All posts by Marina Ranger

UK lockdown has brought a great deal of change in every industry, including construction. Many construction companies and their workplaces have begun to consider new technological processes within digital and automated environments. This is not something new, however the widespread adaptation has become irreversible since the Covid-19 pandemic. As said by Hans Vestberg, “Disruption may be unprecedented, but things will never move so slowly again”.

 

 

For starters, a shift to remote working forced companies into using online software, particularly Cloud servers to maintain efficienct with effective communication channels given the forced lack of human interaction and hence face to face meetings. While we missed office life and believe nothing can truly replace interactions in person, it has brought a variety of opportunities and advantages for future working environments. We can frame it as shaping a new digital habit! Here is a small taste of the benefits seen:

 

  1. Increased efficiencies with real time, up-to-date information flows
  2. Enabled regular backups on web-based filling systems
  3. Increased data collection, supporting productivity and efficiency in the long run through analysis
  4. Greater focus on structural stability
  5. Adaptation of smart technologies
  6. Opportunity for a wider talent pool
  7. Improvised, new ideas

 

What lies ahead?

 

  1. The industry will become more data savvy, which is a big change for the construction industry that is typically traditional in it’s working approach.
  2. Construction professionals who understand new digital advancements and software’s will be in great demand.
  3. Technological advances could revolutionise almost all points of the construction cycle of a built asset, from conceptualisation to demolition.
  4. There will be an increase in the use of technology to lower a building’s carbon footprint and the use of resources and building models.
  5. By adopting new technologies, the construction industry will be dominated with mega-projects to build smart and sustainable cities.

 

We all know how important it is to gain work experience while studying for a degree. According to CIPD, two thirds of employers look for candidates with relevant hands-on experience.  However, it is really challenging to find a job while trying to maintain balance between work and studies. Quartz recognises this and supports students to help them gain industry experience as a stepping point in their life long  career. Here is an interview with Phoebe who has been a Project Assistant at Quartz for 2 years now while studying to complete her post-graduate degree:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself ?

I graduated from Newcastle University with a First in Architecture in 2018, however decided that becoming a designer wasn’t for me. I took a year out post degree and went on a ski season. I joined Quartz the following summer in June 2019 as an Assistant Project Manager. Although becoming an Architect wasn’t for me, I still loved buildings and construction and thought that the more managerial aspect of construction would be better suited  to me. I started my postgraduate course at Westminster University Reading in Construction Project Management in September 2019 (part-time course, split over two years).

 

How do you manage both your studies and the workload at Quartz?

With a lot of difficulty haha! It is unbelievably hard work trying to balance the two. I find that I have to work late most evenings and almost every weekend, both days to fit my Masters work around Quartz.

 

How has working at Quartz helped you in your studies? 

I have found that a lot of the content of my masters work are around topics and subjects that I deal with on a daily basis as part of my Quartz work and so in this sense, my work at Quartz has been very helpful for my degree. Conversely, my masters studies have really helped fill in a lot of blanks in my learning at Quartz.

 

Can you give us an example of when you have felt supported by your colleagues during a busy and challenging time in your studies?

 

There have been a number of occasions when I have had to take annual leave to complete certain bits of coursework or revise for exams etc. Quartz have always been very accommodating when I need to take time away from work to do this.

Does Quartz take any initiatives to manage the work- life balance of employees? If so, how have these initiatives affected you?

 

Employees have to answer a workload questionnaire every Friday that provides us with the opportunity to alert our Directors to whether we have too much on our plate (or not enough as well). Our POD calls also provide us with the same opportunity.

 

Which factors played a role in your success, both at work and university?

Being organised and disciplined about just getting the work done and trying to stay on top of all of it. Don’t leave things until the last minute! Trying to manage my stress has been very difficult over the last two years and is a constant effort on my part (still not very good at it).

Thank you Phoebe and look forward to your continued progress and success at Quartz!

 

 

Understanding and addressing the impact that we as a business create on the environment and society is of pressing importance. In order to fully understand and ultimately reduce our environmental impact, we have worked with RLJ Consulting to carry out a full Greenhouse Gas Inventory of Quartz’s business operations.

 

We are really pleased to begin this journey and have proudly covered scope 1, 2 and 3 for 2020 as a first step to become Carbon Neutral and in the future a Net Zero Carbon organisation. This is an important step in understanding the impact that Quartz has on the environment and provides a starting point to make improvements moving forward. The breakdown of the emitting activists associated with Quartz Project Services such as business travel are activities that are in the control of the business and are where improvements can be made.

 

Read here, all about the start of our carbon neutral journey:

 

Kisharon is a secure and stimulating environment for children with complex learning disabilities. Quartz are delighted to have contributed to Kisharon to help them provide innovative support to pupils, fulfilling their unique and individual potential.

Our support helped the ability to offer 3,000 hours of supported employment every year at Kisharon for pupils to have high quality learning experience.

 

When the outside world experiences change that is beyond our control, it is important to adapt to those changes and accelerate the way in which we respond to those external factors. We must constantly remain ahead of future challenges thrown at us. Ironically, we should take a leaf out of the virus’ book; we know too well how quick it is at adapting and being steps ahead of us.

