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BAM Nuttall: Improving business performance with BS 11000.

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Client Challenge

For civil engineering contractor, BAM Nuttall, collaborative working is nothing new. Collaborative working was a key requirement of involvement on the delivery of the Olympic Park project when the UK hosted the Olympic Games back in 2012.  

The approach to collaborative working was driven down through the supply chain by the Olympic Delivery Authority. From 2005, BAM Nuttall was heavily involved with the demolition and remediation works at the Olympic Park and is now lead contractor for the two main legacy projects which will see the transformation of the Park for future generations. However, this wasn’t the company’s first experience of collaborative working as David Anderson, Head of Business Process and Quality explains.

 “Our experience with the Olympics clearly demonstrated that by utilising collaborative working practices, we could get real value. However our experience on the Olympics wasn’t the beginning of our experience with collaborative working. We have worked very successfully in a variety of alliances, partnerships and joint ventures for many years.

“However, since the publication of the BS 11000 standard in 2010, we have noticed that the profile of collaborative working has risen and there is a growing understanding of its benefits. We are now seeing key drivers in the marketplace from major clients, with questions now being raised at both pre-qualification and tender stages.”

The organisation recognised however that meeting the requirements of BS 11000 would not just apply to clients but also bring benefits when working within joint venture relationships. It had already found that when looking at some of its joint venture relationships, there were elements of inconsistency. BAM Nuttall recognised that by fully embedding the ethos of collaborative working throughout its business, it would help provide that consistency throughout its operations.

In June 2012, the business therefore set itself a target of achieving external certification within the year, initially at ‘strategic level’.


“One of the benefits from the process was our LRQA assessor challenging us on our existing systems. This helped highlight areas which were actually open to interpretation,”
Head of Business Process and Quality, BAM Nuttall David Anderson

How we helped

Based on their strong reputation, BAM Nuttall appointed LRQA to help them achieve their certification goals.   “We found that LRQA immediately understood our reasons for going for a corporate approach, as opposed to the project by project approach that many others were taking in our industry.”

“It was an ambitious target but we wanted to make BS 11000 and collaborative working just another element of what we did. We recognise that the BS 11000 approach isn’t appropriate to all projects. However, we could already recognise the benefits from having an embedded system, even on those projects where we weren’t going down the formal route. It was already making us think about potential issues and how we could better understand what the other party was looking for.”

LRQA advised a two-stage approach to certification. This would allow BAM Nuttall to gain early recognition of its strategic processes which it knew from its gap analysis were generally in place already. Importantly, it would also allow the business to further develop its deployment processes to increase visibility and alignment with BS 11000.

The two-stage approach worked well for the organisation. The external view brought by its LRQA assessor in the first stage helped determine areas for improvement on which it could work in the run-up to the second assessment stage.

The impact

As the first in its sector to do so, BAM Nuttall achieved company-wide certification to BS 11000 in May 2013.   Certification to BS 11000 from LRQA was the goal from the outset of this project. Having held certification to ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and OHSAS 18001 (occupational health and safety) for many years, BAM Nuttall was keenly aware of the value that robust, certified management systems bring to the table.

BAM Nuttall not only valued the rigour that comes from a formalised assessment programme but also, the external challenge aspect that prompts it to look again and again at their systems.

“One of the main benefits from the certification process was our LRQA assessor challenging us on our existing systems. This helped to highlight areas which we thought were clear cut, but were actually open to interpretation,” explains David Anderson.

He cites supply chain management as a good example. The organisation has a number of vendor agreements with key members of its supply chain. Their assessor was able to point out that feedback was only one-way whereas it takes two to collaborate. Following this advice, the Supply Chain Manager introduced forums to create dialogue and, in so doing, initiated a situation where suppliers can also discuss between themselves and their  assessor was able to bring a fresh pair of eyes to the process.

With experience gained from other industries that have embraced collaborative working, she was able to help identify areas for improvement. Anderson commented, “The LRQA Assessor’s flexible and open approach was ideally suited to BS 11000 certification.  They were also able to call on advice and support from other areas of the wider team at LRQA which further helped the integrated alignment of our management systems while incorporating BS 11000.”

“Our experience with other standards is that if the right cert body is involved then the whole certification process and ongoing surveillance programme is a factor in helping drive continual improvement through the business,” summarised Anderson.                     

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