Presenting Tōtika – streamlining health and safety pre-qualification
Tōtika was designed to streamline the health and safety pre-qualification process for the construction sector.
Prior to the development of Tōtika there was no common standard and suppliers had to pre-qualify through various different schemes – creating inefficiency in the supply chain.
This webinar was recorded on 17 November 2021. It includes speakers from Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ), KiwiRail and Downer.
This video is a direct recording of the webinar, which includes footage of the speakers as they talk. It also features some slides and video footage interspersed throughout the webinar.
Gordon Harcourt: Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Nau mai, nau mai haere mai ko Gordon Harcourt ahau. Kia ora, welcome, I'm Gordon Harcourt. I'm the Communications Lead for The Accord.
Welcome once again to the latest in series of webinars towards high performance. Today, it is all about Tōtika, the new system aiming to streamline the health and safety prequalification process for construction. Now it creates a single standard for all prequalification across the sector so that the suppliers only need complete the process once for all buyers of their services.
Prior to the development of Tōtika, there was no common standard, suppliers had to pre-qualify through various different schemes. That's pretty, well, let's just say it creates inefficiency in the supply chain. We've got some serious expertise today from CHASNZ, from KiwiRail, from Downer. They going to tell us why Tōtika was needed, how it was developed and most importantly, what are its benefits? And they'll have practical advice about its use. Now, once again, this webinar is brought to you by the Construction Sector Accord. And here is a reminder of what the Accord is all about.
Logo: Construction Sector Accord.
Various construction scenes.
Construction touches us all in some way and its success is crucial for a better Aotearoa.
The Accord was launched in April 2019, to try and address the many issues affecting the sector.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern launching the Construction Sector Accord, April 2019
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: The Construction Sector Accord is the first step in creating a strong partnership between government and industry.
Various construction scenes.
And the partnership is to create a high performing construction sector for a better New Zealand.
The Accord has big goals:
- Increase productivity
- Raise capability
- Improve resilience
- Restore confidence, pride and reputation.
The Accord's work is about driving long term culture change, from increasing diversity in construction, to reducing carbon emissions.
We want to see better business performance, better leadership, better health and safety culture – including mental health, fairer risk allocation.
We want to see a safer, more successful, more sustainable construction sector.
By working together we can achieve that vision.
Logo: Construction Sector Accord.
Video clip ends.
Gordon Harcourt: So, that is the Accord. And first up today, talking about Tōtika we have Roger McRae, he is the Independent Chairperson for CHASNZ, Construction Health and Safety New Zealand. Kia ora Roger.
Roger McRae: It's great to be here and thanks for having me along. We're really proud of what we've created with Tōtika and really, really happy to be showcasing this to the industry.
Gordon Harcourt: Now, Tōtika was developed by CHASNZ working with representatives from across the sector, including us here at the Construction Sector Accord. Roger, why was Tōtika created?
Roger McRae: So, we were approached by industry asking us for help telling us that they were fed up with multiple prequalification schemes. They were being asked to provide for different clients. And generally, these requests were coming from small to medium-sized businesses with limited resources with one of these businesses reporting as many as 15 different prequalification schemes being required to be completed and paid for in a year.
We did some further industry study and found that on average businesses were engaging with five different prequalification schemes each year. And that the average cost to businesses was $38,000 and pre-qualification, so not insignificant, particularly for smaller players. But the top cost and time commitment to complete these schemes, these multiple schemes were really significant for the smaller businesses and it was leading to disengagement by these businesses. And really the prequalification was becoming a box ticking exercise. So CHASNZ decided to set about trying to create a universal prequalification framework and which has been well led by Jon Harper Slade and he's done an amazing job. It's been called Tōtika because in Māori this means the right or correct or suitable thing to do, which we think is entirely appropriate.
Visuals - presentation slides
Slide: Businesses engaging with five different pre-qualification schemes per year at a cost of $38,000.
Slide: Tōtika Health and Safety Pre-qualification (Tōtika logo).
