Restoring and beautifying London's most prestigious homes with love for almost 100 years.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Bastows 50

It's been a busy year here as we celebrated our 50th year of Making London Beautiful.

Not only did we receive awards, get recognition for what we do and share success, we were able to grow our family with new members too.

We have worked on some amazing properties, restoring the beauty in homes around London from Borough to Camden and everywhere in between.

We have seen history made, and played our own small part in marking the passing of time and events we have shared.

Our new family members Andrew and Liam joined the crew in April and December; so far they don't look too frightened, so that's positive.

We have completed a huge project at Cundy Street SW1, delighting the client and winning the thanks and trust of all who live there. It was a delight to meet them all and leave them with such a positive impression of our industry.

Our environmental commitment continued to develop, with new initiatives and ideas coming from every area of the business, and a growing dedication to protecting our communities through our charitable support for diverse organisations doing good around our city.

We were delighted to be recognised with membership of Constructing Better Health, to be listed in the Building Good Employer Guide for 2013, and awarded by Family Business Place and Family Business United as a UK Family Business of the Year amongst some serious household names and longstanding companies.

We revamped our LPG vans with a logo befitting our anniversary, and invested some 20% more in training and development than in 2012. 

We have enjoyed some excellent nights out, worn silly masks, sung along to show tunes and been friends as well as colleagues.

Our summer picnic may have been rained off (and thanks to Frank for opening his home so the celebrations could continue) but it came with a lot of laughs and left us happy, proud and feeling part of exciting times for the family. It also left some of the kids present with a burning desire to get a puppy after Niki bought hers along... and he proved a livewire.

Commitment and Courage

Our year has been filled with welcome challenges, happiness, achievement (both persona and business) and a lot of bad jokes courtesy of Andy Raz.

Our commitment to each other and to our clients has grown stronger than ever in recent years- as we have always said, tough times don't last, but tough people do.

Peace of Mind

Our clients have been great this year- developing new ways of working and delivering Peace of Mind for them has been something we have loved getting our teeth into. Thank you to them all for being inimitable and supportive of what we do.

What's success if you don't share it?

We kept giving: Frank topped all the efforts and raised over £6,000 walking 100km in 24 hours for the Construction Youth Trust, while we donated Christmas gifts to SSAFA Norton House, the Metropolitan Police appeal for gifts for children spending Christmas in care, and cash gifts to Shelter, The Trussell Trust, First Touch neonatal care unit and Crisis.

All in all, we've had a blast, and are absolutely ready for what the New Year has in store- so bring it on, baby! 

2013 has certainly been a year to remember, and we wish you all a memorable, peaceful and joyous Christmas and New Year.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Red, Blue and Black- got to catch them all!

The best things come in threes- and our swanky new enamel badges are no exception. 

We will award them for exceptional effort in the three areas of the business, with the winner of a full set receiving a bonus payment as a thank you for helping make our values a reality.

So far only one man has earned a full set- the brilliant Paul Walsh, who has worked with us since 2008 to help develop our team. 

Want one? Show us great effort to live our values- to be Brave, Harmonious and True- or to deliver Peace of Mind for clients, colleagues and residents and you'll be justly rewarded with a shiny bit of kit that recognises your effort, and probably Raz will make you a cup of tea too.

So come on guys and girls... I KNOW you're feeling competitive..!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Good Employer? Yes we are!

GREAT NEWS- I just took a call that confirms that we are one of the top fifty companies who will be appearing in the Building Good Employers Guide this year. 

The Building Good Employer Guide is a celebration of the best companies to work for in the construction industry. Now in it’s 7th year, the guide identifies the top companies of 2013 based on key factors such as employee benefits, diversity and leadership.

The guide recognises companies that show:
o   Consideration of employees’ personal welfare
o   Dedication to Employee development
o   Promotion of motivation, training and pastoral care.

It is a great achievement to be listed in the guide and a really nice feeling that it's come about due to honest and direct feedback from our people to the assessors. We thank every member of our team that gave their time to complete the survey so honestly and completely.

The fact that we are recognised in this way in our 50th year of Making London beautiful makes our celebrations all the sweeter- and our smiles wider than ever.

Now let's make sure we're in there every year!

Feet of flame!

Get ready for a new Hero of the week. No, month. At LEAST.

Frank Bastow did it. He completed the Thames Path Challenge, walking 100km in 23 hours 19 minutes.

In the process, he raised £5,580 for the Construction Youth Trust.

AMAZEBALLS, frankly. 

He managed to tweet on his way to keep us updated on his progress and has thankfully spared us photos of his feet since the day. 

and after. Weirdly, he's still smiling.
However he is threatening to send them to us to blog here if you don't donate.

Please... think of our sanity. Think of the children. Think of those of us who have all given generously and should be spared such horrific images.

Now... please go and give what you can.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Bastows at the Red Ribbon Awards 2013

We are delighted to share the news that at the Red Ribbon Awards on Friday 5 July, Bastows were Commended for Excellence as a Family Business of the Year.

We were shortlisted in two categories, 'Customer First' (won by Harry Harper Estate Agents) and recognised as a 'Family Business of the Year.' The great team at East End Foods were honoured as overall winners in that category, but we were thrilled to be runners-up- not bad when you consider this is a national award that saw the judges consider hundreds of submissions and narrowed the finalists to just six outstanding businesses.

We were proud to welcome our family and friends to the event to share in our success and support the chosen charities by bidding in the charity auction- helping to get the money raised up on more than a few lots and winning two of them!

You can read more here.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

London, and what you can do about it

I am sat here in our SW1 office looking at a busy (and to be honest, polluted and dirty) Elizabeth Street. This time last year London was bedecked in bunting left over from the Diamond Jubilee, and gearing up to receive its finery for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The buzz in the air, the positivity and excitement and pride in my home city was something that will live with me forever.

