Deeley Construction has an excellent reputation with clients and sub-contractors alike but we thought there was a better way of working with those businesses we employ and on whom our reputation relies.
We spoke to our contracts managers, site managers, surveyors and estimators and asked them which companies we worked well with and, also, to identify where there had been any issues. As I mentioned previously, they were open discussions and it was the right time to find a new way of working.
Initially, we sent a questionnaire to several sub-contractors and asked for complete honesty. We wanted to know what businesses thought about working with Deeley – from health and safety through to settling accounts. The feedback was very positive.
It also gave us some really useful information on the different businesses – if a sub-contractor was performing well, we didn’t want to overload them with work that would have been too much and, equally, we don’t want to be under-using them if they had proved they could meet demands without compromising on quality.
We then invited several sub-contractors, from a variety of trades, in for meetings and said we wanted to look at the relationship as more of a partnership with them. Just merely holding the meetings was a great start. You could tell that they all liked the fact we were talking to them on level terms and that began the process of building towards partnership working.
Following that process, we now have several partners from all of the major trades that we tap into and we can bring them in to discuss projects at the tendering stage of the process. They can give objective views on how quickly and how costly certain elements of a contract will be and it means we can often save our client money and, also, be much more accurate with our timescales. Everybody wins.
That’s not to say that we don’t want to hear from other sub-contractors. We do, 100 per cent, but this process has just allowed us to develop those partnerships with businesses rather than starting from scratch whenever we start to tender for a job.
This all took place prior to the Covid-19 crisis but, in my view, it has really stood us in good stead since the pandemic hit.
There were those first few weeks when the advice for the construction sector was, at best, ambiguous but we were very quick to get back on site in a safe and socially distanced way as soon as we could.
And, having had those conversations and meetings with our sub-contractor partners, it meant we had great buy-in from them and it meant we lost much less time on sites than could have otherwise been the case.
Companies such as M&T, Nedlon and Drywall – to name but a few (and there were certainly plenty of others) – meant our work on everything from care homes through to a new high-tech car park at HORIBA MIRA could continue at a pace.
So, there’s no doubt that partnership working has helped us during the crisis but I believe it is going to produce even better results for all of us when we finally get back to normal.
Deeley Group has started work on a fourth development in the area – after already building a school, church and church hall since the 1950s.
The latest project, which is being delivered in partnership with housing provider Stonewater, will see the construction of 39 affordable new homes at a redundant brownfield site on Tiverton Road.
It is being led by Eleanor Deeley, deputy managing director at the Deeley Group, who follows in the footsteps of her father and grandfather in leading developments in Wyken.
George W. Deeley, who founded the company in 1936, was on-site for the building of nearby St John Fisher School in the mid-1950s.
The school was one of the first built in post-war Coventry and was the first school built by the company.
A 12-year-old Peter Deeley, now managing director, learned to drive a dumper truck for the first time on the development as he got his first taste of the world of construction.
He returned 20 years later to build the St John Fisher Church, providing a church for the parish that was formed in the 1960s.
And, 20 years on, Deeley were back in Wyken again, with current Deeley Construction managing director Martin Gallagher working as a quantity surveyor on the construction of the church’s parish hall in 1991.
Peter Deeley, managing director of the Deeley Group, said: “We have a long history of developments in the area and are now adding new housing to the numerous benefits we have brought to Wyken.
“My career in construction started on site in the area in the 1950s. But it’s safe to say health and safety regulations have come a long way since then, as I was given the chance to drive a dumper as a young boy!
“At the time, our yard was based just up the road in Stoke and the completion of St John Fisher School was the first school the firm built.
“The church was an interesting project and has been of huge value to the community, with the addition of the parish hall giving more space for people to come together.
“We have committed almost seven decades to improving lives for people living in Wyken and the new housing development at Tiverton Road is the next step in our development in the area.”
Eleanor Deeley, deputy managing director of the Deeley Group, added: “To be following in the family footsteps by bringing more important resources to this community is a great honour.
“As a child I recall going into the company offices on a Saturday, the family values are ingrained into me, and over the last 20 years I’ve seen the firm complete a wide range projects to improve the lives of people in communities around Coventry.
“By taking a short walk around the area you can see the positive impact the firm has had through the years and the housing project will bring further benefit to the people of Wyken.”
Matthew Crucefix, director of development (West) for Stonewater said: “We’re delighted to once again be working with Deeley Group on this project.
“It is important to Stonewater to work with partner organisations who know, understand and respect the local community in which we work.
“Over the years we’ve established a great working relationship with Deeley Group both as Stonewater during the last five years and with legacy organisation, Jephson Housing Association, prior Stonewater’s creation.
