Meet Jason Downes, Contracts Manager at Tamdown

Meet Jason Downes one of our Contracts Managers. Starting in the business in 2011 his journey from Operative to Contracts Manager was driven by his commitment and dedication to his own development – supported by the opportunities and training available within Tamdown.

From a young age Jason was around heavy plant machinery, including agricultural machines, so when the time came to select a career path, working in the construction industry seemed a logical first step.

During his early career, he gained tickets for driving and operating various plant and equipment, he also developed an interest in the larger infrastructure elements of a project such as drainage, roads and sewers.

In 2013 he had the opportunity to continue his learning, from our team of skilled Site Managers, and moved into a Site Supervisor position, helping to oversee the site/s he worked on. Then after a few years in this role, in 2016 he was promoted to be a Site Manager himself where he led sites and their teams, from delivery of projects to customer relationships and Health & Safety.

As his skills and experience grew, Tamdown was in the position to help Jason in the next step of his career and promoted Jason into a Contracts Manager role in 2021. He now oversees between 5-7 sites and works closely with both Site and Office teams.

We asked Jason about his typical week and what he enjoys most about his role…

“As a Contracts Manager, I work with a really wide range of people, whether they’re Tamdown professionals onsite and offsite, our valued customers, or the general public.

Every day and week is different… sometimes I am on site all week working closely with the Site Managers and teams to ensure quality delivery and the right commercial approaches.

Other weeks I’ll be supporting our Estimating team with tenders and programmes, and dealing with HR, labour or other items.

Working closely with the housebuilder site team, and dealing with customer care on sites is another area I get involved with, and I really enjoy this.

With the training and development opportunities I’ve had, I really enjoy paying it forward whenever I can.

Training others and bringing up the next generation is always really satisfying – helping them to find their areas of strength. I think by setting an example and sharing my experience I can make a difference, particularly to those in the early stages of their careers.

Working with so many skilled and diverse people is great too; the whole construction department is really supportive, as is the wider business. That support means we can deliver our best work for our customers and the public – I get real satisfaction from seeing a job done well.”

Solar generators installed on site set-ups

As part of continuing to develop our sustainability practices, we have started improving our use of sustainable power. Our teams are installing solar hybrid power generators to run site set-ups while we are the principal contractor on our customers’ projects.

The solar panel and generator scheme is in the initial roll-out stages, and we are working towards using sustainable power generation across many more sites; wherever it meets the needs and load requirements of the site and our customer.

As well as reducing carbon emissions, the selected generators are run silently overnight through a battery storage system. This means a better experience for wildlife, the local communities, and new homeowners.

We believe sustainability is a journey, a journey we are committed to, working closely with our people, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

Anthony Davis, Tamdown Estimating Director features in Housebuilder 'Movers and Shakers'

Anthony Davis, our Estimating Director, was featured in the latest issue of Housebuilder Magazine’s ‘Movers and Shakers’.

This follows Ant’s promotion to Estimating Director when he formerly joined the Tamdown Board.

Commenting on his appointment as Estimating Director, Anthony added:

“I have always been customer-focused, and I enjoy working closely with Housebuilders to find the right solutions for their individual developments.

My team is my other primary focus, helping them deliver great service and develop their careers. Recent years have seen some unsettled market conditions, and I am proud that our team has worked together, and in partnership with our customers, to get the best results.”

You can view the piece below or on page 38 here

Meet Elliot Harrison, Engineer at Tamdown

Meet Elliot Harrison one of our Engineers, who works across five of our Essex and Suffolk sites, ensuring that works are scheduled and built following our and our customer’s plans and programmes. Before he joined Tamdown, Elliot worked for another groundworks business and when he was looking for a new role, he received a lot of recommendations of Tamdown from his contacts.

When he joined us in 2022, Tamdown then paid for Elliot to complete his Construction and the Built Environment / Civil Engineering qualification. This involved four days on site and one day at college each week to develop all his skills in areas including; Science of building materials, Civil Engineering techniques, Net Zero, CAD Design, and Project Management.

We are pleased to say that Elliot recently passed the course, gained his qualification, and is now continuing to deliver on-site alongside our Site Managers.

We asked Elliot about his typical week and what he enjoys most about his role…
“I have spent a lot of time shadowing and learning from the Site Managers on the sites I work across, they have so much knowledge and insight and some have over 30 years of experience, so I really enjoy asking questions and finding out how they approach different parts of projects.

Working through issues, such as unstable ground and level discrepancies, is part of my day-to-day tasks, and problem-solving like this is really satisfying.

When we start on a new site, I liaise with the Housebuilder’s team as well as our in-house pre-construction department to understand where the roads, homes, and other elements of the development will be. Setting out the pins and markers for this upfront is quite exciting, especially when you then get to see these built and become homes and communities for people.

I also really enjoy the mix of working on the site itself as well as in the site office reviewing drawings, programmes etc. It gives me a good amount of variety to my day.”

Completion of first phase of our bespoke Behavioural Safety Programme

Earlier in the year, we launched a bespoke Behavioural Safety Programme to help our people stay safe and support safe working environments for all our customers, contractors, and partners.

The first phase of this programme is now complete with all staff now having completed the training over the last few months.

The behaviour-based programme is designed to influence employee actions towards safer outcomes, ideally by preventing an accident or injury before it occurs.

