Customer experience

Balfour Beatty’s client service programmes MAP and HALO provide a thorough understanding of its customer’s objectives and ensure it remains in constant communication with its customer to understand their changing needs. Balfour Beatty communicates its customer’s vision across the business to ensure collaboration and meet customer expectations.

The Group has policies and programmes which are designed to directly enhance the customer’s experience and underpin how Balfour Beatty builds key relationships with them. These include a business compass which gives every Balfour Beatty employee direct business and customer focus, clear business values and a sustainability vision that demonstrates the importance of working with customers to achieve shared goals.

Balfour Beatty’s priority is to become the partner of choice for customers and embed customer focus throughout its business to achieve this.

Balfour Beatty does not carry out simple customer satisfaction surveys: the Group’s toolkit provides a more sophisticated insight into the customer’s project and their relationship success criteria, and providing Balfour Beatty with an opportunity to align its processes, people, behaviours and culture with those of its customers, leading to more productive outcomes. Over the last three years, the Group has steadily increased number of projects operate a client service programme from 33% to 67%.

Figure 1: Percentage of projects that operate a customer experience programme

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The scores captured are an indicator of Balfour Beatty’s ability to collaborate and deliver to its customers’ expectations. The commentary is the area of differentiation for the business. This commentary, when reviewed and acted on, stimulates conversation, collaborative solutions and continuous improvement.

Agreed sustainability goals

In 2015, 3,121 of Balfour Beatty’s infrastructure projects had agreed sustainability goals with the client. This average varied significantly across the geographies Balfour Beatty operates in. In the UK, 68% of our projects had agreed sustainability goals, which is significantly higher than the group average.

Having an in-depth understanding of what characterises sustainability success from the standpoint of Balfour Beatty’s customers ensures that the Group delivers these throughout the project lifecycle. If a project is to deliver optimal social and environmental performance, Balfour Beatty needs to understand its customer’s aspirations and align its strategy to deliver these collaboratively.

Through the creation of specific sustainability objectives, Balfour Beatty is able to focus its efforts on those items that really matter to its customers, and establish action plans to ensure successful delivery. The Group aims to establish sustainability project goals as early as possible in the project cycle, often prior to construction commencement.

Once the objectives are agreed, Balfour Beatty communicates these to the whole project delivery team and monitors performance, sharing in the success with its customers.

Sustainability is an integral part of modern infrastructure projects: public sector clients require conformance to standards such as BREEAM, LEED®, BEAM, ESTIDAMA, Green Mark, and CEEQUAL and these are important to planning authorities. Meeting these standards has resulted in a £1.7 billion turnover on green infrastructure projects in 2015. The Group’s certifications in this area and its technical knowledge improve the whole life performance of customers’ built assets Balfour Beatty’s sales of in green infrastructure projects declined from £2.3 billion in 2014, to £1.7 billion in 2015, illustrating a reduction in projects with green building certifications such as Estidama, UK BREEAM, BREEAM International, LEED, Green Star, HK BEAM, and schemes such as CEEQUAL over the period of 2015.

Community engagement

In 2015 Balfour Beatty established Involved (Balfour Beatty’s Community Investment Programme) in its UK businesses. Involved focuses on three key areas where the Group can add value to its customers and the local community:

  • Local employment and skills
  • Community engagement through charitable fundraising, volunteering and mentoring
  • Supporting local businesses.

Wherever the Group operates it seeks to integrate within the neighbourhood, supporting the local community, its businesses and its workforce. Involved gives Balfour Beatty the opportunity to work within a framework whereby the results of its interventions are captured and the benefit to society shared with its customers and other interested parties.

In many markets the ability to demonstrate the social value of the Group’s operations in economic terms is vital. To benefit local areas, the Group uses local suppliers, employees and materials wherever possible, and invests in future talent through apprenticeship schemes and work placement opportunities.

In 2015, we increased the number of projects and sites that had community engagement plans in place to 14.9% up from 12.8% in 2014.

Figure 2: Percentage of projects & offices that have a community engagement plan in place

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Through the Balfour Beatty Charitable Trust, we work in partnership with charitable partners in the UK and support, through funding and volunteering effort, specific projects which are targeted at improving the employability and employment opportunities of young disadvantaged people. We also believe that participation in sport has an important role to play in helping build self-confidence, team skills and healthy lifestyles.

