Case Studies

Saint-Gobain Building Distribution


The Client

Working within building and construction is widely regarded as high-risk. Saint-Gobain Building Distribution has made health and safety its top priority with a strong focus on continually improving all aspects of its performance in this crucial area. 

In the UK and Ireland, some of the best known and respected companies are part of Saint-Gobain such as British Gypsum, Isover, Saint-Gobain Glass, Artex, Solaglas, Weber, Saint-Gobain PAM, Ecophon and Saint-Gobain Abrasives. Collectively they employ over 17,000 people at more than 1,000 sites. 

The Challenge

As the UK’s leading supplier of timber and building materials, Saint-Gobain’s businesses form a robust, integrated supply chain partner that has the strength and flexibility to support the most diverse range of customer requirements. Together these businesses offer a first-class range of products and innovative material solutions that give architects and designers the ability to respond to the latest trends, whilst meeting the most exacting performance and legislative standards.

As a result of recent legislation, including the Health and Safety (Offences) Act (2009) and the Corporate Manslaughter Act (2008), Saint Gobain are vigilant when it comes to their legal obligations.
Kevin Crawley, Health and Safety Director at Saint-Gobain Building Distribution UK & Ireland said:

It’s important that we keep up-to-date with the latest health and safety legislation and to ensure we have a system in place to implement this, especially as the industries in which we work can be dangerous if the correct procedures are not followed. It is also important to be aware that new sentencing guidelines on health and safety offences demonstrate much tougher penalties for companies who are found guilty of a gross breach of care.”

The Solution

As part of its commitment to maintaining the highest standards of health and safety, Saint-Gobain Building Distribution UK & Ireland, became a client of Alcumus SafeContractor.

Alcumus SafeContractor is a third party accreditation scheme that assesses the health and safety competence of contractors and service providers. Under the Alcumus SafeContractor system, businesses undergo a vetting process, which examines the health and safety procedures and their track record for safe practice. 

Those companies meeting the high standard are included on a database, which is accessible to registered users only via a secure website. From a client’s perspective, Alcumus SafeContractor provides evidence that clients are meeting their relevant legal requirements, increased confidence in the health and safety competence of contractors and ensures that contractor lists are managed more effectively.

Kevin Crawley explained:

Now we have introduced the Alcumus SafeContractor scheme, we can ensure that there is consistency on all of our sites in our approach to assessing the compliance and resources of all contractors to work safely. The scheme’s holistic approach means that managing health and safety issues is more efficient and reduces the risk of unsafe working practices. Alcumus SafeContractor has streamlined the process of appointing contractors and alleviated the strain on our internal resource. It has allowed our team to focus mainly on the property maintenance of our numerous sites, which in itself is a huge task". 

We assessed other well-known third-party accreditation schemes before selecting Alcumus SafeContractor. The decision was motivated by the fact Alcumus SafeContractor has the greatest synergy with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) which means we can rest assured that we are compliant to the highest standard in health and safety practice.”

Linklaters LLP


The Client


As one of the leading global law firms, Linklaters undertakes the most important and challenging assignments for the world’s leading companies, financial institutions and governments.

It has 26 offices across 19 different countries employing around 5,000 people, 2,000 of which work in London. In addition to in-house staff, Linklaters works with a network of around 500 contractors including cleaners, security, caterers and maintenance workers. 

The Challenge


With five different locations in the UK alone, including a warehouse, the challenge was to ensure health and safety procedures were standardised and remained consistent across all sites. Working with a large network of contractors, supporting various operations of the business presents a number of safety risks. Linklaters identified the need to consolidate health and safety practices and ensure the compliance of its contractors. 

Recently the firm underwent a refurbishment of its London office. The re-fit took around 18 months to complete with 150 contractors working onsite on a typical day. For Linklaters, consistency in procedure was crucial to ensure the project was delivered on time and to budget. 

Peter Kinselley, Linklaters Health and Safety Manager said:

Working from five locations across the UK requires us to use a number of smaller specialist contractors from various parts of the country. Our previous system could not manage this process effectively. Contractors would have to fill out a large amount of paperwork every time they tendered for work. It put a strain on internal resource and made the administration process very time consuming.”

As a law firm we are acutely aware of the implications of breaching health and safety legislation and the impact this could have on our brand.”

The Solution


Peter realised that the ideal system to manage health and safety competencies needed to include thorough and robust checks but also reduce the amount of paper work contractors had to complete. As a result he began to review various third party accreditation schemes on the market.

Alcumus SafeContractor was used as the solution to manage the supply chain and verify the safety credentials of contractors.

I decided a third party accreditation scheme was the best way to manage health and safety centrally. I researched various schemes on the market but after looking at other companies using Safecontractor, I decided that it fitted in perfectly to the profile of our company and what we were looking to achieve". 

Alcumus SafeContractor was put in place before we undertook the refurbishment and I believe it made things run more smoothly. We anticipated that there would be risks involved in having so many contractors on site for an extended amount of time but I’m pleased to say our excellent safety record was maintained. The new system was also very well received by the contractors as it reduced unnecessary duplication and allows them to demonstrate that they have met the highest standard, making them a more attractive option to big-name clients". 

From our perspective, joining the scheme has strengthened and broadened our supply chain. We get regular updates regarding the status of contractors’ audits and the Alcumus SafeContractor website has also proven to be a useful tool for information, making our administration process more streamlined. Linklaters has worked hard to build a reputation as a respected global brand, so for us the key benefit of Alcumus SafeContractor is in reducing our risk by only working with companies who have displayed the same values and dedication to creating a safe work environment. This solution has also been a cost-effective one that has relieved pressure on internal resource, saving time and money.”

