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My thanks to Ground Control for all works,  base looked great.

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Ground Control expand works at Countesswells

Ground Control was awarded the soft landscaping for the new Countesswells settlement in Aberdeen by WM Donald, as part of a £1billion build by developer Stewart Milne Homes.

Countesswells

Following our win with WM Donald, and off the back of our great client relationships andquality of work, the main contractor Stewart Milne Homes has awarded Ground Control with more work direct to them. This includes another project at Newburgh.

The new parkland surrounding the new development provides play parks, walking and cycling routes, bridges, bridal paths and an orchard, acting as a link between Countesswells Woods and Hazlehead Woods. As well as providing opportunities for recreation and habitat for wildlife, the parkland provides part of the Sustainable Urban Drainage System at Countesswells. This includes drainage networks consisting of basins and pipes which collect water, preventing downstream flooding and deterioration in water quality, by slowing the rate at which the water reaches the watercourse.

As part of the new drainage system, Ground Control planted wildflowers in the basins to provide a colourful and ecologically rich habitat for the environment to flourish. Installation of amenity grass on south facing banks provides sunny places to sit, with large boulders placed in the base of the basins to provide shelter and habitat for small animals and insects. Over 570 trees have been planted to provide further habitat opportunities helping to ensure the parkland at Countesswells becomes a rich habitat for wildlife, as well as a park for people.

In addition to this, and bringing the area to life over a 20 week period, Ground Control delivered a range of elements including; shrub and woodland planting, amenity and wildflower turfing, lime ameliorating to improve soil, as well as assisting with a 3km root barrier installation.

A very exciting project to be a part of, watch this space!

Countesswells

Works progress at Nine Elms, Vauxhall

Ground Control was enlisted by Barratt London to undertake landscape construction works across the site, working alongside architect James Gregory of Broadway Malyan to create beautiful courtyards and terraced gardens atop the roof of the new development.Ground Control is well under-way with works at latest landscape construction project on behalf of Barratt London.

The new Nine Elms Point development in Vauxhall, London, consists of 645 stylish studio apartments ranging from £650,000 to £3,000,000, spread across 7 buildings.

Ground Control was enlisted by Barratt London to undertake landscape construction works across the site, working alongside architect James Gregory of Broadway Malyan to create beautiful courtyards and terraced gardens atop the roof of the new development.

As well as new apartments, the new Nine Elms scheme includes a new Sainsbury’s, covering the first 4 floors of the block; the biggest Sainsbury’s in Europe. All of Ground Control’s work sits above this, on the 4th floor podium meaning that all materials must be craned up to this level.

Since commencing the £2.8m project in May last year, teams have completed almost 75% of the contract on 3 phased handovers, working to tight deadlines required by the client. So far, elements installed include, shrubs and trees; sourced and approved by the architect before the contract commenced, laying resin, laying copings to planters, plastering planters, paving, granite setts, oak timber benches, irrigation systems, a water feature, a pond and rills including granite cladding and natural Norstone cladding surrounds, boulders and stepping timber blocks to the courtyard and central area, as well as laying areas of turf across the site. As we come into May, teams have started on the paving and planting works on the ground floor access road.

The current phase of works is set for completion in July 2017, with works on the new granite entrance completing in August 2018.

Construction Manager for the project, Jim Bennett commented; “Works are coming along brilliantly at Nine Elms. It’s been a real team effort, and we are delighted with how it’s going. It’s been challenging at times, but everyone has played their part to deliver an outstanding job. I am really looking forward to seeing it come together as we get closer to the end product.”

Further updates to follow! Watch this space.

Ground Control managers at current landscape construction project; Nine Elms, Vauxhall

Ground Control picks up 7th prestigious RoSPA Award

Ground Control awarded 7th consecutive gold medalGround Control Ltd is a winner at the RoSPA Health and Safety Awards 2017!

Ground Control has achieved the Gold Medal Award for 7 consecutive Golds, in the prestigious annual scheme run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Ground Control will be presented with the award during a ceremony at the ExCeL, London on Tuesday 20th June 2017, where the company is also exhibiting at the Facilities Show. The award has been achieved during a special year for family-safety charity RoSPA, as it celebrates its centenary.

Through the RoSPA Awards scheme, which is open to businesses and organisations of all types and sizes from across the UK and overseas, judges consider entrants’ overarching occupational health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement. The awards are now in its 61st year.

Julia Small, RoSPA’s head of awards and events, said: “The RoSPA Awards are the most prestigious in the world of occupational health and safety, and held in high regard around the world, as winning one demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to maintaining an excellent health and safety record. Achieving the standard required is no mean feat.

