During his career as Senior Site Manager, he has also won four coveted NHBC Seals of Excellence, as well as numerous in-house regional and external accolades – including the Considerate Constructor award for his previous site. Andy told Premier Construction that it felt “fantastic” to have won this award, adding: “I look as happy right now as I do on the eight-foot photograph of me they’ve put up outside the sales centre!”
The Oaks is situated in Whitwood, Castleford, Leeds and features a range of one and two-bedroom apartments and three to four- bedroom family houses. All are designed to utilise the space available to maximum effect: the rooms are very well proportioned and provide generous storage provision, and most of the units include en-suites and integral garages. As the NHBC award shows, all aspects are finished to the highest standard.
Andy said that it was “dedication to getting the job right first time” that had resulted in the success at the awards.
His experienced site team, some of whom he has worked with for twenty years, also share this view – as demonstrated by the fact that Andy has won all of his previous awards with the same core team. “You get the nucleus of your team together and then you add to it by bringing new people in who gel with the nucleus.” He explained one way in which he aimed to nurture his team: “I’m a big believer in giving back to people what you learn, too. Knowledge and experience is for sharing. When I was younger, people took me to one side and taught me:I like to be able to do that for people now.”
He said that Barratts are very supportive in fostering the team work ethic, as they organise social events on a regular basis in order to encourage teams to bond.
Andy started out in the trade as an apprentice bricklayer, before being promoted to Assistant Site Manager with McCleans (who later became Wimpeys). He then moved to David Wilson, and worked his way up to become a Senior Site Manager in 2003.
When asked whether the site had presented any particular challenges, Andy said that there are some units of social housing on the site, which meant that there was a different team and specification had to be worked with. However, he noted that overall the whole process had still run very smoothly.
With only four units left to be completed, many of the houses at The Oaks are already occupied. This presents new challenges in terms of keeping the site clean and tidy and managing deliveries without designated storage areas. However, for Andy, seeing people move into the houses brings great satisfaction.
“There’s nothing better than to know that you’ve taken a piece of paper with drawings done by somebody who’s never even seen the piece of land, and used it to build the perfect place for people to live,” he enthused. “It’s great to see people are moving in and they love it – there are children playing everywhere. It makes you think to yourself: ‘I’ve built this’.”
He explained how beneficial it was for the industry for people to be able to watch closely as houses were being built. “You see these programmes on TV about cowboy builders and they give us all a bad name,” he said. “But this way people can see the hard graft that goes into building their homes and they can appreciate that it’s truly a man-made thing, not like something that just comes out of a factory.”
The strong sales at The Oaks reflect how attractive the development is, and Andy is hoping that the success will continue when this first phase is completed in September. Following that, he will be moving straight onto a further development on adjacent land which will comprise one hundred and eighty houses. Here he will continue to nurture and inspire the next generation of tradesmen.