Martin Smith, CEO of Alcumus SafeContractor said:

Linklaters is a major organisation, known for legally advising financial institutions and global corporations. A company with such a global presence and strong reputation can no longer run the risk of employing contractors who have not been fully verified. Linklaters realised that they needed to apply the same high standards by which it operates to its supply chain. With the penalties for breaching legislation - such as the Health and Safety Offences Act - creeping up over the years, more companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management.”

Turner FM


The Client


Turner FM works for private and public sector organisations across the globe to deliver optimised and cost effective service solutions for its customers.

The company has a network of contractors spanning the globe, to service a vast multi-site operation on behalf of some of the most well-known names in business.

The Challenge


Turner FM self-deliver the majority of their contract work but there still remains a need to use several local contractors to undertake specialist work. Many of Turner FM’s clients are organisations that are directly accessed by the public so it is imperative that each contractor understands the market in which they are operating and are certified in the most up-to-date health and safety legislation. 

When UK and Overseas Compliance Manager Ian Meredith joined Turner FM he inherited a supply chain of more than 10,000 contractors. He immediately realised the business was wasting precious time constantly searching for, reviewing, and vetting contractors and suppliers internally.

It was evident that Turner FM required an effective solution to manage the supply chain and verify the safety credentials of contractors. 

For Ian Meredith, consistency and continuity in the vetting process was crucial. He said:

Turner FM works with some of the biggest names in private and public sector business, including security and defence so there is no room for error. The old system was time intensive and could be unreliable; it’s key that our people on the ground spend their time responding to client needs rather than hunting down and assessing contractors.”

The Solution


Ian was already working with a number of third party accreditation schemes so when Alcumus SafeContractor contacted him and proposed the idea of Turner FM becoming a client he could see the benefits.

The Alcumus SafeContractor team spent a great deal of time listening to Ian’s concerns and requirements and responded with a proposal that included a comprehensive vetting process and meetings with a dedicated auditor trained specially to audit Turner FM contractors. 

Ian said: “I did have concerns about the consistency of the auditing process of schemes like Alcumus SafeContractor to begin with but their proposal showed that they had really listened to me and they came back to me with an innovative and well thought out response".

Meeting the auditing team face-to face was invaluable as I could brief them specifically on my main concerns about key areas, things like asbestos training. Having a dedicated auditor also means there is total consistency across all vetting procedures and if I have any concerns or queries, I can speak to that person directly".

Since becoming a Alcumus SafeContractor client in 2010 we have reduced our supply chain to a more manageable size, and I can confidently say we’ve made significant cost savings by stripping out around a massive 50% of what we were spending previously. The time savings on the admin associated with self-assessing the contractors has been invaluable and means our team can concentrate on the job in hand.”

Martin Smith, CEO at Alcumus SafeContractor said:

Operating across a global marketplace is a challenge for any business and it is essential to know the local market. Going one step further and employing local contractors in each region makes for an even more complicated process". 

The fact that Turner FM work for some big names including News International, Scottish Court Services, Hammerson, Hewlett Packard, the MS Society and a high profile power station means it simply cannot afford to have its reputation tarnished by health and safety breaches. With the penalties for breaching legislation - such as the Health and Safety Offences Act - creeping up over the years, more companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management.”

Under the Alcumus SafeContractor system, businesses undergo a vetting process which examines health and safety procedures and their track record for safe practice. Those companies meeting the high standard are included on a database of approved contractors, accessible to registered users via the website

Alcumus SafeContractor now has over 26,000 contractor members and more than 300 clients signed up to use the services of these contractors, including some of the UK’s biggest blue-chip organisations.



The Client


Food retail giant Greggs has joined SafeContractor to help manage contractors working across its sites in the UK.

Against the background of toughening UK legislation, more companies are realising the benefits of joining the Alcumus SafeContractor scheme to vet external companies carrying out work on their premises.

The flagship scheme is used by over 300 of the UK's largest corporations to manage health and safety risks when employing contractors at thousands of workplaces across the country. Major firms with multiple workplaces use the scheme's database to select contractors they can be confident will adhere to high safety standards.

It has also become a key business development tool for contractors themselves, who are eager to demonstrate their safety credentials to potential clients.

The Challenge


Newcastle-Upon-Tyne based Greggs has more than 1,400 retail outlets across the UK and was looking for a means of monitoring local contractors from their head-office, without having to go through a rigorous qualification process each time.

The Solution


Group Safety Health & Environmental Manager at Greggs, Steve Peat, said:

"As a business we grew extremely quickly and soon found our original system of selecting contractors was no longer suitable. The main reason we opted for Alcumus SafeContractor is that, unlike many other third party accreditation schemes, it isn't sector specific and is transferrable between different disciplines. This suits us perfectly as we employ contractors of all types from shop fitters to IT consultants".

"The main benefit of the scheme for us is that we have our own dedicated section of the Alcumus SafeContractor database which includes only contractors that meet our own additional criteria, which includes factors such as insurance levels and specific policies and procedures. We tend to use the database as a phone directory of contractors that we can employ without having any extra concerns about their health and safety procedures. It really has taken the headache out of this aspect of my job, and we can now concentrate on the management of contractors on site rather than the actual selection process."

The Alcumus SafeContractor accreditation is increasingly being recognised as the hallmark of a safe and well-run operation, and achieving the standard also improves the credentials of contractors when bidding for new business.

Those contractors found by Alcumus SafeContractor auditors to have demonstrated consistently safe standards are listed on an approved database which is made available to clients like Greggs via the Internet.