 

With Quartz now safely returning to the office, we acknowledge the new ‘business as usual’ with a great sense of responsibility. Because really, it is not ‘business as usual’. While our output of our work remains wholly unaffected and things are in fact busier than ever, we have implemented internal operational changes to facilitate the changes to the outside world.

 

It would be unwise to ignore the acceleration of change happening in the world. Especially in terms of digital solutions and technology infrastructures, which Quartz has taken the necessary steps to evolve with, while maintaining efficient operations.

 

More now than ever, the construction industry is an integral part of supporting our economy. Our focus as ever is to process and complete projects on schedule and on budget with the highest quality of delivery. Our accomplishments and changes are strengthening our resilience, and we see this knock on to the clients and partners we work with.

 

Our continuity plan has reshaped a number of things at Quartz:

 

  1. First and foremost, we ensure the safety and well-being of our employees and their families, plus all the stakeholders we work with including clients and consultants through a safe environment to work in, whether at home, in the office or onsite including
  2. More people! We have grown phenomenally over the last quarter and that is testament to our high referral rate gaining us new work
  3. We have adopted an online desk booking system for WFH/office attendance
  4. All staff have access to digital consultations through our Private Health Care and Cash Plan schemes for mental health, wellbeing, and general healthcare support
  5. Improvements to our reporting capabilities with the use of videos and more visual recognitions
  6. Weekly company calls on Monday mornings
  7. Friday afternoon ‘Fun’ sessions of all sorts for everyone to take part in
  8. Internal ‘Coffee Calls’
  9. Clear communication via Microsoft Teams on Office 365
  10. Maximising the use of web-based file-sharing systems
  11. Offering opportunities to young people through the Government’s Kickstart Scheme

Exciting new team announcement! We’ve got a Kickstarter!

 

The Government Kickstart Scheme creates new opportunities for young people and helps them get hands-on work experience during the pandemic. The scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. This year, with the support from companies like us, a great number of kick-starters have had the chance to hit the ground running in employment.

 

We are very proud to be playing a part in the country’s economic recovery by supporting this scheme.

 

We would like to welcome Gizem Dagli to the team, who started last week, as our Marketing and Bid Coordinator. We really look forward to supporting her at Quartz!

 

 

 

 

We are delighted to announce our Manchester office has been shortlisted for the ‘Newcomer of the Year Award’ category at the 2021 Insider North West Property Awards. The award recognises the contribution that a company has provided to the region, and those making the biggest impact on the market in the last 3 years. It also includes other newcomers such as those working in proptech or driving forward new concepts into commercial reality. The projects below are a few of the case studies that were put forward in our application.

 

 

 

BAUHAUS 

 

The refurbishment and replacement to all 8 floors, comprising of 47,000 sqft of office space, with a ground floor OurHaus fit-out to provide tenants with more facilities. Quartz acted as both Project Managers and Employer’s Agents for this prominently located commercial scheme in the centre of Manchester. The office workspace was adapted to promote employee wellbeing. The roof terrace provides an outdoor communal space for tenants, which promotes health and fitness within an urban environment. It can also be used for informal meetings and social events which challenges the traditional way we work. Quartz had an active role in achieving the Wellness Accreditation gold standard for this project. The WELL Building Standard is a vehicle for buildings and organisations to deliver more thoughtful and intentional spaces that enhance human health and well-being. This involved liaising with a number of consultants on subjects ranging from the procurement of appropriate mechanical and electrical equipment, to locating and commissioning local artists and even discussing bee hives!

 

 

 

QBIC HOTEL

 

We are currently working on a 261-bed refurbishment to provide a hotel scheme in the centre of Manchester. This hotel scheme will help generate more tourism in Manchester. In March 2020 there were 54% fewer visitors due to COVID-19. However, January 2021 saw an increase of 7% to 3.0 Million and visits in February also increased by 6% to 2.5 million compared to previous years. We therefore anticipate further momentum in tourism levels for the rest of 2021, particularly with the Summer ahead of us and the relaxation of COVID rules. Qbic Hotel will supply visitor demand with a newly refurbished hotel. Some of the refurbishment works include new external cladding and a complete strip back to the existing frame. Qbic Hotel in London is famous for being the most eco-friendly hotel in the city. Qbic has plans to incorporate these ideas into their Manchester location to provide a ‘tiny little environmental footprint, not a great big stomp.

 

 

 

BLOSSOM STREET

 

Manchester is a fast-growing city. The current population is now estimated at c.2.7m. Back in 1950, the population was c.2.4m. Manchester has grown by 20,044 since 2015, which is approximately a 0.73% annual increase. The increase in population means more housing and more jobs are needed in the city. Blossom Street will be helping by providing more accommodation for its rapid growth and jobs will be generated from the retail units and other businesses at the bottom of the building. With the dealings of the pandemic over the past year, people’s way of living has now changed. People are craving more outdoor/space and living. Blossom street has a panoramic roof terrace for its residents to use. This type of space has become very popular with inner city living. Not to mention, eco-friendly. What Quartz Project Services hopes to do next is to continue to grow their presence in the Manchester market and help buildings reduce their carbon footprints for a more organic presence within the city while allowing Manchester’s history and originality to shine.

 

 

Congratulations to all the other nominees and really look forward to hearing the final results!