Worksmart increase their support at Kilmarnock Football Club

Following an outstanding season for both Kilmarnock Football Club and Worksmart Contracts Ltd, Worksmart have increased their support of Kilmarnock Football Club with both Season Tickets and Corporate Signage advertising Worksmart further to the Ayrshire Business Community. Pictured with the legendary Ray Montgomerie of Kilmarnock Football Club and former Killie Captain of the league winning side of `97 are Worksmarts FD Lisa Neilson and MD Steve Neilson below the new vast signage installed to the gable end of the Main Stand and in full view of everyone visiting Rugby Park for the games and attending the Park Hotel. The prominent position is beside Ayrshires highly successful QTS and Worksmart and very proud to be associated with the Club.

Over the years our support has grown and developed for the club from our small sign in the main car park neighbouring our friends at Billy Bowie Special Projects, Solutions on Demand and Seesaw Creative.

Steve Neilson Worksmarts MD said “We are delighted to have increased our support for Kilmarnock Football Club and we continue to enjoy both the quality of football and community at Rugby Park along with the increased level of Interior Fit-Out and Refurbishment works in the Ayrshire market which we have been working closely with many successful local Businesses.”

Worksmart have also enjoyed the success in securing the Interior Fit-Out and Refurbishment of the famous Chairman’s Suite along with the Executive Suite, Toilets and the main Reception in the summer break at the Club and have enjoyed working with the Killie Board and staff along with Architects Thomson Hunter Architects which will be completed shortly and in use for this season. Kilmarnock Football Club have seen the opportunity in bringing these facilities into line with what the top clubs in Scotland and the UK have on offer and Worksmart are very proud to have been the contractor who will deliver these stunning interiors. More coverage of this will certainly follow on the finished results in due course.

Lisa Neilson Worksmarts FD added “There has been a noticeable buzz around the town with the success of the team in last years season and we are looking forward to this season and supporting the Club and the Team, both the community and local business have benefitted. Worksmart have a long standing history of supporting youth and sport in our Community Benefits and Social Responsibilities in our Ayrshire and Edinburgh area offices which we love doing and will continue to do so.

We wish Killie every success this year and we look forward to continuing our support of the Club and supporting them in future Interior Fit-Out and Refurbishment Projects in years to come”

A Coffee and a Chat with… Paul Cravens, Commercial Director

With the better part of two decades in the industry, Paul Cravens is an experienced Quantity Surveyor and Worksmart’s Commercial Director. We sat down with him to get his insight into his role and hear his advice for someone looking to make a career in Quantity Surveying.

Tell me a bit about your working background and how you joined Worksmart?

After graduating with an honours degree in Quantity Surveying I went to work for a number of years with property developers, firstly in the Isle of Man and then latterly in Glasgow. In 2008, a colleague of mine and I set up our own cost consultancy, focusing on helping subcontractors with difficult clients or problematic projects. In addition, we worked alongside project clients and acted as Quantity Surveyor on their behalf.

Prior to my employment with Worksmart, Steve and I had known each other for a number of years and after we’d got chatting one day over a few drinks, landed on the idea that Worksmart would be a good fit for both parties! That was it really. At that point, the company had four office based staff including me and our turnover was around £1.8M. Six years on and the business has grown and developed significantly since my early days. Including our site staff we have now over forty direct employees and will turnover just less than £10M this year.

Describe your role and the responsibilities you have?

As Commercial Director, it’s my responsibility to manage and direct the Commercial Team. We’re responsible for all commercial aspects of the business, so that goes from placing sub-contract orders, negotiating contract terms, agreeing prices, negotiating final accounts with clients, to dealing with any contractual issues that arise during the course of any projects that we’re working on. In addition, we report regularly on the financial performance of the projects that are ongoing.

As well as that Director role, I have my own projects that I commercially manage. At the minute, this includes a couple of projects with our client Ayrshire College, as well as various refurbishment works taking place at Kilmarnock Football Club’s Rugby Park Stadium.

What’s your best piece of advice for a young person looking to get into this sector?

I would say that the best route is to get a Quantity Surveying degree under your belt. Although degrees aren’t everything, they show a level of commitment that someone has to have to get that degree and see it through to the end.

After that, I’d suggest finding somewhere that fits with them and what they want to do; the type of company and organisation they want to work for is important. There’s lots of options for Quantity Surveyors out there: going to work for sub-contractors, going to work for private Quantity Surveying firms or going to work for a contractor like Worksmart. Pick one of these options, find the company in that sector that can provide you with the best training and experience and try to do it almost like an apprenticeship.

If you do the degree course full time – as I did – you will have only a small amount of practical experience and once you graduate you need to work on accumulating that experience over a number of years, on various projects. So it is essential that you find the company that will give you the broadest range of experience and the opportunity to climb the ladder once you have had the opportunity to prove yourself.

When you get out of the office, what do you like getting up to?

I like spending time with friends and family, socialising, participating in and watching sports. About two months ago I started going to the gym again and I’m trying my best to walk that line and make sure I don’t fall off the wagon! I’ve been successful so far!

The Life of an Interior Contractor

A significant proportion of the projects we win are competitively tendered, we are regularly competing against up to 5 contractors and sometimes more. It is a competitive world we live in and sometime the race to be the cheapest can be soul destroying.

