The start of a beautiful friendship

08/08/2019

Mark Fisher (pictured), framework manager for the joint venture Breedon Bow Highways Limited, talks to Dominic Browne about this recent collaboration between Breedon and Thomas Bow.

Could you outline how and why Thomas Bow and Breedon came together?

Thomas Bow and the Breedon Group have had a successful working relationship over many years, with Breedon supplying Thomas Bow across the Midlands on many contracts including local authority and private clients.

In 2015, the Highways England's Construction Works Framework (CWF) was published and following pre-tender meetings with Highways England, we were advised that in order to achieve the certainty of supply, alongside a credible CV for major highway schemes, a formal JV between Thomas Bow Limited and Breedon Southern Limited would make a strong bid for the framework.

Following a very close bid we then aligned ourselves to re-bid when the pavements framework was published using the same selling points.

You won a place on the Highways England’s pavement framework. Can you tell us about your bid and what you offer?

Our bid focused on a simple approach to pavements – we created a lean organisation, with the backing of major asphalt suppliers and a CV of Highways England, local authority and main contractor experience.

Our lean business gave Highways England direct access to our board through a flat structure, which in turn ensured that the business was set up on an agile basis purely to service the needs of the contract.

On supply, we benefited from our status as an independent organisation, which gave us the ability to go to the marketplace and get prices, alongside our guaranteed supply from Breedon Group.

Between both parties in the JV, we had an enviable CV with clients including major airports, the military, local authorities, Tier One contractors and major race circuits.

We targeted our bid on our core operational areas of the Midlands and the East – covering Highways England areas six to nine.

What did you discuss with Highways England about working on their frameworks?

Having heard the desire for Highways England to develop work with SMEs, reduce costs and improve service levels, we began dialogue a number of years ago to examine how we could develop a working relationship and deliver on all these areas as we have done successfully in the local authority market.

We knew we had a good alternative offering for pavements – we just needed the opportunity to demonstrate this working direct rather than through a Tier One contractor.

Could you tell us what was involved in setting up the JV and how it works?

The JV is set up as a limited company with board members from both parties. All staff are seconded to the JV with myself [Mark Fisher] from Breedon Southern and Richard Hannah joining as commercial manager from Thomas Bow. The JV has a firm supply arrangement from Breedon guaranteeing supply, as well as supply agreements from other national asphalt firms.

What projects have you worked on together as a JV?

The JV has so far been limited to the pavements contract and associated contractors who have accessed us through the framework,; however that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t consider developing this in future.

Is there an end date for the JV?

No, we’ve only just started. We believe we have a great offering for the market place and while our primary aim is to develop relations with Highways England we hope this is just the beginning for Breedon Bow Highways.

How will this JV change the way you work in future?

Both Thomas Bow and Breedon have great collaborative relationships with clients, but this collaboration with the supply chain and also another contractor is a new experience for us. Both parties bring unique qualities and experienced personnel to the contract that gave us a great organisation.

There has been some debate about how Highways England is trying to reach out to SMEs more. What is your take on the current situation?

We spent a lot of time working with Highways England on both the CWF and Pavements frameworks to ensure that the bidding process was achievable for SMEs – with relevant financial standing and a realistic bidding process - and we have seen great improvements.

What more can/should be done to help SMEs?

Bidding requirements could still be revised for SME’s; quality bids and the validation processes take a huge investment for SME’s, but we understand there is a balance to be achieved and we need to ensure that high quality contractors are delivering the work.

Secondly, following the collapse of large names in the construction industry it is essential that the financial validation process remains robust to ensure that contractors bid on sustainable rates and that the contractors remain in business.

What more do you think SMEs need to do?

SMEs can play a great part in helping Highways England tackle growing budget pressures, particularly on some of the smaller works. We were in a fortunate position to have the capacity in our existing structure to win the work and grow the JV business as the demand increases from Highways England over the coming years – which isn’t possible for all SMEs as it has required significant investment prior to any return.

SMEs need to use the support of organisations such as CECA (Civil Engineering Contractors Association) to ensure that their voice is heard in the industry and that framework opportunities with government organisations continue to be accessable, but this needs to be done up front in the design stage of a tender.