“This is a special year in the history of RoSPA, and we congratulate all of our winners in this, our centenary year”.

Ground Control’s HSQE Compliance Officer, Carl Powell commented; “What a great achievement, our 7th consecutive Gold Medal Award from RoSPA! Thanks go to all our teams, for their continued commitment and dedication to health and safety; for checking their machines, reporting near misses, participating in audits, delivering toolbox talks, preparing risk assessments and working safely each and every day – all of which is a real credit to the HSQE team’s hard work and determination to promote safe working practice across the board. We are very proud to have achieved this fantastic recognition once again. Well done and thank you to all.”

Collaborative working to support our clients

Ground Control Anglian Water tree worksEarlier this month, Ground Control’s Arb division was enlisted by our Maintenance team to carry out specialist works for our client, Anglian Water.

Works included the removal of 12 Wellingtonia trees at Anglian Water’s sewerage treatment works site in Cambridge.

Ground Control successfully delivered the works over a period of 3 days, with a 10-man strong team of professionals to get the job done. Led by Contract Delivery Manager, James Sadler; the team included Project Manager Chris Inglis, Arborists Paul Shaw, Matt Culley, Matt Allen and Oliver Dickson, and FT member Chris Harley from AF Contractors. Sean Stanley and Joe Hyde-Pulley from GC’s mechanisation division, Castor Arb, were on hand to operate the excavator. HSQE Manager, Roger Barron was on-site for 2 days providing essential health and safety support throughout the high risk elements of the project.

Emerson Crane Hire was brought in to assist with contract lift on the final day; once again ensuring the smooth running of another successful project.

James Sadler who managed the project commented; “Very impressive collaborative working on this project, with 3 of GC’s arb teams working together to support our grounds maintenance team deliver a rounded service. We are proud to celebrate broad collective knowledge and experience to be able to take these projects on. We completed works 3 days ahead of schedule, which is a result of hard work and dedication of the whole team who worked long shifts for the duration of the project. A great team effort, huge thanks to all.”

Ground Control

Wear a Hat Day – Brain Tumour Research

Ground Control take part in Wear a Hat Day as part of Brain Tumour Awareness monthOn Friday 31st March, we celebrated ‘Wear a Hat Day’ as part of Brain Tumour Awareness Month!

We raised a fantastic £530 for this very worthy charity! From cake sales, pin badges and wristbands, to our lunchtime quiz which was held at HQ…many thanks to all the team for taking part!

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer… yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. This is unacceptable! As the only national charity dedicated to funding long-term, sustainable research in the UK, Brain Tumour Research needs our help.

This is a charity very close to our hearts. Very sadly, Team Leader, Trevor Johnson recently lost his grandson to this terrible disease. In his memory, we wanted to support Trevor in helping fund ongoing research to save the lives of others.

For more information, visit: https://www.braintumourresearch.org

Wear A Hat Day 2017

 

Ground Control invited to speak at ARQIVA safety event

Discussing Respiratory HealthGround Control’s National HSQE Compliance Manager for Construction, Mark Curry, was recently invited to ARQIVA’s SHE Contractor Forum as a guest speaker to present on the subject of Respiratory Health.

Mark focused his talk on the dangers of construction dust and the importance of face-fit testing to ensure all Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) is being utilised correctly to prevent these risks.

Ground Control introduced face-fit testing in 2014 to highlight the effects of silica dust exposure to construction workers. With severe consequences such as acute silicosis and lung cancer, it is imperative that operatives understand the importance of a properly fitted face mask.

Silica particles are produced when carrying out a number of everyday tasks on a construction site, including sandblasting, mining, rock drilling, quarrying, brick cutting, glass manufacturing, tunnelling, foundry work, stone working, ceramic manufacturing and other related activities.

Mark commented; “With such a vast variety of outlets in which exposure to silica can reach harmful levels, it is essential that we take the relevant precautions and also promote these dangers to ensure that others are taking the correct steps to ensure the safety of others.”

As part of his talk, Mark selected a volunteer from the audience to demonstrate the face-fit test, which was very well received by the audience.

“It’s so important to raise awareness in all areas of Health, Safety, and Wellbeing to enable all of us to strive for continued improvement preventing physical injury and ill health, regardless of your working environment. There are many different types of hazards and associated risks to us daily; some worse than others, so when Arqiva made contact with me asking to present at their Safety day I was very happy to engage and share my knowledge. Poor respiratory health, often caused by exposure to construction dust, has life changing effects. Construction dust is a general term used to describe different dusts that you may find on a construction site.”

