Build July (2016)

Build Magazine 34 Ainsworth Civils & Engineering is a medium formwork and civil engineering company based in Kent. Its dedicated managing director, Julius Ainsworth, and his workforce, provide multi-award winning services that encompass all aspects of civil engineering, groundworks and reinforced concrete construction. Speaking of the foundation of the company, Julius reflects upon the success that he has enjoyed, stating an unequivocal pride in his work. “I founded Ainsworth Civils & Engineering 12 years ago and have never looked back. “We work with a number of blue-chip main contractors; to name but a few, these include Balfour Beatty Rail, Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering, Birse Civils, Costain, Skanska, National Grid, SSE Plc Medway, Siemens, Dyer & Butler and Volkerfitzpatrick. Our services include working in the environmental, power generation, rail, renewable energy, road, waste water and water sectors.” Most recently, Julius enjoyed success in negotiating to move from a standard NEC contract to a cost-plus contract for a large rail depot. As he explains, “this essentially reshaped the commercial side of our business as well as the project delivery, giving us the confidence to take on more complex projects in the future.” This experience underpins the wider approach that Julius takes with Ainsworth Civils, ensuring that clients get an expectation that is realistic and yet devoted to achieving high standards. “We are very clear from the beginning about what we can and will deliver. Good communication is key between clients and suppliers to avoid costly errors and delays. When plans change unavoidably on a project, our teams are innovative and flexible to bring them back on track while always maintaining our flawless safety record, our quality of work and our professionalism.” Julius recognises the presence of a number of challenges within the industry, highlighting two distinct areas that hugely affect the way his business operates: the quality of his employees and the complexity of the projects he takes on. “This is true for all SMBs in our industry,” he adds. “Having been involved in difficult projects with complicated contractor issues in the past, we have established clear channels of communication to flag anticipated issues early and thereby prevent possible escalation of the problems. We also actively promote our staff internally, often bringing them up through the ranks. At Ainsworth Civils we reward initiative and exceptional work. Our professional work principles apply internally to our staff just as much as they do externally. Quality, reliability and professionalism are at the heart of what we do.” Due to his focus on his workforce, Julius is very familiar with recent trends in the availability of labour. “Since founding the company, I have seen great diversification of the labour force alongside a marked reduction in youth entering the industry. This is a shame, as the industry needs them and I would gladly take on more apprentices right now. We already work with local colleges and fully support their apprenticeship schemes.” That said, Julius finds ways to persevere through challenging circumstances; his success up to the present underpins the value in his mantra: “Know your worth and be clear about your abilities. Also, keeping a cap on your own overheads is crucial as it is so easy for a smaller company to lose control of its cost base.” Building on these principles upon which Ainsworth Civils was founded, Julius discusses a selection of his current projects. “We are involved in the Crossrail project, working on rebuilding Abbey Wood station. We are also working with Kent’s Scape Group framework on our latest project, the Church Marshes Waste Transfer Station redevelopment in Sittingbourne, Kent.” Scape Group is a local authority owned built environment specialist offering a full suite of national procurement frameworks and design solutions helping local government deliver infrastructure projects. “Working together with sub-contractors like Ainsworth Civils, they support the entire lifecycle of the build environment, enabling a smooth procurement journey, stimulating local growth in communities and delivering demonstrable outcomes on projects.” Having recently moved to bigger premises to accommodate their growing staff numbers, Ainsworth Civils are tendering for various large projects, as well as growing their property development in South East England. As far as future aspirations for the company go, Julius comments, “We want to continue growing our market share through our strategic partnerships with main contractors. With the EU referendum delivering a shockwave to international markets, the future growth of Ainsworth Civils will be influenced by current political uncertainty. However, I am feeling optimistic about the outcome, as I believe the UK economy is robust enough to survive initial turmoil: in our case we can ultimately pick up the slack and continue steady growth.” Special Feature Civil Engineer of the Month - Ainsworth Civils & Engineering Julius Ainsworth