Simon says ISO Certification is the way forward

As a company that has established itself in the field of tree and landscaping contracts, Beechwood Trees and Landscapes Ltd recognises the benefits that accreditation brings to the industry. In 2008, company director Simon Rotherham decided to obtain a number of external certifications used by CHAS and Arboricultural Association (AA) approved contractors, including ISO certification.

In order for Beechwood Trees and Landscapes Ltd to meet the requirements needed for accreditation the company undertook a business assessment and became AA approved within just five months. This process involved Simon spending just one day per month being coached on how to implement and operate the required systems and controls. As a result, the company is now certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OSHAS 18001 levels.

Certifications like these are internationally recognised and holding them demonstrates that a company is up to date on administrative efficiency, customer service, health and safety management and environmental management.

Beechwood Trees and Landscapes Ltd hold additional certification for the National Highways Sector Scheme 18 (NHSS18), which is the standard that pre-qualifies a company for highways vegetation management.

Beechwood Trees and Landscapes Ltd Director, Simon Rotheram, said:

“AA approved assessment was a tough day, but very useful none the less and I would thoroughly recommend that anyone wishing to be taken seriously in the arboricultural industry tests themselves against it.”

Simon values the time spent working towards accreditation and appreciates the benefits that they bring to his company as well as the industry as a whole.

After consolidating systems in order to assess the impact that the certificates and accreditation would have on the company’s tendering processes, he decided to look into the company’s environmental interface and health and safety arrangements.

Simon said: “It took us another three days over a two month period to build on our systems in order to achieve ISO9001 and we were assessed by SGS UK Ltd who are UKAS accredited. The same two day audit checked us off for NHSS18 so it was a completely painless experience.

“So far, the pay back has outweighed the outlay and that is without factoring in the benefits from added efficiency and a reduction in minor incidents.”

He added: “There are rogue traders operating in the certification market so be very careful that you make sure that their assistance or certification will take you to where you need to be. The UK standard setting organisation for certification bodies is United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS). This is important to remember if you intend to work on the highways or railways because the specific procurement checks for those industries only recognise certificates from UKAS accredited certification companies.”

Acquiring industry recognised accreditation allows companies to be seen as a provider of an integrated management system. Simon Rotheram believes that if businesses double their efforts to improve standards, it will benefit individual companies as well as injecting a huge boost into the industry. Despite facing a tough year throughout 2011, Beechwood Trees and Landscapes Ltd has continued to move forward whilst many in the industry have suffered from setbacks.

Beechwood Trees and Landscapes Ltd Director, Simon Rotheram, said:

“I am convinced that there is still plenty of work out there. This opinion is born by the almost continual stream of contract notices that are showing up on tender notification websites, on Linkedin and Twitter and we have remained consistently busy despite the consensus that 2011 was the toughest year for decades.

“What is also very clear is that client expectations are far higher than before the recession hit hardest. Clients can be choosy whilst all of the service providers compete for work, so it is crucial to make sure that companies are on top of the pile and able to respond to opportunities properly once they arise.

“As well as doing a great job, we are also good at demonstrating that we have a sophisticated approach to health and safety, environmental management, employment, equality and diversity and that is what really counts these days.”

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Roma Publications

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