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Contracting Climate Change with COP28

What is COP28?

The annual United Nations Conference of the Parties in 2023, commonly known as COP28, unites over 160 nations committed to addressing the adverse human effects on the climate.

COP28 is the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference and is being held from 30 November until 12 December 2023 at the Expo City, Dubai.

Anticipated attendees at COP28 include figures such as Rishi Sunak and King Charles, alongside numerous other world leaders.

How does COP28 affect GS Contracts?

As a company, we are interested in the discussions at the COP28 Conference and recognise the urgent need to address climate change.

We are dedicated to understanding how we can contribute to global efforts. By closely monitoring the outcomes and agreements at the conference, we aim to align our business practices with sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives.

Our keen interest lies in several of COP28’s climate discussions, particularly those centred around global supply chains.

We are particularly focused on talks that address the adoption of more sustainable practices and the imperative to decarbonise, aiming to make a significant impact in these areas.

In essence, our company sees COP28 as a pivotal platform for learning, collaboration, and action.

By staying informed, fostering sustainable practices, and actively participating in discussions surrounding global supply chains and decarbonisation, we aim to contribute meaningfully to the collective efforts aimed at addressing the challenges posed by climate change.

Celebrating World Mental Health Day: Mental Health is a Universal Human Right.

World Mental Health Day is a time to raise awareness about mental health and an opportunity to encourage individuals to seek help when facing mental health challenges, no matter the circumstance.

This year’s theme, “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right,” highlights the importance of equal access to mental health resources and support.

At GS Contracts, we believe that mental health is just as important as physical health, which is why we are dedicated to providing our staff with the support they may need.

We believe that by supporting mental health in our workplace, we can create a more productive and positive work environment for everyone.

We do our best to support our staff. Take a look below at some of the ways we support mental health in our workplace.

Mental Health Resources

At our company, we encourage our staff to speak openly about their mental health. However, we understand that this can be a difficult topic for some individuals. That’s why we make it clear that there are support charities available to assist them. One excellent charity is the Lighthouse Club, which provides aid and support to those in need within the construction industry.

Unfortunately, every working day, two construction workers take their own life. This is why the Lighthouse Club is so dedicated to educating those around us on the signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression to help provide the support they need.

Visit the Lighthouse Club Website Here

Encourage Open Communication

As a business, it’s important for us to encourage open communication about mental health in the workplace.

We try to create a supportive and inclusive work culture by encouraging open communication and creating a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health.

Posters are dotted up and around the office and workshop to encourage speaking up and getting support.

Providing Mental Health Training

Our site manager, Lee Brittain is currently in the process of renewing his mental health first aid training.

Lee is on hand to provide support to all of our staff members and is on hand to any employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress.

In today’s world having someone like Lee on the team makes a huge difference in the well-being of our employees.

Our commitment to our staff’s well-being is unwavering, and we strive to create a work environment that is positive and productive for all.

A Glimpse into our Workshop Team’s Favourite Projects

This month, we had the pleasure of sitting down with some of the incredible members of our workshop team to delve into their favourite projects and pieces.

Our 20,000 sqft manufacturing space and a team of machinists, bench joiners and sprayers provide bespoke joinery services for our valued clients.

Each team member brings their unique touch and dedication to each and every project.

Take a look below at some of the teams favourite projects:

Donutelier By Roladin

Interior of Donutelier By Roladin a Doughnut Bakery
Exterior of Donutelier By Roladin

First up is Roladin, a boutique bakery renowned for its delicious handmade doughnuts and pastries.

We sat down with Matt H, one of our talented joiners. Matt revealed that Roladin was one of his favourite projects to work on over his years of hard work and dedication here at GS Contracts, where precision and attention were paramount.

Donutelier by Roladin

Sugar Quay

Sugar Quay was a fantastic residential refurbishment project we worked on alongside Gaysha Limited in 2021.

One of our talented joiners, Simon, told us that Sugar Quay had to be his favourite project he was proud to have been a part of.

We manufactured and installed all bespoke joinery including all custom panelling, built-in furniture, doors, and frames. All bespoke upholstery and 2nd fix carpentry were also manufactured and installed by GS Contracts.

