Canary Wharf Group – Retail Case Study

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canary wharf retail shops

The Client

Canary Wharf Group (CWG) is well known for managing the urban regeneration of a great part of the Isle of Dogs in London. The company is now a fully integrated private real estate operation comprising over 7 million square feet of office space, almost 1 million square feet of retail and several hundred Build to Rent units.

The Brief

e-permits is the web-based permit-to-work solution of choice across the whole Canary Wharf Group. Indeed, the e-permits system was devised to support the original construction of Canary Wharf in 2002 and the Canary Wharf management team has continually extended the scope of its own e-permits project until it covers contractor activity across the entire estate.

That included the retail team who have to contend with stores executing maintenance and project works in an area populated for long hours by the general public which then requires complete visibility of work being done and potential clashes of activity.

Meanwhile the press office was managing huge numbers of applications for permits to photograph or film around Canary Wharf, tying up a lot of its valuable time administering the process.

A single permit-to-work system was required to support the complete site extension including the multi-tenanted buildings such as the iconic Canary Wharf Tower – One Canada Square. The infrastructure of Canary Wharf itself required as much contractor control as the buildings and shops.

The Solution

Companies and their FM partners have invested significantly in developing successful health and safety policies and supporting procedures with the specific intent of ensuring work is carried out safely and workers return home safely at night. Permits-to-work have become extremely sophisticated in their design and represent both a logical and thorough response to the risk profile of different types of work and environment.

Unfortunately, the chosen implementation vehicle for permits to work has historically been paper. The inherent limitations of a paper-based process have always resulted in a disconnect between those well designed, well intended policies and procedures and what’s happening on the ground, leaving workers unprotected and Duty holders exposed. This disconnect has been exacerbated with larger buildings and portfolios, distributed more widely geographically. Canary Wharf Group faced the same issues.

Implementing any complex process using paper is, of course, going to expose the limitations arising from a manual process. With permits to work, a lack of speed and transparency are just two limitations that result in a lack of information at the point of decision making. Is the worker qualified to do the work? Do they have the correct, up-to-date training? Are they insured? Have we adequately performed our clash checks?

At best, paper permit-to-work only affords the inconsistent use and application of intended processes, at worst they are putting the safety of workers and the public at risk while leaving Duty holders exposed.

e-permits is a web-based, mobile-enabled work authorisation and permit to work system. It was designed to emulate the positive ‘design’ aspects of existing permit-to-work processes while eliminating the operational issues of paper.

e-permits reduces the disconnect between policy, procedure and what’s happening on the ground by:

  • reflecting policies and rules in day-to-day activity,
  • managing Risk Assessments and Method Statements,
  • checking for adequate insurance,
  • checking the team’s competences and training,
  • emulating agreed decision-making scenarios,
  • highlighting clashes and providing complete transparency across large and disparate portfolios.

Having a web-based permit-to-work system also facilitates desk audits to help focus effort where it’s needed. It also automatically: provides an audit trail, as well as communications about status updates; provides reporting of, for example, non-compliance logging and supply chain statistics; together with central storage and retrieval.

The Benefits

The primary benefit of e-permits is that it reduces risk through improved management control. That risk including: injury to workers and members of the public; damage to infrastructure; business interruption; as well as repetitional damage.

For Canary Wharf Group:

  • e-permits enables stores to execute maintenance and project works in an area populated for long hours by the general public, giving the team complete visibility of work being done and potential clashes of activity.
  • The introduction of e-permits to the press office brought efficiency and transparency and allowed them to focus attention on the complex outdoor activities of film crews and their interaction with security and the public.
  • e-permits is helping the many parts of the Canary Wharf Group fulfil its Duty of care to employees, their supply chain, tenants and the general public that they serve.
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