The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community


7 May 2021

Welcome to this week’s Grapevine, the place to get your bitesize FM updates in one place, in a handy five-minute read.

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Mitie Landscapes backs No Mow May to Support Biodiversity

Spring has officially kicked-off in the UK and with flowers beginning to bloom, many people are getting their gardening gloves ready. However, frequent mowing impacts the habitat of many pollinators and has the potential to reduce the number of bees and flies. So, holding back on the trimmers and lawn mowers in May, when grass’ growth picks-up after a cold winter, can have a big impact on biodiversity as it gives a chance for different types of flowers to grow, boosting nectar production, which is key for pollinators.

With this in mind, Mitie will be supporting the ‘No Mow May’ campaign, encouraging businesses and members of the public to pause some of their mowing and weeding. By reducing these activities, plants will be able to produce up to ten times more nectar for bees and other pollinators. The campaign was created by conservation charity Plantlife, to encourage biodiversity.

As well as postponing lawn mowing and weeding across its own sites, several Mitie customers, covering 50 sites across the UK, have already signed-up to the initiative to help retain attractive habitats for bees, butterflies and beetles. This is particularly important since pollinators are declining in numbers in the UK. For example, the number of wild bee and hoverfly species present in their natural habitat fell by a third between 1980-2013.

Throughout the month, the Mitie Landscapes team will keep track of the positive impact of No Mow May by monitoring the number and species of plants that are present at site locations. By sharing this information with Plantlife, the project will also feed into the charity’s conservation work. Mitie will also use its landscaping and sustainability expertise to work with customers and identify whether any of their estate can be permanently transformed into wildflower meadows. This is particularly important since 97%, around three million hectares – the equivalent to almost twice the size of Wales – of UK wildflower meadows have been lost since 1930.

Chequers Wins Three-Year Ground Maintenance Contract with Thrive Homes

Chequers, the specialist services partner for the housing sector, has won a three-year contract with Thrive Homes to provide ground maintenance and arboriculture services. The services will be provided across 104 schemes, primarily in the Three Rivers District around Watford.

Thrive is a business built around the importance of the home, providing a foundation that enables individuals and families to build the lives they want. Thrive manages around 5,000 homes throughout Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire. The Home Counties provides residents with an ideal mixture of beautiful countryside, excellent leisure facilities, and historic buildings.

James Kelly, Managing Director at Chequers, commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity and we’re so pleased to win such a great contract. We look forward to developing a strategic partnership with Thrive and improving the lives of its customers. We want to help develop social enterprises, expand with locally-based supply chains, and promote employment opportunities to residents. These are exciting times ahead with this contract and we can’t wait to get started.”

Chequers has over 30 years’ experience delivering grounds maintenance to the social housing sector and a long history of excellent customer relations and delivering great services. Thrive wanted to consolidate its ground maintenance provision to one service provider in this area to improve the service and create better community partnerships.

Rebecca Handley, Relationship Management lead at Thrive, commented: “Chequers demonstrated a solid understanding of our customers’ needs throughout the tender process. Coupled with their proven experience in delivering quality grounds maintenance services, I have every confidence Chequers will deliver against our fair standards. We look forward to working in partnership with Chequers to provide an improved grounds maintenance service for our customers.”

Integrated Estate Management Announces Service Expansion

Integrated Estate Management (IEM) has announced an expansion of services, to support businesses manage their buildings during and after the pandemic. IEM simplifies the complexity of facilities management, allowing businesses to easily control the risks and ease the pain when it comes to running a building.

The UK is currently on track with its roadmap out of lockdown. Combined with a strong vaccination programme, confidence is growing among businesses and employees for a return to the workplace. However, buildings that have been vacant or under occupancy for many months may fall short in compliance and also need urgent maintenance. IEM will support businesses across the UK with a nationwide network of specialists.

IEM was founded in 2018 by Alistair Scott, a certified mechanical and electrical engineer with more than 25 years’ experience in technical engineering and senior facilities management roles. A veteran of the British Army, Alistair served for 14 years in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers before leaving as a Captain. The idea of IEM was conceived from Alistair’s frustration at the un-necessarily complexities of the FM industry, and created out of his passion to make a real difference.

IEM delivers hard services, planned and reactive maintenance along with technical projects. With the goal to simplify the difficulties of facilities management, IEM can transform an estate from a risk to a beneficial asset. Utilising their vast experience, IEM know the complications to effectively manage a building, and understand the frustration of spending time controlling risks instead of being able to make positive business contributions. IEM specialises in delivering its skills in a simple and professional way, providing a personal touch that cannot be found within large FM providers.

