Albion becomes first stone company with 6001 ‘Excellent’ rating

Albion Stone, which mines Portland limestone, has become the first stone company to achieve an ‘Excellent’ rating in the BRE Green Guide, thanks to BES 6001.

BES 6001 is an exacting standard and Albion’s achievement of ‘Excellent’ has come after it has also achieved BS OHSAS 18001 for health & safety, ISO 9001 for quality management, and ISO 14001 for environmental management.

Michael Poultney, Albion Stone’s Managing Director, says the company had been skimming the Excellent rating for some time and was determined to reach it. “We didn’t want a half-hearted response to this,” he says.

The company achieved a ‘Very Good’ rating from the time it first obtained 6001 in 2014, but had not managed to go beyond that.

BES 6001 itself has evolved, taking into account changes in legislation such as the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which helped deprive Albion of its higher rating last year because it did not provide documentation showing its machinery supply route was free from slavery. Now it has.

The rating of Excellent in the Green Guide means that when customers use Portland stone from Albion it contributes towards the BREEAM rating of a construction project.

BES 6001 and BREEAM are internationally recognised standards and Albion says customers ask to see its certificates relating to them on about a third of the projects it supplies these days.

It is typically larger projects that require the standards, but as much of Albion’s stone is used for some of London’s more significant new build projects, as well as major conservation and renovation work, it applies in a lot of cases.

Michael Poultney says complying with the standards costs about £12,000 a year “but I reckon we’re quids in”.

The standards have not only been good for sales of the stone, but have significantly reduced costs at the firm through improved efficiency, reduced waste and a more positive attitude.

Even something as straight forward as toolbox talks by line managers or peer-to-peer helps keep everyone focussed. “It took a long time for some sections of our organisation to get on with them but now we have more toolbox talks than we have toolboxes,” says Michael. “We’re big, big fans of them. We deliver most information through the company this way now.”