Kusten Vorland Snowfall Policy

Friday, 18 January 2013  |  Admin

Welsh Business Comes to a Snow Stand Still, an interview with Ian Summers, Head of Operations for Kusten Vorland.




It is business as usual at the Kusten Vorland offices today, my first call was 4am this morning. We were out clearing snowfall from heavy machinery and walkways to allow site work to continue with minimal disruption. The penalties on most of our sites for missing a deadline are financially heavy. Because of health and safety concerns we can’t carry on with usual outdoor site work but similar constraints apply to working in heavy rain. Operationally we are more prepared with lessons learned from the summer rainfall of 2012, with all of our roofing sites on stop for most of the summer, it hit us hard financially. When we hear a forecast of snow and ice we call in all our staff and work indoors, re-programming work wherever possible. The more notice of changes in weather we can get the easier planning is, we risk assess our sites and decide which areas we can work in and re schedule others. Idle staffs are a huge cost and we have to find operational solutions post snowfall.

  • What needs to be done to prevent this sort of disruption happening when we have snowfall?

It is difficult to prepare especially in geography like South Wales where the effects of the snow are so disparate across the region but transport is key to keeping businesses running smoothly. If staff can get to work safely then the majority of businesses will remain operational. My main issues today haven’t been my staff not turning up, its suppliers being closed. We needed some keys cut for one site and to purchase a specialist tool for another and it took my supervisors 2 hours to locate suppliers open in the snow. When phoning round the general mood was “obviously we are shut!”. If businesses prepare in advance and communicate to staff how they will be transported to work, it will maintain staff levels on snowy days.

  • How prepared to you think we are as a nation for snowfall on this scale?

With all the policies we have in place as a employers- Training, Health and Safety, Environmental; many businesses still do not devise and communicate an adverse weather policy. Our department has a policy in place which we call our “Rainy Day”, it clearly describes to staff what happens in snow fall. It’s quite a simple policy, staff sit tight at home until a supervisor collects them in a 4x4 pick up equipped with winter tyres, the drivers of these vehicles attend a driving course bi-anually and get a certificate of attendance, this is integrated into our training policy and our way of life. If more businesses planned in this way I don’t think we would see so many closed doors commercially. The cost to businesses must be huge, how many days can we afford to pay our staff and not have them turn in for work? What if it snowed for 2 weeks! A policy is the answer.

  • Should the public sector be more prepared for adverse weather conditions like those we are experiencing?

As a business leader I worry about the public sectors lack of preparedness for snow fall but in reality the roads were clear from very early on today and gritted. If all staff were issued with snow boots they could each get to nearby public transport too I expect!

  • To what extent do private sector workers feel more pressure to get into work on days with adverse weather conditions?

I don’t feel private sector workers put any effort into coming into work at all when it snows, we all wait for the decision by the local schools to close and its like a domino effect. One of my suppliers in Sweden laughs down the phone at me when he watches us on the world news in snow fall. He runs a telecommunications company and often takes a photo from his office window and the snow is 8 ft deep. Once he saw footage of us panic buying groceries and he asked me how stocking up on bread and milk was going to help us in our 2 inches of snow, I didn’t know what to say!

Like most businesses In Kusten Vorland our office staff are equipped with the necessary technology to prevent them having to come into the office. Similarly switchboards are rerouted and technology in place for critical office staff to function from home seamlessly and without disruption to our customers, this is in place as part of our flexible working policy. It isn’t an integral part of our “Rainy Day” policy but could be if the snow and ice worsen.

  • The snowfall is set to continue over the weekend and into next week. What sort of impact could this have on the Welsh economy?
Looking at the Welsh economy as a whole, the effects of the snowfall if prolonged would balance out. Whilst the High Street may lose out to trade because of an unwillingness to travel, smaller independent local retailers will benefit. Similarly whilst work on planned maintenance and building would suffer, the level of reactive, emergency and insurance calls would increase.

Our collection of weather policies has been invaluable to us over the past few years, the weather has hit the headlines frequently because of extremities recently and the solution is all in the planning.


Ian Summers, Head of Operations, Kusten Vorland

18th Januray 2013


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Tuesday, 18 June 2013  |  Admin
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Thursday, 21 March 2013  |  Admin

A web of intrigue surrounds a gruesome discovery in a 19th century attic – where a large tarantula skin, potentially contaminated with asbestos, has been found.

The shock find was made during a routine survey by Cardiff asbestos specialists Kusten Vorland.

And a spider expert last night warned the beast that shed the skin could still be at large – and possibly twice the size.

Read more: Wales Online http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/need-to-read/2013/03/21/asbestos-contaminated-tarantula-could-be-on-the-loose-in-cardiff-91466-33028980/#ixzz2O9iKAv00

Wednesday, 20 March 2013  |  Admin
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Tuesday, 19 March 2013  |  Admin

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The unusual find led to lead surveyor Katie Parsons-Young boycotting the survey and returning to the office. Katie said, "After watching the film Arachnophobia, I just can't go near them. I certainly wasn't expecting to find such big, hairy, scary creatures on my site today"

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