Award-winning best practice at McGee Group’s One Nine Elms project – two luxury skyscrapers spanning 56 and 47 storeys over London

McGee is a specialist subcontractor and main contractor providing a broad spectrum of construction, decontamination, demolition and civil engineering services.

Enjoying an eight-year collaboration with the Scheme, McGee registered its first project in October 2008 and has since registered 49 of its projects, scooping seven National Site Awards, most recently two 2017 Silver CCS Awards for its Glen House and 9 Marylebone Lane projects, and a 2017 Gold Award for its Leicester Square Hotel project.

For its One Nine Elms project, McGee was appointed by Dalian Wanda for the demolition of the existing Market Towers buildings, with works beginning in May 2014 and completing by April 2015. This work led to the company receiving a Bronze CCS National Site Award in 2016, as well as a silver Green Apple Environment Award. Click on the following link to read McGee’s account of this achievement.

Following the main demolition works, McGee was then engaged with the enabling and early works package in conjunction with Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering and this work was expected to complete during the summer of 2017.

Outlining the project, Project Manager Chris Foulser said:

“The end result of the development will see over 50 storeys of skyscraper soar into the sky, offering residents unrivalled views of London’s most famous landmarks, including The Shard, London Eye and Westminster Abbey. One Nine Elms will set a new standard for the city, offering luxurious private apartments alongside a world-class five-star hotel.”

The Best Practice Hub asked McGee’s Head of Social Responsibility, Marc Byrne, a few questions about McGee’s relationship with the Scheme:

How does McGee incorporate the requirements of the Scheme into its working practices?

The Code of Considerate Practice has been the cornerstone by which we measure our performance as a considerate contractor at One Nine Elms. We seek to be compliant as a baseline and achieve excellence as a matter of course. The Scheme is nationally recognised by our client, the local authority, subcontractors and working partners alike and most importantly the local community.

This establishes a metric by which we can measure our site performance. It is also recognises that the Scheme is independently assessed by experienced industry professionals giving gravitas to the Scheme and any awards made to McGee. The ethos of compliance, continual improvement and excellence promoted by CCS is reflected in the core vision and values of McGee. Our vision serves as the framework for our ‘roadmap’ and guides every aspect of our business by describing what we need to accomplish, in order to continue to achieve safe, sustainable growth.

We inspire our people to grow and be the best they can be. We will keep them safe and provide a great place to work. Our sensitivity to the needs of local residents and the uninterrupted operation of businesses is a priority on all our projects. We are focused on performance; externally to our customers and internally with our people. We will continuously improve, innovate and deliver increasing excellence to our customers, whilst ensuring we are efficient, effective and responsive enough to change course when needed.

We bring to our chosen markets a portfolio of quality services to satisfy the ever-changing needs of our customers. We are open, responsive, and dependable and we add value to our customers’ businesses, often through developing long-term partnerships. We are committed and passionate about what we do. As a responsible organisation we make a difference to the planet by helping to protect and care for the environment and communities in which we live and work.

How do you incorporate the requirements of the Scheme into your working practices?

The five principles of the Code of Considerate Practice are fundamental to the working and site practice and procedures. Site appearance, ‘respect for the community’, ‘protecting the environment’, ‘site safety’ and ‘valuing their workforce’ are all integral to McGee’s Integrated Management System and the relevant Standard Operating Procedures.

Each site has an individual considerate constructors project plan managed by the relevant Project Manager and site team, supported by a visiting team of environmental, neighbourhood liaison and health and safety professionals. CCS progress forms are part of the weekly team meetings to ensure progress is discussed and closely monitored. This process is monitored via the internal audit and checks programmes. These can be from simple hoarding monitoring check sheets to full CCS internal audits.

What particular challenges have you faced in relation to the community, environment or the workforce on this project, and how have you overcome these?

The One Nine Elms development is located in a thriving residential community with high-end tenanted blocks of flats and some commercial businesses overlooking the site. Therefore from the onset of the project, neighbourly relations were of paramount importance. In conjunction with the client’s communications office, meetings with neighbours and a bespoke site communications website were set up.

Initially, monthly community liaison meetings were held in the site offices and then local venues to which local neighbours were invited for project updates and to discuss any neighbourly issues. These were attended by client representatives and any other interested stakeholders who expressed an interest. These meetings are now held quarterly as site works are less intrusive in their nature for neighbours, following the completion of the demolition phase of the project.

