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


26 February 2021

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

Got a story for us? Please send news stories & press releases to:

Geoff Prudence Awarded CIBSE Honorary Fellowship

Geoff Prudence, the long-standing Chair of CIBSE Facilities Management, has been awarded a CIBSE Honorary Fellowship, one of the highest honours of the institution.

This accolade is for members of the institution who have rendered exceptional services to CIBSE over an extended period (25 years plus) during their career; or non-members, where the board deems nomination, would a) be appropriate and b) be supported by the membership at large.

Geoff is an instantly recognisable leader and director in the FM industry and particularly known for actively championing the need for effective maintenance strategies, workable designs and driving improved standards of delivery in the built environment. 

Ezitracker and CleanLink Celebrate 10-Year Strategic Partnership

Ezitracker and leading Business Management Software provider CleanLink have been delivering end-to-end time and attendance and contract management software solutions together since 2010. 

The successful partnership has been forged by ongoing innovative development between the two organisations, allowing them to deliver the most comprehensive ‘pin to pay’ integrated management software solution for the UK cleaning sector.

CleanLink’s industry-leading software was designed after many years of practical experience gained from running a contract cleaning business. Their software is structured to enable companies to efficiently grow and manage their business on a site-by-site basis. Ezitracker captures the data that feeds into CleanLink and to date, have over 35 mutual contract cleaning company clients, ranging in size from 50 to 10,000 staff.

Christian Berenger from Ezitracker said: “The Ezitracker time and attendance interface offering covers all aspects of workforce management, from onboarding, planning, arbitration, contract management, supplier management, clocking in and out, through to payroll. Over the years, Ezitracker has provided CleanLink with a time and attendance solution with consistent account management; this has supported our long-standing relationship. The partnership allows both organisations to offer a very competitive end-to-end solution.”

The CleanLink Team are UK-based and provide industry-leading software coupled with a high standard of customer support. They also provide both online and on-site training to their customers, to help ensure that they get the best from their software solutions.

Strata Wins Contract at Royal Arsenal

Strata were appointed to deliver a programme of internal painting and decorating works to communal areas across the estate, including the erection of access towers, at Royal Arsenal.

Royal Arsenal is a riverside development spanning 88 acres, in Woolwich London. With a history dating back to 1671, the former munitions factory now provides a blend of converted and new build residential properties, together with an array of commercial, retail and leisure outlets.

The works commenced in October 2020 and continue until early summer 2021.

In addition to providing a high-quality finish of works, the primary focus since the commencement of the contract has been to maintain consistent and accurate communication with the residents at all times. Strata have been coordinating resident information circulations with the on-site FM and Concierge teams, in order to communicate plans clearly and in detail. 

They also have been ensuring that their operatives provide an enhanced level of customer care whilst on site, making sure to engage with residents compassionately – ensuring that they listen to all concerns and address any questions asked.

Another aspect of key importance to Strata has been showing respect for these historic properties, and the treatment of their working areas, keeping sites clear and tidy at all times, with no items left unattended and with their welfare facilities maintained with pride.

Q3 Expands into Provision of Security Services

Q3 Services Group has announced that it has expanded its range of self-delivered services to include security.

The company has created its security division as a limited company within the Group and in a short space over the Christmas period and during lockdown, has mobilised a major contract with a retail shopping centre in Barnsley. The company has already established a wealth of security guard and manned-guarding expertise and is now capable of delivering a complete security service, on a national basis to both Blue Chip and Public Sector customers.

The company is embedding the same “boutique is beautiful” philosophy and successful management techniques to this area of service delivery, as it has in other areas of its operations. Underpinning this approach will be the organisation’s core Q3 Values of Quality Service, Quality People, Quality Clients.

Initially, Manned Guarding will be at the forefront of the company’s new Security Services operation, but the company plans to complement this with innovative technology developed with its technology partners, to create bespoke solutions, designed to protect businesses in every sector.  The use of technology to optimise and drive operational excellence, is a model that has already proven successful within Q3’s cleaning business.

Commenting on the new move, CEO Martyn Freeman said, “During the pandemic, both cleaning and security service lines have taken on an even greater importance in ensuring the smooth, continuation of “business as usual” for many clients. Our simple aim with our extension into security, is to deliver service excellence, at competitive rates, 24/7 and 365. We know that’s the winning formula for happy customers.”

