Prequalification system a 'positive': Mike Greer Homes

03 Oct 2016

picture of rebecca

Group Health and Safety Manager Rebecca Gornall on site with one of the crews.

Mike Greer Homes has been building homes for 25 years and is New Zealand’s largest residential home building company, with 11 branches throughout the country. The company is committed to being a leader in the field of health and safety, and uses Site Safe’s prequalification tool, SiteWise, to encourage contractors to keep their health and safety policies up to standard.

We spoke to the company’s Group Health and Safety Manager, Rebecca Gornall, about how SiteWise has helped them to manage their contractors and given them confidence that best practice is being followed onsite.

Mike Greer Homes may be working on more than 700 builds at any time, with the bulk of the work completed by contractors. Managing over 1000 contractors across the country on more than 1200 builds during each year means keeping track of everyone’s health and safety policies is a demanding job. The company was previously using its own internal prequalification questionnaire to vet contractors, but after registering with SiteWise as a contractor themselves, they were quick to catch on to the benefits of a standardised prequalification system.

Rebecca says SiteWise is part of the company’s drive to be an industry leader in health and safety.

“We want to operate above industry practice and the commitment from our management team has been significant.”

Recognising that SiteWise is a simple way of ensuring health and safety vetting, it is now implemented across all 11 branches, and Mike Greer Homes now requires all of its contractors to be registered with the system. The goal is to have 50 per cent of its contractors registered with SiteWise by the end of September, 75 per cent by the end of October and 100 per cent registered by the end of the year. Contractors that do not meet the company’s target score are offered support to improve their performance by attending free SiteWise workshops.

For Mike Greer Homes, using SiteWise is a simple way of knowing the systems contractors have in place.

“We thought it was the best thing to do for the company, and our contractors. With hundreds of contractors now signed up, it has turned into a really positive thing for us,” Rebecca says.

The system “works both ways”, in that it also benefits contractors, helping them to improve their own health and safety systems.

“SiteWise is especially helpful for the smaller two-man bands as it encourages them to review their policies each year.”

“And if more companies get on board with SiteWise, it will be even better for contractors, as they would only have to do one health and safety prequalification each year – at the moment it can be very frustrating for contractors who work for several different companies which may all require different types of pre-qualifications.”

SiteWise is also a time-saver, as it is a great, centralised way of storing contact details and insurance information, Rebecca says.

“To be able to contact a contractor and have them provide their health and safety documentation to us was difficult. Our health and safety staff were chasing them for months, so to have that information in one place saves a significant amount of time across all our branches.”

Rebecca says it has also reduced staff costs, by limiting the number of health and safety specialists the company has had to employ. But most importantly, SiteWise has given Mike Greer Homes added confidence in the contractors they are hiring.

“As a residential building company we don’t have a full-time representative on site to monitor contractors, SiteWise gives us the confidence that our contractors have health and safety systems in place, they are not just ignoring health and safety – that’s what’s important for us.”

For more information about how SiteWise can benefit your business, visit the website.