Expert

We offer resilient engineering, design and delivery solutions and collaborate with partners to bring innovative sustainable solutions to the market.
Our ability to attract, retain and develop employees is a measure of our commitment to invest in our people.

Influencing the market

Innovation plays an important role in creating additional value for Balfour Beatty’s customers and ultimately the Group. Innovation is driven by Balfour Beatty people, working in collaboration with customers, joint ventures and the supply chain, and internally across the business.

The examples below illustrate how the Group has used creative solutions on its projects and services, to bring more sustainable solutions to market.

R & D

Balfour Beatty has led the delivery of over £2 million of Innovate UK research grants, delivering cutting edge technology that builds a competitive advantage and potential step change in productivity in design and construction. Balfour Beatty worked in partnership with University College London spin-off start-up, 3D Repo, to develop an open-source platform for managing and optimising design during tenders. Innovate UK feedback was: “Balfour Beatty delivered an exemplary project – a leading example of how large organisations collaborate with small enterprises to deliver cutting edge innovation.”

The Group is in the final phase of delivering an Innovate UK project that uses machine learning to provide insight on the root causes of waste in construction and provides a technical solution to reducing waste proactively in the design phase.

Industry Groups

The Group is involved with a large number of industry bodies and forums sharing knowledge and learning within the industry. The business works closely with organisations such the UK Green Building Council, US Green Building Council, Hong Kong Green Building Council, IEMA, GASCO, CIRIA, Construction Industry Council, Constructing Excellence Sustainability Task Force, Green Construction Board, Supply Chain School, Tennessee Advanced Business Council, The Association of Energy Engineers, Singapore Green Building Council, Environmental Campaign Committee to continual push standards and improve sustainability.

Applications

In Hong Kong, Gammon became the first company to bring Exoskeleton technology to the Hong Kong construction market. Improving operative endurance and reducing the likelihood of injuries, this technology is helping to address the challenges of an ageing workforce and redefine the limits of operative capability.

On Highway projects laser scanning, mobile ground penetrating radar, and 4D visualisations have been used. In the Highways Services sector the Group has developed the use of drones for bridge inspections and is focusing on ways to use them for ecological inspections.

Balfour Beatty has developed its own in-house laser scanning teams and capabilities to service the whole of the UK business. These teams deliver true ‘as-is’ models of existing infrastructure to inform the design, and then create the true ‘as-built’ to inform the asset management on completion of a project, integrating laser scanning with Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Regular online forums across the Group’s business allow developments to be shared. Modular construction is being taken from one sector to another. Using the knowledge gained from delivering mechanical and electrical installations in the buildings sector, Balfour Beatty has developed, patented and fabricated modular subsurface roadside infrastructure pods in-house, and is now trialling them to speed up installation of technology on the UK SMART motorways programme.

Using 4D visualisations, a Balfour Beatty Manual has been created for construction: a full 4D visualisation of critical and repeat activities which has enhanced peer reviews of critical activities and enabled simple and clear communication across all stakeholders.

In Power Transmission and Distribution a new sky-cradle system has been developed to support cables on overhead powerlines when they are being replaced. This eliminates working at height and is a first in the industry.

Value engineering

We have developed a value engineering management system (VE) which outlines how we will meet the savings mandated by the UK Government for centrally procured projects.

On the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, we achieved nearly a 20% saving through our VE process. The business ran VE workshops jointly with the client and designers, and generated over 100 ideas which were scored against the criteria of viability, cost saving and schedule creating a shortlist of more than 20 ideas that were implemented.

Collaboration with universities

Balfour Beatty continues its collaboration with world-leading research establishments, including Bristol University (systems engineering), Liverpool John Moores University (condition monitoring), Sheffield University (smart buildings), University College London (UCL; future leaders in infrastructure, radar and 3D Repo), Manchester University (overhead line structures and composite crossarms), and Loughborough University (accounting for whole-life carbon emissions from highways maintenance contracts), Cambridge University (e-luminate – merging art, music and light), and Queen’s University Belfast (resource efficiency through BIM).

Partnerships have also been established with UCL via an Honorary Research Associate post awarded to a member of the Digital Transformation team which supports the research of digital impact on business models in delivering social and economic infrastructure. A member of that team was invited to join the Chartered Institute of Building’s Innovation and Research Panel which sets the innovation and research agenda and funding focus for industry and academia.

Balfour Beatty provides guest lecturers on BIM and Construction Economics to UCL, University of Middlesex, Abertay University and Ulster University for their BIM management courses.

Awards

Balfour Beatty undertakes a wide variety of works and is recognised by many diverse industry awards for the breadth of the work it undertakes.

Ground Engineering was awarded Project of the Year at the UK Ground Engineering Awards 2016. The award was for the unique works to stabilise a landslide in Lyme Regis, ensuring the work did not impact on the area’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status and ecological requirements of Natural England. The £13.5 million works included the construction of a 400m wave wall and walkway built below the landslide areas, and the stabilisation of the major slope to ensure the protection of 480 homes.

