O’Keefe Community News Spring 2018

28th March 2018

Welcome to the second edition of Community News

Hello everyone. I am so pleased to report that we are in really good shape so far this year and we’re on track to having a great 2018. Our success, as always, is down to you so thank you for everything that you do and let’s look forward to celebrating and marking our achievements as we go through the year. Keep up the good work.

Our values remain the same and are the key driver in everything we do in the business. Safety is still and always will be our number 1 priority. If we get safety right, it will be because everyone in the business has agreed to become part of something important. We need to change our habits and make it part of our everyday thinking. Thinking safety and getting it right is how we will be judged – not just as a business but as a community.

We hope we have provided you with a real mixture of stories and features and we will do our best to keep you up-to-date with all aspects of the business going forward. In the meantime please let us have your feedback by emailing Roger McKerlie, head of marketing (roger.mckerlie@okeefe.co.uk) and feel free to suggest topics you would like to see in the next bulletin.

Stay safe, Patrick

The O’Keefe Group has opened a new plant depot at Cricketts Farm

The company has invested £3 million in moving and expanding its plant facility. Plant director Simon Coveney said: “This is an exciting time for us. Bringing our companies together at our new purpose-built facility will enable us to work more closely together to improve our services to our clients both internal and external.

“This bespoke facility is one of the best in the region and is part of our continuing pursuit of excellence right across the business. The O’Keefe Group will continue innovating to enhance the scope and scale of the organisation’s overall service offering to all our clients. Moving to a much larger site where all of our necessary equipment is in one place allows us to deliver the best results but also to work more efficiently with each other.”

This new facility has been constructed to be safe, reliable and environmentally friendly, with a bespoke jet wash system which recycles water and a sedum roof which helps act as an air filter and insulator.

The O’Keefe Community News caught up with Simon to investigate more:

Which part of the new facility are you particularly pleased with?
“There are 2 parts to this. Originally the yard was to be split part concrete and part stabilised ground with planning. The decision to make all 6500m2 to concrete will prove a massive benefit to the yard, to how we operate and to the longevity of the yard with reduced potential remedial works to carry out. The concreate ensures our working environment is a huge improvement on the current conditions. The second part is the installation of the overhead gantry cranes. This facility will really enhance our ability to carry out works safely and offer the fitters and welders opportunities to carry out tasks they may have previously not been able to complete.”

What sets this plant apart from those of our competitors?
“The size of the operations and the facilities within this. The amount of storage room, along with the planning that has gone into ensure the facility is state-of-the-art, sets us apart from our competitors. Also, the environmental credentials this facility offers are of the highest level-the green roof and recycled jet wash facility’s use of recycled water ensures we are a forward thinking, environmentally aware organisation.”

What’s been the most exciting aspect of the project so far?
“Seeing it develop and grow! Its such huge thing for the organisation, it’s just great to see”.

When do you and your team officially move into the new building?
“There is no official moving-in date but we’re looking to get into the building after the Easter break.”

Do you plan to grow the facility over time? Or, what growth plans have you got for the future?
“The facility will be big enough to cover any company growth plans for the immediate future, which is great. Long term any growth of Cricketts Farm will be linked to the overall growth of the O’Keefe Group.”

March marks the official launch of our Community Foundations programme

This month we are officially launching our ambitious community involvement programme, taking Corporate Social Investment (CSI) to the next level. We prefer to talk of community investment rather than responsibility because we choose to do these things rather than being forced to.

Community Foundations will see us invest our time as well as our money in our local communities. Our head of marketing, Roger McKerlie commented: “Community Foundations will support the communities in which we operate and give back to society. Where possible we will support projects which work with both young and older people from disadvantaged backgrounds as they work to make positive changes to their lives.”

It has also been designed to enable O’Keefe people, and other important stakeholders such as clients, suppliers and sub-contractors, to get involved through volunteering and offering skills and experience to all the organisations that we support.

The initiative will kick off with a focus on three key beneficiary organisations – 21 Together, K Sports and Blackheath Rugby Club. Here’s a brief rundown about each of them.

21 Together is a new charity in Kent set up by four mothers, each with a child with Down’s Syndrome. It aims to provide local, accessible training for parents, carers and professionals, support for parents and families, and information and awareness of Down’s Syndrome within the wider community.

K Sports is a unique sporting organisation developing a Sport for Social Inclusion programme centred on the 28-acre Cobdown site in Aylesford, Kent. The scheme aims to increase participation in sport and to foster and encourage excellence, alongside supporting academic achievement and vocational learning. K Sports offers an outstanding alternative curriculum programme to young people who are not engaging with mainstream education and who, without intervention, would be likely to have a troubled adulthood. We will be funding part of their programme as well as building a construction pit for the participants to learn some of the basics of our business. O’Keefe people will also coach them in construction techniques.

Blackheath Rugby Club was founded 160 years ago by some of the old boys of Blackheath Proprietary School as an open club and as such became the first rugby club in the world without restricted membership. However, today it is Kent and SE London’s premier rugby club and they have recently launched a new community foundation which has the goal of giving back to the community it serves. Greenwich council has asked Blackheath to build and operate a new sports facility at Hervey Road in the borough. The facility will cover all sports, not just rugby, and is designed to be fully inclusive and a special place where families can enjoy sport and leisure together. The O’Keefe Group, as part of our Greenwich legacy project, will be part-funding the venue and offering other value-in-kind benefits to the club.