Gordon Harcourt: Where are we at in the process of rolling it out?
Roger McRae: Tōtika is now fully rolled out. We have over 30 major clients signed up and we have close to 1,000 contractors registered. In addition to that, we have three-member pre-qualification scheme providers signed up and further one almost ready to be signed up. So, in reality Tōtika is going really well and we're very happy with it.
Gordon Harcourt: Why is pre-qualification itself important?
Roger McRae: Pre-qualification is important for clients because it provides them with confidence that the contractor has a good health and safety management system in place that ensures that people that are working on the projects or on the sites will be kept safe from harm. And from the contractor's perspective, it provides evidence of a good health and safety management system that ensures that the workforce are well looked after.
Gordon Harcourt: What are the benefits of Tōtika for the sector?
Roger McRae: So really the Tōtika framework provides a consistency across all businesses. It's a universal standard and that has been missing to date. It will have the benefit of significantly reducing costs because contractors will in future be only required to complete one pre-qualification instead of multiple pre-qualifications. So, there's going to be a cost saving but there's also going to be a significant reduction in the effort required to complete the prequalification schemes. It'll also reduce the disengagement or box ticking that we've been seeing with multiple prequalification schemes and we're hopeful we'll ensure there's better engagement by the supply chain across the industry. I think most importantly though, it will provide, it will assist in ensuring there is reduced harm across the industry and ensure that our people, which are our greatest assets in the industry are protected from harm.
Gordon Harcourt: Kia ora Roger.
Next up Jon Harper Slade, he is the General Manager of Health and Safety Innovation at CHASNZ. Kia ora Jon.
Jon Harper-Slade: Hey, thanks for having me along. I'm really excited to talk to you about Tōtika scheme.
Gordon Harcourt: Jon, we want to know how it works. First though, how was it developed?
Jon Harper-Slade: Yeah, well that takes us back a while. Tōtika was an idea that came out of an impetus from our board, an approach from WorkSafe, the regulator to our board to help us work with them, solve a problem that's existed for some time now, which is really that as we're all aware of is that there's always been this requirement from buyers of services to assure themselves that their supplies have got an appropriate measures in place or management programmes in place to take care of the health and safety of the people that do the work.
And so out of that, on this activity, this pre-qualification activity. And although the intentions of that were quite well-intended what's happened is that we've ended up with lots of prequalification activity and lots of competing commercial and internal systems. And that suppliers have just ended up confused, overburdened with paperwork and overburdened with cost and no real clear understanding of whether any of this stuff was helping produce improved safety of the work that people were doing.
Maybe about four years ago now, maybe even a bit longer, about as long as CHASNZ has been established as an entity that then CEO of WorkSafe New Zealand, Nicole Rosie really brought this challenge to the organisation because the regulator we're getting lots of submissions from industry stakeholders about this problem and asked us whether or not we could take this on as a project to sort out, so that's what we did.
So, we worked with some of our colleagues at the regulator and did some research, tried to get a better understanding of what the problem was. And then really went quite broad in thinking about what the solutions might be, which was looking at different approaches from different industries here in New Zealand and also looking at overseas as well in places like Australia and North America and Europe and the UK to see what they were doing to try and solve this problem. So that's probably the point in history.
After all that research work, we then came up with a developed proposal of what we think this might look like a bit of a straw man which, and the indication was that what we needed to do was put in an umbrella overall of this different disconnected effort and have a mechanism where all this effort could be cross recognised in a simple way, which would mean that supplies and clients would be able to have choice on how they demonstrate that they've gotten appropriate health and safety management programme or approach and that all of that supply chain leaders, all of their clients, the buyers of their services could all recognise that one thing.
So that's what we went on to build, which took us some time. I mean, we have to go quite broad. We had to collaborate and consult quite widely. So, it's taken some time to get Tōtika to where it is right now. It's probably yeah, about a four-year journey that we've been on to get it to where it is now.
