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Whatever the weather?

It just wouldn’t be the UK if there wasn’t a few days of the year dominated by cold weather and our inability to deal with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I know this year’s winter has been worse than most and some of the conditions have been really quite treacherous.

It’s dominated the media which has been filled with the inevitable debate about whether schools should close and how it makes life difficult for parents when it all happens at late notice.

But it’s not a debate that’s limited to education it happens in industry too and especially construction. It doesn’t, however, make the same sort of headlines.

As a medium-sized, specialist contractor we pride ourselves on never letting down the client and, unless there is a genuine health and safety risk, our engineers will make sure they get to every job on time and ready to carry out their duties.

So when they turn up for work early in the morning – having travelled to get to the site – it is so frustrating when the gates are closed, padlocked up with no sign of them opening.

They either make a call to me or to their office manager who then puts a call into the main contractor.

“Oh sorry, the site’s closed today,” comes the response. Great! If it can’t be helped then I totally understand but there is no doubt that it could be communicated better.

In fairness to the schools caught up in those radio debates, they don’t normally wait for the kids to arrive at the gates to send them home again.

It costs fuel, time and wages and that all has to be absorbed by us as a specialist contractor.

If we were to put in for an aborted fee, it wouldn’t go down too well with the client and we really can’t afford to antagonise them.

I think one of the fall-outs from the Carillion saga has been the real need for better communication and just a better all-round understanding between the whole industry, throughout the supply chain.

It’s not a new debate but there is absolutely no reason why we can’t all work together, recognise that we all need to make a profit and deliver jobs accordingly.

We all want the same thing and if we can work more collaboratively I think we can deliver even better results for the end-client and for all of us in between…whatever the weather.

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