Stone & Ceramic – GOLD & What it does for us!

Section 1 – Introduction

Stone & Ceramic is a well-established sub-contract company that specialises in tiling and stonemasonry within the construction industry. Over the past 18 years we have worked on numerous prestigious projects across London, including Southbank Place, Newfoundland Tower and the Gherkin, to name a few. Health & Safety is one of the most important factors within our company, and FORS has allowed us to learn about how we can develop our fleet safety and continually improve.

Paul Ahearne, Procurement & Logistics Manager, explains how Stone & Ceramic Ltd has achieved significant improvements through FORS including decreased transport related fines, regular training for fleet staff and maintaining a 0% incident rate.

Section 2 – How did you hear about FORS, what prompted the company to join and how long have you been a member?

Stone & Ceramic first discovered FORS when we were working for MACE at their Merchant Square project in 2013. We initially wanted to achieve the accreditation to commit to the Merchant Square project and to improve our delivery operations throughout the business. Another benefit of becoming FORS accredited, was that it gave us an extra edge over other tiling and stonemasonry contractors, to help eliminate the competition when trying to win new projects.

Section 3 – What was your experience of the initial FORS Bronze audit?

Our last FORS Bronze audit was in September 2020, even though some audits can be daunting and can make you feel anxious, it was useful how much we took away from 1 day with the FORS auditor. Not only do they highlight where improvements can be made, but a fresh set of eyes over our processes really gave us a new perspective and has helped us to improve numerous parts of our fleet management system.

Older FORS Bronze audits outlined some useful opportunities for improvement including;

Directors and senior management are now directly involved in reviewing, updating and signing off vehicle documents such as the driver handbook, policies and procedures. All accreditations, including FORS are also discussed in 6 monthly management review meetings and 6 monthly H&S Committee meetings.

To keep all staff up to date with developments in the fleet and road transport industry, a regular news bulletin is displayed in the communal kitchen area to inform everyone of travel news and updates.

Section 4 – What was your main reason(s) for you progressing (either from Bronze to Silver and then Silver to Gold or straight from Bronze to Gold)?

As a FORS Bronze accredited company, our next steps were to attend FORS practitioner courses which Paul found extremely useful. Paul successfully attained the FORS Practitioner certificate in September 2014 which furthered our commitment to the FORS accreditation, Paul has since completed FORS Practitioner refresher courses.

We wanted to continue developing and learning as much as we could about FORS, so decided to progress to Silver, which we achieved in 2015. In 2017 we became FORS Gold accredited – this was such a huge achievement for Stone & Ceramic to be one of the only tiling sub-contractors to have FORS Gold has really set us aside from our competition and ensured that our clients recognise our level of commitment, quality and health & safety.

“I’ve noticed that being FORS Gold has its advantages when delivering to sites in and around London, we often take priority over other companies that aren’t FORS accredited. This saves me time and reduces the time waiting to enter sites. Due to all the safety features on our vehicle, it means the banksman are happy to allow me to unload materials myself, rather than waiting for the sites forklift.” Gavin Dickinson, Senior Driver.

Our industry is one of the most competitive, and we work really hard to win work on new projects and start work with new clients. Mentioning that we are a FORS Gold accredited company sets us aside from most of our competition and proves to our clients that we are serious about our fleet standard. Most construction sites in London require a minimum of FORS Silver, as we are FORS Gold we don’t only meet their requirements, we exceed them – which goes a long way. We are often praised for this by our clients.

“I attended the FORS Practitioner refresher course in March 2019 which helped to further my knowledge and learn more about what FORS can do for us as a business. It was great to meet other people who share the same interest and passion for fleet safety, reducing emissions and the FORS accreditation.” Paul Ahearne, Logistics and Procurement Manager.

 Section 6 – What improvements have you made?




Incidents per 100,000 Kms CO2 NOx PM10 Number of PCNs

Proportion of fleet that uses alternative fuels

Year 2021 29.14 0 16.61 101.44 1.6 0 0%
Year 2020 23.53 0 15.88 78.43 1.23 0 0%
Year 2019 28.52 0 13.47 0.0013 4 0%
Percentage improvement 2.17% 0% -23.31% -29.34% -30.08% 100% 0%

Our MPG has improved by 2.17%! Other parts have increased due to our growing business travelling more miles.

Each driver is required to complete a medical review form once per year, and are asked to inform the HR Manager / Fleet Manager of any new conditions. Every driver is required to complete eye- sight checks every 6 months, the driver will be referred to the opticians if they are unable to read the number plate from 20 meters.

Being a small business, we only have 1 full-time driver & 1 part-time driver. If we were to require a new driver we would follow our Recruitment, Competency & Training procedure that forms part of our ISO 9001 Quality Management system. All new drivers would be required to complete the mandatory FORS training and E-Learning courses before starting to drive the company fleet.

Reducing noise is one of our main priorities to ensure our neighbours aren’t disturbed by our activities. The HGV is loaded with materials for the next day in the previous afternoon between 2-4pm, to avoid doing this in the morning before 6am. All vehicle checks including the horn check is done inside the yard with the shutter closed before leaving each morning. When our driver is waiting outside a site to enter, he ensures his radio is off or at a very low level to avoid disturbing the local residents and general public.

The yard shutter and forklift are inspected annually to ensure there aren’t any faults that may cause unnecessary noise. We are currently in the process of renewing our oldest vehicle to a new van. We aim to have this replaced by September 2021. Once this vehicle has been upgraded our whole fleet will be Euro 6 standard and no older than 2018.

Section 7 – What are your plans for the future?

To continue making improvements and reducing emissions, we will be replacing our 64 plate vehicle with a new van by September 2021.

We plan to extend our ISO accreditations to include 45001 – Health & Safety Management. This process will look at health & safety throughout the whole business, including our fleet. As we are already FORS Gold, we are confident that the fleet health and safety, document control, continual improvement, management commitment etc. is already at a Gold level standard and will be highly recognised by ISO.

Section 8 – What evidence do you have of positively promoting FORS at requirement G7?

We have positively promoted FORS by creating internal ‘FORS News’ posters to cover a range of topics from local traffic and roadworks, vulnerable road users, reducing emissions, tyre safety and notable events such as cycle to work day. These posters are displayed around the office, available to all staff – not just those who are involved in fleet management. Feedback from office staff is that these posters are really useful and informative. We are proud of being FORS Gold accredited and display the FORS Gold logo on our vehicles, website, social media and email signatures.

Section 9 –What FORS Gold accredition means for your organisation/to you?

Being FORS Gold accredited, proves our commitment to the standards of FORS and shows us as industry leaders. FORS is widely recognised across London, and being Gold accredited ensures our clients and other road users that our drivers are safe, trained to the highest level and are efficient. Our goals that we want to achieve going forward include, encouraging other companies to become FORS accredited, especially small companies and fleets like ours.


Section 10 – (Optional) Please provide your social media contact details so we can follow your organisation

Facebook –  @stoneandceramic

Twitter – @stoneceramic

Instagram- stoneceramic

Linked in – Stone & Ceramic Ltd

*Please note: All published FORS Gold case studies have been submitted by the accredited company named above and transcribed verbatim

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