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What defines excellence in housing?

16th July 2013

I have worked with contractors of all sizes, on all manner of projects, and the simple truth is that Willmott Dixon consistently does a lot more than just deliver on a contract. Despite their size, I have always found them to be very open to speaking with the client and looking at ways of improving customer satisfaction which, we shouldn’t forget, is the primary KPI by which they are measured. 

They find ways to work with clients, and aren’t afraid to innovate; In the case of their work with Rotherham MBC, a unique ‘price per property’ was agreed rather than a complex schedule of rates. This made things far simpler and less cumbersome, and engendered a mutual trust as both parties ‘win some and lose some’ depending on the scale of works in the particular property.

They also have a strong presence in the communities they operate in and are always looking for ways to engage with the tenants. This could be through sponsorship of the local rugby team; work they have carried out , free of charge, at the local children’s hospital; or through providing free gardening equipment to tenants to enable them to take better care of their own gardens.

Fortunately, there is a very strong two way relationship with Willmott Dixon and Rotherham MBC. They are committed to the ‘right first time’ philosophy. They are never complacent and they share a long term view with us in relation to this partnership, rather than a short term adversarial view that other contractors sometimes employ.

Their experience of social housing and the complex nature of taking over from a Direct Labour Organisation meant that they were prepared for 18 months of ‘pain’ at the beginning of the contract. Indeed, their view has always been long term, and they have employed an open and honest style in their dealings with us from the start.

I’ve been on both sides of the fence, public and private sector, so I understand the need for projects to be mutually beneficial and mutually profitable; Willmott Dixon consistently strike an excellent balance between their own goals and the goals of the project, and have demonstrated a willingness to go above and beyond which is commendable.

Is the award down to the values and culture of those involved in delivering the contract or is it down to the company? Both – undoubtedly, individual relationships play a big part but it’s the culture and ethos of Willmott Dixon that allows their individuals to work in such an open and co-operative way.

John Brayshaw
Contract and Service Development Manager
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council     

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