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Six tips for winter maintenance

20140918_111651Winter maintenance not only has a significant impact on companies’ real estates and infrastructure, it also affects staff, customers and the surrounding communities. In the UK we always get a cold snap – in a few cases severe – at some stage in the season, so there are a number of recommendations I would make to not only get ahead of the winter period, but also make sure that we are prepared for all weathers. My six winter maintenance tips include:

1)     Plan ahead, don’t leave it to the last minute

2)     Be clear about the service you need

3)     Discuss your requirements with a reputable winter maintenance organisation like Ground Control

4)     Make certain you receive the information behind the visits ‘LIVE AS IT HAPPENS’ to not only help protect you and your business, but also to ensure your operation runs smoothly. You may need this information if you ever end up in court (legal battles) from slips, trips & falls

5)     Check that your contractor provides a comprehensive service (gritting and snow clearance alongside consultancy and extensive reporting) as communication is critical when brand and reputation are at risk. A number of providers only deliver gritting, choosing to outsource snow teams on the day. If this happens, ensure the reporting is aligned and delivered to customers the same way

6)     Be happy with the results, and plan ahead for next year.

By adhering to these tips and being ahead of the game, it enables organisations like Ground Control to plan ahead as well. Customers often don’t give a thought to weather trigger points and potential access issues; gritting operations are usually carried out overnight and therefore may require keys or specialist inductions as well as health and safety requirements. Consideration must also be given to the surrounding area in terms of the roads leading into the company, the car parks and the variety of working areas including access footpaths, walkways and loading yards.

Bringing all of this information together provides proactive customers with the best possible service. However, if a customer, despite all of this, chooses a reactive only service, that customer will be in danger of losing out to those who have thought ahead. After all, winter maintenance providers will service sites that have an agreement in place first, simply due to the ability to be able to think ahead. Salt can be taken to locations close to customers’ sites ahead of time; conversations will have been completed around what will need clearing. In addition, a site recce can be completed, if required, to work out in advance what needs to happen and at what time the gritting should take place to cause the least disruption. For those with a reactive service, none of this can happen meaning these companies will be at risk of causing disruption to their own staff and customers, with the obvious potential knock on effect on the company’s finances.

In conclusion, my recommendation to any organisation is that they treat winter maintenance like any other business need; they plan ahead for it. The winter months are just around the corner, and if they are not planned for, the risks could be at best problematic, and at worst catastrophic if customers cannot access their premises for example. Don’t be reactive, be proactive to avoid a winter of discontent.




The UK’s fastest growing landscaping solutions provider to showcase bespoke technologies at keynote transport exhibition

Ground Control will attend the Highways UK 2016 show to unveil latest offering within its external maintenance and road networks portfolio

Highways UK announcement: Stand No: A36

Multi award-winning Ground Control, the UK’s fastest growing external maintenance and commercial landscaping company, will showcase its key roadworks and highways maintenance offering at the Highways UK event in Birmingham on 16th to 17th November 2016.

Ground Control will exhibit a range of market leading landscape services and external works covering all aspects of infrastructure, road and rail. In addition, the company will discuss its Highways Network maintenance solutions that help to ensure the UK’s road networks remain connected at all times. Ground Control offers unmatched expertise, utilising the latest technology and practices to deliver seamless cyclical and project works. As part of this initiative, the landscaping solutions specialist has launched an app which provides its contractors and nominated client contacts with live updates to illustrate exactly what they are receiving from the service in real time.

Held at the popular NEC in Birmingham, Highways UK is the major event for developers, contractors and organisations involved in the planning, operation and future-proofing of the UK’s road network. With keynote addresses over the two days, business industry leaders will come together to share best practice on delivering effective transport projects through successful partnerships.

“We are proud to attend the Highways UK event whereby we will showcase our latest technologies and unmatched expertise within highways maintenance and the wider transport sector,” explained Sam Jones, Business Development Director for Ground Control. “As one of the largest events of its kind, it will allow us to demonstrate how Ground Control is leading the way through the latest IT systems and our innovative products and services.”

The multi-award winning Ground Control, in addition to receiving the UK industry’s top accolade The Queen’s Award for Innovation, has achieved 20 BALI awards and the Gold Medal for the sixth consecutive year in the annual RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards 2016. This is in addition to the accolades of the Essex Business of the Year and Best Growing Business, and the achievement of finalist in the UK Customer Experience Awards amongst some of the country’s biggest names.

“2016 has been one of the most successful years across all of our business divisions. Having continued to lead the way in IT innovations and expanded our portfolio of services, our ambition remains to enrich and improve our offering and become the undisputed partner of choice across our nominated industry sectors,” said Sam Jones.

