Stepnell celebrates property award win

Category: Commercial

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) at Infinity Park in Derby, completed this year by construction partner Stepnell, has been awarded ‘construction project of the year’ at the 2023 East Midlands Property Dinner.

Stepnell shares the achievement alongside partners and stakeholders Infinity Park Derby, University of Derby, Nuclear AMRC, University of Sheffield, Derby City Council, Wilson Bowden, D2N2, Peveril Securities, Gleeds Management Services, BWB Consulting, Stephen George + Partners, and FPCR Environment and Design.

The facility provides a permanent base in Derby for the University of Sheffield’s Nuclear AMRC, part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult. It is also the new home for the University of Derby’s Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Engineering (IISE). The project was commended by the judges for exemplifying the importance of strong public-private partnerships.

Tom Sewell, regional director at Stepnell, said: “We’re proud to be recognised by our peers in the region for bringing this world-class nuclear research facility to fruition. The centre will serve an important role as a hub in the East Midlands that will support the energy transition to more sustainable technologies. “Our depth of knowledge and collaborative approach enables us to deliver tremendous end-to-end value as a complete construction partner. We took advantage of all the specialist expertise from our local supply chain partners and across our team to achieve the desired outcomes on this complex build. “This included implementing a sustainable ground improvement solution and using the crafting expertise of our joinery team for the welcome area inside the facility.”

The complete construction partner provided local employability and careers support, T-level work experience and training opportunities on site. Car sharing was also encouraged, saving a total of 151,382 miles, equivalent to 52 tonnes of CO2. Furthermore, Stepnell prioritised a regional supply chain, achieving 67% local spend within 30 miles.

Nick Richardson, director at Infinity Park Derby LLP, said: “We are proud to be associated with the development of the Nuclear ARMC at Infinity Park in Derby. This has been a great team effort, showcasing the power of collaboration and strong public-private partnerships. We are currently working on the delivery of 3 further facilities on Infinity Park which just goes to demonstrate the strength of the location and what we have to offer at Infinity Park.”

The facility features 590m² of roof-mounted solar panels, generating around 83MWh of low-carbon energy per year – with estimated emissions savings of more than 19 tonnes of CO2 compared with the average grid supply. The building also includes sustainable materials throughout including cladding, insulation and glazing, with site landscaping to increase biodiversity and green cover.

These commitments contributed to Stepnell achieving an ‘excellent performance’ score of 43 out of 45 from the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS).

Councillor Nadine Peatfield, cabinet member for city centre, regeneration, culture and tourism at Derby City Council, said: “We’re delighted that the NAMRC Midlands has won this award, which is a vote of confidence for the city and our growing nuclear cluster at Infinity Park Derby. “Like all construction projects of the past few years, this project has had its challenges but we’re proud to have worked closely with partners to deliver a site that reaffirms Derby’s place as a leader for innovation, manufacturing and world-class research and development.”

Stepnell reappointed to Procure Partnerships Framework

Category: Frameworks

We are delighted to confirm that Stepnell has been successful in securing a place on the next generation of the Procure Partnerships Framework (PPF).

With forecasts of over £8bn of work being procured through this framework over the next four years, the new iteration is set to transform public sector procurement. In 2022/23 Stepnell delivered £17m of projects under the Framework with a forecast of in excess of £40m of projects being delivered during the current year 2023/24.

Our successful bid was only made possible through the hard work and efforts of Stepnell employees delivering live projects across the life of the previous framework. A customer satisfaction rate of over 98% recognises the quality of finished works that we have produced for clients, and our focus continues to be delivering a quality product, to programme with delighted clients.

Key successes across the first four years of the framework have included:

  • 100% record of compliance, performance and providing data on PPF projects
  • 100% delivery of projects to client quality aspiration to time/budget
  • 98% average client satisfaction 
  • 12 completed projects
  • 54.21% average social value add 
  • £12.27m social value add
  • 2 PPF Social Value Awards 2023 nominations
  • Average local spend: 67% @ 30-miles
  • 161,900 accident free hours PPF projects

The framework as a whole has national coverage, broken down into geographical Lots with regional governance that align well with our coverage across the Midlands, East Midlands, South West and the South. The lots we have secured places on are Construction works from £50k to £15m, Infrastructure Works from £1-15m and Decarbonisation and Retrofit from £50k to £15m across all our geographical regions.

Both the infrastructure and decarbonisation Lots are new to the national Procure Partnerships Framework, having a successful North West infrastructure framework already in place.

Infrastructure gives clients the opportunity to access our infrastructure expertise including public realm works and site wide infrastructure, such as current schemes at Market Square in Coalville Leicestershire, Marlborough Square in Northampton, and Stavely 21 in Chesterfield.

Our infrastructure expertise also includes some unique one-off projects such as an aerodynamic testing facility – Catesby Tunnel, which includes some of the flattest roads in Europe, if not the World.

The Decarbonisation Lot provides an excellent opportunity for clients to access the services of our embedded Energy & Renewables Company – Step Energy. We have a longstanding history of delivering energy and renewable focused projects, with a wealth of experience in the sector.

With a clear emphasis across the industry towards refurbishment of existing buildings coupled with energy reduction measures to reduce both embodied carbon and lifecycle emissions. Step Energy has been set up to provide clients an in-house solution to energy efficiency and carbon reduction.

We look forward to continuing providing clients with the best experience throughout their project lifecycles, with added value, targeted social value, sustainable solutions and decarbonisation at the core of all schemes, evidenced through excellent KPI conformance.

Robbie Blackhurst, Director and Founder of Procure Partnerships Framework commented: “We have expanded our portfolio to cater to the growing needs of the industry whilst ensuring clients have access to specialist contractors for their projects. Stepnell has an extensive portfolio of delivering successful projects, and we’re delighted to welcome them back onto the second iteration of the Procure Partnerships Framework. Their specialist expertise in infrastructure and decarbonisation is an invaluable asset to the framework, and we look forward to seeing what Stepnell achieves over the next four years.”

If you would like to know more about our offering through the Procure Partnerships Framework please contact Framework Director Lewis Archibald.

Stepnell reports profits in excess of £1 million

Category: Corporate

Successful 2022/23 financial results have been reported by complete construction partner, Stepnell, despite a universal challenging backdrop of conditions for the construction industry.

Having achieved in excess of £1 million profits, Stepnell’s progress has been attributed to its focus on continual improvement. This includes internal procedures, such as project programme controls on site for greater financial and commercial returns. The business has also invested in its team and offices, providing better work environments to support and retain top talent.

Looking ahead, Stepnell has already secured 80% of its 2023/24 planned revenue budget, citing frameworks and repeat work as the main sources of procurement.

Tom Wakeford, managing director of Stepnell, said “Our performance reflects an ongoing commitment to performance improvement, and we are pleased with these results especially given the challenging circumstances of project budgets being squeezed by cost increases from rising inflation, an energy crisis, and shortages right across the industry, which is slowing the progress of planned projects.

“Moving forward, we have a solid foundation to keep building on our success. Our work across a number of frameworks is helping to secure a healthy project pipeline, this includes successes with the SCAPE Regional Construction framework and Southern Construction Framework (SCF). Our property portfolio also remains well let.

With a strong emphasis on building back into the communities Stepnell works in, the business now has social value managers in place across its regional business development units, operating bases in Nottingham, Rugby, Wantage, Bristol, Southampton and Poole. Alongside new hires, the existing team and internal culture also continues to develop.

Tom added:

“We are still investing back into the business and have a lot of recent achievements to be proud of on top of our stable financial performance. This includes our improved ESG credentials working towards our full IS0 50001 accreditation, plus achieving a ‘Gold’ Investor in People Award and a ‘Gold’ RoSPA Award, with the latter being our sixth consecutive win. Stepnell has also achieved a Net Promotor Score (NPS) of 52, which is upper quartile for UK construction businesses.”

