Case Study: Construction Testing Solutions
A construction consulting and testing services company with big ambitions and unique needs turns to AdEPT for flexible IT support and expertise that works for both today and tomorrow. You can scroll down to read on, or click below to download now as a PDF.
The work of the construction and civil engineering industry is all around us. It’s putting roofs over our heads; bringing water, electricity and broadband into our homes; giving us roads, railways, ports and airports for travel; and helping us live healthy, happy lives through everything from hospitals to leisure centres.
Of course, what we see of this industry is only the tip of the iceberg. For any construction project to succeed, an enormous amount of work happens behind the scenes – and Construction Testing Solutions (CTS) is one of the UK’s leading lights in this respect.
As its full name suggests, CTS tests and analyses physical aspects of construction projects, such as soil and structural integrity. To do this, it has a network of 16 laboratories and offices, stretching from the Shetland Islands to beyond Billericay. It also has a Doncaster branch, which is how CTS came to work with AdEPT’s Senior Technical Consultant Sel Acton, based within AdEPT’s Doncaster team.
With such a broad geographic reach and staff working across sites, CTS’ IT systems and networks must be comprehensive and consistent. Having one laboratory benefit from good connectivity for outbound communications is no good if another laboratory can’t get online to receive and act on those communications.
At the same time, CTS’ staff often work in the field, supporting construction projects that typically have rigid schedules and hard deadlines. Consequently, CTS’ systems must stand up to remote working demands and be reliable around the clock. Additionally, staff also use specialist scientific equipment, which also depends on a reliable IT infrastructure.
It all adds up to some unique IT challenges – and ones that require unique solutions. And it is IT Manager Tim Wallhead, with the support of his team and AdEPT, who finds those solutions and makes it all run smoothly.
He explains: “Anything to do with IT falls to my small team and me, with the close support of AdEPT. Together, we look after the day-to-day IT, but we also keep our eyes on the bigger picture – like our growth plans.
“We’ve acquired companies over the past few years. So our work isn’t just about bringing together staff and sites, it’s also about integrating the systems of the companies that have joined CTS.”
As with every industry and every business, the pandemic has also challenged CTS. But while some sectors have had no choice but to cease operations entirely, the situation isn’t as clear-cut for the construction industry. For example one study found that 38 per cent of businesses were still able to operate, which may be due to the outdoors nature of construction work.
Consequently, says Tim, CTS did not see a significant dip in demand for its services. But CTS staff certainly were affected by the pandemic – and that posed further challenges.
He adds: “Just like any workforce through the pandemic, our staff had children at home, and there were times when they had to isolate. So we had to manage a major change in working practices while keeping up with our client needs.
“And as a lot of our work can only happen in laboratories, we had to set up new shift systems to ensure social distancing. We also had to acquire and set up new hardware for staff to use at home – and train them on unfamiliar software, like Teams. And we had to do all of this really quickly.”
AdEPT staff are routinely praised by customers for being proactive – for looking to the future to anticipate challenges that may affect a customer’s IT systems.
However, the significant changes prompted by the pandemic meant it wasn’t the time for future gazing. It was time for CTS and AdEPT to roll up their sleeves to make big changes overnight.
“One thing that was really challenging in the first lockdown was finding hardware,” explains Tim. “But AdEPT was of great help here, helping me source and set up technology that might have otherwise taken a long time to arrive and roll out.
“And then there was the inevitable rise in support queries that come with staff using new technology. And again, AdEPT was there to help – with helpdesk support for what was at the time of the pandemic, a 350-strong workforce.”
Notably, while AdEPT was on hand to help solve these short-term challenges, Tim and AdEPT did not let the longer-term work drop off the radar.
He says: “Despite the pandemic and all the restrictions in place, I worked with Sel to complete a technology audit of all our sites.
“It’s taken a while to do, but it’s so important to us to understand the systems we have across our estate. We needed this to make crucial decisions and to plan for our future.”
For Tim, completing this project means he can now confidently work on his next big task – to develop a ‘template’ for integrating the IT systems of future companies that CTS acquires. It’s a long-term project, but it’s a challenge Tim enjoys – supported by the changes introduced during the pandemic, which have become a permanent feature of CTS, as part of its ambitious growth plans.
“IT work is a mix of long term and short term – and it’s that diversity that I love,” says Tim.
“What is also rewarding about doing this at CTS is that we’re rapidly-growing company with big plans.
“So we’re large enough to provide a comprehensive, advanced service, but still agile, giving our customers a personal and open service, working together as one, very supportive, team.”
CTS’ culture has many similarities with AdEPT’s own ethos. So we always pride ourselves on being an extension of any client’s IT team – an approach hopefully reflected in Tim’s experience.
He adds: “What stands out is AdEPT’s flexibility and willingness to help. And then there’s Sel himself – he is a real asset to AdEPT.”
AdEPT supports Construction in the following areas.
- Managed service – leadership support – one day per week
- Managed service – technical engineer – one day per week
- Security services and environment management
- Cloud-based Sage 200 facility with secure access
- Site visits and reports with recommendations
- CTS global vision design in conjunction with Tim Wallhead
- Feasibility testing for the full company to move to the cloud
- Assistance with budget planning
- Hardware supply and advice.
- Top-level support for over 350 users in over ten locations
- Physical network infrastructure refurbishment
How can we help?
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