A Bellway site manager judged the best in Wales has paid tribute to his partner, who supported him in his work while she went through treatment for endometrial cancer this year.
Paul Oakley, 50, won the Regional Award for Wales in the large builder category of the National House Building Council’s Pride in the Job competition, for his work at Bellway’s Longwood Grange development in Lisvane, just outside Cardiff.
Paul attended the ceremony at Cardiff City Hall on Friday 1 September with his partner Michelle John, 49, and said it was an emotional moment for them both.
To achieve the accolade in a year when he and his family were going through such difficult times made it even more special, he said, and on hearing his name announced he immediately gave Michelle a big hug before going up to collect his award.
Michelle was diagnosed in January and for most of this year has been going through operations and treatment before recently being given the all-clear.
Paul said: “She has supported me through everything with my job for many many years and when Pride in the Job comes around, she is as competitive as me! She is my rock.
“That’s why winning this has been really special because it’s been personal to myself and my family and because without the help and support of the family and my partner, I couldn’t have done it. Michelle supported me all the way through. All through the marking and judging process I was going through tough personal times.”
Paul has been working on Longwood Grange for 19 months now and expects to be on the 270-home site until 2027. He came to the development bringing his close team with him and paid tribute to their hard work and commitment.
He said: “I couldn’t have done it without them either. They all bought into it and gave me their all when I needed it and supported me when I needed to be off site.”
Paul says that he sets high standards. “I pride myself on knowing my customers are having a top-quality product. I pride myself on doing things right, and if it’s not right it gets done again.”
To win the Regional Award, Paul said he put a major focus on quality control checking, with every property under construction being closely inspected several times a day by himself and the site supervisors.
“I really upped the ante on quality control making sure that every stage is vigorously checked,” he said.
The NHBC Pride in the Job awards have been running for more than 40 years and aim to highlight the work of the best site managers in the UK. Every site registered with the NHBC is automatically entered into the competition.
Paul has also been awarded a Quality Award and a Seal of Excellence, and this year’s Regional Award means that he has won 19 Pride in the Job awards in total over his career. Having been named as the regional winner for Wales in his category Paul will now go on to be considered for the next stage – the Supreme Award.
Luke Carter, NHBC Regional Director for West and Wales, said: “Paul is relentless in his pursuit to maintain and improve quality and seeks opportunities to make incremental advances across his site.
“The judges were impressed with the level of detail of the quality checks which his team and trades have all bought into. The build sequencing and planning at Longwood Grange in Cardiff was excellent with a robust health and safety strategy that allowed safe navigation around what is a topographically challenging site.”
He added: “By recognising Paul as one of the best site managers across the UK, we’re celebrating the vital role he plays in ensuring new homes are delivered on time, on safe sites and to exacting construction quality standards.”
Paul and Michelle, who have a son and daughter, 21-year-old Joseph, and 16-year-old Freya, live near Cardiff in Taff’s Well. Paul has been in the construction industry for nearly 25 years, having started as a labourer and worked his way up.
He loves the job and relishes a challenge. “Every day is different, there’s no day the same,” he said. “Sometimes I think I would like to have some easy days, but sometimes easy days just drag on! I feel really proud of this award and proud to have done it for Bellway.”
To find out more about the new homes at Longwood Grange, visit https://www.bellway.co.uk/new-homes/wales/longwood-grange or call the sales team on 029 2168 1030.