That is an impressive undertaking because MB Plant and Civils has contracts across the county and beyond but it is a value that Matthew holds dear.
“I am always available. That is how I get clients to trust me and the guys who work for me. It is also good for my team’s morale if they know I am putting in the shifts just as they are.”
There is also the fact that daily visits will nip any potential problems in the bud. ‘With some of the bigger operators,’ says Matthew, ‘if there is a problem, the supervisor might not be able to get on site for a few days or even longer. In that time what was a small, easily solvable problem, has escalated and become something major. If I get on site instantly, I can usually sort the issue out quickly.”
Keeping abreast of all the work sites is one of the reasons that MB Plant and Civils is consolidating at the moment. “I am after quality, not quantity,” says Matthew. “We could keep growing, there are certainly enough building projects out there. But I want to stay connected to all the projects and I want to know all the teams working on the projects. Once you start to scale up, you lose the personal touch.”
This approach extends to the size of project that MB Plant and Civils will take on. Large scale, put-em-up-quick projects are the last thing Matthew and his team want to become involved in. The current workload comprises a number of smaller, bespoke developments, with between 10-20 houses. The company also take on individual properties that need deep drainage solutions. These can be refurbishments or new builds but, with properties in Norfolk springing up rapidly, there is a lot of work available for a specialist company willing to take on small, bespoke projects.
“With some of these projects, a smaller operator, a one-man band, for example, might not have the equipment or specialist knowledge of deep drainage,” explains Matthew. “We are small enough to get involved with household drainage requirements but large enough to have the wherewithal to do the job.”
It’s not just a need to put his own personal touch on each project that is driving Matthew’s desire to remain a small-scale operator. Having spent a number of years driving many miles to jobs in London, Essex and Bedfordshire, he is very conscious of the amount of travel he asks his workforce to do. ‘Most of the team are local to Norfolk. I don’t want to ask them to drive to a job for two hours before putting in a day’s work. I want my staff to have a good quality of life too. These are highly skilled workers doing highly specialised work and there is plenty of local opportunities for us to showcase our work and level of expertise.”
And that is Matthew’s ethos when it comes to work. Drive hard to ensure each job is completed to the highest standard and make sure both the workforce and the client feel valued. “It’s hard starting a business and saying ‘no’ to some jobs,” says Matthew, “But now I have a clear idea of the direction I want the business to take and that includes ensuring I stay fully hands on.”