What interesting projects do you have coming up?

This year has had a slower start but we have got lots of schemes coming up over the next six months in what promises to be a busy end to the year in both the East and Midlands regions, with schemes direct for Highways England and also the maintenance providers. We’ve got a few larger schemes in the tender process so we are looking forward to these results.

Highways jobs

Environmental Improvement Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
We have an exciting opportunity to recruit to the position of Environmental Improvement Officer within Regulatory Services. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Legal Officer - Planning and Highways

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £29,636
Kirklees Legal Services is one of the largest legal practices in the area and carries out and commissions legal work required by the Council Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Environmental Cleansing Operative

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£20.466 - £20.835
This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a dynamic team of staff responsible for the cleanliness and general maintenance of a wide range of... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Road Safety Engineer / Road Safety Auditor (all levels of experience)

TMS Consultancy
By negotiation
Purpose of the Job Depending on individual experience, candidates will be involved in a range of road safety engineering and traffic management pro... Coventry
Recruiter: TMS Consultancy

Senior Technical Officer

Newport City Council
£30,507 - £33,799
We are pleased to be seeking individuals to fill a new Senior Technical Officer post within Highways.    Newport (Casnewydd)
Recruiter: Newport City Council

Senior Technical Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£24,799 - £29,636
The successful candidate will feed into the planning process, assessing applications in accordance with the... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Technical Support Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£21.591 - £25.809
Using your administrative and communication skills to the full, you’ll provide invaluable support across our busy Directorate.  Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Assistant Tree Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£25,880 - £27,904
Looking for an assistant tree officer to join a busy Tree Section working with the most up to date arboriculture equipment’s and IT resources.   Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Contract Monitoring Officer (Streets and Grounds)

Wiltshire Council
£24,313 - £26,317 per annum
This is an interesting and varied role involving inspecting and monitoring the condition of the highway Wiltshire
Recruiter: Wiltshire Council

Green Space Partnership Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£30,066 - £34,538
You will have excellent written and presentation skills including experience of preparation of reports, briefings, minutes of meetings and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Sustainability Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £38,423
Looking for two Sustainability Officers to work across the Sustainability, Air Quality and Energy team to create, manage and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Parking Projects Manager

Brent Council
£45,585 - £48,482 p.a. inc.
As Parking Projects Manager, you will be responsible for leading the delivery, to time and budget, of key parking projects... Wembley, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Parking Operations Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
Are you a hard-working individual, who enjoys working outdoors in all weather conditions? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Team Leader (Local Plan)

City of Bradford MDC
£40,760 - £43,662 pa
The post requires a degree and eligible to be a corporate member of Royal Town Planning Institute and NVQ Level 5 in Management or... Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of Bradford MDC

Team Leader (Infrastructure & Local Plan Implementation)

City of Bradford MDC
£42,683 pa - £45,591 pa
The Post provides an exciting opportunity to manage a multidisciplinary team of professionals leading on Transport planning and Local Plan Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of Bradford MDC

Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£32,473 - £42,490
Seeking Environmental Health Officers to contribute towards delivering the project objectives of addressing rogue landlords and... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Road Safety and Sustainable Transport Assistant

Telford & Wrekin Council
SCP 13-17 - £11.41 - £12.35
Exciting opportunity to join Telford & Wrekin Council’s Highways, Transport & Engineering, Road Safety & Sustainable Transport Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Project Assistant

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £29,636
Looking for an additional team member to support the Senior Environmental Health Officers in undertaking complex Air Quality Improvement Projects... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Road Safety Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42684 - £45585 per annum
We are looking a fantastic new road safety expert to lead our high performing and innovative Road Safety Team.The Royal Borough of Greenwich is commit England, London, Woolwich
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Principal Development Co-ordinator

Gloucestershire County Council
£33,799.00 - £38,813.00 plus 12% supplement*
Looking for those who will quickly understand the Gloucestershire context and can display their expertise and... Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue
  • Highways England at Westminster
  • Traffex Scotland and Bridges Scotland guide
  • Highways Awards winners
View the latest issue

Latest Video