Highway Services won the Best Public Sector Digital Project at the V3 Digital Technology Leaders Awards 2016. Working with Southampton City Council, Balfour Beatty used live data to analyse traffic flows to alleviate congestion, specifically around major events such as Southampton Football Club matches. Balfour Beatty’s joint submission ‘Shaping Southampton through Digital Excellence’ was the culmination of five years of investment and continuous improvement in digital technologies, in partnership with Southampton City Council, to drive greater customer satisfaction and more efficient operational delivery. The judges praised the project as: “an excellent example of exactly how councils should be looking at using technology, visualisations and data to improve the services they offer to their citizens and a model that other councils should look at when considering implementing similar strategies.”

Gammon has been awarded the Innovation and Creativity Grand Award at the 2016 Hong Kong Awards for Industries. The award attributes to the effective strategy of Build to Order Full Modular Mechanical Electrical Plant (MEP) Construction. Important features of this strategy solution include off-site standardisation of MEP module design, weld-less assembly and the extensive specialisation possibilities offered by the build to order model. The concept is effective in increasing productivity, improving the work environment, raising general safety levels and addressing the labour shortage that is facing the construction industry.

Gammon has already used and will use this solution in many other high-profile projects, including the China Mobile Network Centre, the Global Switch Data Centre and the Murray Building.

Gammon also won the Construction Sector Gold Award at the Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence for Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link Southern Connection Viaduct Section. The project team proactively took steps throughout the design and build phase to minimise  impacts through innovation such as using modular reusable steel working platforms, precast pile cap shells, acoustic monitoring for dolphins and an on-site tree nursery. These approaches reduced materials, waste, and environmental impacts on the sensitive habitats.

Gammon jointly won the sustainability achievement of the year award at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors annual awards for the Midfield Concourse at the Hong Kong International Airport and was recognised for the use of BIM, mechanised construction, on site rock crushing and concrete batching plant.

My Contribution

My Contribution is the mechanism which directly engages all staff in Build to Last by enabling employees to suggest and drive changes in the business. In 2016, 3,114 ideas for business benefits were logged by Balfour Beatty employees, of which 417 were progressed as projects and delivered with financial savings of £19 million and over 230,000 hours of time savings.

Developing skills & talent

People and leadership

In 2015 the Group set out its people strategy based on inspiring people to excel as part of the Group’s transformation programme – Build to Last. This delivered significant successful results and continued to be the foundation of the 2016 people plan. As part of the Build to Last transformation, Balfour Beatty continues to improve and enhance systems, policies and procedures. This has included simplifying the number of core UK policies from 200 down to 50 and reducing the number of payrolls by 60%, as well as other system changes such as creating an on-boarding portal to enhance the joining experience for new employees.

During 2016 Balfour Beatty has invested in training and development of employees, through the Balfour Beatty Academy, and developed new strategic and business-specific programmes.

These training and development programmes operate within the context of a Group-wide talent review process, which ensures consistent methodology and visibility of talent, so that succession planning, leadership training and development interventions are applied in the most effective way possible by leveraging the Group’s scale.

For the second year a company-wide employee engagement survey was carried out. This is the first time that all the necessary questions have been asked which allows for Balfour Beatty’s performance to be benchmarked against other businesses by Best Companies. Balfour Beatty’s employee engagement score was 626.4, which is regarded by Best Companies as demonstrating good levels of employee engagement.

Response rate for the survey at 67% was up on the 2015 survey (61%). The Group employee satisfaction score for 2016 was 58% (2015: 60%).

Emerging talent

Balfour Beatty believes that employers are best placed to determine and train their required future capabilities and therefore must take the lead by making a long-term commitment to invest in the next generation workforce. For this reason, Balfour Beatty belongs to and is sponsoring The 5% Club, an employer-led organisation whose members commit to striving to achieve 5% of their UK workforce in ‘earn and learn’ positions within five years of joining.

During 2016 Balfour Beatty recruited 114 apprentices and 110 graduate trainees. The Group’s UK businesses are also supporting nearly 200 people studying part time at local colleges and universities.

The percentage of the workforce in ‘earn and learn’ positions at year end stood at 4.3%, a slight reduction on the 2015 number as a result of an unusually high level of recruitment to these positions in the previous two years, where participants have now been appointed into mainstream roles. Balfour Beatty’s aspiration remains to reach 5% or above.

Group Chief Executive Leo Quinn has personally donated £40,000, equivalent to 5% of his salary, to secure the ongoing work of The 5% Club and committed to underwrite up to £100,000 of costs while wider fundraising gets underway.

Balfour Beatty continues to lead a consortium on behalf of the sector to support government reforms on apprenticeships for the construction industry, gaining approval of 14 new Apprenticeships Standards for craft and technical/professional job roles and aiming for delivery to start in September 2017.