We spend money and time in making sure our Management Systems, IT, insurance, Health and Safety and accreditations are all up to date, relevant and practised. It’s great when surveyors and clients look beyond the numbers and the quality of your company is part of the selection process, in fact we actively encourage a Price/Quality split.

We are competitive, we know it, but we never want to be cheap as anyone who has experienced a contractor ‘buying’ work will testify, more often than not the tendered price and the final account become two different figures, somewhere along the line there is usually a disagreement.

We have been around for over 16 years and are committed to being here for the long term. By investing in our people, our clients and property professionals alike we can continue to develop the business and hopefully become the contractor of choice more often than not.

What is astonishing is that even though we have been the most competitive offer on a couple of occasions the client or his surveyor have appointed another contractor – sometime we get a plausible reason and sometime we don’t. Once thing is for sure there is no point in getting upset, we dust ourselves down, get back on the horse and hope that we win the next one!

So what the point in this blog (apart from being quite therapeutic) – well it is just a chance for us to share our experience as a contractor. We try to be the best at what we do and believe in honesty, a word that often doesn’t align with the word contractor very easily, unfortunately as often is the case, the minority of rogue contractors give the majority a bad name.

Negotiating projects with clients and surveyors is becoming more fashionable, although we do think it should happen more often (of course we would!). We say this, not because that route to procurement is more profitable for us, but because it gives us certainty of future work, which allows us to plan better and ultimately deliver a better service.

Do clients really care about their contractor as much as their design team or their furniture supplier, we hope so and we hope that by continuing to work the way we do that contracting will become a more valued appointment and perhaps even a more popular industry (we might have taken that too far!).

In our world it can be extremely difficult to forecast the future both financially and operationally but we have significant experience, in fact I think it keeps us motivated and energised, we might even enjoy the buzz in a strange kind of way.

FIS guide to fit-out & Refurbishment

Here at Worksmart we are proud to be associated with FIS – Finishes and Interiors Sector.

FIS represents specialists in all aspects of the interior fit-out and finishes sector. They are a truly vertically integrated organisation with members from across the sector supply chain. They work on behalf of the sector to develop skills, drive technical competence and support our community. They also help members to make the most of opportunities through advice, training, technical support and dialogue with government and other stakeholders.

The FIS are one of the leading bodies in the interiors sector, hosting regular events and awards designed to promote fit-outs and refurbishments to the wider public

FIS has created a guide to office Fit out and Refurbishment we would like to share with you. The guide will not only assist clients with the process but to also promote the outstanding work which FIS members carry out. The guide will enable contractors to demonstrate that they follow best practice; for architects and designers, they can aid their clients in understanding the fit-out process, highlighting the importance of design.

Below is a video on the guide from FIS:

Below is the guide from FIS:

Download FIS Guide

A Coffee and a Chat with… Kellie-Ann Lees, Bookkeeper

Kellie-Ann is Worksmart’s bookkeeper, handling all of the accounts and making sure everyone is paid on time. Such responsibility means Kellie-Ann treads a fine line between being the most and least popular person in the office. Luckily, she’s great at what she does, and no one has to worry about not being paid on time!

Tell me a bit about your working background and joining Worksmart?

I used to work in the city centre and I was looking to work more locally – I’m from Dreghorn just 5 minutes down the road. So it was kind of location-wise at first but then the role itself was a bit of everything, so it wasn’t just sticking to one part of accounts, which is what I had been doing. I had been doing purchase ledger and payroll so it was nice to be able to do cashbook and sales ledger as well.

I’ve always done accounts, but this role is more varied, there’s bits of everything. I started at 18 working at an office as an office junior, then got promoted to do books. Then when I moved from Edinburgh back home I took a maternity leave role in Irvine, and that’s when I did purchase ledger and payroll and started doing my HNC at night. I was working full time and going at night to do that. Now I’m doing my degree at the Open University which I can do while working full time at Worksmart.

Describe your role and the responsibilities you have?

I do all the processing for all the invoices, I deal with the banks and payments going out to suppliers and expenses.  I do the timesheets for the guys who work on-site, they all have a weekly timesheet, so I’ll process them and allocate the costs that go to each job and send the report upstairs at the end of the month for the wages. I do the VAT returns, PAYE and petty cash. I’m also responsible for the new job costing system we have implemented and having that running smoothly. Being in construction also brings CIS and processing and submitting this.

What’s your best piece of advice for a young person looking to get into this sector?

Stick in! It can be a bit monotonous at the beginning, especially when you’re learning. You tend to go through phases of doing the same thing for a long time before moving onto something else, but this helps, as once you’re done you’ll be able to do it in your sleep, and it makes moving on to the next stage easier. I couldn’t have come into this role and done it straight away as you’re having to learn too much at once. It’s better to specialise in one area, then once you have that skill on lockdown, move onto the next thing.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Worksmart?

Probably the team. I really like the office and the staff I’m working with. I used to temp and go job-to-job, but I’ve not been interested in moving since I arrived here. It’s a great company to work for, there’s great banter and they make you feel really appreciated.

And finally, when you get out of the office, what do you like getting up to?

Socialising with my friends, planning my wedding and I like going on holidays; I’m always going on holidays. This year I’ve been to Paris, I’m going to Poland in September and then I’m away to Iceland and New York in December!