Building boom boosts demand for industry accreditation in North East

Newcastle-based Ocean Certification Ltd has credited the boom in construction with a rise in demand for its quality standards.

Ocean Certification Ltd's chief executive Martin Thornley, left, carrying out assessment work on site with a client
Ocean Certification Ltd's chief executive Martin Thornley, left, carrying out assessment work on site with a client

A company offering industry accreditation across a number of disciplines has seen a surge of interest this month, largely driven by the boom in the construction industry announced this week.

Ocean Certification Ltd, based in Shieldfield, Newcastle, has had a rise in inquiries for its management systems certifications since the new year.

Firms are increasingly being asked to provide evidence of these quality standards, especially if they are bidding for public sector contracts.

Ocean Certification works with a wide variety of companies particularly in construction, manufacturing, green energy, automotive and service sectors such as banking.

It is the only company in the North of England providing this and was set up 13 years by chief executive Martin Thornley to meet demand.

Marketing executive Adam Eagle said he believed the rise in interest in his company’s services was related to the turnaround in the UK economy.

“We believe it is quite possible that the green shoots, the confidence, the willingness of business to invest in construction, yes, but not just in construction, is the reason behind it, we’re absolutely delighted.

“Investing in management systems is an absolute display of confidence in the future long-term.

“Certification gives companies the ability to tender for big contracts that often demand tenderers have certification. And it is an important badge of quality when talking to potential business partners, potential big clients or expanding into international markets.

“More and more large bodies, whether it’s Toyota or Birmingham City Council, any supplier at all who is supplying anything from coffee to doors, they say, ‘Now you do have your ISO 9001? We need that.’

“And if people are wanting to expand into other parts of the world and have partnerships with companies all over the world, this is the gold standard, their badge of competence.”

Ocean offers certifications covering quality management (ISO 9001), environmental management (ISO 14001), occupational health and safety management (OHSAS 18001) and energy efficiency measures (Green Deal)

Shortly after setting up in Newcastle in 2001, Ocean launched an office in Japan.

Eagle added: “It is an area where certification is quite strong and British standards are quite highly respected.

“We did some work in Japan ourselves then realised it was a strong enough market to actually establish a country office.”

Ocean Certification Ltd semploys six people at its North East base. Its turnover for 2012/13 was £350,000.

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