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Why Compliance is a Strategy not a Target

Compliance as a strategy for construction best practice

James HobdenCo-Founder
Compliance requirements for construction companies have changed beyond recognition since we founded. Successive Governments have massively increased the legislation and their vigilance with monitoring and enforcement. As a result, our clients also demand far greater compliance capability too.   
Whilst it’s tempting to see it as a cost – and it is a big investment every year – at Shore Construction we view compliance as a core part of our brand ideal and our overall business strategy. When you step back from the processes and checks, the fundamental need that we’re playing a crucial role in is making sure that our construction sites are safe, that our workers are protected from risks like modern slavery and low pay, and that the supply chain is robust. Legislation aside, these are all things that are simply right to do.  

The Compliance team sits at the heart of the business and works directly with our contractors and with all teams in the business. Our team focuses on four key areas of risk; health and safety, worker compliance, supply chain and clients stability. 
With workers and operatives, our checks include proof of ID, proof of right to work, worker tax status and skills card checks. In theory these should be fairly straight-forward however we see frequent attempts to circumvent these with false documentation. The level can be as high as 15% failing the documentation checks in any given week.  
These can be highly sophisticated digital forgeries which is why we utilize specialised identity document validation checking services as part of our processes. Bearing in mind we’re helping manage risks including modern slavery and illegal working it is imperative that we complete the checks.
MD and Founder James Hobden has been integral to the development of our Compliance team.
“The worrying part is that these workers may well still end up working on site if they’ve working via an agency with fewer or less robust checks than we have. This is why is so important we work with our clients to ensure that the whole supply chain is robust and compliant.” 
With our supply chain, our focus switches to checks for financial health checks, worker CIS compliance, VAT accounting and payment, modern slavery and potential mis-treatment of workers. As with many of these checks, the work we do goes beyond box ticking. With the HMRC enforcement for non-compliance and non-payment of VAT working through the supply chain based on the Kittel principle, our in-depth checks manage risk Shore Construction and our clients too.  
“We have to know who each business is and what they’re doing. It’s not enough to say, “we checked”. We want proof that PAYE is being paid, proof that corporation tax is being paid, a copy of the HRMC Gateway showing that everything is up-to-date, and more. We do a lot of due diligence because we’re know how vital it is in protecting our workers and our supply chain.”  
We’re typically working on several major projects every day and that we’re responsible for hundreds of workers at any one time. As such making sure that the suppliers we engage are genuine businesses, viable and paying taxes is a vital step giving added security for project delivery. Our compliance and finance team monitor this risk in real-time to manage our exposure to supply chain weakness.

Health and Safety is always our top priority. Ensure our sites are safe for workers and the communities we serve is the foundation of every decision we make. Our Health and Safety Manager is a member of the Shore Construction leadership team giving direct access to decision making and meaning immediate actions can be implemented if risks are identified.
As well as our in-house Health and Safety plans we’re also proud members of the Considerate Contractors Scheme, which provides external auditing and review of our overall plans to ensure safe and positive construction sites at all times.


Our compliance process at sister company The Shore Group, is underpinned by the extensive accreditations to make sure our processes are robust, comprehensive and repeatable. And we’re working hard to replicate this at Shore Construction. We already have our Safe Contractor and Considerate Contractor accreditations and we’re working towards ISO27001, ISO9001 and ISO 45001 accreditations as part of the next ISO audit review.
“Our accreditations help us think beyond simply documenting a process and giving it to the team. They drive to you look at what you're doing, work out why you're doing it, ask yourself whether you’re doing it the best way, then document it and then continually improve it. When you embrace this in your culture, then the ISO accreditation will make it better.” 

As a key business metric, compliance is something we track in real-time and is part of our business scorecard that we review at Board level. We don’t view this reporting as monitoring performance against a target. We measure compliance performance against the business requirement of absolute compliance. The risks are too great to view it as anything other.
“It has to be 100%. You can't have any less than that. So it’s absolutely a business requirement.”  Zero is the only number of illegal workers that is ever acceptable. 100% is the only number of trained and qualified tradespeople you want on a construction site. The punishments for non-compliance are significant and some have criminal liabilities, but beyond this, there’s a very human cost and risk that we play a critical role in protecting.  

Compliance fits perfectly with our brand ideal philosophy. Ultimately, by making sure we have the right processes and systems in place, we’re making life better for clients, workers, our team and the community. 
We’re making potentially dangerous working environments and the communities they are in safer, we’re protecting workers from exploitation, and we’re helping our clients by driving up the quality of the projects we support.  

Compliance at Shore Construction is far from a paper exercise, it’s a strategy that allows us to manage very real risks, comprehensively and effectively. Our belief is that the investment we make in compliance gives us a competitive edge in the sectors we work in too. 
We keep up-to-date on the latest regulatory legislation and rulings with extensive team training, industry engagement and expert advice from industry experts. In particular with work closely with Aspire Business Partnership whose extensive annual audit of our systems, help keep our processes ahead of the game. 
It’s why we have a fully transparent approach to compliance with our clients. We welcome client reviews and audits of our compliance systems. Beyond this, by pro-actively partnering with clients our aim is to support compliance throughout the supply chain making sure we protect client risks at the same time as protecting our own.

If you’d like to know more about Compliance at Shore Construction and potential risks within your supply chain, contact us here. 

Get in touch.

James HobdenCo-Founder