In addition to highways maintenance, Ground Control’s tailored suite of solutions include grounds maintenance, vegetation management, landscape installation, ecology and biodiversity and pest control services.

For more information about Ground Control, visit us at the Highways UK event at stand number A36 or click on www.ground-control.co.uk. If you would like a briefing with Ground Control, contact Andy Parker on +44(0)1242 211187, or email andy.parker@montintegrated.com, to schedule.


Ground Control presented with Queen’s Award for Enterprise

Ground Control presented with Queen’s Award for Enterprise

Innovation Award recognises pioneering role of national company in creating leading edge technology to help maintain external spaces that are safe and enjoyable for all 

Ground Control presented with Queen's Award Queen’s Award Event: 3rd October at 15:00

On Monday 3rd October, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex Mr John Patrick Lionel Petre, will present the Ground Control team with its Queen’s Award for Innovation at a special ceremony to be held at the company’s offices in Billericay, Essex.

The award, achieved in the year of her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday, specifically recognises the significant contribution Ground Control’s application of technology has had on servicing its customers, including live reporting systems that enable the company to respond rapidly to evolving demands. The company, recognised as the fastest growing independent external maintenance and commercial landscaping company, has become an exemplar of innovation in its industry sector and a pioneer of technology across its divisions, delivering a range of services including grounds maintenance, winter maintenance, arboriculture including rail, utilities and amenity services, vegetation management, landscape construction and design, ecology and biodiversity, fencing, roofing, invasive weed management, pest control, specialist external cleaning services and commercial window cleaning.

Commenting on the presentation, Marcus Watson, Ground Control’s Managing Director, said: “We are extremely honoured to receive such a prestigious endorsement for our innovation and service to our customers. Across 45,000 sites throughout the UK, our upwards of 3,000 people working hard to deliver to our customers, are justifiably proud of their personal contribution to this fantastic achievement. This event is for each and every one of our staff to say thank you for their commitment and hard work.”

For anyone wishing to find out more about this event, details can be gained by contacting Ground Control on info@ground-control.co.uk or telephone 01277 650697. For more information about Ground Control, click on https://www.ground-control.co.uk/.


Ground Control innovates Fencing sector

Ground Control FencingGround Control supplies and installs a wide range of fencing for professional and commercial environments, such as retail and education establishments, to preserve their security.

Matching your needs and expectations, we work closely with you providing outstanding workmanship and customer service. We are a Betafence PRO-net chartered contractor, offering a 10-year guarantee on products and installation.


Animal exclusion fencing

DSC_0461We provide Animal exclusion fencing enclosures to avoid the straying of animals and pets with “pet exclusion fencing”. For larger animals, it is recommended to add electricity in the fencing.

We can also offer you installation of fencing for the dangerous or monitored establishment such as prisons, political or historic places. This Animal exclusion fencing guarantees the protection of locations thanks to the addition of electricity, alarms or even barbed wire.


Security mesh panel systems keeping places of any size secure

Ideal for schools, parks, railways or large companies, the “security mesh panel systemsRail Arb clearancehelp professional and public spaces to stay protected, whereas palisades allow protection for the smallest place like little companies, parking or playgrounds for kids or sports.

Produced with quality solid steel, we offer the “hollow tube railing” which allows the protection of stairs, floors helping people move safely. Railings are obligatory in companies and public space (schools, malls, restaurants…).

We also provide “acoustic barrier systems” with different materials like timber, stone, bamboo, steel… We can customise your ideal fencing system and offer you a large range of decorative timber fencing with high quality timber.


Ground Control’s Arb Division is Expanding!

GC ArbGround Control’s Arboriculture department carries out work across the whole of the UK.  We focus on three key areas:

  • Utilities
  • Rail
  • Amenity

At present we are looking to recruit 20 new arb teams to join our contracts covering the East Midlands, working across all network voltages from LV to 132kv. Utility experience and UA qualifications are desirable but not essential. We expect all teams who apply to have a proven track record within their chosen arb sector.

For those teams who do not have UA experience or qualifications, we can arrange training for you at discounted rates through our network of approved UA trainers. In addition to this we also provide an experienced field based mentor to ensure that new teams are supported throughout the learning process.

Ground Control pay competitively and on time. All teams benefit from a weekly payment run and a full bank of work. If you are a hard working owner-operator, then we can offer you a great opportunity. We work with some of the UK’s leading utility and rail suppliers including Western Power Distribution, UK Power Networks and Network Rail.