Sugar Quay

Solus Ceramics

We also spoke to James, who threw it back to the fit-out of Solus Ceramics, the leading tile supplier in London.

James told us this was certainly one of his favourite projects to be a part of, and we couldn’t agree more!

Within our 30 years of projects, Solus Ceramics stands out as a remarkable testament to the craftsmanship and dedication of our workshop team.

Solus Ceramics Showroom Refurbishment
Solus Ceramics Showroom Refit
Solus Ceramics Showroom Displays

Pavilion Road's 'Oak Clad Staircase'

Lastly we sat down with John, who highlighted this beautiful Oak Clad Staircase for a residential fit-out project on Pavilion Road in Chelsea.

Our team also worked hard manufacturing and installing all the bespoke joinery items throughout the main living area and the bedroom.

We loved the finished result!

Pavilion Road Oak Clad Staircase
Pavilion Road Oak Clad Staircase

Conclusion

Our workshop team’s dedication and passion for their craft shine through in every project they undertake.

From intricate designs to collaborative efforts, each project contributes to our ethos of creating exceptional and timeless pieces.

Need help with your next project? Get in touch today!

31 August 2023 by Hannah Steel 0 Comments

Day in the Life of a Site Manager at GS Contracts

This month, we sat down with one of our experienced site managers, Phil Burns, to discover an in-depth glimpse into the typical day that unfolds in the life of a site manager.

Phil is up bright and early on-site, ready for 7:30 am. His day begins by conducting a daily briefing with the team on-site, running through a comprehensive overview of the goals and objectives for each individual within the day.

During this time, Phil also carries out all site inductions for any new members on-site, ensuring they are ready and prepared to conduct their work safely.

After Phil has completed all briefings and inductions, he is then on hand to deal with any problems or issues that have been raised. Our site-managers play a vital role in identifying any potential concerns and resolving these issues in a safe and timely manner.

Once all potential concerns have been addressed and resolved, Phil moves on to catching up with health and safety paperwork and responds to any emails at his attention.

On-site, our site managers expect many deliveries throughout the day. Some include bespoke joinery deliveries from our 20,000 sq ft workshop in Colchester, where all items are manufactured.

Our site managers also expect to receive many other deliveries from various other contractors. It is their duty to ensure all deliveries are on schedule and delivered safely on site.

The remainder of Phil’s day consists of observing the site, ensuring everything is running smoothly according to plan and all health and safety measures are being adhered to whilst keeping on top of all emails.

Phil can also expect to carry out a second induction in the afternoon if any new team members have arrived on site.

Phil’s typical workday ends at 16:30, but this can vary depending on the project, particularly for overnight jobs, which may require him to stay until 18:30.

Conclusion

Here at GS Contracts we recognise the critical role that our site managers play in ensuring the success of our projects.

We provide them with the training, support, and resources they need to carry out their responsibilities effectively and to maintain our high standards of safety and quality.

Need help with your next project? Get in touch today!

5 July 2023 by Hannah Steel 0 Comments

Our top 10 projects of all time

Since GS Contracts was founded in 1992, we have worked on a multitude of fantastic projects. From commercial, hospitality, leisure to residential, we’ve had the opportunity to work with a range of clients and industries.

In honour of our achievements, we’ve decided to spotlight our all-time top 10 favourite projects! It was a tough call, but we’re thrilled to share these standout projects with you all.

In no particular order, check out our 10 favourites:

ROVI Ottolenghi

Located in London, Wells Street, ROVI was a spectacular project our team loved working on.

This 18-week fit-out project combined project management, technical design development, manufacturing and deliverance, providing our clients with a consistent, solution focused process.

ROVI combines its seasonal organic palate with the surroundings of natural materials providing a dining experience which relaxes our fast paced lives, excites our senses and indulges our social conversation.

Rovi Ottolenghi Restaurant Refit
Rovi Ottolenghi Restaurant Interior

Scarpetta

We absolutely loved working on this restaurant fit-out for Scarpetta in Canary Wharf.

Scarpetta is an all day Italian restaurant serving fresh pasta, Italian cocktails and a great selection of Italian wines.