Wherever we operate, we strive to leave a positive legacy. Despite a challenging year, we are proud of the way our employees have continued to engage with and support both the communities in which we operate and our core charitable programmes.

During 2015 we made continued to make progress towards our goal of every project and office having a community engagement plan. There is work to do in order to spread the practice more widely: when smaller projects are taken into account, just 1% of our North American projects and 43% of our UK projects have such a plan. This is also reflected in the statistics for the Rest of the World (ROW) with 5% of our projects having community engagement plans in place.

Another form of our community investment is community engagement through activities such as volunteering, mentoring and charitable fundraising. This offers our people opportunities to learn and develop, as well as give something back. Our activities support community organisations in delivering social benefits and  are typically focussed on helping the most disadvantaged young people in society with particular focuses on employment and employability, as well as health, sport and well-being.

Community investment through charitable fundraising

Through the Balfour Beatty Building Better Futures Charitable Trust, the Group aims to help the most disadvantaged young people in society. Three charities are supported by the Group’s fundraising and volunteering programme: Barnardo’s, Coram and The Prince’s Trust.

Since 2008 the Group has donated almost £2 million to programmes aimed at helping young people, as well as providing support in-kind, such as through employee volunteering. In 2015, employees raised over £10,000 through the Building Better Futures fundraising activity programme.

Given the youth unemployment issue affecting communities around the UK, and the skills gap opening up in the UK construction sector, many of the programmes are focused on improving employment and employability.

  • Working together with The Prince’s Trust over the last six years, the Group has helped transform the lives of 3,734 young people
  • Since 2013 the Group has raised £130,000 to support Barnardo’s work with unemployed young people; helping over 1,000 young people to gain new skills, qualifications and stable work
  • Since 2010 the Group has also raised over £400,000 for Coram, allowing the charity to support 40,000 vulnerable children.

Balfour Beatty also supports the London Youth Games, facilitating another record year of participation for young people in London, with 136,427 taking part. Balfour Beatty staff again played a key role among 4,483 volunteers that our investment also enabled to be trained and supported as they helped to put on the Games and bring them to life. Since Balfour Beatty started sponsoring the Games, participant numbers have increased fivefold.

This brings multiple benefits, including engaging our employees in volunteering, community engagement, helping customer relationships and supporting communities in and around London where Balfour Beatty operates. For the participants, the Group recognises the value that sport brings to the lives of young people and is committed to helping raise their aspirations, motivation and attainment levels in local communities.

The US construction business contributed over US$900,000 to charitable causes in 2015. Some of the organisations receiving donations are:

  • American Heart Association
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Hospitality House
  • Make a Wish
  • Teach for America
  • United Way
  • Wounded Warrior Project.

Specifically, for Make-A-Wish® Georgia’s Walk for Wishes, the Georgia Division achieved one of its largest fundraising efforts to date raising nearly US$400,000 for the annual Walk for Wishes event which grants wishes to children in Georgia who have been afflicted with life threatening illnesses.

The Texas Division continued with its Balfour Beatty Construction High School Mentoring Program which started in 2009.

The programme enhances the educational and professional development experience of high school students in the Dallas/Fort Worth area by raising the awareness of professional opportunities within the construction industry. Through one-on-one mentoring relationships, Balfour Beatty facilitates sustainable academic enrichment, encourages leadership, and provides exposure to the construction industry. Since inception the programme has hosted numerous High School interns, awarded several scholarships for students pursuing careers in construction management and sponsored college interns. Offers are extended to interns with successful internships upon graduation.

In 2015, staff from Gammon took part in a total of 43 community events across Hong Kong, mainland China and Singapore. The highlight event was the Gammon Walkathon 2015 held in early December which has raised over HK$1.0m (£87,489) over the last five years. In addition, Gammon is involved in planning and executing community based activities and there has been a heightened focus on project-driven engagement, often collaborating with NGOs to make a positive difference in the communities in which Gammon operates.

Business integrity

Balfour Beatty has a well-developed ethics and compliance programme with a focus on presenting consistent, well supported and relevant ethics and compliance messages throughout the Group to ensure that working environments enable people to make the right choices, and support those who challenge where others have not.

The Group continually seeks to embed its programme through training programmes and workshops, updated technologies and tools to make compliance simple and intuitive, and by investigating issues and complaints.