With our bespoke WoodPlan vegetation management software and rugged tablet technology we make it simpler for teams to access and manage workpacks out in the field. A secondary benefit of this is that it’s easier for owners to invoice and manage works.

Get in touch today by downloading our Pre-Qualification Questionnaire here:

To assist you with your application, please refer to our Team Competency Guide, which details our basic expectations for each sector.

Then send it to joinus@ground-control.co.uk.  If you want to discuss this process then please call 01277 650697 and ask to speak to our New Team Co-ordinator.

Want to see more? Then watch this video! : –



Areas within the East Midlands where we are currently recruiting teams.

new teams


Automated gate systems and installation

Heathrow Airport Bus StationWe also install a comprehensive range of gates including access control and automated gate systems.  We construct pergolas, benches, bicycle racks, log retaining walls, custom cage and cantilever gates.


Ground Control’s landscape architecture solutions

Ground Control’s landscape architecture solutions make the best use of the resources it has at its disposal. Working quietly and with as little disruption as possible, the aim of the design teams are to maintain and develop the landscape to clients’ specifications.

Ground Control revitalises the landscape through the use of modern technologies. It works with a wide range of vertical sectors, taking on the complete job: from the initial site clearance, drainage, paving right through to planting and re-turfing.

To guarantee the highest standard results, Ground Control additionally provides clients with the very best service, from consultancy and advice through to advising on timeframes. Regardless of the complexity and size of the task at hand, Ground Control has the experience and expertise to provide the best landscape architecture solutions at highly competitive rates.




Vegetation management challenges all sectors

At Ground Control, we draw on our considerable experience in dealing with water, rail, electricity, telecoms, and gas utilities to demonstrate our expertise in vegetation management.

Regular management of trees and shrubbery is essential to maintaining good communications, power lines, and transport systems. Our arborists are expertly trained to work across the range of possible systems and site types to ensure that you can continue to deliver services for your customers throughout the year.

As a company our focus on flexibility means that we consistently meet our client requirements and ensures that we can attend to a variety of locations across the country. Therefore, we are able to implement our incredible workforce, specialist equipment, and industry expertise to bring the best possible results to each of our clients.

Ground Control has a catalogue of experience relating to vegetation management, particularly relating to the utilities industry where we have maintained over 6000 sites throughout the UK and have ongoing relationships with a number of industry leaders. Our reporting helps maintain your accounts and monitor your site, regardless of your account structure or location of your sites.

As health and safety is a priority for our organisation we have been able to combine technological developments to prevent injury during potentially dangerous tasks and increase efficiency throughout the vegetation management process. For example, we now use robotic mowers to attend to steep banks of grass, while ensuring that each piece of equipment is properly supervised through investing in operative training and monitoring behaviour patterns via regular auditing.


Commercial lawn maintenance

Commercial turfing and lawn maintenance service. We do everything from soil leveling and related preliminary work required with the laying of a consummately level lawns.

This incorporates the procurement of soil and the supply of brilliant garden turf or grass seed.

Each environment is distinctive and we can provide advice for diverse circumstances, whether is be full sun or dappled shade.

Careful choice of grass seed is required for hard wearing turf for high traffic public.

For existing lawned areas which require a little consideration, we offer a scarification to remove moss, air circulation, nourishing and seeding administration during the lawn spring months. Providing lawn mowing and complete commercial lawn maintenance.


Invasive Weed Management : Invasive Weeds a Growing Problem…

Invasive weed management to tackle Japanese Knotweed and other invasive weeds which are responsible for property and structural damage in the UK to the tune of £2.1 billion per year according to figures from the Environment Agency and Department of the Regions. Did you know that there are three species of Knotweed currently growing in the UK, up from just one a few years ago?

But, why is this a problem for property owners, transport and utilities networks and the construction and estates management/FM sectors? According to Neil Huck, Ground Control’s National Training Manager and Invasive Weeds expert, this is becoming a serious problem due to the increasing requirement to manage properties and structural assets ranging from electricity pylons, sub stations and reservoirs to railways, tunnels and bridges in often difficult access areas where these invasive weeds are growing. Allowing the spread of Knotweed in neighbouring properties could subject you to fines and removal cost as well as law suits. Additionally, mortgage lenders are now recording Knotweed in their surveys and if present could affect the property value.

And it’s not just Japanese Knotweed, although this is the most pernicious to control. A further example is Himalayan Balsam, which spreads its seed through biological ‘explosions’. These seeds can remain viable for five years, meaning a long-term treatment regime is crucial. Additionally, giant Hogweed contains sap that can cause horrific blisters on contact with skin. The only good news is that it is susceptible to herbicide if treated correctly.