Alistair Scott, Operations Director at IEM, commented: “I have worked in senior FM roles across numerous industries and the common factor is that facilities management is far too complex. I believe that facilities management should be simple to understand and deliver. With the added challenge of compliance and asset management in buildings that have been vacant for a long time, I want to help organisations better understand their buildings, have more control over them, and transform their estates into business enhancers.”

30 April 2021

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Bidvest Noonan Appoints Microbiology Expert to Support Growth in Life Sciences

Bidvest Noonan has recruited Tessa Rossi, a microbiologist with extensive research and laboratory experience, to enhance its support to its growing portfolio of life sciences clients.

Rossi previously served as Lead Research Scientist at Ophthalmica, a South African ophthalmic medical devices company, and as Quality Control Microbiology Analyst at a multi-national pharma leader.

In this newly created role, Rossi will contribute to the design of contamination control programs, procedures, and policies for biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device manufacturing sites.

Bidvest Noonan works with life sciences companies to prevent biological, chemical or physical contamination during their manufacturing processes. The company has continuously invested in its GMP and GLP cleaning expertise to support these efforts. The appointment of Tessa Rossi bolsters the businesses expertise as it prepares to mobilise a number of new contracts in the sector.

Commenting on the appointment, Managing Director Cormac Sheils said, "I'm delighted to welcome Tessa to our team. We are proud to support companies that produce many of the world's most important and ground-breaking medicines and biotechnologies. The work they do has never been more important. I know that Tessa will enable us to provide even greater support to them."

Tessa Rossi said, "I'm excited to be part of the Bidvest Noonan team. I'm looking forward to working closely with my new colleagues to drive improvements for our portfolio of world-class life sciences companies. 

JCT’s Networking Group for Young Professionals Offers Corporate Memberships

JCT’s Young Professionals Group (YPG) is now offering corporate memberships for firms looking to provide networking and learning opportunities for their new construction professionals.

The YPG is a cross-industry networking group for construction professionals within the first ten years of their career, students, and those new to the industry regardless of age.

The group is set up to provide young professionals with a range of benefits, including peer-to-peer networking, online webinars and face-to-face talks from expert speakers on a variety of topics, and a dedicated, member-only online portal with articles, papers, interviews, and other useful content in addition to a space to share views and ideas.

The YPG has been growing in numbers over the last year during the Covid-19 pandemic and, due to the restrictions, has been hosting a number of online talks and webinars for members.

Membership of the YPG has been available for individuals for an introductory fee of just £5. This offer is now available for businesses operating in the construction sector who are looking to provide development opportunities for their new members of staff.

JCT Chief Executive, Neil Gower, said: “The JCT Young Professionals Group represents JCT’s commitment to providing education, training, and networking opportunities for those entering the industry.

“Our unique position as a cross-industry, collaborative body enables us to provide a platform for the sharing of information and knowledge, and the forming of relationships that are so crucial to professionals embarking on their construction careers.

“The corporate membership scheme provides another opportunity for firms who are serious about the development of their staff.”

More information about the YPG, including signing up to individual or corporate memberships, is available at

Glyn Allen Launches GD Allen Consultancy Ltd

Glyn Allen, an experienced property, facilities, and maintenance lead with over 25 years’ experience with management of multi sector properties, decided that in the February of this year, following a summer of enjoyment and reflection (despite lockdown), to follow his dream and set up his own consultancy.

Over his career, Glyn has had experience with working for several blue-chip companies (Local Authorities, Private Practice, Banking, Fitness Hospitality, and leisure.)

By Glyn’s own omission he has also had the luxury of working across the UK and latterly across the globe, understanding how each market works in different ways, and adapting a global framework.

With a demonstrated history of working within the UK and Global markets, specifically in the Leisure, Food & Beverages industries. 

He is skilled in Negotiation, Business Planning, Operations Management, Sales and Facility Management (FM). A strong operations professional with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) focused on Building Surveying from South Bank University.

“There is always a need to understand what the business requires, what is the outcome they want?” Glyn said.

“It’s really interesting how the contacts you make over the years, and the impression you make on them help to you bring work in. Throughout my working life I have never been one to say, ‘that's not my job’ and that willingness has held me in good stead throughout the years. Change is also to be embraced, some good and some bad, but you pull on those experiences.”

“Understanding both the FM requirement to ensure quick and efficient delivery but maintaining a tight grip on budgets, always remembering the key people in my working life who you look back and know you have learnt a lot from”.