Meet Lisa Bury, our utilities expert: A Q&A

Utilities is a massive sector for Mabey Hire, with our engineering, sales and operations teams working hard to support our customers with the current AMP7 period and looking ahead to AMP8. Read on as we caught up with Lisa Bury, Business Development Manager and our resident utilities expert, who is heading up our work within the sector…

Q) Can you tell us about your job role?

As Business Development Manager for AMP & utilities, I’m responsible for managing Mabey Hire’s presence within this sector and promoting our capabilities and expertise. As a result, I am involved with a wide range of people and teams, from the water authorities themselves to tier one contractors, subcontractors and other areas of their supply chain. I work very closely with our regional sales teams to support them and give them the best possibly opportunity to get early engagement. The earlier we can be involved on a project the better chance we have of building a true partnership, take a more proactive approach and really add value. 

I’ve spent a lot of my career within sales, with a particular emphasis on groundworks, and so I’ve supported various AMP cycles during this time. As a result, I have a real understanding of the water authorities, the sector as a whole and its inner workings – knowledge that I try to share with the rest of the team. It’s definitely a collaborative approach here at Mabey Hire, with myself, the regional sales managers, major projects managers and operational teams all working together to deliver the best support for our customers.

Q) What does a typical day look like for you?

This is a really difficult question to answer as every day is different. I’ll often be out on the road visiting various utility project sites with the sales manager for that region, supporting them and helping get the Mabey Hire name out there. I’m a strong advocate for getting out of the office, going to site and being visible – it’s a part of my job that I really enjoy and is definitely one of the best ways of reaching out, showing willingness and building new contacts. 

Some days are spent attending networking events, such as Utility Week Live, Construction Online events and other Construction Expo’s throughout the year – gaining the latest industry insights and understanding new requirements - as well as internal meetings with our national and regional teams. It’s really all about communication and building a strong internal network, to make sure everyone is aware and best placed to help grow the AMP sector in their area.

Q) What support, products or expertise can Mabey Hire offer utility companies and contractors with AMP7?

One of the main things that makes us unique is definitely the impressive and broad spectrum of products that we have to offer. They all go hand in hand, meaning that a contractor can meet all their temporary works needs with a single supplier. If we look at a typical utilities site, take a water treatment plant for example: there may first be access issues, where matting may be required, or even a temporary bridge. This job may require groundworks for enabling safe excavations; potentially formwork to construct any new structures; propping to temporarily support any existing structures; and even monitoring, to observe the noise, dust and vibration levels on site throughout the construction phases.

Our end-to-end service offering also means that we are able to be involved in a project from the tender stage right through to the end, with our engineering and design team, supply, monitoring, installation and removal. There is so much that we can offer, and this is something I am very proud of.

Q) What are some of the challenges that come up on utilities sites most often?

Access can definitely be a challenge. Whether in terms of physically getting to the site, more so for rural projects, or project delays due to permissions from the Environmental Agency – for example, if there were protected species living within the vicinity. Or it could be access for plant or machinery, with heavy capacity cranes requiring a certain radius or height in order to operate safely.

Ground conditions can be another challenge, varying around the country. Even the general public can be a block, especially if the project is in a residential area, with the potential for complaints around noise or vibration levels. This is where employing monitoring solutions can be so valuable, enabling contractors to demonstrate their compliance to safe working levels, whilst keeping their workers and assets safe. 

For the reactive side of AMP, time is key! Contractors have limited time to deal with and fix any burst pipes or they run the risk of hefty fines from the water authorities, due to the amount of potential water lost. As a business, we know that being reactive is so important and those customers need to know that they can rely on us to respond accordingly to emergency situations.

While these are just a few examples of the issues that can arise, they all clearly demonstrate why it is so important for us to get involved on a project as early as possible. By doing so, we can work closely with the customer to help overcome these challenges, rather than fighting fires last minute. With early collaboration, we can focus on delivering the best, optimised and value engineered solution, with additional support and expertise along any stage of the project.

Q) What are you looking to achieve in your role? 

Ultimately, my goal is that every contractor in the utilities market will know how Mabey Hire can partner with them and support their temporary works needs, whatever the requirement. The end result for me is that Mabey Hire becomes the “go to” company for any temporary works and that we become the supplier of choice across the board.

Currently, I’m still met with surprise when customers realise we can supply as much as we do or how vast our capabilities are. For me, it’s all about changing mindsets and getting the word out there that Mabey Hire can do everything – it’s a message that we need to continue to reiterate. 

Q) From your experience, if there was one thing that the water industry could do to improve, what would it be?

I believe that water authorities already know they need to improve, and a key part of this improvement is innovation. Many authorities are reaching out to their supply chain for innovation; they know they need to move forward and further develop their thinking and existing processes – something that can only be positive for the industry. 

For more information about our work within the utility sector, click here.

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