With stylish interiors, a lively ambience, and great music all day, it’s the perfect spot for everyone!

Scarpetta
Scarpetta

Sugar Quay

Next up: Sugar Quay – An exciting venture away from our typical hospitality projects.

In June 2021, we had the opportunity to work on a stunning residential refurbishment project in London, which we successfully delivered to the client’s satisfaction.

Located in the Sugar Quay apartments, the property is situated along the River Thames with beautiful city scape views.

We took complete ownership of the management on-site whilst Gaysha carried out all project and finance management.

Working with the talented team at Casa Alta Design, we were able to bring a glimpse of affluent city life into the apartment.

Bespoke Joinery and Manufacturing for Sugar Quay
Sugar Quay

Colicci's Chiswick House Cafe

We were lucky enough to get the chance to complete this café refurbishment with one of our valued clients Colicci, an artisan family business of cakes, kiosks, and restaurants across the city of London.

With neutral tones, classic features and not forgetting the beautiful scenery- Ourselves and the team at Article Design helped transform the existing architectural designed space into a new-found capacity for their speciality coffee, homemade cakes, and delicious lunch items.

Chiswick House Cafe Interior
Timeless Restaurant Interior Design

Como Garden

Here at GS Contracts, we love a challenge and when we were asked to carry out a complete refit of a restaurant in High Street Kensington, London, in just six weeks we jumped at the chance!

Both the menu and the décor at Como Garden are inspired by the gardens of Lake Como. Think of a cool, sophisticated colour scheme, luscious planting throughout and the odd Renaissance-style statue.

Although strict time scales can be a challenge- this project has got to be up there with one of our favourites!

Como Garden

Solus Ceramics

Leading tile supplier, Solus Ceramics, contacted our team to help create an informal space offering architects and designers somewhere to look for tile inspiration and develop design schemes.

Our friends at BusbyWebb carried out the design for the two-floor showroom and the end result is simply stunning.

Solus Ceramics was so impressed with the final result we have been back to carry out a number of further projects at the showroom.

One of our favourites was a bespoke window display, designed by @‌aleksa_studios_london and fabricated by GS Contracts.

Solus Ceramics Showroom Refurbishment
Solus Ceramics Showroom Lighting

Cafe Murano

Café Murano is described by founder and celebrity chef, Angela Hartnett, as the ‘brassier little sister’ of Murano, her Michelin-starred restaurant.

Café Murano has branches in St James and Covent Garden, and at the end of last year, opened a third venue in Bermondsey, which GS Contracts was proud to bring to fruition.

GS Contracts is immensely proud to have taken this project from concept to the immaculate finished space.

The end result was both the perfect working environment for a fast and effective flow of service and a relaxing and tranquil dining area in the bustling city.

The Golf Groove

Our team thoroughly enjoyed working on this fit-out for The Golf Groove in Wimbledon.

This virtual golfing experience encompasses 12 virtual Golf Bays, an extensive bar & kitchen and a terrace area.

Our team carried out all joinery works for this 20-week fit-out project by utilising our in-house manufacturing facility and joinery expertise.

This fit-out project was a fantastic experience for us to work on something a bit different!

Atoll

Working with the famous designer Morag Myerscough, our team were fortunate to work on this fantastic project.

Our team manufactured this spectacular steel structure kiosk located at 1 Finsbury Avenue Square.

Collaborating with numerous designers, Myerscough created this exquisite intervention to infuse a touch of nature and vitality into an otherwise grey corporate environment.

Atoll

Bombay Bustle

Last on our list is Bombay Bustle, from start to completion this project was truly a pleasure to work on.

Bombay Bustle is an upmarket Indian restaurant located in the heart of Mayfair.

GS Contracts were hired as the project managers and fit-out contractors working from a design concept from the talented team at Fabled.

We absolutely love how the end result turned out.

Bombay Bustle Fit Out
Bombay Bustle Seating

At GS Contracts, we are proud of the work we have accomplished over the years and look forward to taking on even more exciting projects in the future.

Are you looking for a reliable fit-out contractor for your next project? Get in touch today!