As well as briefings from our leadership team and Health & Safety representatives, we were joined at these sessions by Justin Manley of Titanium Talks, who has worked in the sector for over 20 years, but sadly suffered life-changing injuries after an accident at work. The story he shares describes both organisational and personal failings; it adds a real-life example and significant impact.

This video shows some of the feedback from our people.

Well done and thank-you to all our teams for their commitment to the programme and their ongoing dedication to health and safety in all our operations

Tamdown sponsors and completes Housebuilder Challenge 2023

All fifteen members of our Tamdown Trekkers team completed the Housebuilder Challenge on Friday through the epic and challenging terrain of Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park.

They took on the devils kitchen, a steep scree slope, huge bolder fields, damp moorland and much more – all while supporting each other to keep going and stay safe.

Everyone pushed themselves and helped the Youth Adventure Trust raise nearly £85,000 from the event, to support vulnerable young people build their own resilience.

As sponsors of the event, we helped ensure that all funds raised went to the charity and as an added extra this year we also provided finish-line drinks to all the 30+ teams who took part in the challenge.

Which after such a long and challenging hike was very welcomed by all the participants!

Welcoming our newest Apprentices to the business

We are always looking to encourage the next generation of workers into our industry, and last week we welcomed our newest group of apprentices into the business.

All apprentices will gain valuable experience from our expert teams, while also achieving a formal qualification through their college-based learning while on day-release.

Our new starters are joining on a variety of apprenticeships including; Engineering, Groundworks, H&S Administration and Quantity Surveying.

Rob Kendal, Tamdown Managing Director commented:
“I am thrilled to be welcoming our newest apprentices at Tamdown and to be able to offer such a range of apprenticeships. On their first day I and other members of the team met with them to welcome them and explain more about the various areas of the business and their new roles. All our teams look forward to working with them as they start their career journey.”

Meet Gary Ross, Site Manager at Tamdown

Meet Gary Ross who is a Site Manager with Tamdown and his focus on both his own and his team’s development, support our purpose of ‘Building Bright Futures’.

Before joining Tamdown, he worked for various Groundworks businesses; he started on the tools and then worked as a digger and dumper driver before he became an Assistant Supervisor and then moved into his first Site Manager role around 2013. 

When Gary joined us around two years ago in 2021, he was looking for a business where he could continue to develop and where the team who worked with him could also grow.

In those two short years with Tamdown he has been supported to complete the NVQ Level 3 SMSTS (Site Management Safety Training Scheme), get his forklift ticket, and complete first aid renewals. He is now working through his Level 6 Diploma in Construction Management.

Gary explains more about his role:

“I’ve always been an early bird, so I get to site and make a start on the paperwork for the day before the 7:30am briefing with the team.

At the briefing, we run through the tasks for the day and safety briefings. I am absolutely committed to Tamdown’s regular message that the most important thing every day is to make sure everyone works safely and goes home safe at the end of the day.

I enjoy the best of both worlds of being out on-site with the team but also managing the site and working with our office and the customer’s teams.

The walk-rounds I do to check in with the team are a favourite part of the day as I get to see the site progressing, talk to my team, and ensure we are delivering against all the plans and drawings we have been provided.

I am really proud of the team for our win of the NHBC Pride in the Job awards in 2022 and the compliments we have had from others on our delivery – these recognitions make the hard work worthwhile.”


Volunteering at village primary school

Last week some of our Construction Team spent time volunteering at St Mary’s Primary School in Hatfield Broad Oak.

The school has just 53 children on the register meaning funding from the local authority is minimal, and they are heavily dependent on support from the local community. As a small community school, they are able to provide a caring and nurturing environment for children with complex needs. However, like many village schools, the budget they have is always spread thin, which means simple groundwork, redecoration and repairs are often only completed when donations and volunteers come forward.

It was a very busy couple of days with two classrooms to completely redecorate, a pond area to clear and bring up to date with levelling work and a path, as well as various other fixes.

Well done to the team for volunteering to help the school with these tasks; the teachers and volunteers were extremely grateful for all our hard work.

Ruth Baugh, Headteacher said:

“Thank you so much for the works carried out – the classrooms look bright, clean and airy ready for the children to return to school, and the pond area has been transformed! A completely overrun space the children were unable to enter due to safety issues will now be used everyday by the children and staff to enhance our curriculum and outdoor provision.

We are so thrilled, and would never have managed it without your help!

Thank you to all the workers and to Tamdown for your time, efforts and energy.”

Work experience turns apprentice placement for Ronny

We recently welcomed Ronny Trivett, a Year 11 student, to complete his work experience with us at Tamdown on our Beaulieu site in Chelmsford, Essex.

Ronny worked with our Site Manager Andy Orme and shadowed and assisted our Site Operatives across the development on various tasks, including kerbing and property footings.

Following his work experience, where he proved himself to be a willing and hard worker, we are pleased to have been able to offer Ronny a role as an apprentice; now he has finished school. He will be joining the Tamdown Team in September as well as studying Level 2 Groundworks at college as part of his apprenticeship course.

Ronny told us:
“I really enjoyed my work experience on-site with Tamdown; it helped me understand what working in construction was like and the sort of tasks it involved. I’m really glad I’ve been offered a job as an apprentice operative now, and I am looking forward to getting back on site and learning more.”