27 Jul Give your construction company a Healthcheck
Have you taken the time to check that your company is in good shape? With so many demands on modern building and maintenance companies, you may feel compelled to rush from one job to the next, rarely stopping to scan your business from input to output, checking that it is running optimally and in accordance with compliance standards.
But carrying out company healthchecks can save you time and money in the long run – and build foundations on which to grow a successful business. Outsourcing the task of checking your company’s compliance health can be especially helpful as independent assessors will scan your company from an objective and professional perspective, pointing out your areas of strength and weakness, suggesting how you can improve. They can often support you in filling in gaps that are missing, perhaps policies that are incomplete or risk assessments that are non-existent.
Ensuring your company is fully compliant in areas of HR, Health & Safety, insurance, accreditations and staff training, to name a few, can be a stressful undertaking. Legislation is often full of language that is hard to understand, and you may have concerns about an updated standard or regulation that you have missed. Keeping track of your obligations can be tough.
It’s vital to ensure you are meeting the rules set by the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) and HM revenue and Customs, for example, as if you don’t you could be subject to legal or financial penalties, and you could be putting people at risk.
By giving your company a healthcheck you’re being proactive, making sure you are reaching the compliance standards expected within your industry BEFORE something goes wrong and damages your bank balance, reputation and even a member of staff or the general public.
So, how do you go about checking your company’s health?
Yes! Start with your bank account.
Do you have a good overview of your finances and have you achieved financial security of your business? Do you have a pot of money spare in case of emergencies? Do you have a steady flow of money in, and out, of your bank account, and are your records up to date and able to answer all your accountant’s questions, and the tax man’s too!
Not only must your insurance policies be up to date, but they must offer adequate coverage for your business requirements too. You may benefit from expert guidance on what appropriate insurance for your business entails, as it’s a very specialist area and one that you’ll want to get right.
As well as ensuring your finances and insurance are all up to date and correct, it’s crucial to check that your company has the necessary accreditations allowing you to do your work. And it’s not just about winning a contact or tender, or impressing your clients, in some cases it is a legal requirement to be accredited. Examples of this are if you work with gas, asbestos, or electrics, then you are obliged to be accredited by the relevant industry bodies.
Full suite of policies
Construction can be a dangerous business, and as such you’re obliged to complete detailed paperwork regarding your policy and process when it comes to hazards like handling asbestos, managing loud noise, lifting heavy objects and using dangerous machinery, to name just a few.
Incomplete policies will fail to impress the auditor and won’t instil confidence in your business either. Failing to take Health & Safety practices seriously, or a lack of thorough paperwork supporting your employees’ rights, and yours too, can lead to day-to-day issues which can ultimately stagnate the growth and prosperity of your company.
Who manages your compliance, and how?
You can’t magic compliance documentation out of thin air, so when considering the health of your company it’s also worth looking at who has the skills (and time!) to properly complete and manage your risk assessments, policies and procedures, etc.
Who, or which team, has been designated the task of compliance maintenance? Is this person or team experienced and skilled to carry out an internal audit? What method does your company use to ensure your compliance documentation is kept up to date? Where is your paperwork stored, in which format, and who has access to it? Is it secure?
If you don’t have the in-house capability to complete risk assessments or policy documentation, for example, or the job is carried out very ad-hoc with paperwork regularly being mislaid or failing to be renewed in time, then you could consider the support of a compliance service provider to take on these jobs on your behalf.
Nowadays, there are software solutions available enabling compliance documentation to be stored in one place, consolidating the task into one easy-to-manage dashboard; tracking updates in real time and notifying, reminding and alerting you as critical documents require action. ComplianceManaged®, a KCS Compliance service, is one such cloud-based solution.
Qualifications & Training
In construction, the health (and successful functioning) of your company will depend heavily on you and your staff being properly qualified and trained to carry out the tasks required by your business. The legalities are stringent here, with no room for cutting corners.
You are obliged to be qualified to safely deliver your work, be you a forklift driver or a roofer. It’s dangerous work, not only for you, but for all those around you too. But don’t forget basic compliance training too that is a requirement, like First Aid and Fire safety.
Individual training and qualifications must be tracked and kept up to date.
You can also empower your staff by providing training in compliance, focusing on easy-to-read policies so your staff have clear guidance on how to stay safe.
People are part of your business, whether directly employed, self-employed or subcontractors, and the health of your company requires that you have fulfilled your legal obligations and HR requirements.
Employee induction, including compliance training, is expected for every new employee in construction and is an essential part of your HR compliance. You’re also required to have completed your obligations in all areas of HR, including providing a working contract, insurance and other statutory requirements.
Supply chain compliance & availability
Don’t forget about your contractors, as you’re only as good as the people you work with! Your business may be in good shape, but if your supply chain is not then this can cause a project to be delayed, or even fail. You may use contractors to supply your business with skilled workers or products, and if the workers turn out NOT to be accredited, qualified or insured, then this will have repercussions for your business. If inadequate materials have been supplied for your job, your reputation and bank balance could be the one that suffers.
So, take the time to check the health of your business. And if you don’t have the time or skills to carry out such a healthcheck, KCS Compliance Services will be happy to do so on your behalf.