There are three main types of construction dust:

  1. Silica dust – created when working on silica-containing materials like concrete, mortar and sandstone (also known as respirable crystalline silica or RCS)
  2. Wood dust – created when working on softwood, hardwood and wood-based products like MDF and plywood
  3. Lower toxicity dusts – created when working on materials containing very little or no silica. The most common include gypsum (e.g. in plasterboard), limestone, marble and dolomite.

Anyone who breathes in these dusts should know the damage they can do to the lungs and airways. The main dust-related diseases affecting construction workers are:

  • Lung cancer
  • Silicosis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); an umbrella term for people with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. With COPD the airflow to the lungs is restricted (obstructed).
  • Asthma

Mark added, “I thoroughly enjoyed speaking at this event and was asked if I would return again in the future to talk about other subject areas planned for future agendas, such as Drugs and Alcohol awareness, the Injury Avoidance Programme (I.A.P.), and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA).”

If anyone has any questions or would like advice or support in any of these subject areas or any other matter relating to Health, Safety Wellbeing, please contact Mark Curry on 07920877368 or email mark.curry@ground-control.co.uk.

Ground Control Join IOSH for Trees, Grass and Caterpillars Event

Ground Control's Carl Powell delivering tree works safe working practice demoEarlier this month, Ground Control was delighted to be invited to speak at the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Rural Industries Group (RIG) event; ‘Trees, Grass and Caterpillars’ at Newton Rigg Agricultural College.

South Cumbria & North Lancashire IOSH District collaborated with the IOSH Rural Group, South Cumbria Occupational Health & Safety Group (SCOHSG) and Newton Rigg Agricultural College to run this one day event, which aims to help improve the rural economy and environment by encouraging farmers, local authorities, contractors, students and others to adopt best practice.

The day included a number of lectures, static displays and practical demonstrations, led by Ground Control’s HSQE Compliance Officer for Arboriculture Carl Powell, National Training Manager Neil Huck, and a number of other expert trainers in the field.

With the help of Ground Control Arborists, Paul Shaw, Matt Culley and Matt Allen; HSQE Compliance Officer Carl Powell led Tree Work demonstrations, outlining safe use of chainsaws, working at height; MEWPS vs tree climbing, a safe working near overhead powerlines, and hazards associated with tree work.

National Training Manager, Neil Huck led a lecture about occupational health risks in agriculture and tree works, the effects of invasive species on human health and the importance and value of investing time and money into training.

Rounding up the day, Carl commented, “It was an absolute pleasure being a part of this great event, presenting to other professionals and students from across the industry. It was a very engaging day, with lots of involvement from the attendees, and some very positive feedback. The guys did a brilliant job on the demonstrations and were proud to show the safe ways in which Ground Control works.”

Ground Control team deliver demonstration as part of IOSH event at Newton Rigg Agricultural College

Ground Control teams complete de-veg on exciting project for Costain

Ground Control vegetation clearance on behalf of CostainGround Control’s utility arboriculture team recently undertook vital vegetation clearance works on behalf of Costain.

Working on the busy M1 between Junctions 16 and 19, both North and South, team members Aaron and James, working alongside Project Manager Nick Conway and Rail Site Manager Joe Hyde-Pulley, tackled tree vegetation clearance as part of a three day job.

Utilising Ground Control’s new Bandit whole tree chipper and 360 excavator, the team cleared and chipped 28 large trees along the roadside ahead of installation of new infrastructure by Costain.

Working on this exciting project, Nick Conway commented; “It’s a nice feeling, achieving a big job like this. The whole team worked so well together for the duration of the project. It was an enjoyable three days, very well structured. Looking forward to working on more projects for Costain in the future.”

Invasive Weeds: A Growing Problem

The increasing issues surrounding invasive species

Invasive species are a rising problem. In fact, invasive non-native species are now recognised as the second biggest threat to biodiversity worldwide, which is why it is important that we can distinguish the threats. For example, Japanese Knotweed is an extremely aggressive alienating species. From an ecological point of view, it destroys the habitats of native species putting bioregions at great risk, which is subsequently a threat to our environment. In addition, Japanese Knotweed is listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the most invasive species due to its continuous growth, of up to 20 centimetres a day, and extremely difficult nature to remove. Overall, it is incredibly detrimental to buildings and land, blocking footpaths, damaging concrete, tarmac and the stability of river banks – hence, a huge threat not only in the landscaping industry, but to many other vertical sectors from railway networks to highways, water networks and the property industry to name a few.

Japanese Knotweed DamageToday, invasive species are causing structural damage to the tune of £2.1 billion per year according to figures from the Environment Agency and the Department of the Regions. It has got to such an extent now that the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors now survey for Japanese Knotweed in or near the property as part of its mortgage survey. If it is present, not only will the property be devalued by around 40%, it will also affect neighbouring properties’ values and often results in subsequent litigation.

And it’s not just Japanese Knotweed, although this is the most pernicious to control. A further invasive species to be mindful of 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.

Japanese knotweed growing out of control

Did you know that there are three species of Knotweed currently growing in the UK, up from just one a few years ago? These include Japanese Knotweed, Giant Knotweed and Hybrid Knotweed.

Japanese Knotweed by railwayWhy 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, invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed are 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. Let’s be clear: having invasive weeds growing near any structure is a big problem, not only due to its ability to degrade the infrastructure and therefore make it weaker, but also the subsequent cost to remove it completely with no possibility of it growing back.

To place this into perspective, allowing the spread of Knotweed from any site into neighbouring properties could subject you, the property owner, to fines and removal costs as well as law suits. There is then the silent cost: your reputation. With the huge rise in such digital media as social media, an organisation’s reputation can quickly become soiled due to people posting messages across platforms including Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn.

Catching invasive species early is the key

At Ground Control, we are both an innovator and a pioneer of technology, delivering a range of services including grounds maintenance, winter maintenance, tree works and vegetation management, soft and hard landscaping, ecology, design and build, pest control, fencing, window cleaning and roofing services. Additionally, our managers are expertly trained to work across the range of possible systems and site types to ensure that you continue to deliver services for your customers throughout the year.

Ground Control iradicate Japanese KnotweedTiming of treatment, whether it is for Knotweed or another invasive species, is critical for achieving acceptable levels of control, and early engagement of Ground Control is recommended. For example, did you know that Japanese Knotweed is an herbaceous species which lies dormant throughout the winter? This means that it is incredibly difficult to pick up during these months. However, don’t be fooled as it will start to appear in mid to late March and is most active throughout the summer growing season. To be able to spot any invasive species on the likes of rail networks, knowing what they look like is critical. Presently, Ground Control is assisting Network Rail in the training of its staff around what to look for when identifying invasive species including Japanese Knotweed. This includes their natural habitats, what environmental factors increase their growth and most importantly, what to look out for. This way, rail engineers and other staff will know what they are looking for during their everyday activities, therefore speeding up the process of treating it before it impacts on such areas as neighbouring cities and villages.

Following identification, the next step is to call in the experts, for example Ground Control. Ground Control can assist rail networks in creating a long-term strategy, that includes a sustained annual tri-treatment chemical control regime, resulting in the saving of much needed money in comparison with the likely significant cost of having to dig up and remove the invasive species from at worst, underneath the rail tracks. In addition, Ground Control’s services include:

  • Pre-development Site Surveys
  • Biosecurity
  • The legislative landscape and organisations’ legal obligations
  • Full technical support and advice
  • Long-term treatment guarantees
  • Internal staff training for customers
  • Lantra Registered training

To summarise

Invasive species such as all forms of Knotweed (Japanese Knotweed, Giant Knotweed and Hybrid Knotweed) and Himalayan Balsam should not be ignored if we are to continue to build on and around land where they inhabit. Although organisations like Ground Control are trained in their identification, control and removal, it is also important we educate and inform personnel in sectors such as rail around their natural habitats, what environmental factors increase their growth and what to look out for. By taking these important steps, we will not only reduce the impact of invasive species, but also the cost of dealing with them.

For more information on how we can help you, click here: https://www.ground-control.co.uk/invasive-weed-management/.

GC Roadshow 2017

GC RoadshowThroughout February, we have been travelling the country to meet with our teams across Maintenance, Construction, Arb Rail, Arb Utilities and Pest Control, as part of our annual #GCRoadshow 2017.

This year, we visited 6 different locations across the country, including Essex, Glasgow, Cheshire, Nottingham, Somerset and London, reaching over 1000 team members.

What a great tour it was! Everyone was in great spirits, with lots of information being fed out from various members of the Ground Control team, bringing together field teams while delivering the spirit of our vision. Some of our great suppliers supported our journey, sponsoring the shows and showcasing some of their products at fantastic discounts for our teams. These included, Green-Tech, AHS Ltd, Tudor Environmental, Timberwolf, Ford / Lookers, Rudridge, AUS Ltd, Chelmsford Safety, Scotbark, SkyVac and SafeAid.

The events kicked off with Managing Director, Marcus Watson, bringing all teams together for a business update; covering successes of the past year, ongoing priorities, health and safety, as well as our visions and values.

As part of the FT Roadshow this year, we ran a number of workshops for our field teams across each division, including aerial rescue demonstrations, thorn strikes, occupational health, fatigue and driving, first aid training, ‘what good looks like’, and much more.

Ground Control aims to deliver exceptional service, excellent value for money, honour commitments, act with integrity, and value its people – a recurring message throughout. Staff engagement is core to the business, and the roadshows celebrate the hard work and dedication that goes in to helping us grow, and also our ability to help our teams grow their businesses sustainably.

It was great to meet with some of Ground Control’s longest standing teams; Paul and Sylvia Trevena and Jan Wara and Vladimir Polak, who have been with us for over 10 years. Sharing some of their great stories of years gone by, working on our contracts from the start, and how much Ground Control has changed as a business over the years.  We’ve seen some outstanding achievements, and it is all down to the hard work and dedication of our teams.

To view the live feed from the events, follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/groundcontrolgc and check out our hashtag #GCRoadshow

Ground Control welcomes teams for the annual GC Roadshow

Ground Control join Safety Groups UK for annual Alan Butler Awards at House of Lords

Mark Curry collects Alan Butler Silver Award on behalf of Kent Health and Safety GroupMark Curry, Ground Control’s National HSQE Compliance Manager, attended the House of Lords last Monday 30th January for the third year running to collect the prestigious Alan Butler Silver Award on behalf of Kent Health & Safety Group.

The Safety Groups Council was set by RoSPA, 70 years ago, in January 1947, to share and promote good practices in occupational health and safety. About fifteen years ago, it was renamed Safety Groups UK. Today, SGUK is helping to promote and facilitate the objectives of the safety groups’ movement.

The SGUK and the groups’ are bodies operated by volunteers; not in competition with other professional bodies but work alongside them for the public benefit. Some of SGUK’s initiatives include the annual Alan Butler and Maurice Adamson awards, contribution to HSE agenda, developing technical resources; Health Risks at Work, Learning Occupational Health by Experiencing Risks (LOcHER), representation at national bodies such as NEBOSH, BSIF Fit2Fit council; HSE’s Myth Busters panel, partnership working, for example 3M Safe Tea Break, Clean Air? Take Care!.

The Alan Butler Awards, named after a previous Vice Chairman of the Safety Groups Council, recognises high standards of work and celebrates such achievements across the Group’s movement.

Mark Curry, who is SGUK Trustee and Management Committee Member, as well as Publicity Officer for Kent Health and Safety Group, was invited on stage to collect the award.

Later attending a Kent Health and Safety Group’s meeting, Mark was proud to present the award to KHSG’s President, and Principal HSE Inspector of Kent and Ashford, Mike Walters.

Mark Curry was delighted with Kent H&S Group’s achievement;

“It was such an honour to attend the House of Lords to collect the award. It is fantastic to receive such great recognition for all the hard work that Kent H&S Group have done to raise Health and Safety awareness. Next year we will be working towards the Gold award, continuing our focus throughout 2017 working in line with all other groups and SGUK, with the HSE Working Well Together (WWT) campaign. Our focus is on continued improvements for not only safety, but health and wellbeing. It’s been great to see our commercial partnership improve and our overall membership figures rise over the last year. We hope to see a steady increase in 2017 also, as we continue to raise awareness.”

Vice Chairman of SGUK and HM Principal Inspector of HSE, Dr Bob Rajan, commented;

“On behalf of SGUK trustees, I would like to congratulate all the award winners and thank our independent judges for accomplishing the hard task of judging the submissions. I am most grateful to RoSPA colleagues for their unwavering support, help and advice to SGUK.”

Safety Group provides a local forum for meetings, networking and co-operation between employers of all kinds, health and safety inspectors and trade unions. They meet at various time throughout the year, so if you are interested in joining, please follow the link to find your closest group or get in touch with Mark Curry:

http://www.safetygroupsuk.org.uk/affiliatedgroups/index.htm

Ground Control: Keeping Britain Connected amidst Storm Doris

Ground Control: Keeping Britain Connected amidst Storm DorisAs Storm Doris attacks, Ground Control teams are quick to action, clearing fallen trees across the country

On Thursday 23rd February, the much anticipated Storm Doris rolled in, with gale force winds of up to 95mph tearing many trees from their roots and posing a risk on many of our customers’ sites and networks.

Working with Network Rail, UK Power Networks, WPD, Electricity North West and many of our other clients who faced issues, Ground Control attended in excess of 80 sites, clearing hundreds of trees to ensure our customers’ networks remain connected and sites open and safe for all.

