Work Radar may not be exactly Tinder for the construction industry – perhaps more like ‘Plenty of Subbies’ – but it seeks to help main contractors fill local supply chains and small local tradespeople get onto the big sites in their area.
Morgan Sindall Construction is the first major contractor to sign up and wants others to as well, to make it work.
Work Radar has been developed by Local Supply Chain, a cloud-based supply chain platform launched in 2016 by Lincolnshire financial services group Totemic with the support of several contractors, including Morgan Sindall Construction, GF Tomlinson, Lindum and Wates.
The original Local Supply Chain platform was developed by chief executive Richard Ratcliffe to meet a perceived need across the UK’s construction industry for software to manage all project management processes in one place. Early clients used the platform for sourcing subcontractors for construction projects across the East Midlands, gaining some 3,000 subcontractor registrations within the first 12 months.
As usage increased, new features were added, including the sharing of pipeline projects, issuing and receiving pre-qualification questionnaires and enquiries, and providing feedback.
Work Radar takes this forward, offering a platform for small businesses and individual operators to access work opportunities on specific projects in their region, while simultaneously enabling large construction firms to boost their all-important social value score by using local trades. Contractors will instantly be able to review the health and safety certifications of potential supply chain members and regularly monitor key performance indicators.
Morgan Sindall Construction has launched the scheme with projects currently listed on Work Radar including the £18m Eden Girls Leadership Academy and the £6m Kings Heath Boys Secondary School, both in Birmingham.
Work Radar is funded by subscriptions from contractors and is free to use for all organisations registering interest in finding work.
Richard Ratcliffe, chief executive of Local Supply Chain, said: “We’re very proud to launch Work Radar, a high quality, innovative tool that will allow contractors to develop increased efficiencies in their procurement processes in a manner which will enhance their ability to support social value outputs within their wider operations. For microbusinesses, social enterprises and SMEs, it offers a streamlined way to register interest in work opportunities on their doorstep.
“Through increased access to social enterprises through Work Radar, construction firms can ensure that their procurement processes are benefitting the communities in which they work – both through engaging with social enterprises that support the needs of local people, and by developing ties with local workers that will help create sustainable procurement practices in the long term.”
Morgan Sindall Construction head of supply chain Gavin Jamieson said: “As a founding partner of the Work Radar scheme, we see it as a refreshing and engaging way of helping tradespeople gain work on projects local to them. Many of these tradespeople have been disadvantaged by recent events, and we are now deploying Work Radar across our projects to help them to gain employment.
“I’d like to encourage my colleagues across the built environment to join us on Work Radar. These are uncertain times for us all, and its incumbent upon us to work together to ensure not just a sustainable future for construction industry itself, but to improve outcomes across the economy and society – we believe Work Radar is an effective tool to help do just that.”
In addition to Morgan Sindall, other contractors posting their projects on Work Radar so far include Chesterfield-based Melfort Construction Services and Derby’s MJ Robinson Structures.
Paul Goodwin, director at Melfort Construction Services Ltd said: “Melfort is looking forward to supporting this initiative. As a company we always strive to support local businesses and recruit local labour as we find this is always beneficial to the project, especially in helping to reduce carbon footprint and travel times for both labour and materials. Work Radar will help us to identify opportunities which will be mutually beneficial for all.”
Richard Fry, commercial and sales director, MJ Robinson Structures said: “Our use of Work Radar will allow us to integrate fully with local supply chains, social enterprises, reduce our carbon foot print and further strengthen our commitment to invest in local apprenticeship schemes and create work experience opportunities for local students.”