19 February 2021

Got a story for us? Please send news stories & press releases to:

The Keyholding Company Launches Smart Access

Tech-enabled mobile security services company, The Keyholding Company, aims to disrupt the traditional keyholding model for businesses by removing the need for mechanical keys and saving clients up to 87 per cent on their key management and access services costs.

Smart Access uses cloud-enabled smart locks, alongside a mobile key app, to replace the need for a professional keyholder. Access rights are managed through The Keyholding Company’s well-established Smart Security Platform, which connects clients with their operational systems for smarter job booking and data insight. Like all data collected in the field, Smart Access data is made instantly accessible so clients can interrogate access logs, understand trends, and pinpoint problem areas on their estate.

Businesses can also save on key and lock replacements, ad-hoc third-party access costs, and temporary guarding fees, as well as use the platform to reduce administration time. Averaging these expenses, The Keyholding Company calculate that businesses could reduce their expenditure in these areas by up to 87%, equating to thousands of pounds per year, per property.

For The Keyholding Company’s CEO, Charlie Gordon Lennox, Smart Access is an essential next step for the industry, even if it challenges some of the company’s existing sources of revenue.

“Change is inevitable, and we must be willing to disrupt our own industry with progressive solutions. We always try to be two steps ahead at The Keyholding Company. The introduction of Smart Access is a calculated risk, but we strongly believe it is the future of keyholding as it provides the most value to our clients, which will ultimately result in growth to our business.”

Acorn Maintenance Wins Contract at Milton Park

Acorn Maintenance, the Berkshire-based building maintenance company, has commenced a new mechanical and electrical (M&E) contract at Milton Park to provide all planned and reactive maintenance works across the 302-acre site.

Acorn Maintenance operates around 400 sites in the broader South East region and has established itself across a broad range of market sectors including commercial offices, selected retail, high-end residential, education, healthcare and hotels.

A resident team will be working on the Milton Park M&E contract including the new appointment of local contract manager Jason Beecher, pictured above, who brings a wealth of valuable experience and knowledge. Jason will work alongside three engineers and administration support.

Peter King, Estate Manager, Milton Park said: “Acorn Maintenance’s 30-year track record in the specialist area of M&E maintenance within commercial buildings, along with their strong company ethos, helped to secure the contract. We look forward to working with them to provide our customers with timely solutions to any issues that arise.”

Mark Lye, Business Development Director, Acorn Maintenance added: “To secure this significant contract for our business is testament to the team’s hard work, our technical capabilities and experience. We welcome Jason to the wider Acorn team and look forward to providing Milton Park with our M&E services.”

Lockdown Loyalty

We hear from Anthony Pearlgood, a Business Consultant advising SMEs in all commercial areas.  He has 25 years of experience in running companies in the business services field:

 “Lockdown brings many challenges for companies and employees, which is why it is really important to keep your staff enthusiastic and motivated during this period. The key to this is ensuring great communication throughout your organisation. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and you may not know which of your staff are facing childcare or home-schooling challenges; what state their mental health and wellbeing is in or what else is going on in their lives. 

“That’s why a weekly phone call, with no agenda, is a really simple but effective way of communicating with your staff.  Don’t ignore the outcome of the call and make sure that, where possible, you provide any assistance that your employee needs.  This might be as simple as a bit of flexibility on start/finish times or providing some information that you might think is readily available, but the employee is not aware of. 

“Following on from this weekly call, I would also advocate a team meeting at least once per month. Why not make it on the last working day and send something to the employee’s house in advance of the team meeting – I have heard of companies sending pizzas, cakes and drinks. Make sure that you allow enough time for some more light-hearted discussion once business matters have been discussed. Then, on a quarterly basis, why not arrange a social event. It doesn’t have to take very long in planning or delivery and could be as simple as a quiz.  Other activities that I know have been successful include virtual escape rooms or some type of communal art and craft activity, although they take a bit of planning and involve some cost. 

“It is also really important to carry out Employee Engagement surveys on a regular basis. I know many companies have stopped doing this during the pandemic but what better time to gauge how your staff are feeling and what you can do to help them.  I would be advocating an increase in the frequency in the current climate and it is critical that you follow through on the main points and then regularly communicate feedback to staff, in a ‘you said … we did’ format.

“Looking after the wellbeing of your staff has never been more important and if you think you need to do more, don’t procrastinate ….. start now!”

Got a story for us? Please send news stories & press releases to: