Hull University says Sewell has delivered 'excellence'

A Hull founded company has delivered ‘construction project excellence’ according to research carried out by Hull University Business School.

Sewell Group, a company famous for its ‘Sunday Times Top 10 Companies to Work For’ accolades, has now been given the stamp of approval for its project delivery of schemes delivered as part of the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust Programme and the Building Schools for the Future Programmes, between 2008 and 2013.

The independent research, carried out by Professor Terry Williams PhD PMP, Dean of Hull University Business School, aimed to analyse whether the projects delivered for the health and secondary education estates across the city were generally regarded as successful due to ‘feel good’ created from significant regeneration investment, or if Sewell had in fact delivered ‘project excellence’. Professor Williams said:

“For 20 years I have had a mission to understand how projects behave, how we can learn lessons from projects and how we can manage them better.”

“With the coming to an end of the Government BSF programme and the first phase of the LIFT programme, it was clear that Sewell had performed well in their projects in Hull and the areas well exceeding the industry norm in outcomes. We wanted to understand why that was – so we could all do better in our projects in the future.”

Professor Williams conducted workshops with teams and managers to draw up causal maps of effect that led to project ‘success’ alongside analysis of Sewell Group’s processes, systems and evidence. Professor Williams continued:

“It is clear that Sewell look at project ‘success’ in its widest sense, not only traditional project success criteria, with a well-run project with fewer than average changes and disputes and higher than average safety and predictability, but also leaving a legacy rather than just a building, and more intangible criteria such as customer satisfaction, and user and community engagement and empathy.”

“This achievement of success across a whole range of criteria naturally comes from a multi-faceted set of causes, which combine together in many ways. There are a number of factors at the root of this, but key is the organisational culture, and also the sense of locality of the company, the use of ‘learning teams’ and the adoption of the ‘single team’ approach of Latham.”

The report will be developed into an academic journal over the coming months. In 2014 Sewell Group will look to transport the project expertise evidenced in the report across the region. Paul Sewell, Managing Director of the £100m estates company said:

“I hope these findings are a fair reflection of our customers and communities experiences of Sewell. We’ve always been big on people engagement and culture to drive quality and performance and I’m pleased this has been highlighted as a golden thread throughout the study.”

“We have been privileged with our construction position over the last five years with the health and education programmes in Hull. We’ve been fortunate to know that, as long as we continued to deliver on our promises, we would remain the consistent construction partner for the NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust Programme and the Building Schools for the Future Programme.

“These long standing programmes enabled us to continually learn and develop, and to invest in our people, systems and processes. It allowed us to not only develop our construction division, but to grow our facilities management and commercial safety businesses, leading to a more holistic estates offer for our customers.”

The report states that over the five year period Sewell has created a legacy, more than just buildings, in Kingston upon Hull. £200m of developments delivered by Sewell Group under these two Government programmes has created a multiplier of 2.54 for Hull and 2.97 for the region. This means each £1 in the £200m has re-circulated 2.54 times locally and just short of 3 times regionally. Paul continued:

“Transporting what we’ve done so well in Hull to other regions isn’t going to happen over night, but we’re a company built on people being of service to people, we’re about building relationships and developing long term partnerships. We’ll stick to what we’re good at and grow organically to ensure the quality we strive for remains.”