! Also I guess it means they trust my judgement which is comforting.
I’ve still got some names to put to faces and faces to names, along with systems to understand – so it’s still early days.
My background is predominately in macadam surfacing and light groundworks having worked for a well respected Surfacing Contractor. I was in this role for nearly seven years moving up through a Management Trainee scheme in which I gained valuable onsite first hand experience and supervisory skills. Thereafter I fell into the role as an Estimator and CAD Technician / Design. I had some working knowledge of CAD and GPS surveying equipment from a ‘Year In Industry’ that I undertook after college; working within a Hydrographic Surveying Office at the Port of Poole prior to obtaining my degree in Civil Engineering.
I utilised these skills to help formulate proposals and design drawings for light bespoke Civils schemes in a way that our competitors (at the time) were not.
In the year prior to joining S&C Slatter, I worked as an Estimator for a Main Contractor which gave me a broader view on pricing and higher value projects.
It feels like I’ve joined an already ‘well oiled machine’ – there’s an incredibly strong work ethic and my colleagues have wealth of knowledge and understanding of the industry.
My role as Estimator is predominately involved with the completion of tenders at this stage, coupled with site visits (of course!) to confirm there is nothing untoward within proposals.
There seems to be a slow but steady drive towards more sustainable practices which is great to see; many tenders now seem to target offsetting new construction with some form of ecological enhancement to the nearby area. It’s good to see this becoming part of the focus rather than an afterthought.
Obviously Health and Safety is something that has also come on leaps and bounds even in the 10 years that I’ve been working! Our new Health and Safety Manager (Nick Jordan) seems to be very pro-active and works to ensure our internal documentation and processes are always up to date.
Working remotely for site-based staff is obviously not ideal – however in our particular niche of the industry we are seeing some return to normality.
As you know much of our works are relatively isolated and contained within themselves, meaning our operatives do not have to come into regular close contact with others, thus it is relatively easy to stick to the two metre rule!
Deliveries of materials from our suppliers also sort of fall into that category of limit contact as well. Suppliers are implementing policies like remote delivery signing that avoid direct contact.
On our side of things (Estimating & Sales) – we are largely able to work remotely, so the main adaptation really is lack of face to face office contact and the normal sort of discussions that you may have in the office. Its not quite as easy to ‘pick someone’s brain for a second’ remotely! Site visits have also ceased presently for future tenders unless they can done without breaking contact guidelines – this poses its own challenges in making sure that the site conditions are assessed correctly when pricing.
I guess also one of things I’m having to adjust to personally is the lack of physical paper drawings… I’m used to having a large A3 / A1 site plan in front of me, so getting used to not having that element easily available had to be a quick adjustment – but this is one thing the industry was already trying to tackle before lockdown. Many businesses are moving down the route of ‘paperless policies’ which really is great to get onboard with. I’ve seen first-hand how easy it is to print to the A0 plotter and waste unnecessary amounts of paper by accident!
I think as we run the risk of sliding into a recession, customers will be faced with even tighter scrutiny on spending and future budget allocation. Contracts are generally awarded on a weighted basis towards cost, with quality practices considered thereafter. So the pressure will be on the clients to go with the cheapest option.
As a business, we work hard to demonstrate value for money in every aspect of the build, ensuring quality is not compromised. Another way the company is seeking to support clients is through providing guidance on what financial solutions are available to help fund all or some of a project, and avoid cost cutting at the expense of quality.
Our installations are second to none, and offer the longevity and aftercare policies that set the higher standards for the industry. When a client looks at return on investment then we generally do well.
I think assessing that everything has been included, that there are no unknown elements to a scheme that could result in extra cost. You never want to price a job that will lose money. So really it’s just about being as thorough as possible within the time constraints allowed. I need to work on the time constraints side of things!
It looked like a young vibrant company; and after being approached by Ben following my previous experience, it sounded like an interesting role. S&C Slatter’s portfolio of work is very impressive!
Speak early on in the process with our Sales teams who will work with our design and planning department to provide good advice, Nick and Josh will help draw up some sensible proposals!
Up until lockdown I was playing regularly in a band.
The writing and recording side is still going, although I haven’t had much of a chance recently believe it or not! I’m not sure really what the future holds for that side of things as the live element is non-essential and hard to justify at this current time – the impact of the virus really has hit that industry hard!
Thanks so much to Andy for taking the time to do this Q&A with us, we know it’s a busy time for the tender department and know he’s been a great asset already – welcome to the team!
Our estimators are on hand to give you the best possible understanding of what’s possible on site, and at what projected cost.
If you’re considering a sports construction project and want to ensure maximum quality with minimal risk, get in touch with Andy and the team on 01635 345 21 or email email@example.com.