A sterling example of considerate practice – Wakefield and District Housing’s community homes project
The project in Crofton, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, was to construct 32 timber-framed two and three-bedroom properties and a bungalow in a residential area.
From the very outset the WDH team engaged with the local community, hosting a charity coffee morning to unveil the plans and invite feedback, and organising community events and supporting local schools.
Outlining the ethos behind the project, Dave said:
“As a company, we are focused on the wellbeing of our workforce and the communities where we work. We worked with a local high school to design a seating area for the bungalows on a specific area of the site. The pupils did a great job consulting with tenants and costing up the project. We also gave health and safety talks at local schools, encouraging pupils to take part in drawing competitions, with prize-giving days featuring much-loved industry mascot Ivor Goodsite.
“We have worked in partnership with the local job centre to offer placements for the long-term unemployed, further developing our good working relationship with the local community. Our community coffee morning was a real success with all donations going to Macmillan Cancer Support and at Christmas we invited local children to meet Santa and receive a selection box in our Santa’s Grotto.”
There were challenges on the site associated with working in close proximity to local residents, however by building good relationships with the local neighbours, any issues were managed in a professional way with a resolution found that suited all parties.
You can find out how the WDH site team rose to these challenges and read of their many other examples of best practice by clicking on the sliders below:
- Community open forum meetings were held through informal coffee mornings and a complaints register was available, with no issues arising.
- Deliveries avoided busy times in the area and could be accommodated within the site parameters.
- The limited parking available on site did include visitor and disabled bays and any vehicles parked on surrounding streets displayed courtesy notices with site contact details (considerate parking was covered at induction).
- Local subcontractors and suppliers were employed on site.
- Good support was also provided to the local community via the Prince’s Trust.
- Site safety visits were made to a local school and a ‘name the road’ competition was held.
- A school classroom was installed on site to promote construction careers and weekly site visits were organised.
- Work experience placements were arranged on site and support was also given to the ‘Think Families’ initiative.
- A Christmas Grotto was installed on site and presents were given to local children.
- As a legacy for the local community, a seating area for local residents was due to be installed on completion.
- Mortar silos were in use to avoid mixer noise and vehicle movements.
- Carbon footprint assessments were being made for the project.
- Bird and bee-friendly planting was carried out and a large number of trees were included in the landscaping works.
- As part of the site legacy work, bird boxes made by local school children were distributed throughout the local area.
- A promotion of a cycle to work scheme, with a 20p per mile incentive for those riding to work.
- CSCS training was given – people were not allowed on site without a valid CSCS card. In addition to this all, operatives were encouraged to report any near misses to eradicate potential hazards.
- League tables were in place to illustrate site and operative performance.
- Communication with employees, as well as the local community, was also a priority to WDH. Toolbox talks and team briefings were regularly carried out, as well as appraisals and wellbeing checks to discuss any issues, identify training needs and aid career development.
- Health checks were carried out on site by an occupational therapy nurse who provided health advice and offered private appointments. The nurse also informed operatives of the various other health programmes which are available throughout the year. These included Stress Awareness Week, Dry January, the stop smoking campaign, Fruity Fridays and free physio sessions for employees.
- An equal opportunities policy was in place and site staff underwent awareness training; two operatives with disabilities were employed on site.
- Construction careers were actively supported, together with good support for apprenticeship training via the company’s own scheme.
- Support was also given to return-to-work initiatives and a suggestion box scheme was in place.