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Beast from the East brings out the best in the West

Beast from the East brings out the best in the West

The Beast from the East brought many Bristol businesses to a standstill and left many thousands of companies struggling on with skeleton staffs.

Building firms were badly hit in March, the latest PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) for the construction sector revealing that the industry suffered its largest drop in activity since 2016, largely due to the severe weather disruption.

Not so Helm Construction which defied local as well as national trends – and managed to get a number of its personnel out to more than half a dozen active sites across Greater Bristol and the West.

Chief Executive Gary Sheppard said: “We avoided any serious drops in productivity largely because so many our staff members have bought in to our flexible, can-do ethos and are fully capable of using their initiative in the face of what were horrendous road conditions.

“Rather than expect everyone to rock up at our HQ in Pilning or sites as far away as Fairford or Minchinhampton, staff used their initiative and tried to get to the nearest Helm site to where they live.

“Our site managers directed other staff to the most accessible local schemes – but there are limits to what you can achieve in weather conditions we saw last month.

“Where practical, we switched activity to internal work and kept teams out of the worst of the snow.

“We encouraged staff who couldn’t get to a local site to use their unexpected ‘home time’ to complete on-line training programmes for the benefit of the team.

“I was really proud of the efforts our staff made to make a contribution – in the face of the worst weather I have seen since 1985.”