Keeping Costs Down with our Pricing Team

Here at GS Contracts, we offer a complete turn-key fit-out solution with experience operating across the hospitality, leisure, residential and commercial sectors.

Throughout the process, we provide in-depth documentation, including a breakdown of costs and the scope of the project.

Our tight-knit pricing team works closely with our Contracts Managers, CAD team and Production team, ensuring every step along the way runs smoothly.

Our pricing team are responsible for producing the full scope of works where necessary and can also price from a fully detailed existing scope utilising our extensive & robust supply chain.

Keeping costs down on your fit-out project is something we’re passionate about here at GS Contracts, which is why our pricing team are always searching for the best prices and ways to meet your budget.

Get to know our pricing team below!

Get to know our Pricing Team

Alanna Chillingworth
Alanna Chillingworth- Estimator

When did you join GS Contracts?

February 2017

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

On a typical day, I balance leading the Estimating Team with producing cost estimates and fulfilling duties as the Commercial Manager for live projects.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Working with my team to deliver precise and high-quality quotes is one of my favourite parts of my job. I enjoy working with our clients to hone their quotes to ensure their project fits within their budget. I also love building relationships with our clients and their teams throughout the project, working alongside our Project Managers to manage finances. I am fortunate to work with such incredible people at GS Contracts, including our clients- they are all amazing to work with!

When did you join GS Contracts?

November 2016

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

On a day-to-day basis at GS Contracts, I am responsible for pricing all joinery works within the business, ensuring to price every job fairly and competitively.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I’d have to say the variety of work that comes in and the people I get to work with.

Gary Swift
Gary Swift- Joinery Estimator
Adam Leek
Adam Leek- Estimator

When did you join GS Contracts?

August 2022

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I currently focus on estimating, which involves determining the cost and value of every aspect involved in an inquiry’s scope. Once the costs are calculated, they are compiled into a quote document and issued to the client. This way, our client can determine if their intended work can be achieved within their budget. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people are really nice and always willing to share their professional knowledge. The coffee machine makes a good brew too!

When did you join GS Contracts?

September 2022

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I jump between running the commercial aspects of projects on site as a QS and pricing tenders for new work as an Estimator.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people; We have a great team, so it’s always a good atmosphere in the office. The Variety; We work on many different fast-paced projects, so you never know what you’ll be working on next!

Craig Barker
Craig Barker- Quantity Surveyor
Laura Warren
Laura Warren- Estimator

When did you join GS Contracts?

March 2023

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I am responsible for preparing competitive quotes for our clients and selecting trusted sub-contractors and suppliers to give a fully compliant and inclusive quotation for their desired projects.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Securing new projects whether from existing clients or new ones is always a high point.

Are you looking for a reliable pricing team for your next project? Get in touch today!

Celebrate Earth Day with us this 2023

Today at GS Contracts, we are celebrating Earth Day.

Being part of the construction industry, we need to recognise and acknowledge our effect on the environment and instead learn about the sustainable changes we can make.

By implementing greener strategies, reducing waste, and using sustainable materials, we can help contribute to protecting our planet.

Celebrate Earth Day with us this 2023
Celebrate Earth Day with us this 2023

Building a Sustainable Future

Unsurprisingly, the construction industry is one of the largest consumers of natural resources in the UK, producing more waste than any other sector.

The construction industry is responsible for 23% of global CO2 emissions, but by adopting sustainable practices and innovative methods, we can reduce our carbon footprint.

One of the biggest issues the construction industry faces is waste. However, by planning ahead, waste on site can be managed by our project managers.

Celebrate Earth Day with us this 2023

So, what are we doing?

This year’s theme of Earth Day is ‘Invest in our Planet’, and here at GS Contracts, we have committed to becoming Net Zero on Carbon Emissions by 2050 and Carbon Neutral by 2025, supporting the Net Zero Strategy.

We have joined forces with Gaysha Ltd and Heart of the City to determine a baseline carbon footprint, making science-based targets to help reduce and eliminate it.

We hope you can join us in building a greener future this Earth Day.

How do our CAD team turn your ideas into a reality?

