Hallmark Carehomes
Chris Roberts – Head of Construction at Savista explains all

24 September 2020

Chris Roberts – Head of Construction at Savista explains all

Firstly, some of you may be asking who are Savista? This is a development and construction company that was formed by the shareholders of Hallmark Care Homes back in November 2019 in an effort to move away from a world in which they relied on either developers and funders and/or third-party building contractors to deliver their buildings.

Hallmark has embarked on an ambitious rolling build programme over at least the next 5 years in which they want to open an average of 4 new care homes each and every year that will keep them at the forefront of the high-end care home market as well as branching out into the extra care apartment market.

So where do Savista and my role within that organisation sit within Hallmark Care Homes?

Well, I originally joined Hallmark back in autumn 2017 as a Clerk of Works and Employers Agent to help oversee the construction of the Arlington Manor and Banstead Manor. At that time it was my role to ensure that we were being given what we have been contracted, in the time scales promised, to the necessary standards, safely as well as trying to ensure that the information being given to us by the respective contractors was accurate. I work closely with James Rowntree who is now our Development and Construction Director and together we attempted to manage the build process on these two homes.

A care home is a very complex building. Buildings in their basic form are simply what keeps people safe, warm and dry but this does not fully understand the complexities within and around. Apart from a hospital I believe a care home is one of the most heavily serviced buildings I have ever encountered.

Suffice to say there’s a lot to get right and a lot that can go wrong.

So where do I fit into all this?

Savista will be building this new generation of care homes for Hallmark as partners in order to maintain the very high standards.

I have spent my entire working life in construction. I started off as a trainee quantity surveyor in a private practice in south Wales way back in the late 1970s and have been in the industry ever since. I have worked on almost every type of building that there is and every form of construction, but in the last 15 years it has been all care homes.

Prior to joining Hallmark, I worked for about 10 years for a design and build contractor who only built care homes and extra care facilities for care home providers. These facilities have taken many forms in terms of catering for residential, nursing, dementia and specialist care as well as specialist facilities. I have worked all over the Southern half of the UK whilst building these homes.

I am now bringing that hard-won experience to Savista to be a part of the delivery of these new homes. We need to maintain the highest of standards across all the new builds. We need to employ high quality professionals in highly performing teams on all our sites and we need to have a consistent approach and attitude so we can deliver in a safe, exemplary, predictable and collaborative way to Hallmark.

We also need to still be there as the homes get up and running to support the Operations team with a smooth transition into opening and eventually full capacity. I would like to think those people in Hallmark who I have worked alongside feel they are able to approach us to problem solve, help with teething troubles in the homes and ensure the team gain the knowledge and understanding of all the complex systems in the home . We want the teams to feel able to call on us for any help needed with familiarising themselves with their lovely new homes.

Some people in the Hallmark team will no doubt recognise the similarities between Savista and Hallmarks mission statements and that’s no accident. Our statements and missions are very much aligned. It’s my job to ensure they stay aligned and ensure Hallmark get the very best facilities that they can through partnering and a common goal.

As a provider Hallmark cannot stand still and as their chosen design and construction contractor, we must facilitate that and ensure care home innovation is incorporated into the next wave of homes and ensure it is delivered to the highest possible standards.
In short, we are here to deliver our mission statement to Hallmark in what’s hoped will be a very long and fruitful partnership that will see Hallmark remain class leading for many years to come with environments residents and their families love and enjoy.

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