It has been a whole year since I last wrote to you all through Benchpress and, for those of you who have missed our quarterly newsletter; I confirm that we intend to revert to the previous three monthly editions going forward. For those of you who do not enjoy it; I expect that I am already in your recycling bin.

Many of our customers have decided that a safety briefing, delivered at the work face, prior to starting is key to reducing accidents and incidents at work. In support of this initiative and with significant input from Mark Byrne, London Operations Director, and Peter Booth, our Company Safety Manager, we have developed our own safe start sheet, reproduced on this page. This system is already in place in the London Region and will be rolled out in the North so that every gang will have to stop and take stock, prompted by this document, to ask themselves; have I considered all the risks, and do I have all the correct equipment, to execute the next task safely? I fully support this initiate and thank Mark and Peter for their work in introducing this procedure.

During one of my monthly visits to our Northern region office I recklessly used the saying “if we win that job I will eat my hat” the project to which I referred was the new Forth Bridge crossing project in Scotland. Further on, within this edition of Benchpresss, you will see an article on the said project; yes we did win it and on the following visit I was presented with a Benchmark hard hat to eat. Fortunately they had gone easy on me and the hat that I had to eat was specially made for the event out of sponge cake and crème filing covered by white icing. It was in fact delicious and was preferable to the traditional hardened plastic. I will, needless to say, choose my throw away remarks more carefully in future.

Benchpress Summer 2014 edition




The Benchpress archive

Summer 2013

Summer is here at last - and with the better weather comes positive news regarding our recent success in securing new work. Since the New Year we have managed to win more, month on month, than we are charging.This means that our pipeline, or balance of turnover as we call it, is building nicely to give us a cushion going forward and job security for the year ahead. In reviewing our recent successes I was struck by the number of high profile and prestigious projects that we are now involved with. We are working for several major contractors and are looking very good for the next major phase for Shepley Engineering – the start of a major project to renew the cast iron roofs over the next decade.

Benchpress Summer 2013 edition


Winter 2012

Happy New Year to you all - As I welcome you back to work after the well-deserved Christmas break. I am pleased to confirm that the Company we founded 18 years ago is now under new ownership following 18 months of association with RCapital.On the 11th January 2013 the trade and assets, goodwill, order book, debtor book, name and brand of Benchmark Scaffolding was acquired using an existing company called, Prodrive Solutions Ltd, and we will continue to trade under the name of Benchmark Scaffolding. RCapital have been the majority shareholders of the company since July 2011. They have helped the business restructure its management systems and processes over that period and felt the time was right to sell us on to new ownership and a positive future without them. A management buyout, involving a syndicate of new investors, agreed the deal that will enable the business to move forward with new investment and a commitment to the long term prosperity of our company. I am pleased to remain as the Managing Director of Benchmark Scaffolding and confirm that the message is very much business as usual.

Benchpress Winter 2012 edition

Summer 2012

Accreditations - who needs them? - Well, that all depends upon who you want to work for and how much work you want to do. Long gone are the days when contractors used to send out tenders on a scatter gun approach to any and everyone and just select the lowest price from thosewho returned their bid.Nowadays, our industry is heavily influenced by Health & Safety statistics, Environmental and Sustainability lobbyists, Ethical trading and Equality practices. This means that we have to have Company Policies and Procedures in place that meet the requirements of all these elements and their demanding standards, plus many more. Contractors now only deal with those companies who have been selected to join their supply chains and membership to these prestigious groups only occurs following thorough pre-qualification processes.

Benchpress Summer 2012 edition

Spring 2012

Since I last wrote to you all in the Autumn edition of Benchpress we have concluded our significant involvement in helping to deliver the Olympics later this year. We can all be proud of the part we have played in laying on the “greatest show on earth”. At its peak we employed over 100 operatives, just on and around the project, with involvement on the athletes village, the basketball arena, the BMX stadium, the tennis courts and the adjacent Westfield shopping centre in Stratford. Now that this work is finished we no longer have a need for our East London yard and this closed at the end of March. This closure was part of a wider plan of consolidation within the business to reflect the reduced scale of operations in the short term.....

