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As we continue our celebrations of 50 years in business, we speak to Health & Safety and Procurement Director, Jason Winch, about his thirty plus years working for Chisholm & Winch.

Chisholm & Winch’s Health & Safety and Procurement Director, Jason Winch, ensures that all mission critical components of the business are in place, from supplies on site to accreditations. Instilled from dad Tony Winch at an early age was the importance of respect in relationships, a factor that has helped Jason keep things running smoothly across Chisholm and Winch’s range of projects and environments, which include prestigious venues to large scale commercial premises and busy airports. 

A dedicated career at Chisholm & Winch

Jason’s career path in construction began at 17 when he worked as labourer and hod carrier for a local company. Keen to develop his skills, he jumped at the chance to do a carpentry apprenticeship at Chisholm & Winch which took two years to complete. As Tony began to expand the business, he was on the lookout for a material buyer, and Jason’s calm nature and attention to detail made him the right fit for the role. It was when he started in this new position that Jason first began working with Simon Castle (now Managing Director at Chisholm & Winch), a partnership that has continued successfully until today.

Other than a 5-year stint working for an asbestos monitoring company in the late 1980s, Jason has spent his working life at Chisholm & Winch. His role for the past 15 years has focused entirely on Health & Safety and procurement – so fundamental to the success of the business which has carved out a niche as a trusted contractor and fit out specialist for confined and complex sites, live environments and where there are limited working hours.

Day to day

Jason starts each day in the office at 7.30am, to coincide with the sites’ opening, and gets right to the task at hand – ensuring that the necessary materials are ordered straight away, to prevent any delays on site and wasted time.

“From the outset, it was made clear to me that this was the most important part of my job, so that there aren’t guys on site waiting around, and we are doing our bit to be as efficient and economical as possible for our clients.”

Thereafter, there is Chisholm & Winch’s raft of accreditations to keep up to date which need to be checked weekly. The portfolio includes SSIP, CHAS, Constructionline, Achilles, Safe Contractor, FORS, the ISO quality and environmental accreditations and fire safety including BM TRADA and FIRAS which must be in place for Chisholm & Winch’s work at the airports.

With a dedicated operational team at Heathrow, Chisholm & Winch works closely with main contractors, including Mace and Balfour Beatty, at the airport to deliver a variety of projects both air side and passenger side. Health & Safety requirements here are understandably very stringent, and Jason ensures that the company is on top of them at all times.

Jason has spent a huge amount of time at Heathrow over the years, and his favourite part of his job is still getting out on site, working with the operatives, and acknowledging and rewarding them for their dedication to Health & Safety through monthly awards.

“Although I am office-based a lot of the time, Chisholm & Winch is genuinely a team – no one is removed from the action, so to speak! We appreciate each other, and all the directors, including myself, still want to be amongst it out on site which is where the projects are delivered.”

Memorable times

In fact, one of Jason’s favourite projects in recent years is the £10m contract with Heathrow Airport and their principal contractor, Mace, to deliver a schedule of renewal works within the airport’s one-kilometre-long cargo tunnel.

The scope of works includes breakout and removal of concrete walkways and handrails, removal of the plenum ceiling, concrete repairs and installation of a new passive fire protection (PFP) lining within the tunnel as well as ongoing environmental cleaning and maintenance. 

Jason said: “Purchasing all the materials for this major project and then seeing them translated into the project delivery is really rewarding and I’m always proud of the work we do at Heathrow, to help keep the UK’s busiest airport operating smoothly.”

Other stand out projects for Jason are his first ever one as an apprentice carpenter, for the fit out of Prue Leith’s cookery school in Kensington, no less! And also the three-phase project at Royal Mail’s headquarters where Jason was on site every couple of weeks as Chisholm & Winch transformed their Mount Pleasant site, once the home of one of the world’s largest sorting offices.

Looking back on challenges and looking ahead

The most demanding aspect of Jason’s role over the years has always been locating the specified materials for a project and getting them to site on time. He shoulders the responsibility for this during every project and it was particularly difficult over the pandemic when material shortages and spikes in prices became the norm.

In terms of Health & Safety, as new processes and more rigorous standards have been introduced, it has sometimes been challenging for older and more experienced employees to adapt to new ways of working. Jason acknowledges that this will be easier for the next generation of team members who he is helping to mentor, encourage and appraise through training, career progression targets, annual reviews and incentives.

Of his more than thirty years at the company, Jason said:

“I’d sum it up in these three words: challenging, exciting, rewarding.”

There’s no doubt that however exciting or challenging the work has been, Jason has been a steadying presence and a safe and assured pair of hands throughout.