Civilex HSE Manager George Markelis started where many others do

Civilex HSE Manager George Markelis started where many others do: boots on the ground and finding his way through the ranks thanks to hard work, passion, and a keen interest in developing his management skills. He brings a real depth to his role after running his own residential construction business for a few years before moving across to labouring on major civil construction projects.

When George commenced at Civilex, he started from the ground up, moving forward with a company who values leadership and provides employees who show potential with unlimited opportunities. Within a couple of years, and as second in charge to a site supervisor, he was tapped on the shoulder for a dedicated role in safety for the business.

Today, George manages a six-member team, part of a larger staff of 230 which is up from 70 employees just a few short years ago. Civilex’s significant growth has allowed team members to find their niche and to learn and develop by challenging the way “business as usual” looks with safety as a key focus.

Rooted in taking care of their people, Civilex implements tech to help with efficiency and safety

In recent years, technology has changed many facets of civil construction. And these new innovations are saving time and delivering improved results.

George wanted to bring similar gains in terms of efficiency to the safety domain, which is why he adopted HammerTech. Civilex is using the HammerTech platform for managing Personnel Inductions, Safe Work Method Statements, Equipment Inductions and Site Inspections.

The shift to digital came at a time when Civilex was experiencing significant growth and its workforce more than tripling over recent years. A standardised approach was and is fundamental to how Civilex manages operational, safety and quality procedures. George says, “HammerTech was ideal, as it suits a structured process.”

Not a day goes by...

Proactivity and (unfortunately) reactivity rule the day on job sites and those that Civilex manages are no different, although they work towards proactivity far more than reactivity.

George’s day-to-day workload includes dealing with incidents, close calls and general project communications. He also works with project personnel on the safest way to undertake on-site tasks and fulfils any requests for information. “It’s a mix of people and process,” he says.

In addition to safety, his HSE department also looks after compliance which is also supported by the Hammertech platform. “Construction is a demanding industry - it is the nature of what we do. Our company’s goal is to build it right, build it once,” says George. HammerTech is helping Civilex do just that.

What you see is what you get. So, you need to see everything.

The HammerTech platform is integrated with the other systems used for generating reports and data. It also contributes to the information the company needs to provide for the various accreditation schemes it utilises.

 Hammertech has been used for many substantial projects since Civilex signed up in mid-2017. They have included local government facilities, road, rail and rail station projects.

According to George, HammerTech has been transferred seamlessly across all these different types of project scopes and working environments.

Civilex measures its corporate social responsibility outcomes against both its own targets and any set within specific project contracts. Everything is reported and recorded from an individual project level, Markelis explains, with reports compiled fortnightly or monthly.

Indicators are also tracked as part of reporting to management, and not only along traditional commercial lines, but also in terms of how. In addition, company performance is audited by key clients including VicRoads, Melbourne Airport and VicTrack to name a few. With HammerTech’s reporting, Civilex is gaining key insights and remaining accountable to CSR outcomes from within and to those companies they build for.

HammerTech is pulling its weight in more than a few areas.

Along with being used for safety, general communications centre around company procedures and updates. There has been uptake by project engineering staff for facilitating the compliance side of projects, and also for managing subcontractors.

HammerTech has developed a natural momentum as more personnel are introduced to HammerTech. “It is selling itself within the business,” George says.

George explains that people who might be more adverse to change are more open and accepting with the gradual roll-out of the tech he has spearheaded and it has not generated any push-back. Instead, he says people have been sharing the advantages and features with each other, resulting in both personnel and subcontractors coming to HSE staff asking for access. It is now becoming a part of Civilex’s way of operating.

The subcontractors onboarded via HammerTech are also seeing the benefits in terms of day-to-day operations. George says, “I have been receiving very positive feedback.”

He expects there will be full saturation of HammerTech functions throughout every element of the Civilex business by the end of 2019.

The payoffs

George says that shifting the onboarding process for new staff and subcontractors from onsite to a digital process completed offsite via HammerTech is saving a considerable amount of time.

The Safe Work Method Statements that subcontractors are required to complete are also being digitised, and compliance is being managed off-site via the platform. That means there is more time available for onsite conversations about safety and other focus areas, something George thinks has had a positive impact in terms of reducing incidents.

HammerTech is also being used to introduce a new standardised approach to high-risk activities that will apply to all Civilex sites. The new safety program is being delivered to all employees and subcontractors, and HammerTech is being used for all the inductions.

Civilex is also leveraging HammerTech’s multimedia capabilities with videos and animations created and accessed by personnel via the HammerTech system.

Overall, the use of the platform has streamlined inductions and contractor registrations, dramatically reduced the load of paper-handling, and delivered centralised checking and access capabilities in relation to records, subcontractor details and inspection details.

HammerTech has provided exceptional value, and George says, has “almost revolutionised our business”. 

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