Benchpress Spring 2012 edition

Winter 2011

The Parish and Univercity Church of St Mary the Virgin Oxford - This unique Grade 1 listed building, situated in the historic spiritual and academic centre of Oxford, is currently undergoing a major conservation restoration and modernisation programme. Funded amongst others by The Heritage Lottery fund and the Clore-Duffield Foundation, with the appointed Architects, Caroe Architecture of Cambridge and the main contractor EW Beard of Oxford, these works will encompass major repairs to the internal and external stonework monuments and windows and will also allow some of the buildings original features, lost through the preceding centuries successive works, to be uncovered and restored. With currently 300,000 visitors per year, the new visitor’s centre will facilitate public access, particularly to the first floor and the tower areas...

Benchpress Winter 2011 edition

Autumn 2011

Welcome to a slightly late and slightly thin Autumn edition of Benchpress, but things have been a little hectic recently. However, as suggested in the last edition, we are now back to business as usual following the change in ownership and a few tweaks to the senior management structure. I am pleased to confirm that Steve Crompton and Mark Byrne have been promoted to Sales Director and Operations Director respectively, and would also welcome Farhan Ahmad as Financial Controller and Roger Newmarsh as Hoist Division Manager. We are currently still in the market for an Estimating Manager for the London Region and I hope to update you in this regard in the Winter edition. John Walton and Nick Johnson are both leaving the company to pursue their careers elsewhere and I would like to thank them both for their respective contributions over the years and I’m sure we all wish them well for the future... .

Benchpress Autumn 2011 edition

Summer 2011

By now most of you will already have read the letter that I sent to you on 22nd July 2011 explaining the recent changes relating to our Company. On 21st July 2011 RCapital committed to a significant cash investment in Benchmark Scaffolding Ltd and, in so doing, they acquired a majority shareholding in the business. I am pleased to confirm that, apart from giving us the necessary financial muscle to take this Company forward to reach its full potential, little else will change.. .

Benchpress Summer 2011 edition

Spring 2011

Many of you will already be familiar with our new innovation of ‘text alerts’ which is our new system for alerting our site teams of adverse weather conditions and relevant safety information.

Currently these alerts are sent out when appropriate to all of our key operational people including Contracts Managers, Site Managers, Site Supervisors, Chargehands and leading hands on all our projects. .

Benchpress Spring 2011 edition

Winter 2010

Welcome to the winter edition of Benchpress and Happy Christmas to you all. Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for continuing to work hard to help the Company back to sustainable profitable growth after what has been a very difficult period for us over the last year or so. Our recent year end was 30th June 2010 and this period turned out to be our worst performance since the Company was founded back in January 1995. . .

Benchpress Winter 2010 edition

Autumn 2010

12 months ago on 1st September 2009 Benchmark Hoists was formed as a division of Benchmark Scaffolding! So what have we done in that time? Not a lot some might say!!! We have, however, been quite successful, in what can only be considered difficult market conditions. Whilst many of our competitorshave a large proportion of their Hoist fleet standing we have been able to secure new business.Much of this has been as a direct result of working with Benchmark Scaffolding offering a total package on site. We always knew that this would prove successful as our customers recognise the benefits this brings in terms of . . .

Benchpress Autumn 2010 edition

Spring 2010

On 1st March 1995, Benchmark Scaffolding Ltd was born. We were conceived on 9th January, when the Certificate of Incorporation was issued by Companies House, and 7 weeks afterwards, we were up and running and started to trade. Boasting a staffing contingent of 3, and yard, driving and scaffolding. . .

Benchpress Spring 2010 edition

Winter 2009

Welcome to this Christmas Edition of Benchpress as we all look forward to a well earned rest after what has been an extremely challenging year. There is no denying that 2009 has been a very difficult period for the company, both in terms of turnover and profit, not only for us but for just about everyone else who works within the construction industry. We have maintained our share of the available work but unfortunately there is less work out there and less projects going ahead. Consequently we have had to adjust our business model accordingly. . .

Benchpress Winter 09 edition

Autumn 2009

You know, I've been re-reading some of the past issues of our newsletter and I've been very impressed with some of the articles extolling the excellent virtues of our company, reinforcing the "can do" culture, and highlighting the quality of our workmanship. Most of this justifiable praise is in respect of our front end stuff, . . .