Overall, the problem has got so bad that building and landowners will now be served with a species control order to manage any invasive species on their property. Failure to address invasive weed management to control the invasive species when an order has been served will result in fines of up to £20,000 for companies.


Grass and lawn maintenance

Lawn maintenance, grass laying and turf laying including landscape maintenance and upkeep.

From large scale business applications like office parks or modern landscaped lawns with grass turf and lawn seeding. We remove existing turf or clear building plots and rubble. Bringing in quality topsoil and manures to ensure a quality lawn.

We offer advice and materials to help the grass keep it’s sheen long after we have gone as well as providing lawns mowing and lawn care.

And in addition we offer corporate management to organisations and authorities. Working in all commercial lawn maintenance applications, from sport and game fields, for example, tennis courts and football pitches to large scale ventures like stately homes, parks and public areas and office parks.


Site protective hoarding to protect everyday Fencing environments

20140925_073202Ground Control ensures the protection of streets and pedestrians with “site protective hoarding”. This type of fencing removes the pedestrians from danger when there are construction works and prevents damage to cars and street equipment like benches, bins and bus stops.

We have also thought about nature with “tree protection fencing”, which enables the survival of trees and plants in forests, gardens and streets.


Ground Control’s landscape construction services second to none

Our extensive experience and expertise allows us to provide a full range of hard and soft landscape construction services to public and private, residential and commercial clients across the entire country.

Our landscape construction services include initial design work, site clearance, drainage, paving, street furniture and play equipment and planting and turfing. Ground Control utilises the latest technology and practices to provide cost-effective, high quality landscaping services that we guarantee will completely transform your outside space.

No matter the project size or complexity, Ground Control has the expertise, resources and training to successfully build outstanding landscape construction projects. Our capability to consistently deliver quality workmanship on time, anywhere in the country, has enabled us to establish strong working relationships with all of our clients.


Ground Control’s lawn maintenance a cut above the rest

Ground Control provides a range of lawn maintenance services, including commercial grass cutting and mowing to all forms of grassed areas and lawns. These include sports ground maintenance, line marking, nature conservation, weed control, cemeteries and much more.

Ground Control works to ensure outside spaces are properly maintained and fulfil their role for visitors and customers. Additionally, its work also helps landowners to fulfil their duty of care to the public by seeing to the safety of grassed outside areas. After all, if the grassed areas look untidy and ultimately not looked after, questions will be raised about the company’s ability to run a successful business.

Ground Control’s lawn maintenance service is provided to all businesses in every sector all across the UK. For more information, contact Ground Control here.


Ground Control’s impressive snow clearance services superior to the rest

Ground Control provides a range of superior snow clearance services. We utilise the very latest equipment combined with a proven IT based tactical planning infrastructure. The clearance of fallen snow in car parks and any other publicly or commercially used surfaces for access and safety is a duty of care for the owners of the land. We provide a fully preventative gritting service including the use of tractor mounted snow blades and front end loaders to move deep drifts, followed by regular gritting to provide on-going protection.

We are able to provide these snow clearance services due to our subscription to highly accurate, UK wide, local weather forecasting services, which enables us to be fully prepared for any eventualities. This, combined with our extensive country wide in-house communication expertise, ensures that we are consistently able to provide the snow clearance service that all of our clients need and rely on.

Ground Control are proud to be able to provide a reliable and trusted 24/7 snow clearance service throughout the entire UK.


Planning for winter maintenance

As planners schedule budgets and resources for winter maintenance, now is the time to start thinking about your requirements

Winter maintenance not only has a huge impact on companies’ sites, it also affects staff, customers and the surrounding communities. With slip, trip and fall claims continually on the rise due to the increase of the ‘no win no fee’ culture, the issue of planning around the winter weather should be high on all companies’ lists of must dos in the coming months not only to reduce the possibility of being sued, but also as a matter of simple health and safety. Although for some it might seem early in the year to be thinking about winter maintenance and gritting services, companies should be prepared for when the colder weather appears. We have all seen the consequences of not being prepared.

Although the actual operation of spreading salt on the ground is reasonably straightforward, winter maintenance overall is extremely complex. Customers often don’t give a thought to weather trigger points and potential access issues; gritting operations are usually carried out overnight and therefore may require keys or specialist inductions as well as health and safety requirements. Consideration must also be given to the surrounding area in terms of the roads leading into the company, the car parks and the variety of working areas including access footpaths, walkways and loading yards.

