NHBC Awards, South West

Pride award ‘is highest honour’

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Stepping out of the construction game for five years has clearly not dented Steve Pugh’s ambitions, as he has just scooped an NHC Pride in the Job award.

Steve, who works for Elan Homes and is presently overseeing their Bristol Mortimer Gardens project – a mixed development of 77 homes for sale and for rent – decided to take a break from the daily grind.

But having stepped back into the industry where he “worked his way out of the trenches into a management position over a 30-year period,” he has come back stronger than ever. He has built a dedicated team of workers and has a no-nonsense attitude to cleanliness, health and safety, and workers’ conditions.

Steve said: “We have won the award, I think, simply due to our dedication to a quality product, mixed with good old fashioned pride and passion. I have a first class workforce which strives to produce the ‘Rolls Royces’ of the construction industry for customers.

“This was my first step back into site management after a five year break. I’d had enough of poor workmanship and trying to manage an unmanageable workforce who had lost their pride and passion.

“The industry seemed to have killed off a lot of people because companies were chasing numbers and trying to please shareholders rather than being focused on the product.

“I decided to come back into the industry – but this time round, the big driver for me was that I would not compromise on quality, or on the right way of working on site. It was going to be my way, the right way.

“Building is a simple science as long as it done properly and in an organized manner.”

This extends to the site being spotlessly clean to the point, Steve says, that “you can walk in your slippers”. Coupled to that, he insists that workers have decent rest facilities, with toilets that anyone would be happy to use. And all work within a 39-hour week.

He said: “I set my stall out from day one. For example, I have modernised the way our drawings are held on computer, but I will only print out extracts of what workers need to look at and work on, rather than miles and miles of paperwork – a bad trait in our industry. It ensures that we are all doing the right thing, in the right place at the right times.

“We have an excellent support structure. The team is trustworthy and can be relied upon to get on with job at hand. If anyone makes mistakes, as we all do, there are people around them to help them out and pull them through.”

He added: “When I heard that we had received the award, it was a bit of a strange experience really. I am proud of my job and the guys are 100 per cent committed, so to get the recognition is fantastic.

“It proves that being honest and open from the top down and ensuring that the job is done the right way, and done well, will ultimately get you respect from others and within the industry in general.”

So successful has this tight knit approach been that 30 homes have already been finished on the Mortimer Gardens site and everything is bang on budget and on time.

The development was designed with a nod to Victorian architecture, featuring a crescent of three-story terraced town houses and old fashioned coach houses. However, behind this impressive exterior is a range of contemporary modern homes suitable for family living.

Privacy and security are key at Mortimer Gardens, and an exclusive selection of coach houses are contained within their own electronic-gated courtyard.

A bustling high street will run through the centre of Mortimer Gardens and residents will be only five minutes from Bristol, which provides a blend of modern shopping and maritime history, arts and culture.

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