Finding the right people, with the right skills, to keep pace with the demands of your clients continues to be one of the biggest challenges the construction industry faces.

Industry-leading roof and floor supplier, Pasquill, has deployed what some would consider an unconventional solution. Chris Powell, Design Director for Saint-Gobain Off-site Solutions and Sales Director at Pasquill, and  explains how MiTek’s Dedicated Services is enabling him to not only address the issue head on, but expand his design team and reach new markets.

Part of Saint Gobain, we manufacture floor joists and roof trusses for the UK’s major housebuilders. We can do pretty much anything when it comes to a timber engineered project – we provide the full solution.  It’s been a particularly busy time in the industry and a growing business requires a growing workforce. We’ve got a team of 90 talented designers on board, and I would happily have another 10, but they just aren’t out there right now.

It’s a frustration and a disappointment – and we’re not alone. These kinds of skills are being chased by businesses across the industry and there simply isn’t enough talent to go round. That’s why I was so interested to discover a different solution in the shape of MiTek’s Dedicated Services.

It’s essentially enabled us to add 18 Vietnam-based designers to our team, giving us ready-to-go resources which we can turn on at the flick of a switch. We first tried the service back in 2019, starting out with four designers alongside our UK team. By 2020 it had grown to eight; and today we have 18 MiTek designers working alongside us, on a range of projects, often the more sizeable and complex £100k-£150k schemes.

Increased capacity

It was the release valve we needed, and it has answered the issues we have around finding new designers. I can contact MiTek and in less than a week, have the additional capacity I need and an upscaled team. Whereas recruiting in the UK can take months or in some instances years.

We’ve become more productive as a business and widened our customer base. Having access to additional resource gives us enormous reassurance to take on new work knowing our customer needs are going to be met, and swiftly. And because of the time difference, it means they can be working on a particular project, perhaps amendments or updates, overnight – with the results waiting for us when we come into work the next day. A benefit I can see us making more of in the future.

Part of the team

We don’t regard our MiTek designers as a stand-alone service, far from it, we have embraced them as part of our in-house team. Visiting Vietnam and meeting the team early on was a big success factor. It helped us build the foundations for a good working relationship.
We’ve invested in training them, so they fully understand the way we work, the software and processes we use, the kind of projects our clients want delivered. We think of them as our own employees who represent and embody the Pasquill brand.

The fact is that with MiTek there’s always availability of technically skilled people with engineering and construction degrees, who are passionate about what they do. Our MiTek Dedicated Services team members are highly trained in over 100 different types of construction and engineering software. I don’t think we’ve yet got the ability, in this country, to bring people on-board in this way – something as an industry we are working on.

Would I encourage others to give Dedicated Service a try? Absolutely. As soon as we started and engaged in the process, we were looking to add heads pretty much instantly. So, if you plan right, whenever you start, you’ll look to keep moving and keep adding heads, especially if you’ve got the structure right. Once you start, you won’t stop. And I think we are testament to that.

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