Across three Distribution Network Operator (DNO) clients, Ground Control’s utility arboriculture team has rectified over 40 faults already; the record number faults attended by Ground Control in such a short period of time.

Ground Control’s Contracts Director, Stephen Amison, commented on the wrath of Storm Doris;

“It’s been a busy couple of days! I’ve heard tales of one of our teams cutting away trees that were lying across the A6, just to allow them and WPD to access a fault!  In Derby, Contract Delivery Manager, Vince Storey and his guys were still on the go at 2.30 this morning and we now have teams following technicians from fault to fault to restore power.  Team Leader Rob Andrew and his guys on our UKPN contract weren’t back in the yard until gone midnight, with Senior Contract Delivery Manager, Gary Scott, alongside team members Paul Shaw, Oliver Dickson, and Adam Watmough and his guys still cutting on a fault at 4.30 this morning.  The list of sterling work goes on.

A huge thank you to the entire team for going above and beyond, helping us deliver an outstanding service to our customers. It was a fantastic team effort. Well done all.”

Working on behalf of Network Rail, Ground Control’s Rail Arboriculture teams attended over 30 sites to clear trees from tracks, with teams still on standby and others continuing to deal with the aftermath.

Ground Control’s Director of Arboriculture and Rail Services, Peter Allen, commented;

“Our teams and managers have done a fantastic job over the last 24 hours. We were tracking the weather, with teams on standby to ensure we could be on site rapidly to keep Britain’s railway lines connected. Teams who were already working on planned works were redirected as the storm progressed down across the country from the North West. From Liverpool and Chester, through to Stoke, Lichfield, Birmingham, down to Watford; the teams’ dedication and determination was a real credit, to themselves and to Ground Control.”

Ground Control: Keeping Britain Connected amidst Storm Doris

Local children help complete new St. Andrew’s Park play area

Local children help complete new park play area On Monday 23rd January, Ground Control was delighted to support a community planting event at current Landscape Construction project, St. Andrew’s Park in Uxbridge.

Ground Control, is currently undertaking hard and soft landscaping on behalf of VSM Estates as part of a large regeneration project of former 110-acre RAF Uxbridge site.

Works on the wider regeneration began in 2013, which has already seen the build of new primary school, the John Locke Academy and over 400 homes delivered. On completion, the development will comprise of 1,340 new homes, over 200,000 sq ft of office and retail space, a hotel, 1,500 seat theatre, a museum, care home and 40-acre public park.

Ground Control and VINCI St. Modwen, the development partners at St. Andrew’s Park, were delighted to welcome pupils from nearby John Locke Academy and Ryefield Primary School to help plant the first greenery around the brand new children’s play area within the park.

The children assisted with planting Hebes and Luzulas around the newly constructed children’s play area adjacent to St. Andrew’s Road, within the new parkland area. Ground Control also provided the children with packets of sunflower seeds to commemorate the day.

The play area and wider 40-acre park, is set to be Greater London’s largest new public green space, is due to be opened later this year and the area will then be accessible to the public for the first time since well before World War Two.

Ground Control’s Construction Manager, Matt Hallam, who is managing the project, commented;

“It was great to get some of the local school children down, all of whom got enthusiastically involved with planting some of the shrubs, which they can now put their names to and watch them grow. Once officially opened to the public, this will be an outstanding green open space for the local community and I hope that the children who visited today, will return with their friends and family and become key stakeholders in the future and upkeep of this park for years to come.”

Ground Control expand drugs and alcohol testing alongside Dtec International

Ground Control HSQE Manager, Mark Curry with Managing Director of Dtec Internation, Ean LewinOver the past few years National HSQE Compliance Manager, Mark Curry has been spearheading drugs and alcohol testing across the business, reaching all teams to promote the dangers of substance abuse.

Last month, Mark visited Dtec International, the dedicated D&A training provider for the police force and suppliers of drugs and alcohol detection equipment, to discuss continued engagement and ways in which they can be of support to us. Currently, Mark receives updates from Dtec of all that is going on in the country relating to drug law and driving.

In March 2015, a new legislation was introduced covering legal driving limits for 17 illegal and prescription drugs. Under the old laws, police had to show driving was impaired by drugs to prosecute. Following this change and a result of this new law, over 8000 people were arrested within 12 months, sentencing offenders with a minimum 12 month driving ban, up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a criminal record.

At Ground Control, our people are our most valuable asset, and we are committed to maintaining a safe, healthy and efficient environment for all. As part of this, we work hard to provide a substance abuse-free work environment.