In addition to these three key organisations, we will continue to work with the Kent Construction Focus Group, the SE London and Sevenoaks Chambers of Commerce, and other industry and local charities.

Watch out for updates on new volunteering and fundraising events for each of these charities over the next few months. 

Health & Safety: Always our No.1 priority

Quantity surveyor James Keys has been presented with an award for his excellent contribution towards Health & Safety at Hope Wharf. The award was presented to James by the group commercial director Marc Budgen at the Q2 commercial department Health & Safety meeting.

James identified numerous potential hazards on site during his daily hazard walk and reported these to the project manager who gathered the team together for toolbox talks. The hazards were then removed, and work continued safely.

Marc Budgen, group commercial director said: “It took a lot of courage for James to act in the way he did at Hope Wharf and both the business and I are really proud of him for his efforts. Every hazard removed from a site is another potential incident or accident eliminated.”

The O’Keefe Group secures demolition contract for Broadwick Street, London

We have been employed by Broadwick Street Holding as principal contractor for the demolition of 20-24 and 85 Broadwick Street and the partial demolition of 18 Broadwick Street and 85 Berwick Street.

The contract will run until the end of June 2018 and sees the removal of all buildings to ground level in anticipation of redevelopment. The team will also clean and retain the 1920s primary façade of the building to preserve the character and fabric of the old building.

Key to the contract award was our experience in logistics within busy areas as well as façade retention systems and demolition within tight constraints on site.

Andrew Farquharson, demolition division director, said: “Our team has delivered many similar schemes and our knowledge and expertise have already exceeded our customers’ expectations. The London market is currently very active, and the O’Keefe Group is enjoying playing a big part in it.”

The O’Keefe Group clinches deal for a new £10 million multi-storey car park in Sevenoaks

The Kent Division of the O’Keefe Group has successfully secured the contract for a multi-storey car park in Sevenoaks. The go-ahead was given at the end of 2017 with work starting in early Q1. The new facility fills an urgent need in the town for additional long-stay parking. Situated right next to Knole Park, a National Trust heritage site, the job will not go without its challenges but it’s an exciting local win for us.

Derek Gilburt, Kent division director, said: “We’re looking forward to working in partnership with Willmott Dixon and their client Sevenoaks district council on this important project which will bring much-needed amenities to the area. It’s a great win and an important contract for the O’Keefe Group in Kent. Sevenoaks is our business heartland, so we have a vested interest in how the project is executed.”

New £8 million contract for Kent


The O’Keefe Group is working on a new ISG retail, Medway commercial park project on the Isle of Grain. The contract is worth £8 million to O’Keefe with an overall construction cost of £53 million. Specialist retail contractor ISG plc selected us as we have a track record for successfully completing fast- track, large-scale retail developments.

Derek Gilburt said: “As one of the largest groundworks businesses in the south east we have the in-house resource to be able to commit to such a tight programme for a demanding client. We are very much looking forward to getting started on this job and working in partnership with such a well-known retailer.”

The O’Keefe Group on track to deliver new cinema for Eltham

The London division of the O’Keefe Group is currently behind the construction of a new cinema for Eltham. The project is being run in collaboration with Willmott Dixon and is the company’s first venture into the commercial building market. The contract is worth £1.5 million.

The programme incorporates a basement, a reinforced concrete frame, a mezzanine floor and 2 additional floors. James Bourke, London division director, said: “We’ve worked with the local community to ensure that we offer a programme with innovative scheduling and minimal disruption. We’re looking to create a building that enhances the local area. It’s so far been a great project and the team have enjoyed being part of a programme that is bringing back a major entertainment venue back to the area.”

Work is due to be completed by the end of March.

Quality Update

We’re proud to announce that after 7 days of external audits by NQA, a globally recognised certification body, we have retained our ISO9001(International Standardisation for Organisation), ISO14001 and OHSAS18001 certification. This included a thorough review of all our management processes which support the delivery of our projects and services.

We want to thank all of those who took part and worked on the audits, including the plant division, the H&S team and our commercial and pre-construction departments.

Thames Barrier and Wembley Eastland’s were also inspected as part of this process and both projects passing with flying colours. The auditor confirmed that these high standards only come from continued efforts and commitment by the project teams.

Being accredited to these standards allows us access to clients such as Willmott Dixon, ISG and Quintain for who this is a pre-requisite to becoming one of their supply chain partners. The O’Keefe Vision seeks to provide a robust framework to further embed excellent Health & Safety, best in class for quality, programme certainty and commercial focus throughout our operations. However, the hard work does not stop here. To ensure that we remain a sustainable business in the long-term we now need to make the O’Keefe Vision a reality.

As part of the O’Keefe Vision we have made the strategic decision to renew and adopt our business management system to help improve its overall performance and provide a sound basis for sustainable development initiatives.

The overhaul of our business management system and the enterprise content management (ECM) platform is well underway, with the first phase on track to be launched in April, followed by phase two in June. This roll-out programme will get us ready for the next ISO audit in August and September where we migrate to the latest ISO standards.

ECM gets up an upgrade

The new version of our ECM (enterprise content management) system is due go-live on the 16th April. The key feature of the first phase will be the new business management system (BMS) which replaces the SHEQual library. Everyone will be offered training in the new BMS (business management system) at a level where it is relevant to their role. The training will take place throughout April and May.