Balfour Beatty encourages its staff and wider community to report any concerns about unethical conduct. In early 2015, a new whistleblowing hotline service was put into place which improved interaction with whistleblowers, enabling the collection of vital information, thus providing better case management technology to support investigations.

Figure 3: Number of helpline cases

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Figure 4: Number of helpline cases (excluding HR grievances)

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There has been a drop in the total number of reported cases in 2015 compared to 2014, which reflects the reduction in the number of employees following the sale of Parsons Brinckerhoff, the professional services business. There has also been a drop in the number of cases per 1,000 employees. Balfour Beatty benchmarks its reporting rates against industry and worldwide figures. That benchmarking exercise indicates that Balfour Beatty has a healthy number of reports in its business. However, there is still room for higher levels of reporting to provide further comfort that people are speaking up about most or all issues in the business.

Figure 5: Number of cases per 1,000 employees (Balfour Beatty)    

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Figure 6: Number of cases per 1,000 employees (global benchmark)

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To address the drop in the number of reported cases and to ensure that the Group continues to maintain a consistent, well supported and relevant ethics and compliance programme, it undertook a series of activities during 2015, which will continue in 2016. These include a relaunch of training modules, refresher training, Gifts and Hospitality and Conflict of Interest registers, recruiting additional team members and a fundamental review of the programme and responsibility for it.

The sale of Parsons Brinckerhoff has resulted in Balfour Beatty no longer operating in several jurisdictions which typically pose a high risk of ethics and compliance violations. However, we continue to work in a number of higher risk countries. We also acknowledge that the construction and engineering sector is a high risk sector in general. Accordingly, we continue to have in place extensive anti-corruption measures to prevent such conduct. Additionally, Balfour Beatty is mindful of the broader ethics risks which exist within in the sector. 

In addition to the traditional areas of ethical risk, Balfour Beatty has observed new areas of focus emerging - in particular with respect to human rights including those of children and labour conditions. Balfour Beatty has included human rights matters within our Code of Conduct for many years. Nevertheless, the global community is placing increased expectations on companies to consider human rights breaches which may arise in their businesses. Balfour Beatty welcomes and shares this expectation.

The Group views human rights primarily as an extension of its determination not only to treat its employees with respect but also to obtain assurance about ethics in its supply chain. Wherever Balfour Beatty works in the world it ensures it does not exploit anyone and it will refuse to work with any individual or organisation that fails to uphold these standards.” Intrinsic to Balfour Beatty’s values is its belief in upholding the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To offer our people more opportunities in Dubai, the Group has set up a training centre for blue collar workers to improve their skills and take up new technical roles as part of their continual professional development. Through an assessment programme operatives are able to learn and demonstrate their skills, incentivising them to acquire new skills and improve their career prospects.

The Group’s Overhead Transmission Line Training Centre in the Philippines offers Balfour Beatty the opportunity to train for a worldwide market, offering trainees internationally-recognised qualifications and training to ensure safety and quality on the Group’s global electricity transmission projects. The training is a rigorous programme, covering safety, installation and jointing of overhead line conductors, electrical testing of equipment and installation of steel works. Upon completion of the programme, trainees achieve an International Vocational Qualification (IVQ) in Electrical Power Engineering, which has the same high standards as its UK equivalent the NVQ and is awarded by City and Guilds. This means that competencies and training are consistent across the whole of Balfour Beatty, in all territories. To date Balfour Beatty has trained over 300 overhead transmission line workers through the training centre.


Balfour Beatty has continued to win awards for its performance in sustainability across its operations. These can be viewed at


Over the last four years Balfour Beatty has steadily increased its carbon disclosure score from 78 to 97, increasing its score by 19 points. The performance score has also improved from C to B.

The disclosure score, measured out of 100, assesses the completeness and quality of the Group’s measurement and management of carbon footprint, climate change strategy, risk management processes and outcomes. The score’s purpose is to provide a summary of the extent to which companies have answered these questions in a structured format. Balfour Beatty’s score of 97 indicates that its team has provided comprehensive information in a transparent and open manner.

The performance score, ranked from A to E, assesses the level of action, as reported by the Company, on climate change mitigation, adaptation and transparency. Its intent is to highlight positive climate action. Balfour Beatty’s score of B indicates that Balfour Beatty has set carbon reduction targets and is implementing programmes to reduce emissions in both its direct operations and supply chain.

Figure 7: Carbon disclosure score/100

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