Our aims are to promote a responsible attitude to alcohol and drugs by:

  • Making known all the harmful effects
  • Minimising problems and accidents at work arising from alcohol and drugs and their misuse
  • Promoting the well-being of all
  • Offering assistance and advice to all who may need it

Ground Control is delighted to be working alongside Dtec International to promote this at the upcoming field team roadshow.

At the end of last year, HSQE Manager for Rail, Karl Jones was trained to start testing across the country, spreading the initiative throughout the divisions. Now a key element of our health and safety policy, we are continually looking to build on our drugs and alcohol process to make it more stringent through the business.

Mark, who has been working hard to enforce the message, commented;

“The use of illegal drugs and alcohol and the misuse of prescribed and over the counter drugs is a significant safety risk that undermines the company’s ability to operate safely, effectively and efficiently. All of our teams and colleagues are expected to understand this and to arrive for work in a fit, proper and non-impaired state.

We operate and apply a strict zero tolerance policy in relation to alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs and over the counter medicine’s that may affect our teams’ ability to work safely. Drug and alcohol abuse could jeopardise the future of any individuals working relationship with the company.

To ensure we are keeping our sites and workplaces safe for all, we carry out four types of drug and alcohol testing; pre-employment, post incident, for-cause, and random. Teams must give consent at some point during their engagement with us to undergo any one of these tests and refusal to consent to testing will constitute a positive test, resulting in action being taken with immediate removal from the site or place of work. We take it very seriously.”

Blue Monday

Mind logoOn Monday 16th January, we beat the blues by wearing our PJ’s at HQ in aid of our chosen charity, Mind.

The 3rd Monday of January every year has been labelled ‘Blue Monday’ – the most depressing day of the year. Not succumbing to the blues, we all kept our PJ’s on for work raising money, and awareness for the brilliant charity, Mind, which provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. For more info, please visit http://www.mind.org.uk/

On the day, we provided breakfast for all at HQ and enjoyed a ‘duvet day’ in the office. In total, we raised £706! Huge thanks to the team for supporting this worthy cause.

Supporting Mind, a charity which provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

Ground Control Sponsors Local Christmas Market

On Sunday 4th December, we were very proud to sponsor Billericay’s Christmas Market, selling poinsettia plants and mistletoe throughout the day in aid of Little Havens Hospice.

Held annually in Billericay High Street, the market draws thousands of Essex residents to enjoy a day of festive fun.

We were delighted to raise £535.50, which Ground Control has match funded to total £1035.50. All funds raised have been donated to Little Haven’s Hospice, a local charity which cares for children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

Ground Control sponsor local Billericay Christmas Market

 

Need support on invasive weeds and environmental management?

Ground Control is here to help.

We offer a free advice service covering a range of topics. Just call the Support-Line number or drop us an email and our resident experts will get straight back to you. Support Line

Support topics include:

  • Invasive species & land owners liability
  • Environmental issues: creation of habitats for protected & common wildlife
  • Ecology & biodiversity
  • Vegetation management
  • Pest & wildlife management
  • Health & Safety: monitoring for HAV, noise & wood, concrete dust
  • Record info (Asset Management) & Wood-Plan
  • Pole numbering
  • Smart Water

 

Ground Control achieve 5 stars in external RISQS audit

achilles-risqs-logoWe recently completed our annual Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS) audit. Administered by Achilles on behalf of Network Rail, the audit reviews our overall management systems and rail specific requirements.

The audit is split into a number of sections: Industry Minimum Requirements (IMR) – which looks at a variety of aspects from working hours and fatigue management through to plant, equipment and lifting equipment; the Sentinel Scheme – the management of rail qualified personnel; Railway Interface Planning (RIPS) – the Safe System of Work process, and for the first time, Plant Operations Scheme (POS) – looking at how we manage On-Track Plant (Road Rail Vehicles).

The audit, led by HSQE Manager, Greg Buckley with assistance from H&S Manager, Karl Jones and the Rail Compliance team, took place over 3 days and involved us demonstrating through detailed evidence, how we manage work, our procedures, implementing these on the ground e.g. site planning, audit and inspection, drugs and alcohol screening, Sentinel sponsorship and fatigue management.

We successfully passed the audit and achieved the maximum 5 stars available and our thanks goes to everyone who assisted us in along the way.

We are now in the process of obtaining our Plant Operations Scheme licence and upgrading our provisional Principal Contractor’s licence to full so watch this space!