The number of graduates and apprentices as a proportion of the Group’s workforce has increased in 2016 compared to 2015:

Table 1: Structured development programmes

 

2014

2015

2016

Apprentices

215

402

438

Graduates

210

349

593


Upskilling the UK’s infrastructure workforce

The Balfour Beatty Academy continues to provide a range of management, leadership and professional-level technical development programmes as a focus for the Group’s UK activities and aims to ensure co-ordinated and cost-effective development in line with its Build to Last goals.

During 2016 investment continued into key training initiatives; over 230 places were occupied on one of the Group’s commercial management modules; 70 senior win business staff attended the high-value selling programme and an additional 35 were trained on a new programme of business acquisition methodology that the Academy is collaborating on with colleagues from the US business; another 100 people started their APM project management qualification journey; 240 people attended negotiation skills training and over 290 people attended a programme to develop their people management skills. To complement Balfour Beatty’s portfolio, additional offerings in the project management suite were developed, as were programmes to enhance leadership, diversity and inclusion, and client-focused work-winning, which were piloted in 2016 ready for 2017 launch.

Balfour Beatty works in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, which trains unemployed young people through its Get into Construction programme. Over the last five years, 400 young people completed this programme, learning while working on Balfour Beatty sites. About 70% of these people gained employment with the Group directly or with its supply chain.

Balfour Beatty is a funding Partner and Gold Member of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, which aims to improve sustainability performance throughout the construction and infrastructure supply chains. As a result, Balfour Beatty has held a number of engagement events and workshops with its supply chain improving their knowledge on sustainability. The number of its suppliers registered with the school is now over 2,000 and increase of over 27% from 2015.  Balfour Beatty has incorporated more than 30 e-learning modules and toolbox talks into its own Balfour Beatty academy and 360 platform, making them available to Balfour Beatty employees.

Diversity and inclusion

Leo Quinn, Group Chief Executive, is the Board-level sponsor for diversity and inclusion. In 2016, the Board established a steering committee to govern the strategic activities across the UK and to track progress against a new three-year blueprint. This blueprint serves to outline the key deliverables and metrics necessary to attract diverse talent and create a more inclusive working environment. Each strategic business unit produces a plan to align with the overarching strategy to ensure that diversity and inclusion activities are embedded to meet local employee and customer needs.

In 2016, four new Affinity Networks were launched to enable employee groups to network, share information and gain support. The aim of these networks is to improve individual and organisational understanding of the different aspects of diversity and inclusion, in addition to supporting the Group’s strategy to be a great place to work.

In 2016, Balfour Beatty’s longstanding LGBT network secured the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) award for ‘Inspiring Change in the Workplace’ in recognition of their work, which offers confidential support to LGBT employees and their ‘allies’.

Balfour Beatty was one of the first infrastructure companies to set up an LGBT professional network and is proud to be represented in the 2016 Financial Times’ Top 50 Future LGBT Leaders list. The network, which has doubled its membership in two years, has over 100 members spanning the UK and the US, ranging from senior sponsorship to frontline construction workers.

Given that the proportion of female employees has reduced in recent years with the disposals of Balfour Beatty WorkPlace in 2013 and Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2014, a strategic priority for the Group is to increase the number of females across the business, particularly in middle and senior management roles.

The Women in Business network has recently developed a new three-day career development programme specifically designed to support women in accelerating their careers which will be rolled out across the organisation in 2017, following a successful pilot. A new Returners’ Programme, which provides career placements to women who have been on a career break of two years or more, was also launched in 2016. Through this programme, women will gain invaluable support and mentoring to support their pursuit of permanent employment. 

Female employees across the workforce

Female employees in 2016

Balfour Beatty has diversified its supply chain, spending more than 40% of total spend with SMEs over each of the last four years. The percentage spend with Social Enterprises has doubled, and since 2014, a year-on-year increase in percentage spend with female-owned businesses has been delivered (0.11% in 2014, 2% in 2015 and 3.37% in 2016). In recognition of delivering a diverse culture across its supply chain, Balfour Beatty was awarded Minority Supplier Development UK’s Inclusive Procurement award for 2016.

To enhance the Group’s diversity and inclusion offering, strategic partnerships are in place with WISE, the Leonard Cheshire Disability Society, Business in the Community and Stonewall. Balfour Beatty is also a signatory to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant and progressed to Silver Award winners in 2016.

The Group remains committed to investing in industry-leading people throughout a period of considerable change. It is this commitment and the continued engagement of employees that will provide the foundations for Balfour Beatty’s recovery and future growth.

 

Table 2: Male and female representation

 

At 31 December 2016

Male

Female

Total

% Male

% Female

Board

6

1

7

86

14

Senior management1

94

25

119

79

21

Directors of subsidiaries

248

32

280

89

11

Group

18,103

3,726

21,829

83

17

1 Members of Group head office and senior leadership teams