Castle Group Scotland Ltd is a small firm of building and civil engineering contractors specialising in the structural repair and maintenance sectors of the construction industry. Located in Auchterarder, the company employs 15 people.
The VIBES judges were very impressed that Castle Group Scotland is a company committed to reducing the effects of its site works. All projects are subject to an environmental impact assessment, regardless of value, and any project above £200,000 has a site waste management plan, which is not mandatory. It also has an emergency incident response plan for each site, which includes a section on protected species habitats.
In 2009, the company implemented an Environmental Management System across their sites. Castle Group Scotland has had ISO 14001 accreditation since 2010 and obtained the Carbon Trust standard in 2011—1 of only 40 construction companies in the UK to do so. The company also reports carbon emissions voluntarily via the Scottish Business in the Community Mayday Carbon Reporting programme. The judges were also pleased to note that the company uses local suppliers where possible, particularly for material supplies, and uses local waste management companies for site works. Using local suppliers has reduced transport to and from a central warehouse which has now closed, saving transport costs, staff time, property rates and rental.
Castle Group Scotland has gone from 100% waste to landfill in 2009 to 96% recycling in the last 3–4 years. To date, the company has generated 540 tonnes of waste, of which 518 tonnes has been diverted from landfill. Stone is reused where possible. In addition, savings in office energy (a reduction of ~10% in 2012 from 2011) and vehicle fuel (19% reduction in 2012 from 2011) have also been realised. Waste has also been reduced by 17%. In total, savings of £42,000 have been recognised, of which 34% relates specifically to environmental improvements.
The judges were delighted to find that the company engages proactively with contractors on environmental issues, with training provided on the company’s environmental procedures. A contractor’s environmental performance is reviewed as part of its overall performance.
The company has proactively sought to reduce its impact on the environment by using simple ideas, such as installing debris nets in road drains to catch site silt/debris run-off, and using novel methods of water course protection, such as non-degradable grout bags in preference to traditional rock-filled gabion baskets. This innovative solution has been used on three BEAR projects to date.
The VIBES panel was also impressed by the fact that the company has a comprehensive monitoring system located on Sharepoint. Information is logged and tracked, and key performance indicators are set. This allows them to track any site issues, such as spillages, which enables them to inform the relevant regulatory bodies in a timely manner.
The company involves all staff in environmental issues through regular training and listening to employee feedback. Monthly reporting of best-performing vehicles/drivers and waste management has helped to reduce fuel and waste costs. Castle Group Scotland has also had Investors in People in place since 2007 and provides an apprentice scheme, through which an apprentice has won ‘Apprentice of the Year’ two years in a row.
Finally, the judges were pleased to hear that Castle Group Scotland was featured as a case study at the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) conference in 2011, and its alternative weir bridge construction method used for a Scottish Power project was replicated for a similar project.