Here at GS Contracts, we offer a complete turnkey solution, meaning we can assist with your journey from an initial idea- right through to completion.

Our CAD (Computer-Aided Design) team are responsible for creating the technical drawings for all metalwork, solid surfaces, and bespoke joinery items.

With their knowledge and years of experience our CAD team use the latest technology to create accurate, detailed and efficient drawings prior to manufacture.

Ian and Colin (Our CAD team), work closely with each client to ensure all models meet their specifications. From concept to completion, our team will work with you to turn your ideas into a reality.

CAD

What did Colin & Ian have to say?

We sat down with Colin and Ian to learn more. Here’s what they had to say.

We asked, “What’s your background and how did you get into CAD?”

Colin told us “I started at GS Contracts as a Bench Joiner and soon became a Workshop Manager. The company later took on a draughtsman meaning I regularly sat with him to go through what we needed in the workshop. I took an interest in the drawing side of things and decided to learn AutoCad off my own back in the evenings. Having just completed the course, our draughtsman decided to leave. I was then offered a new role as a draughtsman- I definitely had to step up my game over the next six weeks to gain as much knowledge as I could before he left. I’ve been drawing ever since!”

Ian said “Originally, I trained to be a Welding Engineer. I was working in a trade within an ever-evolving industry which gave me a valuable set of tools to progress into a design role. My background allows me to tackle projects with a knowledgable set that I believe a purely academic education cannot achieve”.

CAD Design

We then went on to ask “What has been your favourite project to work on so far?”

Colin said “Mine has got to be the Residential Project, Sugar Quay. It was certainly something different to what I’m used to, with some challenging details to design and high spec. joinery elements”

Ian went on to say “My personal favourite has to be ROVI Ottolenghi. This project had lots of detailed metalwork and lighting panels that ended up working really well- I just love the finished result!”

We then wanted to dig a little deeper and asked “What’s your favourite part of being a draughtsman”

Colin replied “Seeing the finished product from the drawings I’ve done is my favourite part, it’s great to see the changes that the initial design has gone through”

Ian told us “There are lots of things I love about being a draughtsman. I enjoy being able to essentially ‘fabricate’ items across multiple projects, overcoming unforeseen design clashes before they become an issue and having a big input into the overall design of the project- it’s great!”

CAD Design
CAD Design

Lastly we asked Colin and Ian “Why is having in-house draughtsman so important at GS Contracts?”

“Being able to easily discuss different details, ideas and problems with other knowledgable team members -it’s much more practical discussing details face-to-face!” Colin said.

Ian continued “It’s important to have good communication between the project directors and other team members when drawing up the designs for a project. Having this team in-house expedites the design approval stage, increases project turnaround times and the total number of projects that are completed within a given timeframe”.

It’s no doubt that the CAD team are a vital asset to the GS Contracts Team. Thanks for your hard work & dedication, Colin & Ian!

Need help with your next project? Get in touch today!

6 February 2023 by Hannah Steel 0 Comments

Building Skills for Life at GS Contracts

This year we are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2023, an annual celebration of apprenticeships across the country.

This year’s theme for National Apprenticeship Week is “Skills for Life”, a time for us to reflect upon how apprenticeships positively contribute to a successful, skilful career.

National Apprenticeship Week is the perfect opportunity for us to appreciate and acknowledge our apprentices here at GS Contracts.
Over the last 30 years, we have been providing people with the opportunity to grow and develop through different apprenticeship schemes.

Currently, we have two apprentices, Freddy and Colby, undergoing their Level 2 Bench Joinery Apprenticeship Schemes.

What Freddy and Colby had to say

Freddy National Apprenticeship Week
Freddy- Bench Joiner Apprentice

We sat down with Colby and Freddy to discuss their Bench Joinery apprenticeships. Here is what they had to say.

We asked, “What made you choose an apprenticeship as the next step in your career?”.

“Definitely due to the more practical side of things, learning the skill on the job definitely helped me make my decision,” Freddy said.

Colby told us “As I’m 23 and slightly older than the typical apprentice, earning a wage whilst learning the trade was important for me”.

We then went on to ask, “What skills have you built since starting your apprenticeship?”