In other words, winter maintenance requires planning. For example, does the company’s external footprint require gritting over the weekend? Where should the snow be piled once ploughed? Will the surrounding roads need gritting? Is there a need for frequent gritting, and if there is, what are the best times to do it? All in, there are numerous permutations, all requiring a plan to be devised around in order that business can be carried out as close to normal as is possible and crucially, without interruption or downtime.

The type of winter service required must additionally be thought about long before the thermostat is cranked up or the winter woollies come out. We get asked every year if we can provide a “reactive only” snow clearance service, which we can only assume is because the winter plan hasn’t even been considered. Not only is a “reactive only” service an unwise option, but it is also not as cost-effective as it seems at first glance. During the winter months, gritting and other winter maintenance services are required throughout the period; not just once. This means that planning is required by organisations such as Ground Control in order to match the amount of labour, plant and machinery needed with the demand.

If a customer chooses the reactive only service, that customer is in danger of losing out to those that have planned ahead. After all, winter maintenance providers will service sites that have a proactive agreement in place first, due to the ability to be able to think ahead. Salt can be taken to locations close to customers’ sites ahead of time; conversations will have been completed around what will need clearing and where any snow should be placed; a site recce can have been completed, if required, to work out in advance what needs to happen and at what time the gritting should take place to cause the least disruption. For those with a reactive service, none of this can happen meaning these companies will be at risk of causing disruption to their own staff and customers, with the obvious potential knock on effect on the company’s finances.

In conclusion, my recommendation to any organisation is that they treat winter maintenance like any other business need; they plan ahead for it. The winter months are just around the corner, and if they aren’t planned for, the risks could be at best problematic, and at worst catastrophic if customers can’t access the premises. Don’t be a reactive; be proactive to avoid a potential winter of discontent.



Ground Control provides first-class winter maintenance

Ground Control provides a national winter maintenance service for private and public services. We offer a planned preventative or reactive service tailored to your requirements complete with 24/7 emergency cover. Our live reporting means that you know exactly when the gritting and clearance have been completed, while our winter maintenance options ensure that you always have the coverage you need whether you want one-off gritting done or ongoing service throughout the winter months.

We help our clients provide safe sites for pedestrian and vehicle movement in times of inclement weather. In winter 2014 / 2015, Ground Control successfully completed over 105,000 gritting call outs throughout the UK. As weather patterns change and snow is more common in the UK, it’s important to ensure that you can provide safe passage in and around your business for clients and personnel.

To achieve this seamless delivery, our clients benefit from our subscription to a specialist weather forecaster with post code accuracy across the UK. We use this to forward plan, target delivery, and help to control limited budgets.

As professional landscapers, we are mindful of the living landscape. We minimise plant mortality and infrastructure damage by accurately placing salt on site with specialist equipment. As planted areas are rarely used for pedestrian or vehicular access, we can usually provide winter maintenance services with no adverse effects on plant life or gardens. Our locally based teams work through the night supported by our Regional Contract Managers and professional office staff on night/day rotation.

Ground Control has major contracts with blue chip retailers, property agents, local authorities and social housing landlords. We are fully insured and able to provide a quality service you can rely upon.

Our winter maintenance and gritting services are managed from your local office to provide reactive and pro-active services near your location. We have a vast network of regional offices throughout England and Wales in Essex, Moray, Ruthin, Shifnal, Warrington, East Sussex, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Devon.

We offer a wide range of options for businesses to tailor our winter maintenance services to their needs. This includes offering reactive maintenance or putting agreements in place in advance to ensure that you are ready for the winter months. We also offer pay as you go contracts so that you only spend if and when you need it. Get in touch to discuss your options and make sure that your business is prepared.


Ground Control’s gritting services beyond compare

Ground Control’s gritting services include a national network of winter maintenance teams who are on 24/7 standby to ensure safe access and egress to car parks and premises. Our clients include commercial businesses, retailers, property agents, blue light services, local authorities, social housing providers, schools and hospitals.

Our web-based portal provides our customers with real-time updates, so you know when your site has been gritted, from the before and after pictures. We feel that this is the best way to maintain a transparent gritting service.

Ground Control’s gritting services consistently provide the correct detail, quality performance and safe practice at all times. This is why we invest in top of the line equipment and training. We also take every measure to ensure that our winter maintenance teams engage in safe, consistently responsible gritting and salt placement.

Ground Control’s gritting services focuses on targeted deployment; whilst large car parks and approach roads require big carrying capacity machines, small sites require smaller manoeuvrable units. Footpaths and those hard to access areas require pedestrian spreaders. So, we match our equipment to site size and accessibility.  Each has a place in our professional service. After all, it’s the accuracy and evenness of spread that matters.