Ground Control Support Latest BBC DIY SOS Big Build at Great Ormond Street Hospital

One of UK’s fastest growing landscape solutions providers helps to create roof garden of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

Ground Control featured on BBC DIY SOS Great Ormond Street

Ground Control, one of the UK’s fastest growing, privately owned, external landscape solution providers, has donated landscape personnel to assist with the build of a new roof garden at the children’s hospital.

The venture saw the creation of a tranquil and invaluable garden, providing young patients and their families with a much needed respite area away from the intensity of the ward, while ensuring patients are safe within the hospital site and close to their loved ones.

The garden, which has been created by award-winning garden designer, Chris Beardshaw for this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, will be dismantled after the show and reinstalled in its permanent new home atop the roof of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The big reveal took place on Friday 10th June after just 3 weeks on-site and the show aired on Thursday 10th November on BBC One.

Marcus Watson, Managing Director of Ground Control, explains: “We are very pleased to be able to provide both our personnel and landscaping expertise to this worthy project. Creating such a space for patients to enjoy with their families is an excellent project, offering precious time to those in need.  We are proud to be a part of it.”

This is the latest in a series of projects Ground Control has supported the DIY SOS team with. Last year, Ground Control teamed up with Tesco to assist with transformation of eight existing houses into specially adapted bespoke homes for Armed Forces veterans – dubbed BBC DIY SOS’ most challenging project to date.

For further information on Ground Control, contact us on 0800 334 5606 or email info@ground-control.co.uk.

Ground Control Takes Home Three Major BALI National Landscape Awards Honours

BALI’s highest accolades won by Ground Control in three key categories, including Employer Excellence Award

Ground Control, the UK’s fastest growing external maintenance and commercial landscaping company, has won three Principal BALI National Landscape Awards in the categories Regeneration Scheme, Community and Schools Development and Employer Excellence Award.

Ground Control scoop 3 BALI Principal Awards

The Principal Awards, which are BALI’s highest accolades, are presented to those BALI members whose National Award winning schemes are deemed by the judges, above all entries in the category, to display exemplary levels of professionalism, workmanship and client satisfaction that bring credit to the landscape industry.

Ground Control’s Managing Director, Marcus Watson, explains the magnitude of the award wins: “Being a Principal Award winner demonstrates how we are ahead of the competition not only in delivering the highest quality service, but also in providing the best possible experience and quality to our customers. We are especially proud of the Employer Excellence Principal Award win, which recognises our extraordinary people and our commitment to helping every member of staff fulfil their potential. As we close the door on 2016, our aim is to build on this success in 2017.”

Ground Control’s Principal Award winning schemes include the £1.3m regeneration of Alexandra Road Park in the London Borough of Camden, which achieved the highest recognition in the Community and Schools Development category. The first of its type to be connected with a residential development, the neighbourhood park forms a green oasis in a built-up area of inner London. The project involved Ground Control working closely with architects to carry out all hard and soft landscaping works to fit the grade II listed surroundings.

Ground Control’s project at Woodhouse Urban Park in South Kilburn, London, which won the Principal Award in the Regeneration Scheme category, aimed to make the area a better place to live by offering an accessible and welcoming environment for the existing and wider community along with the general public. Throughout this project, Ground Control engaged with the South Kilburn Trust Group to establish the new Friends of Woodhouse Urban Park Group, which will take responsibility for the management of the site.

Finally, Ground Control achieved the highest recognition for its exceptional growth and excellent staff retention by winning the Employer Excellence category. The judges said: “Ground Control has successfully combined business growth with steady improvements in staff training and development supported by a range of company policies and procedures. The company’s commitment to training staff at all levels is of particular note, especially on the managerial level to ensure that they are able to meet the demands of the rapid expansion in staff numbers and workloads.”

Greg Allen, chair of the adjudication panel for the BALI Awards, commented on this year’s entries: “Over the forty years that the BALI National Landscape Awards have been running the professional attainments of BALI members have consistently reached new heights in quality and excellence year-on-year, and 2016 is no exception. The standard of workmanship achieved by all entries, whether in the domestic, commercial or public sectors, has been inspiring and with so many excellent entries again this year, the task of selecting the Principal Award winners has taken hours of collective deliberation by the judging panel.”

The Principal Award wins top off a great year for Ground Control, who recently picked up a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, recognising the company’s innovative application of technology to servicing its customers.

To find out more about the winning entries, contact Ground Control on  info@ground-control.co.uk or click on https://www.ground-control.co.uk/.

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Award Winning
The Queen's Awards For Enterprise: Innovation 2016
Multi BALI Award Winners for Maintenance and Landscape Construction
Gold Supplier Award 2010 (silver since 2001)
Gold Medal Award Winners for 6 consecutive golds