Gordon Harcourt: How people are going to use the new system.
Jon Harper-Slade: Sure, well, I mean, as the systems well implemented now, we've got just about, I think just over 1,000 registered suppliers within Tōtika now and more than 35 listed supply chain leaders within the system. So, I can give you an active kind of explanation of how it works. So, from a supplier on contracts point of view, this system, the end engagement systems really easy, which is that they go to the website, Tōtika.org and they sign up as a supplier, which is free, and they just give us some information. So that's them registered, it's as simple as that, takes them a couple of minutes.
The only thing that they need to enable them to register is the New Zealand business number. And so, one of the things that we're finding out as a point of detail is some of the sole traders and small businesses might not have a New Zealand business number and they're not aware that they can apply for one and then be free. So worth knowing that for any suppliers listening that are interested in registering that they need an NZBN. So, once they've registered, then step two really is for them to understand how to be listed. So, the difference is when they're registered with us, they appear on our database.
Once they're listed, they're visible to their hiring clients. And that's really them showing that they've demonstrated that they've gotten appropriate health and safety management programme. So, the way that they get listed is that they have choice. So, they can either engage with one of our three members schemes or do a prequalification assessment with any one of those three schemes, their choice. And at the end of that assessment there'll be listed. So that's an automatic process. And or if they have another certification that we recognise such as some businesses have ISO 45001 certification for their businesses, some businesses that have undertaken safe plus on-site assessments, some have got Q safe certification.
Some supplies have got certification with SafeTree, which is the forestry industry system. We recognise all of those things. So, they just need to upload evidence that they've got that certification. We check it and we list them that way. And so that's fundamentally how it works for a supplier. It's really simple, they register, they work out how to get listed, they get listed, that's it.
Visuals - presentation slides
Slide: 1,000+ suppliers registered with Tōtika, 35+ listed supply chain leaders.
Slide: How does it work for contractors? Sign up (free), complete registration (30 seconds), confirm category (S, 1, 2 or 3), understand options to be listed, maintain listing status, pre-qualified for all clients recognising Tōtika.
Gordon Harcourt: Tell us about the Tōtika portal, how does that work?
Jon Harper-Slade: Sure, the portal really is how different stakeholders engage with it. So, I'll probably talk about that from three stakeholder perspectives. We've got our member schemes, which the prequalification schemes. They have their own special access to our portal, which allows them to directly export assessment outcomes straight into the Tōtika database. So that when suppliers approach them and ask for a pre-qualification assessment, that assessment outcome goes directly into our based that member scheme. It just takes any administration and paperwork out of the way.
So that's the member schemes, they've got their access. Suppliers, they've got their own access. So, once they register and provide an email address and a password, they can log into their dashboard and what they can do is update their profile information. So that's information about their business geographically, where are they located? Where do they work? What sort of business are they? Their business contact details. That's what they can do through the portal from their dashboard.
And then the clients and supply chain leaders. They have their own portal access. So, clients and supply chain leaders can choose to sign up with Tōtika. There is a fee for clients and supply chain leaders, and that's $1,000 a year and that gives them access to our supplier listing service. So when a client or supply chain leader is registered as a supply chain leader in our system, they get access to the portal and they can either directly search the supplier listing through a web view, they can manually download basically an Excel file of all of our listed suppliers with all of their information, or they can actually have an active live listing service, which means they suck out that listed supplier information straight into their own business systems. That's the popular solution.
So pretty much all of the 35 clients that are currently engaged with Tōtika are using that automatic import service. What that means is that they can trust that the information that they're getting is up to date and live. So, our suppliers register and then get listed, as soon as they listed, they appear on that list in the client's business systems so that they know that they've got the tick in the box to the health and safety pre-qualified.
Gordon Harcourt: Now, Jon you've mentioned that it has been a four-year journey to get this far, still more to be done, what is next?
