Betteridge And Milsom Awarded £1,300 To Implement New Snagging App

Published 1st July 2021 by Charlotte Porter
Betteridge and Milsom have been awarded an I-Construct grant of nearly £1,300 to improve how they administer site defects. Practice Manager, Steph Harris, told us more about the company and explained how using PlanRadar will make their snagging processes
Steph - Betteridge and Milsom
Steph - Betteridge and Milsom

Q. I-Construct: What services do Betteridge and Milsom offer?

A. Steph Harris, Betteridge and Milsom:

Betteridge and Milsom has been around for 35 years and started off as a quantity surveying practice. The scope of the business has grown over the years though and as well as quantity surveying, we now offer other construction consultancy services, including Contract Administration, Employer’s Agent, Project Management, and Clerk of Works. We've also recently added Principal Designer to our suite of services. Most of our projects are located in Kent, however, we have undertaken projects in London, Essex, Surrey, and East Sussex. We are a team of 16, of which 13 work full-time and three work part-time. We are quite a nice-sized SME.
“As a business 65 to 70% of our work is quantity surveying. But we're starting to see that shift with more work in project management and principal designer coming onto the books as well.
“We've got a great pipeline of work, predominantly public sector, but we also do work with private developers as well. We've seen that ebb and flow over the last few years, it was probably quite heavily weighted towards the private sector a few years ago, but we’ve recently had in an influx of public sector work, specifically education. We're currently working with a local authority to deliver upgrades and expansions to schools. They're really interesting and knowing they make a difference to the community is fantastic.”

Q. I-Construct: What makes Betteridge and Milsom different?

A. Steph Harris, Betteridge and Milsom:

“Our motto, if you like, is to make sure that our client's projects are successful. That's what our service does. We achieve that through our vast amount of experience. Our Director team has over 50 years in the industry and that knowledge is vital.
“Our added value is that if our clients need us, they can get hold of us. We find our clients often ring us up just to ask us for advice on things or have a chat about a future project, and we're quite happy to give them that time. They'll often call up and say, 'What do you think about that process?' or 'How do you think we should tender for that work?', and we're more than happy to provide that added value. That combined with our ability to be collaborative and non-adversarial, sets us apart. 
“We don't shy away from the unusual. We don't specialize in one sector over the other, we'll work on most types of projects. This gives us a unique approach and understanding, and our clients see this.
“Quite recently, we worked on a project in Margate that enabled the reopening of some long-closed caves. We're also currently working on the ‘world's first’ purpose-built multi-story skate park.
“Kent is full of very unique and wonderful buildings and we love that we get the pleasure of working on them.” 

Q. I-Construct: Where did you hear about the I-Construct, and what is it about the network that appeals to you?

A. Steph Harris, Betteridge and Milsom:

“We attend a networking group that runs once a month, someone mentioned I-Construct at one of the recent events and I thought, ‘I'm going to look into that a little bit more’.
“As a business, we've got a good ethos of continuous improvement. We're ISO 9001 accredited, we're always looking to better our service. When I discovered I-Construct I felt that it was a good fit for the business as it focuses on innovation. We all know that construction is an industry that may fall on its own sword eventually if it doesn't modernize. 'Modernize or die' is the famous phrase isn't it? We’re always working to keep B&M ahead of the curve in terms of innovation.
“We're really hoping that as we come out the end of the pandemic, we can start networking with the other I-Construct members. Work opportunities are obviously great, but for me, it's also about connecting with people that are going through the same issues or looking to modernize and being there to support each other and share best practice. I'm hoping that as the network continues to grow that it will be something that we can benefit from.
“It also seemed like the right time to try and adopt further new thinking into the business. One of our current change projects is about the adoption of new technology. Quantity surveying hasn't functionally changed much in the last 30 years. However, the methods that our staff adopt to deliver this service have changed a little bit.
“We're a young bunch, the average age of an employee in B&M is approximately 32, so we're quite a young construction company, which, knowing the statistical averages for employees in construction is seemingly rare. Our staff are therefore naturally tech-savvy and want to make use of technology to make their jobs easier and subsequently more efficient.

Q. I-Construct: So, how would you sum up what the I-Construct network offers SMEs?

A. Steph Harris, Betteridge and Milsom:

“It's about networking with like-minded individuals who are keen to innovate and implement best practice in their business. I think it all sits around that idea of efficiency and innovation in construction, which is going to be at the forefront of everyone's minds off the back of this pandemic.
“The opportunities to network are massive too, especially now that you've said there's 160 of us. That's fantastic news! Connecting with others going through similar things will be really beneficial. Just to have a group of people to chat to about how our businesses are being challenged and how they’re developing and overcoming issues would be really interesting. I’m always interested to hear how people are overcoming complexities in their fields and businesses.
“We take a lot of inspiration from podcasts around business and utilizing best practice from different arenas. We're looking at sporting environments at the moment to try and take some best practice from that, mainly around motivation, engagement and self-belief.
“We’re always happy to share any thoughts and best practice on how to improve our industry, because, as we all know, if you don’t, then you’re not going to last. We are working to keep B&M going for at least another 35 years. That's the aim.”

Q. I-Construct: You were recently awarded just under £1,300 funding for your innovation project. What is the grant being used for?

A. Steph Harris, Betteridge and Milsom:

“One of our processes is currently undertaken in a very traditional way. It's one of those that’s ‘always been done that way’. Basically, when a building comes to close to completion, we will go along to site and undertake the snagging of the building on behalf of the client. This means our staff will go room to room and make a note of any issues.
“Traditionally, this process has been done by marking the location of the issue on a printed drawing, putting a number next to it, and then taking a sheet of paper and writing 'No X: Trims not finished on sink' or whatever the issue might be. 
“We knew that process could be more efficient, could be sped up, could be easier. During a meeting, one of the team pitched an app that can be used on Android or iPhone. It allows you to drop a pin on an electronic drawing and raise an electronic ticket. You fill it in and then you can assign someone to that ticket. They will receive notification of it instantly. They can then go away, resolve the snag, and they can update it in real-time, and mark to say it's done. The client can also log in and see the live status of every snag or defect on the project.
“The funding will help us subscribe to the app and provide new hardware for the staff - a couple of tablets – to use the app effectively. They just have to do the work beforehand of setting up the project. Once it's set up, they can then reuse that every time they go to site.
"We know by implementing this, we’ve got a real opportunity to make this process easier for everyone, hopefully reducing the admin burden of the process for everyone.”

Q. I-Construct: So, thinking about the future. What other innovative ideas do you have in the works?

A. Steph Harris, Betteridge and Milsom:

“We're currently undertaking a lot of major change projects. A big one being around the continuous improvement of our processes and services. We’re also looking into having our office refitted. That's quite a big project - we're changing what our office provides now as we’re moving to hybrid working. One-on-one desks by themselves aren't going to cut it anymore so we're turning our office into a bit of a collaborative hub rather than being a generic ‘desk office’ which is quite exciting.”

If you work for an SME in or supplying the construction industry and would like to join the I-Construct Member Network and apply for a grant, complete our form.