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The need for collaboration in all areas of FM service delivery to ensure effective completion of relocation projects is confirmed by Richard Lear

One of the more highly pressured areas of FM service delivery is relocation, particularly the projects that involve complex multisite moves, tech relocation and oversized equipment such as laboratory and hospital relocations.

These have often been timed to begin on a Friday evening and be completed in time for staff members to arrive at their new location on Monday morning and begin work, with all IT and networks operating to best effect.

Among the more positive outcomes of the Coronavirus pandemic has been a change to the weekend working requirement in many instances, in the experience of Clockwork Removals branch manager Richard Lear. In addition to the timing of moves, he has noticed a number of other changes in relocation project requirements.

Hybrid working

The application of hybrid workings models has been a significant factor in this change of requirements and attitudes towards relocation projects, he finds.

“Many businesses are still getting used to not having as many staff in the office on a full-time basis and as they consider how to adjust or adapt these strategies, there have been fewer companies moving to new premises. As people use their workspaces differently, we have seen an uptake in our office reconfiguration, restack and internal relocation services,” he says.

Another development attributed to the pandemic is that of changing demand for storage space.

“As businesses re-negotiate leases or make decisions on upsizing or downsizing their workspace, we provide flexible, short-term storage space for their workplace furniture and equipment. If a business does make the decision to downsize, we offer WEEE recycling and have a network of community partners to take donations of furniture and to handle the ethical recycling of equipment. Our robust CSR strategy and ISO 14001 for environmental management ensure consistently high environmental standards.”

While these topics are considered important elements that support relocation projects, one of the main aims of Clockwork Removals is to establish effective collaborative communications with its clients. “We find it’s essential to work towards true partnership with our clients and establish a solid relationship.

A lot of our business comes from word of mouth, and we make a great deal of effort to maintain a good reputation

“We know how busy FMs are and we are on hand to safely deliver their relocation projects on time and within budget,” he continues. “By reaching out and engaging with FMs we can understand their requirements and ensure we have robust pre-planning in place to minimise downtime to their business.”

“I really enjoy the social interaction with our clients and we usually find that this helps us to build trust through engaging in honest conversations. This sometimes means we have to have difficult conversations, but these are essential in any relationship and they will help to avoid difficulties emerging further down the line.”

One example of the difficulties that can emerge within relocation projects is when a removal company arrives on site to find it is expected to complete tasks not included in the original contract, requiring more time and cost to complete. Mr Lear states that making the necessary level of effort to engage before the move helps to avoid many of the potential pitfalls.

The company completes a detailed survey beforehand to gain an in-depth understanding of the different aspects of the relocation project. All clients have a dedicated project manager to understand the full scope and oversee the entire relocation. Move managers will then be on-site during the relocation to ensure all plans are followed through and to execute any changes. With 25 years of experience in the industry, we understand that large commercial relocations can change and evolve day by day.


The success of the company’s approach to delivering relocation services can be judged by the fact that much of its business comes from customers placing repeat orders or recommending its services to others. “A lot of our business comes from word of mouth, and we make a great deal of effort to maintain a good reputation,” says Mr Lear.

He further explains that these efforts include the gaining of industry certifications, combined with the training of staff wherever necessary. “We find that some projects require staff to have background checks in place and this is never a problem for us,” he adds.

The gaining of accreditation and staff training inevitably involves added expense to the company and one of the issues it has experienced is competing with companies that have not invested in their businesses. “You’ll always find someone that can offer a cheaper service, but it’s important to understand that cheaper is not always better and may involve increased risk. We make sure that all items are packed in secure cases and plan in advance to ensure everything is moved the minimum amount to reduce any risk of damage.”

Another aspect of investing in the company’s workforce is that staff are often recruited in advance of work levels increasing to allow them to be trained to the correct level. “We regard our staff as the most important part of the business and they are the reason we can advertise ourselves as providing national cover with local expertise,” says Mr Lear.