PROFILE: NHBC — Coping with demand


    NHBC outline the successes from its latest recruitment campaign to cope with demand …

    Last June, NHBC, the leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes in the UK, announced its biggest recruitment campaign in 30 years by creating more than 100 new frontline technical jobs.

    As part of the campaign, NHBC recruited over 80 new building inspectors with new management roles also being created. More surveyors, engineers and special project managers were also recruited to ensure that the appropriate technical support is available for builders and their design teams, both on site and during the design stage.

    With 2014 registrations up 9% on 2013’s outstanding year the recruitment campaign demonstrates NHBC’s commitment to providing the additional support for builders across the country who are facing a new set of challenges as production increases.

    Here, we look at four different people involved in the recruitment drive, each with their own story.

    Danny Massey

    In 2013 NHBC re-opened the doors of its Operations Academy to new recruits for the first time since the economic crisis of 2007. Danny Massey completed the Academy course a year ago and as part of the recruitment campaign he is now a Building Inspector (BI) for the Central region, covering Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

    Having joined NHBC in 2011; he has worked across the business including time in technical service support and customer services and is a good example of how the recruitment drive opened up new opportunities for existing members of staff.

    Now, a typical day will see Danny visit up to 12 different sites a day – from large scale residential developments nearing completion to single plot developments by smaller builders who may build a handful of homes every few years.

    Explaining his new role and the benefits of undertaking NHBC’s comprehensive training regime for new inspectors, he said: “It was a good mix of classroom based training, shadowing, accompanied inspections and coaching, as well site-based and written assessment of how well we were doing. It was crucial in helping the trainees get a thorough understanding of being a BI before we actually started the role.

    “As housing demand has soared over the last year and a half we will all have an important role to play as builders ramp up production and face a new set of challenges after a number of quiet years where housing volumes have been relatively low.

    “Overall it is a highly enjoyable role and it is great to be able to put into practice numerous aspects of the training academy, be out on sites of all sizes and understanding the issues and concerns that builders have as production levels have increased.”

    Andy Looms

    NHBC’s recruitment drive also enabled the organisation to employ external candidates with significant industry knowledge. Andy Looms is a former NHBC Pride in the Job award winning site manager who was recruited as an Inspection Manager covering Somerset after working for builders including David Wilson and Persimmon for more than 20 years, most of which time he was a contracts/construction manager.

    Currently working his way through the comprehensive training programme which began when he joined the company in October Andy is looking forward to using the many skills learnt on site and transferring them to NHBC.

    Andy, who is moving from his West Midlands home to Somerset with his wife, explained;

    “I decided to apply as I had reached a point in my career where I was looking for a new challenge. Working within the industry for such a long time I had worked with NHBC for many years and it appealed to me to able to transfer my skills and knowledge to the other side of the fence, so to speak, and to have the opportunity to work for a company that values its employees; NHBC has always had this reputation.

    “In many ways managing a team of site managers and managing a team of inspectors is quite similar and hopefully I am able to bring a new perspective to the role and to the inspection team.

    “The sector has really picked up over the last couple of years and that was another reason behind wanting to join NHBC; there is a real feel-good factor on site and in the office and long may this continue.”

    Paula Bolam

    Having worked at NHBC since 2000, originally in Claims, the recruitment campaign also presented a new opportunity for Paula Bolam. With eight years inspection experience behind her, Paula was able to take advantage of the opportunity to further her career and was appointed Inspection Manager for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire last year.

    Working as an inspector and witnessing first-hand the property boom leading up to the recession in 2008 and the subsequent recovery of the last two years, Paula believes that the sector is in a very healthy shape in 2015.

    “Being out on site during the years when the industry was recovering from the effects of the recession through to the beginning of the upturn at the start of 2013, it is really encouraging to see how builders are adapting and looking ahead to dealing with a very different set of challenges,” she said.

    “Overall everybody appears to be a lot more positive and up for the challenge of building more high quality homes that the country needs.

    “From a personal point of view, working in what has traditionally always been a male-oriented industry has never been an issue and I find that the site managers I meet across the Eastern region enjoy the change and are appreciative of the knowledge and experience I have gained by working at NHBC for the past 15 years.

    “The recruitment campaign opened up this new opportunity and new role for me and I am loving every minute of it.”

    Mark Donlon

    Having worked for NHBC for ten years as an Inspection Manager up until May 2013 when he left to work as a Senior Manager at Taylor Wimpey, Mark Donlon has since re-joined the company in his original position, as part of last year’s recruitment campaign.

    Now covering Sussex and Surrey and managing a team of nine inspectors Mark explains that he originally parted ways with NHBC following a difficult period for the sector ahead of the recovery seen over the last two years.

    “It was time for a change for me when I originally left, but once I heard that NHBC would be embarking on its biggest ever recruitment campaign I felt it would be a perfect opportunity to think about returning, with the industry recovering and me being in a position to use the experiences I learned from the builders perspective,” he said.

    “I am relocating to Croydon to be closer to my new area and have been hugely impressed with the professionalism of everybody involving in the recruitment process to ensure the right people were selected and employed; although I had previously been employed by NHBC for more than a decade I was treated exactly the same as all the other new candidates and recruits.”


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