Freddy said, “My communication has certainly improved since starting the apprenticeship, and my maths too! Learning from more experienced Bench Joiners in the business has definitely elevated my skills!”

Colby continued, “Communication is a skill that has definitely improved for me too, but also learning from knowledgable and experienced people around me has allowed me to learn and develop new skills quickly, such as interpreting plans and designs”.

We then went on to ask, “What skills have you built since starting your apprenticeship?”

Freddy said, “My communication has certainly improved since starting the apprenticeship, and my maths too! Learning from more experienced Bench Joiners in the business has definitely elevated my skills!”

Colby continued, “Communication is a skill that has definitely improved for me too, but also learning from knowledgable and experienced people around me has allowed me to learn and develop new skills quickly, such as interpreting plans and designs”.

Colby Bench Joiner Apprentice

We agree apprenticeships are a fantastic way to support young people whilst learning on the job, surrounded by those that know the trade and are able to provide them with the skills they need to develop.

Are you considering an apprenticeship with GS Contracts? Get in touch today!

What have we learnt in the last 30 years?

Last year we celebrated our 30th anniversary here at GS Contracts.
Founded in 1992 by Gary Smith, we have grown from humble beginnings to the strong team we are today.
We have taken it upon ourselves to look back over the last 30 years to reflect on what we have learnt and the impact we have made.

The last 30 years have allowed us to learn from our mistakes, overcome many challenges and achieve spectacular things.

Here’s what we’ve learnt over the last 30 years…

The importance of building a good team

One of the most important lessons we’ve taken away over the last 30 years is the importance of building a good team around you.

We are proud to have built a dedicated and professional team around us, creating a high level of efficiency and collaboration in the workplace.

Not only internally but also externally, it’s crucial for us to have a reliable team around us, including material suppliers and subcontractors who all follow a similar ethos to ourselves.

Today in 2023, we have a strong and devoted team driving us to success that we are incredibly grateful for, and that is continuing to grow and evolve.

GSC Team

The right person for the job

Putting the right personnel on the right project is a skill we have learnt to perfect.

We understand that everyone has their own unique skills and abilities, which comes in handy when selecting the right people for a certain project.

Selecting a team of people who can collaboratively work together while bringing different strengths is pivotal to achieving the end goal.

GS Contracts Installation

Successfully planning ahead

This industry has taught us the importance of planning a job properly.

The planning process is principal for any one of our projects- no matter how big or small!

Planning thoroughly helps us eliminate unnecessary mishaps further down the line and ensures each project can run smoothly with a clear and structured method in place.

Once a project has gone live, our trusted project managers are always on hand to ensure everything operates fluidly and correctly.

GS Contracts Project Design

Listening to our clients

We spoke to our founder, Gary Smith, to discuss what he believes the most important lessons we’ve learnt over the last 30 years are.

Gary stressed the importance of listening to our clients, helping us to understand their requirements and exactly what they expect from us.

Spending time listening and communicating with each and every client helps to provide a successful result in line with their expectations.

Not only do we directly deal with clients, but we also spend lots of time integrating with architects and designers in order to provide the fabrication and solution to their ideas; therefore, it is important for us to build up good relationships with every designer to ensure the operational procedure will run smoothly and successfully.

Frescobaldi Interior
Pre Salons Retail Fit-Out Interior

Treat every project as our own

The final lesson we’ve learnt over the last 30 years, and arguably the most important, is putting ourselves in the shoes of our clients.

By our team treating every project as their own, we are able to ensure that each job is managed professionally and handed over to the highest quality.

It’s our job to understand your goals and turn your visions into a reality, which is why our team are trained to deliver each unique project to an exceptional standard.

Workshop
Manufacturing a counter

So, what have we learnt?

The last 30 years have taught us many valuable things, all of which have led us to the success of where GS Contracts is today.

We are committed to providing the best quality spaces for our clients and dedicated to continuing to develop and hone our skills this year.

Thank you to everyone for supporting our journey over the last 30 years, and we look forward to what the next 30 have in store for us!

Get in touch with us today to kickstart your fit-out project this 2023.