“Although turnover is slightly less than projected, our collaborative and early engagement approach to both our team and clients is what remains our key strength. As a family owned and led business, established in 1867 with a strong balance sheet, we can continue to be trusted, with our clients turning to us to deliver high quality service, good communication and excellent quality.”

First ‘Step Energy’ project gets underway

Category: Frameworks

The first project to be delivered by complete construction partner Stepnell’s new Step Energy service has started on site at Aylestone Leisure Centre in Leicester.

The Leicester City Council £1.12m scheme is due to be completed in Summer 2023 and involves the removal and replacement of existing roofing and installation of a large scale solar Photovoltaic (PV) system.

Procured through the Crown Commercial Services Framework: RM6088 Construction Works and Associated Service, the scheme is partly funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and linked to the city council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan. The sustainable works will enable the leisure centre to self-generate a large percentage of its energy requirements, reducing demand on the local electricity network.

Simon Briggs, energy lead at Stepnell, said: “Step Energy exists to support our clients make the best renewable and energy efficient technology choices. This is a fantastic first project for the division and, when complete, Leicester City Council’s Aylestone Leisure Centre will now be expected to save 54.65 tC02 of emissions. “We are proud to offer a tailored approach and bespoke solutions to projects like this, which will ensure that long term benefits are prioritised for the building owners, users and importantly the planet.”

This is the first project to benefit from Stepnell’s new ‘Step Energy’ service, which provides energy saving strategies and carbon reduction ambitions, through the implementation of renewable and efficient energy technologies.

Leicester’s deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on transport, clean air and climate emergency, said: “This new investment in major energy efficiency improvements at Aylestone Leisure Centre represents another step forward in our citywide response to the climate emergency. With over 800 panels, it will be the largest array of PV panels we have installed on any of buildings so far.“We are acutely aware that the need to retrofit and decarbonise existing buildings is amongst the biggest challenges presented by the climate emergency. “Through an ongoing programme of investment in making our buildings more energy efficient, we can dramatically cut carbon emissions. In doing so, we will also help to save hundreds of thousands of pounds each year in energy costs – something that’s very welcome in these extraordinarily challenging times.”

The scheme will deliver significant social value through employing a local workforce and the use of a regional supply chain within 30 miles of the project. Neighbouring schools and colleges are set to benefit from careers advice events put on by Stepnell. To add even further value back to the local community, Stepnell will be donating 32 volunteer hours to make improvements in the area and to the environment.

Tom Sewell, regional director at Stepnell, said: “Working with local partners throughout the project, such as Leicestershire Cares, LEBC and Leicester Environmental Volunteers, will enable us to deliver on our commitment to social value. We prioritise leaving a lasting legacy in the communities our projects take place, not only on the quality of works but also our impact on supporting the next generation to thrive, making the environment better and improving local economies by providing valuable work opportunities.”

Stepnell scales new heights for Capital One

Category: Commercial

We are delighted to be working on an ambitious project to transform the rooftop of Capital One’s Nottingham city centre headquarters.

This is our first commercial scheme for the American bank holding company. The works involve the refurbishment of second floor internal offices and a mezzanine area in a live environment, and a new rooftop terrace.

Two existing unused roof areas are being converted into the rooftop terrace, including external seating, for around 1,400 Trent House-based staff in Nottingham.

Scheduled to take 25 weeks, the works also include a new platform lift to provide vertical access to the terrace and additional steel beams to support its new glazed steel roof structure.

The new terrace will provide an impressive space for the company’s employees to enjoy open air hospitality and events with panoramic views. Internally, the project features the re-purposing of an existing second floor area into a dedicated conference suite.

Tom Sewell, East Midlands’ Regional Director, commented: “It’s great to have a team working on this unique local commercial project. Capital One is one of Nottingham’s largest employers and we are proud to play a key role in the UK HQ’s transformation.”

Stepnell appoints three new managers

Category: Corporate

Following an increase in South West projects, complete construction partner, Stepnell has strategically appointed three experienced managers – Ian Woodward, Peter Coulson and Richard Stanford Brown – to oversee Stepnell’s growing portfolio within a 50-mile radius of Bristol alongside its existing team.

