Sustainability

How we ensure sustainability

One of the most important steps we have taken is to become a member of Business in the Community (BITC) - an organisation whose purpose is to mobilise business for good, and to provide a clear framework to help improve performance and benefit society in four specific areas. These are:

  • Community
  • Environment
  • Workplace
  • Marketplace

In 2017, we reduced our carbon emissions by 1%, and achieved 95% recycling rate. We also supported 334 Social Value projects. Via these projects the business also donated £82,000 to charitable causes across the country. These achievements typify our ongoing commitment to CSR.

As a member of BITC we are committed to introducing more responsible practices in all of these areas. This involves our whole company, from the boardroom to apprentices. It is all about enhancing relationships with our customers, suppliers and the wider world that we all come into contact with. In our day-to-day work, we can all make a difference by following the guidelines and aiming for the goals identified in our CSR strategy.

Supply Chain

Through this strategy, we continue to introduce new initiatives, forums for debate, ways of monitoring progress and reporting back, and setting targets to help us measure progress.

We have always been conscious of our responsibilities, and were one of the first companies within our market sector to commit to this campaign. We see it as a key factor in achieving our goals of being a leader and innovator in corporate social responsibility.

Latest Blog Posts

Being stricter on bad payers

BEING STRICTER ON BAD PAYERS

  24 MAY, 2019
Neil Washington, Finance Director at contractor Novus Property Solutions, explains how clients and the industry should work harder to enforce better payment practices to strengthen the SME supply chain The obligation on firms to disclose their payment terms came into effect in 2017 but judging by the headlines so far in 2019, many industries are still struggling to meet best practice. The construction industry is not alone, yet the subject of late payments in the sector has very specific ramifications for its long-term health. You can see how the industry got itself into this state. Many of the largest listed contractors operate on extremely tight margins and must satisfy investors in the City. Paying subcontractors promptly can often fall down the list of priorities, either deliberately or not. At Novus we’ve strived to reduce our payment terms because of the issues late payment causes. We now take only 26 days to pay subcontractors on average and this puts us in the top five quickest among the industry’s largest 100 contractors ranked by Construction News, where the average time to pay is 43 days. We don’t have any different accounting methods or invoicing systems, it’s purely in our culture to pay our subcontractors on time. We’re a family-owned business and that plays a part in cultivating values like this. But the construction industry is a varied beast and each contractor has different internal pressures. In some cases, larger contractors will use cash which is due to be paid to their supply chain as working capital and without pressure from clients to change this, it could carry on for a long time. While late payments must now be recorded and published, more could be done to accelerate change. The issues it causes Main contractors and their supply chains have a symbiotic relationship. Paying on time and ensuring that subcontractors can maintain good cashflow means that they will be more likely to accept more work and do a good quality job. It’s also rare that a subcontractor will only be working for just one bad payer at any given time. This can so drastically affect their cashflow that they risk going bust. The industry faces a huge skills shortage and access to labour, particularly specialist skills, is increasingly difficult. Often these skills come from smaller businesses. A weakened supply chain drives up costs and results in longer project timeframes for clients. What can larger contractors and clients do? While most clients stipulate good payment terms when appointing a major contractor, very few follow this up during projects. We’d advocate a review of payment practice statistics as part of the bidding process and spot checks on payments during contract periods to ensure contractors are making good on their promises. It’s clear that public shaming may not be doing enough to push the industry and going against the curve like Novus has done can be difficult, particularly when your competitors aren’t doing much themselves. Direction from clients could initiate a huge change for the benefit of local businesses while reducing long-term construction costs.
The Gender Pay Gap in Construction

THE GENDER PAY GAP IN CONSTRUCTION

  11 APRIL, 2019
The construction industry is known for being one of the poorest industries for pay inequality and gender diversity.  Following the publishing of the 2018 gender pay gap report, find out more information on how we at Novus are making positive changes within the construction industry. Construction News has released the gender pay statistics for the top 100 contractors and, as with supply chain payment performance we have performed well for our industry. Overall, we have the 18th smallest gap (19.8%) and have made the 9th biggest improvement (-5.6%) compared to 2017 levels based on the median salary levels which are considered the most accurate indicator. In 2018, we have seen a positive shift towards better gender diversity and with that our mean and median hourly rate and bonus data have improved significantly. The gender balance of our shareholding, executive management and leadership continued to improve in 2018 and this benefitted the business in, ensuring that our approach, practices and decision making considers the broadest views and perspectives. Whilst we are proud of our achievements in 2018, we are determined to close the gender pay gap further by ensuring we have a positive, fair, open and transparent culture and will continue to offer: ·         Attractive and fulfilling roles ·         A flexible working environment ·         Great quality leadership and management ·         Accessible development and progression opportunities ·         Fair and consistent rewards and benefits “At Novus, we understand that we have an important part to play in presenting a more positive perception of our sector and although there is no quick-win solution, we recognise the benefits of continuing to develop our culture and our workplace for the benefit of our clients, our customers, the communities we work in and our colleagues” Alan Nixon, CEO. To discover more about gender pay gap, read our report here.