Headquartered in east London and with an annual turnover of £40 million, Kind & Company provides high quality building and construction services to businesses, local authorities and individuals in southeast England. With in-house activities covering project and site management, surveying, advice, estimating, supply chain management and resident liaison, Kind delivers both new build and refurbishment projects to sectors including housing, healthcare, education and leisure. As you would expect, utility connections are an essential part of construction.
For over a decade, an expert infrastructure team at Consultus has been saving the company time, resources and costs by co-ordinating and managing all utility connections, along with additional services such as meter upgrades and relocation. “We work on 15-20 projects a year, with at least ten involving the Consultus team – and those projects represent a substantial part of our turnover,” says Steve Juson, Operations Director, Kind & Company.
Kind & Company believes that its success is founded on an ability to evolve with the market, ‘adopting the skills and techniques required to deliver on time, to specification and to budget’. Drawing on external expertise in utility connections is part of that approach. “Many main contractors and developers do not like having to deal with utility companies, and the time-consuming process involved in organising new, reinforced and disconnection of supplies,” explains Malcolm Cooper, Executive Consultant at Consultus, who brings more than 35 years’ industry experience. Steve Juson says, “The process might be described as a ‘necessary evil’ so it’s great to have a team that can handle all that on our behalf – people with the right knowledge and proven expertise.”
Juson continues, “We’re generally working on 15-20 sites at any time, with contracts valued at between £2 million and £6 million per site. In terms of utilities and connections, the statutory authorities can be extremely bureaucratic, and that’s not our core business or specific area of expertise in any case. Because Malcolm and his team come from the industry, they not only have that valuable knowledge but also have the contacts in the statutory bodies, and know the right people to speak to. So their ability to get things done is far greater than our own.”
Malcolm Cooper says, “During the early stages of a project, the Consultus team can form a part of the design team. Then, as a project reaches construction stage, we are a part of the construction team. Our role is to focus on all of the utility-related services that enable Kind & Company’s project managers and site to focus on what they do best, dealing with the construction. We provide regular updates to managers throughout a project and are able to coordinate the next stages of the utility connection process.”
Juson says, “Consultus may be working on a project for something like 15 hours, chasing up to get quotes, and so on. Add 50% in terms of our own time, and that can save us something like £2,000 on each project. It can be something like 50% of what the overall cost would have been, perhaps three or four days’ work. We can use that time to work on core business activities, meaning we are more productive by using Consultus services.
“It’s also valuable they are ‘in the know’ in terms of quotations from external suppliers, testing quotes so we know if they are reasonable, then negotiating and improving them. For example, we might receive a quote from an M&E consultant for a client. The Consultus team examines it professionally then make the case to have those costs reduced, providing evidence if needed. The quotation might then be reduced by a third, which can represent a substantial amount.”
Juson concludes, “We have a strong long-term relationship with Consultus, based on trust. The team is also extremely flexible, bending over backwards to accommodate us. And whenever we have a new project, we don’t have to go out to the market every time: we’ve agreed rates with Consultus, we know how they work, and have a relationship based on trust and transparency. We know that we can just go straight to them, we know they will deliver the services we need, and we know we’ll get value for money.”
“Consultus provides us with real value for money, in terms of the effort involved in sorting out utility connections, saving us a great deal of time and hassle.”