So what happened to that energy, that heart-swelling pride and that desire to make our city look its best?

It's frustrating for me as a Londoner to work for a company that works to Make London Beautiful and yet see the city looking less than glamorous. Why do we ignore the pollution and dirt? Why do we put up with overcrowded trains and buses, and pushing and shoving on the tube? Why do we shrug when Londoners are accused of being taciturn, snobbish or rude?

Why do we believe this is OK when we are lucky to live in a city people dream of seeing, and save for years to visit? Is it possible we have been browbeaten into thinking this is what London life is all about?

I refuse to believe it. I live in a city steeped in stories, rich in history and with the ability to surprise and bring pure joy to the stoniest heart.

So- does what Bastows do really make a difference?

I believe we do. The work we do to make buildings beautiful isn't just about clean paint, craftsmanship and TLC, but also the way we speak to people, treat one another and remain aware that every one of us is an Ambassador for our business and our city. Stepping off the tube at 7.30am and helping a mum with a pushchair is no different to making someone's home look fantastic by 5pm; the impact of our actions are felt by everyone we meet. If we make someone's life brighter, easier or more interesting by our actions, surely that's better than being the rude person on the train that they moan about to their colleagues or other half when they get home?

So my question to you as I sign off is this: we are a team that have chosen to behave in ways that see us Making London Beautiful- does this turn your head, or fill it with ideas for how you can do the same?

Niki Rosenbaum, Cultural Director

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Top Safety Accreditation for Bastows

We are delighted to announce that Bastows has again been awarded accreditation from safecontractor for its continuing commitment to achieving excellence in health and safety.

safecontractor is a leading third party accreditation scheme which recognises very high standards in health and safety management amongst UK contractors.

Our original application for safecontractor accreditation in 2008 was driven by the need for a uniform standard across the business, and we have found the standard a great benchmark for our safety performance and strategy.

safecontractor accreditation will enhance our ability to attract new contracts and our strong commitment to safety is viewed positively by its insurers when the company liability policy is up for renewal. 

John Kinge, technical director of safecontractor said, "Major organisations simply cannot afford to run the risk of employing contractors who are not able to prove that they have sound health and safety policies in place."

"More companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management in the way that Bastows have done. The firm’s high standard has set an example which hopefully will be followed by other companies within the sector.

safecontractor plays a vital role in supporting our clients in meeting their compliance needs, whilst working with their contractors as they progress through the accreditation process.”

Under the safecontractor scheme, businesses undergo a vetting process which examines health and safety procedures and their track record for safe practice. Those companies meeting the high standard are included on a database, which is accessible to registered users only via a website.

Client-organisations who sign up to the scheme can access the database, enabling them to vet potential contractors before they even set foot on site. These clients agree that, as users of the scheme, they will engage only those who have received accreditation.

Over one hundred and seventy major nation-wide businesses, from several key sectors, have signed up to use the scheme when selecting contractors for services such as building, cleaning, maintenance, refurbishment or electrical and mechanical work.

Bastows are proud to be one of them.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Family Business of the Year - an update

Last week our Sales Director Dave Brown went along to the Family Business United awards, where we were shortlisted for their Family Business of the Year award for London & the South East.   

We are delighted to announce that amongst household names, we placed second as a result of the online vote and judges' decision combined. We were proud to be runner up to the long-established family firm CPJ Field, who were very deserving winners!

A big thank you to you if you voted for us, to Paul and the Family Business United team for a great event, and to our fellow nominees for being so committed to promoting the strength in family businesses around the UK.

Lastly, the biggest thanks to our people- without your efforts and commitment to Bastows, we couldn't achieve such accolades. 

Next, we are at the Family Business Place awards on 5 July where we are nominated for their national Family Business of the Year as well as their 'Customer First' awards. 

Keep everything crossed for us!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Generation Game

The week has started well, and so far it seems to be all about the next generation.

Yesterday we secured our first candiate for work experience through the Construction Youth Trust (huge thanks to Karen there for all her help) and we are excited to welcome him to the Cundy Street site net Monday for two weeks. We have insisted on paying a wage- what's work experience worth without the pleasure of earning something for it? 

We are looking forward to helping him find his feet in the industry and develop new skills that will help him build a career. All being well, we will introduce him to you next week on this page!

Today we've had another chance to support our friends at the Leatherhead Youth Project with their efforts to get outdoor equipment together for young people taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards Scheme. We've been able to help by providing them with sleeping bags, gas lanterns, torches and roll mats. They still need more kit though, including tents and rucksacks, so if you can help in any way, please get in touch with Lucy at LYP or you can donate here

Bastows are proud to believe in the next generation, and to support young people as they find their way in the world. We all needed help to get going once upon a time, and we are just repaying what we borrowed.

We are all here to make the World a better place, and we never forget that we are here to Make London Beautiful for everyone we meet.

SPIRIT of summer!

Get in the summer SPIRIT: Who's coming on a picnic?

New edition of SPIRIT out now... packed with info and updates from all our sites.

Catch up on the latest news and views and celebrate the sunshine! 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

A corner is in sight...

It's all been so busy here- between reassessments for Chas, ISO 9001 and 14001, working on tendering for new work and starting projects as far apart as Borough and Camden, we've hardly had a chance to stop and blog.

Does all this mean a corner has bee turned in our industry? Are things on the up? We're not certain, but at east we can see the corner now. We know from past experience that, teamwork, commitment to doing a great job and a steady hand on the tiller will see us right...

Our projects continue to run beautifully, with our newest Site Manager Alen (it's official now!) going great guns in W1, and foundation stone of the family Tommy stepping up to take charge on his first project with support from Site Manager Almir.