“We are delighted to be building much needed new affordable homes back in Warwickshire so soon after the completion of our joint scheme at Feather Lane in Nuneaton.
“Our work locally really demonstrates our joint commitment to help tackle the housing crisis and do what we can to ensure everyone has the opportunity to have a place to call home.”
Pictured: Matthew Crucefix (Stonewater), Eleanor Deeley (Deeley Group) and Peter Deeley. (Deeley Group).
Site E3a Lion Court is a development of 44 premium one and two bed apartments on the bank of the River Nene at Southbridge.
The seven-storey scheme has now reached its highest point and a social-distanced topping out ceremony has been held by the development partners.
It comprises of a five-storey block with a river view penthouse occupying floors six and seven, and is the first development to be undertaken by Northampton-based developers H&F Enterprise UK Limited.
It is expected to be finished in February 2021 and work is being completed by Deeley Construction on behalf of the developer.
The development was initially scheduled for completion in Autumn of this year however this was pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Significant interest has already been shown in the apartments by first time buyers, investors, post-graduates and professionals attending and working at the nearby University of Northampton Waterside Campus.
Yan (Henry) Qu, Director of H&F Enterprise, said: “To have reached such a major milestone in our flagship project is an exciting moment for us.
“We’re looking to appeal to a younger market demographic with the apartments and they will be completed to a very high specification and standard.
“The development is in prime position and since work has started on site we have been inundated with enquiries from prospective buyers, from people already living in Northampton and those looking to move into the town.
“The topping out ceremony was a key point in the development, and it was fantastic to bring partners together for the event, including our construction partner Deeley Construction and our multidisciplinary planning and design team.
“This is a truly exciting scheme for Northampton and we’re confident it will bring great benefits to the community.”
Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director of the Deeley Group, added: “Our team have been working on-site throughout the Covid-19 pandemic on this development and it is fantastic to see it now reach its high point.
“We are an award-winning firm for our work in private residential developments, and this proven experience shines through here.
“This is a premium development in a prime position, delivered to the highest standards, and the interest already from potential buyers shows how highly sought-after property of this type is in Northampton.”
Pictured: Eleanor Deeley (Deeley Group) , Yan (Henry) Qu and Fan Zhang (H&F Enterprise) and Yousuf Miah (Development Planner).
A multi-million pound development of apartments for the elderly has been completed in Coventry City Centre.
Bond’s Lodge, a £6.8 million three-storey development on Hill Street, features 45 self-contained apartments and a large courtyard garden for residents to enjoy.
Deeley Construction completed the project, which was designed by Nicol Thomas Architects on behalf of Coventry Church (Municipal) Charities.
The new development is the latest addition to the Almshouses in Coventry, which were founded in the early 1500s and are now sheltered housing schemes for elderly citizens in the city.
It will take the number of residents within the Almhouses to over 150 – rising from 11 in 1506.
The development has been funded by the charity’s own resources, fundraising, a grant from Homes England and a loan from the Charity Bank.
There are already 30 new residents ready to move in to the new apartments in October, with the remaining spaces expected to be filled over the next few weeks.
Victor Keene MBE, Chairman of Coventry Church (Municipal) Charities, said: “It’s thrilling to see it completed. The flats are stunning, the kitchens and bathrooms are really lovely and I think the residents will be over the moon.
“It’s going to deliver real benefits to people in the area. It’s for people who have housing difficulties and have financial needs.
“Deeley Construction have been really good to work with and the quality of the workmanship speaks for itself. The charity is now over 500 years old and we still have the existing buildings. So we have every expectation that these will last us another 500 years!
“We feel fortunate that this site became available close to two of our principal Almhouses, so it creates a little village right in the middle of the city.”
The development was awarded to Deeley Construction under the Homes England DPP3 framework.
It marks the final piece of the Belgrade Plaza redevelopment for the Deeley Group, nearly 14 years after the firm’s first development in the area.
Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director of the Deeley Group, said: “It’s amazing to see Bond’s Lodge come alive and it is an excellent product as part of the mixed-use scheme at Belgrade Plaza.
“We believe it is an exemplar of city centre living with retirement living next to student and market rental, therefore a real example of intergenerational living and how new communities can be developed.
“Our work here started over a decade ago and was a catalyst for much needed regeneration in Coventry, so it’s a huge milestone for us to see it completed.
“This is an extra-care scheme for local people, which will enable them to live in the centre of the city and thrive in a fantastic environment.”
Coventry contractor and developer Deeley Construction has handed over the extension to the Millburn House based Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) facility after completing the £950,000 construction contract.
The single-storey extension features a lobby, plantroom and an NMR hall.
