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Last updateWed, 29 May 2024 2pm

Championing safety and efficiency in utility infrastructure

CEk23twA focus on safety can expand work opportunities and open up a contractor to new and innovative business areas. KM Group, a prominent civil engineering contractor based across Wales and the South West of England, has carved a niche for itself in the industry through its specialisation in multi-utility mains installation, repair, and maintenance. Renowned for its commitment to safe working practices and ethical operations, KM Group partly puts its success down to its longstanding partnership with the supply chain risk management experts, Veriforce CHAS. 

In this case study, Murray Ambler-Shattock, Group Strategic Operations Manager at K M Group, explains how working with Veriforce CHAS has helped KM Group enhance its industry presence. He also discusses their shared objective to enhance safety and efficiency in the civil engineering sector, including through investment in the very latest technology.

CHAS accreditation and market access 

For several years, KM Group has been a proud partner of Veriforce CHAS, which has helped us to showcase our commitment to being a responsible and reliable contractor and enabled us to work with major contractors in our sector. Being accredited to CHAS Elite – which includes the Common Assessment Standard – shows we adhere to high standards across a wide range of risk areas, from health and safety to environmental management to equality, diversity, and inclusion. It also gives us a tool to set standards for our supply chain, so the contractors we work with are typically accredited to CHAS Standard or CHAS Advanced. Like Veriforce CHAS, at KM Group we are strong advocates of the Common Assessment Standard and its potential to improve efficiency and risk management standards in the construction sector. Veriforce CHAS was the first accreditation body to offer the assessment, and we were one of the first companies to complete it.

Accreditation isn't complicated - it's the golden ticket

Achieving accreditation is not a daunting task but a demonstration of our efficient business systems. In our experience, many organisations unknowingly already possess these systems in some form, and accreditation merely involves certifying their functionality.

Veriforce CHAS has been instrumental in conveying this message to our supply chain and supporting our contractors on their accreditation journey. This support is particularly beneficial for our smaller contractors, as CHAS Standard provides an entry-level accreditation that forms a solid foundation for future growth.

We view accreditation as the golden ticket, enabling business expansion and fostering collaboration with reputable employers. It establishes credibility and opens doors to valuable opportunities.

qc3osXERaising industry standards 

Veriforce CHAS collaborates with clients like us to enhance overall compliance within supply chains. As contractors within our supply chains embark on their accreditation journey, they often aspire to achieve higher levels of accreditation, making them more appealing partners. This increased accreditation assures supply chain partners that these contractors are responsible businesses with effective risk management systems. This helps to raise standards overall and positively impacts the entire sector, creating a more conducive working environment for everyone involved.

Furthermore, there is a substantial effort through the Common Assessment Standard to enhance efficiency. This initiative aims to streamline the accreditation process, eliminating the need for contractors to undergo multiple assessments. Once contractors have completed the Common Assessment Standard through CHAS Elite, their certification becomes accessible through any of the accreditation providers, opening up even more opportunities for them. 

Innovation in utility infrastructure

In recent years, KM Group has embarked on a journey of innovation by investing in Vacuum Excavation, a revolutionary technique transforming the Construction, Utility Infrastructure, and Civil Engineering sectors. This non-destructive digging method uses compressed air and a high-powered vacuum to excavate soil and materials gently. This is safer for operators and avoids the classic challenge of damaging pipes and cables, which can be extremely dangerous, as well as both costly and disruptive to a project. KM Group's adoption of vacuum extraction aligns with the industry trend of adhering to PAS 128 standards, significantly improving utility detection accuracy in the UK.

Pioneering vacuum excavation

KM Plant Hire & Groundworks Ltd, a subsidiary of KM Group, stands out as a leader in innovation within the Utilities Sector. Successfully implementing Vacuum Extraction in various locations, we have been championing safety, efficiency, and reliability in utility detection processes. This forward-thinking approach provides exceptional value to clients and positions KM Group as a pioneer in adopting innovative practices for safer and more efficient operations.


The journey of KM Group serves as a compelling case study in how strategic partnerships, such as our relationship with Veriforce CHAS, can propel a company to new heights. Through accreditation, KM Group has not only gained access to major industry projects but also uncovered hidden efficiencies within our operations. The adoption of Vacuum Excavation further solidifies our commitment to innovation and safety, and we believe it establishes us as a trailblazer in the ever-evolving landscape of utility infrastructure.

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