Any updates on site activity or information of interest pertaining to the site are e-mailed directly to registered neighbours via the dedicated website. A weekly site activity log is posted with works planned for the forthcoming week, noting any noisy works or out-of-hours deliveries.

How do you feel the Scheme is improving the image of construction?

There is no denying that the Scheme has, over a period of time, changed the mind-set of the construction industry. The industry now realises that what goes on outside of their site boundaries is as important as what goes on inside them. And also that good relationships with the local communities in which they work are key to a successful project. McGee has wholeheartedly bought into this ethos.

Please sum up in one sentence your experience of registering with the Scheme.

Registering with the Scheme and putting its principles into action has been one of the major contributory factors in McGee remaining at the forefront of London’s demolition and groundworks contracts.

Here are some examples of best practice the McGee project team implemented on this project, specifically in relation to the community, the environment and safety:

  • Supporting ‘Wear it Pink’: The One Nine Elms site team donned pink high visibility vests and held site cake sales in aid of Wear it Pink 2015 and 2016, contributing to the awards success for McGee at the 2016 London Construction Awards. You can find out more about this successful day by clicking onto the following link:
  • Raising awareness of Prostate Cancer: Working with Prostate Cancer UK, the leading UK charity for men with prostate cancer and prostate problems, we have raised awareness of the disease to the workforce at One Nine Elms. A Prostate Cancer UK volunteer and someone who has experienced prostate cancer in the past delivered an informative talk to the site team during a morning break time. The talk included information on how to spot symptoms of prostate cancer, diagnosis and treatment. There was also time for questions to be asked at the end, either within the group or on a one-to-one basis.
  • Children learn about staying safe around construction sites: In June 2016, McGee’s One Nine Elms site team played a key role in Banstead Infant’s school assembly which saw 370 four to seven-year-olds learn about staying safe on and around construction sites, with a little help from special guest, Ivor Goodsite!  McGee also spoke about how great it is to work in construction. For more information on this initiative, click onto the following link here.
  • ‘The McGeeden project’: Our green-fingered site team worked hard to create a homely touch on site. They named their pot plant garden ‘the McGeeden project’.
  • Using mobile apps on site: Chris Foulser, Project Manager at McGee’s One Nine Elms project, said: “The introduction of the ‘Inspection Manager’ application into our working environment has allowed us far greater control and confidence in ensuring that all of our inspection requirements are met and completed. It has assisted in significantly reducing the previously large volumes of paperwork generated and allows on-the-spot checks to be made to ensure compliance.”
  • Nine Elms is crowned a Green Apple Environment Award winner 2016 for its consideration of the environment. (Bronze, silver or gold award to be presented at The Houses of Parliament on Friday 11th November). 
  • Working in the community to help keep cyclists safe: As a champion of safety, both on and off our projects, we are determined to play our part in making cycle journeys as risk-free as possible. That’s why we’re wholehearted supporters of the CLOCS initiative to protect vulnerable road users. We’re committed to educating our HGV drivers about the best way to share the road and providing cyclists with extra insights and valuable tips intended to keep them – and their bicycles – safe.
  • Exchanging places: As we operate one of the largest and most recognised fleets of tipper lorries in the UK, we take our responsibilities extremely seriously. This is why we are supporting the Metropolitan Police and City Police by providing lorries to the Cycle Task Forces for their ‘Exchanging Places’ events which are designed to raise awareness of cycle safety. Several Exchanging Places events have been held on site at One Nine Elms during the course of the project. The events were supported and attended by the Metropolitan Police Cycle Task Force, Bike Register and premier maintenance provider, Havebike. The events gave passers-by the opportunity to exchange places with a driver or police officer for an in-cab safety briefing to get a better understanding of what a lorry driver can and cannot see. Whilst in the cab, a demonstration of where the vehicle blind spots exist also took place. Free bike markings and registrations, maintenance, safety checks and giveaways were all on offer at the events. And not forgetting the complimentary refreshments courtesy of the site team!
  • To read about the McGee team’s health and safety recognition, click on the following link:  
  • Traffic marshals: For a McGee article outlining traffic marshal training at the One Nine Elms project, click here.

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