It will house the UK’s first 1 GHz solid-state NMR spectrometer – which is built around an incredibly powerful magnet – that will be used by scientists from across the UK in research for a range of applications and industries including pharmaceuticals, drug delivery and materials research.
The whole project was made possible by £8 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of a wider £20 million investment in the cutting-edge technology across the country.
Deeley Construction completed the project in a controlled environment due to the close proximity of the other academic departments. The wider project team included Ridge & Partners (employers’ representative), BMJ Architects, CPW (consultant M&E design engineers) and Scott White & Hookins (structural engineers).
Martin Gallagher, Managing Director of Deeley Construction, said: “As a company, we have worked on many varied projects and this extension at Millburn House is a further example of that. I’ve certainly developed my understanding of NMR technology!
“The project has been delivered via the University’s Lot 1 contractors framework which made it a very strong partnership between everyone involved and that is always the best way to produce a positive result, which is exactly what we have here.
“As a Coventry-based company, we are very proud to have played a part in this nationally significant research facility that will bring scientists from all over the country to the University of Warwick.”
Professor Steven Brown in the University of Warwick’s Department of Physics and Director of the UK High-Field Solid-State NMR Facility, said: “The Millburn House based Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Centre at the University of Warwick is the largest solid-state NMR laboratory in the UK which currently houses the 850 MHz High Field National Facility.
“As part of the EPSRC/BBSRC research councils’ initiative to expand the national high field solid-state NMR capability, a state-of-the-art 1 GHz instrument is being added to the Millburn House Facility to enhance the research profile and international competitiveness of the UK biological, pharmaceutical and materials research programmes.
“Deeley was tasked with the construction of a new wing to the Millburn House Magnetic Resonance Centre, which has been constructed to house the new Bruker 1 GHz solid-state NMR instrument.”
Steven Brown (University of Warwick, Dinu Iuga (University of Warwick)
Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director of the Deeley Group, on how the pandemic has impacted diversity in the sector.
As the UK begins to come back to the workplace, there is masses of talk around the “new normal” and what that will look like.
Will it mean more time working from home? Will more of us cycle to work? Will real face-to-face meetings be a thing of the past?
It is, on many of the major issues, too early to say. However, I think the “new normal” in many professions will look more male.
In fact, I would go as far as to say that gender equality in the workplace may well take a step back several decades.
This is a bold statement for me, as I am an optimist, someone who has avoided women only organisations and believes that we all stand equal based on our results, but Covid-19 has changed my perspective.
We have surveyed all our staff – the majority of which are male – around the return to work and childcare, and asked if there is any reason that while the schools are not back that staff cannot return to work. The overwhelming response was no.
While that is great for us as a company, I would suggest that the response was driven by the fact that people’s female partners and wives are predominantly the ones who take responsibility for childcare.
As much as it should not be the case, I suspect that in a large majority of cases, the woman in a relationship has more responsibility for childcare, cooking and housework but also holds down a job.
That means that over the months of lockdown when childcare has not been easy to come by, women have had to make more of a compromise. That should not be the case, but it is and that cannot be right.
It is just one example of how Covid has magnified differences – differences between nations, differences between genders, differences between education systems, and it has only acted to highlight how much more there is to do to really bring equality in all aspects of life.
I have worked in property for 20 years now and the industry has definitely changed in terms of equality.
There is certainly a lot less alcohol than there used to be and that has made it much easier for women as a great deal of business was done in the bar after work or even on the golf course – and although I am rather fond of a round of sambucas I could never fit in a round of golf with raising two children!
Most of the changes which have been brought about, have come with the changing times and differing attitudes, but actually the recession played a part in that, as the extra-curricular activities were vastly reduced purely by financial necessity and life moved into coffee shops rather than bars.
Clients have also driven and shaped that change. As you get more investment, funds move further into property to increase their returns, it becomes more analytical and factual and less based on connections, and has meant it is more about what you know than who you know.
But, of course, there is so much more to do. I recently spoke at a secondary school in Coventry about the careers that are available in the property industry, but I still think that, as a sector, we are behind the likes of accountancy and law when it comes to attracting a wide range of young people into the industry.
There is certainly a great awareness in the industry of the need for more diversity, and that is not just in terms of gender or ethnicity, but also socio-economically. Take work experience – a great deal of placements are set up through contacts, and you could have real potential but without that network, it may not get the chance to be realised.
Not only is that morally wrong, it also means the industry is missing out on great talent. Some of the leading players have programmes which are addressing that, but lack of accessibility is a real issue.
Of course, everyone in business is focused around trying to keep companies going and people employed but it would be a tragedy if many of the advances in diversity are yet another victim of this wretched virus.