Benchpress Autumn 09 edition

Summer 2009

As we move into the summer months and approach the end of our financial year, let us reflect both upon the impact of the recession and our achievements since it really started to bite into our industry, around the third quarter of 2008. . .

Benchpress Summer 09 edition

Spring 2009

Since I last wrote the front page of Benchpress, in the September edition, it is now clear that the widely predicted recession has well and truly bitten. You will also be aware, by virtue of the fact that you are reading this letter, that you are still part of the winning team who are managing to out-perform the competition by maintaining the values and culture of a company that understands the expectations of its customers in difficult times. . . . .

Benchpress May 09 edition

January 2009

OK so those of you who are astute will have realised that this issue should have been out before Christmas and therefore would have opened with a different salutation but what’s past is past and can’t be changed unless you’re Ebenezer Scrooge anyway! Speaking of things past let’s cast our mind’s back to 12th April 1999. Yes, I know that’s 10 years ago and you’re all thinking well I can’t remember & I can’t be bothered seeking out old diaries to findout. True and why should you? Well you shouldn’t really so I’ll explain. . . . .

Benchpress January 09 edition

September 2008

As we say goodbye to the ‘glorious summer’ our thoughts turn to the tough times that await us this winter. However things may not be so bad. Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding the state of the UK and world economy things are not too gloomy regarding the situation that your company, Benchmark Scaffolding, finds itself in. We operate in the ‘premier league’ of scaffolding contractors and most of us believe that we head that particular division. By virtue of that positioning we are managing to buck the trend of many of our competitors and are, so far, still managing to grow our business both in terms of turnover and profit. . . . .

Benchpress September 08 edition

June 2008

Twelve months on and the Northern Region has relocated to new offices adjacent the existing premises in Barnsley. Actually we’ve re-united the existing plot as when Benchmark bought the property from ECL back in 1999 we negotiated with them for their retaining a corner of the plot on which to build their new offices. We joked that one day we would buy that building too. On 25th June 2007 our offices were subjected to the flooding which we told you about in issue number 2 of 'Benchpress' and, to cut a long story short, we ended up doing exactly what we had joked about and bought ECL’s offices again. . . . .

Benchpress June 08 edition

March 2008

For those of you who have not already heard we have been the subject of a burglary as the police put it, but they are also very sorry to hear of it, which of course helps to soften the blow somewhat! Our new yard at Beckton, East London, was visited on the afternoon/evening of Sunday 24 February 2008, by persons unknown accompanied by a lorry or two and stole a significant quantity of tube, boards, beams, stair treads and several bins of fittings. Not content with the big stuff, they also took away various saws, drills, cutters etc, and then just for good measure they managed to squeeze the forklift truck in as well. No, seriously!

Benchpress Mar 08 edition

December 2007

In January I contacted the CITB, to arrange the scaffolder training for the whole year, only to be informed that all their training centres in England were fully booked for all of 2007. We do have a training provider in Wakefield which is handy for the Barnsley men but for the Londoners it was a bit of a trek. Places at this centre are minimal and this has been causing a major problem. Then, whilst looking for a new yard in East London, we found a piece of land in Beckton. . . . .

Benchpress Dec 07 edition

May 2007

On 31st December 1994 I was made redundant by Formscaff UK as they had decided to exit the suicidal London market and return to their industrial roots in the North of England. On January 9th 1995 a new company was incorporated under the name of Benchmark Scaffolding Ltd. It’s Head Office was in Redhill, Surrey otherwise known as Rob and Sue’s living room. We sent out a dozen letters saying that we were a new company with a dream of setting the standards for the scaffolding industry the rest is history. . . . .

Benchpress Sep 07 edition

September 2007

We’ve been talking of doing a newsletter, and what we should put into it, for a couple of years now and, eventually, we decided to just do it, hope for the best and then make it better the next time. It is hoped that Benchpress will become a forum for the whole company that will be eagerly anticipated and enjoyed by all. Please click on the image to read the May 2007 edition.

Benchpress May 07 edition


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