As it heads towards its tenth anniversary next year, it is testament to how much British specialist engineering firm Chartwell Controls has already achieved that the company was named BCIA Independent Building Controls & BeMS Installer of the Year 2018. Construction Industry News recently caught up with Paul Coker, Managing Director at Chartwell, to see what the success means to the business.
“The award is not only a fantastic achievement for the company as a whole but is also great recognition for our workforce and the quality of the installations they’re delivering day in, day out,” explains Mr Coker. “Chartwell has grown up working extensively in data centre environments, which present unique challenges in design, in installation and in operation. Successfully delivering these types of projects requires an extremely high level of quality, unceasing technological innovation and the ability to undertake demanding installations without compromising live, mission-critical infrastructure. We deliver that same standard of workmanship right across our project portfolio: regardless of the complexity of a project, they all receive the same attention to detail.”
This quality-first emphasis obviously impressed judges at the BCIA Awards, which are widely viewed as the BeMS (building energy management systems) industry’s benchmark for technical excellence and innovation, spotlighting the latest trends, best practice and emerging talent.
“The award is not only a fantastic achievement for the company as a whole but is also great recognition for our workforce and the quality of the installations they’re delivering day in, day out. Chartwell has grown up working extensively in data centre environments, which present unique challenges in design, in installation and in operation. Successfully delivering these types of projects requires an extremely high level of quality, unceasing technological innovation and the ability to undertake demanding installations without compromising live, mission-critical infrastructure.”
Paul Coker, Managing Director
In addition to winning the Installer of the Year accolade, Chartwell’s world-first BeMS security package, Chartwell Secure, was nominated within the Technical Innovation of the Year category and one of the company’s senior engineers, Mark Johnson, was named a finalist for the Engineer of the Year category for his ground-breaking work in controlled environments.
“We have now won or been shortlisted for nine awards in three consecutive years at the BCIA Awards,” adds Mr Coker. “This shows that our approach, which is characterised by investing heavily in people, skills and collaborative technologies to deliver innovation and excellence to all clients really works. What’s more, it demonstrates that our culture of making quality the core of everything we do – including taking seriously our responsibilities to community, the environment, safety and well-being – puts us head and shoulders above our competitors.
“We have taken a different direction to many BeMS companies by bringing leading-edge engineering skills in-house, from initial design to fabrication and testing right through to installation, commissioning and optimisation. This allows us to control every single stage of the process to ensure that quality is kept consistently high.”
To support this emphasis on keeping as much as possible under its own roof, Chartwell Controls has a hardwired commitment to training and staff development.
“Our approach to lifelong learning and to opening opportunities for people from all sorts of backgrounds is something that is sponsored right from the top of the company and is intrinsically linked to our success,” says Mr Coker. “We’re very proud of our apprenticeship scheme, which has already seen four apprentices introduced to the BeMS industry with new skills, qualifications and responsibilities. Across the wider business, we ensure all colleagues are supported and empowered to reach their full potential.”
Chartwell’s emphasis on staff development and training has become all the more important given the skills shortage that are currently being seen within the marketplace.
“The biggest challenge we’re facing at the moment is finding enough people with the standard of skills we require,” says Mr Coker. “If the skills were more readily available then we’d be able to expand more quickly. This is an industry-wide issue, which is why our own training activities have been so well received by leading suppliers such as Trend.”
Thanks to the quality of its service, Chartwell has already notched up many headline projects. For instance, the company played a significant role under phase one of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment, saving thousands of metres of cabling through clever design. Household names such as Santander are on Chartwell’s CV, while the company is currently installing a new cooling system for Equinix at Powergate Business Park in London.
With an increasing portfolio of prestigious projects, not to mention a growing collection of awards, Chartwell Controls is carefully managing momentum as it approaches its tenth anniversary.
“We’ve grown strongly but consistently throughout our history – and this is a balance we are keen to maintain,” concludes Mr Coker. “We certainly do not possess a growth-at-all-costs mentality. Instead, we make quality our foundation and seek to nurture sustainable growth. This provides long-term stability for our staff and our clients. We have many more exciting developments lined up as we transition from being the new entrant in the BeMS sector to an established, well-respected and award-winning player with our own technological platforms, strong skillset and cast-iron reputation in installation, service and optimisation works.”
Given its emphasis on seeking continual improvements in its service offering and maintaining quality across all its activities, few would be surprised to see further award recognition coming Chartwell Control’s way in the months and years ahead.