Bringing more than 20 years of extensive construction project management experience in the South West, Ian Woodward has been appointed as senior contracts manager to solidify Stepnell’s pipeline of work against frameworks, strengthen contracts and bolster the complete construction partner’s reputation in the region.

Peter Coulson has also joined the Stepnell team as senior project manager, and following a period as a freelance manager for Stepnell – Richard Stanford Brown has made the transition to senior site manager as a permanent member of the team.

Rob Speirs, director at Stepnell, said: “We are steadily growing in the South West as we secure and deliver more projects that meet our renowned quality standards, with ambitions to establish an office on an equal scale with our Southampton base.”

The new team will be leading on prestigious projects such as the St Peters contract in Horfield for Bristol City Council, which is being headed up by Peter. This includes the construction of 27 dwellings, a four-bedroom semi-detached children’s home and community centre. Additional works include associated parking, roads and hard and soft landscaping.

Richard Stanford-Brown, senior site manager, will be overseeing the renovation of four wards at Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust with the installation of 28 ensuites, new side rooms and ancillary works.

He will then be managing the relocation of St Bernadette’s Rugby Football Club from Banfield, Hengrove Park to a new sports facility on Fulford Road – following demolition to the existing Whitehouse Centre.

Rob continued: “Through their combined experience, expertise and familiarity with Stepnell’s values and project management methods, Ian, Peter and Richard will be incredible assets to drive Stepnell’s growth in the South West as an established partner through existing frameworks, existing and new relationships in the region.”

Work starts to transform Northampton’s historic Market Square

Category: Construction

We are delighted to announce we have started work on the multi-million-pound transformation of Northampton’s Market Square for client West Northamptonshire Council (WNC).

The scheme, which has been procured through the Procure Partnerships Framework is located at the heart of the town. Northampton’s Market Square is set to be transformed to better reflect the wonderful, historic public space that it is. As well as the use of high-quality paving and materials, the improved facilities will include a flexible event space, bespoke fixed stalls, more trees, tiered seating and an interactive water feature.

Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and Cllr Dan Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth at WNC were joined by Stepnell representatives Adrian Barnes, Regional Director, Jenna Weedon Business Development Manager, Stacey Brooke, Social Value Manager and George Jarman, Quantity Surveyor.

Commemorating the occasion with a ground-breaking ceremony, key stakeholders came together to mark the start of the project, which will take shape over the next 18 months.

 “For years many have expressed the wish for the market square to be improved and rejuvenated, so today marks a key moment in the redevelopment of Northampton Town Centre as work begin to transform Northampton’s historic Market Square.

“The new-look square is set to provide a focal point for businesses and visitors. We look forward to working closely with Stepnell to see the vision that people have told us they want to see for this space come to life over the next 18 months.

“In the meantime, I would urge everyone to support our traders at the market’s new temporary location at Commercial Street Car Park, before we welcome them back to a revitalised Market Square next year.”

Cllr Dan Lister, West Northamptonshire Council

“We are excited to be commencing the redevelopment of the Market Square in Northampton town centre.

“This is an important project in the transformation and regeneration of the town centre and we are proud to be part of the Council’s vision for the town”.

Adrian Barnes, Regional Director at Stepnell.

We are looking forward to working with WNC to set targets to be delivered in social value, through improving the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the local area. Aligned to our Procure Partnerships Framework social value KPIs, the targets are made up of commitments to:

  • Support as many businesses as possible with the potential disruption whilst works are carried out.
  • Special attention is to be applied to independent businesses who will find the transition particularly challenging such as cafe track
  • Supporting our sub-contractors, specifically Danaher and Walsh with their social value commitments to provide support to the Northamptonshire community
  • Regular community meetings with business and the community to discuss concerns, issues, development updates and social value delivered.
  • Employing a local workforce and local supply chain within 30 miles
  • Donating voluntary hours to working with local schools and colleges, delivery careers support
  • Providing opportunities for apprentices and trainee to gain experience on site
  • Car sharing and recycling schemes