Jon Harper-Slade: Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of work for us to do still. So, our real focus at the moment is with supply chain leaders across any industry. And that's really important that supplies work across industries. And so therefore Tōtika is only really going to be successful as we start to move towards a more diverse group of supply chain leaders, engaging with Tōtika and using the listing rather than asking for their own specific solution to be driven through their supply chain, which is what causes a lot of these problems. So, we are really actively meeting and talking to supply chain leaders and showing them the benefits of leading Tōtika with us because it is a leadership programme from a supply chain leaders’ point of view is to lead this. So that's really our efforts.
Also as well using those stakeholders to increase visibility of Tōtika for suppliers so that they know it's a viable option because there are still pockets of contractors and suppliers out there that haven't heard of Tōtika. So, communications are really important. In the member scheme side, we've currently got three really great member schemes. So that is Impac Prequal, She Pre-qualification and Qualify365. We're really keen to attract other commercial prequalification providers into Tōtika to be member schemes. There's a separate, independent process they have to go through so that there is a standard for them. And they have to demonstrate that they meet that standard before they can be a member scheme. And that's independently audited and assessed by JASNZ who are an independent body that do this type of work all the time.
So that's arm's length from us. And so yeah, we'd like some more diversity around member schemes. We're also working to collaborate with other industry bodies to make sure that any industry supply certification schemes that exist that represent good quality can be recognised within the Tōtika system as well. Because really this is really around recognising the effort the suppliers are already going to and not creating new effort.
And in the process, also making sure that the bar is set reasonably high so that suppliers can understand the importance of having a good, effective health and safety management programme and how that health and safety management programme can help them improve safety in their business. So that's quite important here. This isn't about arresting the bottom of going to the lowest common denominator or the lowest standard of health and safety prequalification. This is about setting a new standard as well and helping supplies understand how to improve over time. That's really important for us.
Visuals - presentation slide
Slide: Member Schemes:
- qualify365 by Safe365
- +IMPAC PREQUAL
- SHE PRE-QUAL
- Pegasus PRE QUAL
- website: coming soon
- contact email: coming soon
Gordon Harcourt: Kia ora Jon.
Next up Cat Salt, the Zero Harm Lead for Capital Projects and Asset Development at KiwiRail. Kia ora Cat.
Cat Salt: Thank you really excited to be part of this webinar.
Gordon Harcourt: Now, if you think about it, KiwiRail really is at the frontline on health and safety, the health and safety of its passengers, its freight users, it's thousands of staff and of the wider community, such as people crossing a rail track on foot and in vehicles. Check out the Rail Safety Week video on their website if you haven't seen it, that really is pretty powerful. So, health and safety, crucial to its operations but previous schemes have been inefficient with conflicting requirements. Cat, you are the Zero Harm Lead, how important is health and safety for KiwiRail?
Cat Salt: Our purpose of stronger connections, better New Zealand at KiwiRail feeds into our why and health and safety is a key element of that statement. We extend the length and width of the country connecting with many industries across the network. And that health and safety importance actually extends through to our employees, our customers and our contractors. And looking across the KiwiRail portfolio, we've actually got really high-risk environments.
So, we've got the rail corridor and we have major construction sites. And quite often we have workers working in both of those environments at the same time. So, it's really key that we get health and safety right to ensure that we're leading the supply chain and ensuring that we're procuring contractors that can work safely in our environments but we're also providing a safe environment for them as they come into our workplaces and ensuring that we partner with them. So, one of our core values is care and protect. And we really live and breathe that within the business. And we really proactively approach making sure that every single worker, regardless of where they come from feel that care protect sentiment.
Gordon Harcourt: What issues have you had with previous prequalification system?
Cat Salt: In my previous role, I was with a supplier organisation and we had many different clients that we had to pre-qualify with in one way or another and it might be an internal process or a pre-qualification partner that they had insisted or that they had partnered with and it used to require a lot of time to write documents that would meet certain requirements. And sometimes we'd have multiple documents that meant the same thing, but they'd have to say a certain statement or something to kind of meet the requirements.
And it would actually take a lot of time, a lot of time as the health and safety advisor to go through these pre-qualifications. And it would take time away from the field, which is where the work really mattered. And then conversely, at KiwiRail, now as a supply chain leader, we've actually been looking at prequalification options because we know that there's systems out there that may be more efficient to the way we currently do it.
They might be better than the way we currently do it, but we did actually find the choices quite overwhelming. And we also had quite strong pushback from some of our contracting partners at the options that we were looking at, where it would kind of lock them into one provider. And so, yeah, just the whole situation was really overwhelming for us as a leader, I guess, like as a client, which direction to go in.
Gordon Harcourt: Tell me, how does KiwiRail use Tōtika?
Cat Salt: KiwiRail is in the early implementation stages of Tōtika, and we will be using it as I guess, an assurance check that our suppliers have a management system. It has been checked by someone. It is in an accredited industry accepted framework and that will then allow us to kind of ask more focused questions on a specific procurement.
We can actually look at how an organisation is working with us. So, we'll import the live list into our system that will give the indication of which category supplier is on the register and we'll compare it with the procurement or the engagement and what work they're doing with those, whether it still fits within that criteria that they've accredited for. And yeah, work from there. We'll then take that information; we won't do any policy reviews or anything that's already covered as part of the framework. And we'll then ask qualitative questions about the specific work that that organisation will be doing for us.
And then we'll also look at some of the previous performance indicators, if it's a contractor that we use across the business. So, we use them regularly. And then, yeah, probably more targeted questions if it is a new procurement or a new contractor, new supplier.
Gordon Harcourt: What benefits is it going to have for KiwiRail?
Cat Salt: Firstly, supporting the industry. So, we know that prequalification is a book bare for the industry and many organisations and yeah, so it's really good to be supportive of that. It'll also allow us to align better with the construction industry. It will streamline our internal processes. We spend a lot of time looking at management systems, reviewing policies and it's a lot of wasted energy. So, it will help us to move into more proactive approach in procurements. And certainly, in terms of the questions that we can ask at that stage, there'll be increased efficiency, both for KiwiRail in terms to what I've just said but also our suppliers, especially where multiple clients buying into the same framework, they have the empowerment to choose their own pathway to pre-qualification.
And also, for us, we will actually be, we'll have a wider scope of suppliers that are being assessed. So currently one of our major gaps is that we look at large organisations and not so much the smaller ones. So, it's great to see that the smaller suppliers are actually going through a process and demonstrating understanding where we're not currently doing that.
Gordon Harcourt: Kia ora Cat, really good to hear from a client actually using the system.
Finally, today, Barry Bignell, he's the Executive General Manager Zero Harm at Downer. Kia ora Barry.
Barry Bignell: Kia ora and thank you for having me. This is an important part of our operations that we're really keen to be involved and encouraging others to be participating with Tōtika.
Gordon Harcourt: So, Barry, as a contractor, what role has prequalification had in Downer's daily operations?
Barry Bignell: Pre-qualification is important for us because it gives us assurance that our contractors are coming into operation with a level of health and safety knowledge and competency. It certainly allows for an efficient onboarding process for us and removes a lot of internal effort to manage that. And the other important thing, I guess, is it provides us with a level playing field for all of our contractors and shows that we all have the same level of management of health and safety.
And then internally onboarding, what it allows us to do is quickly move to focusing on building our relationships with our contractors and getting on to getting the work done. So, it's a very useful part of that process.
Gordon Harcourt: And what are some of the challenges, the problems you've had with other pre-qualification processes?ur relationships with our contractors and getting on to getting the work done. So, it's a very useful part of that process.
Barry Bignell: Yeah, so I'll answer that in two parts. Firstly, as a contractor ourselves, one of the challenges with the old process is that we have to do and still do in some respects multiple pre-qualifications. So that takes a lot of internal resources and time as well as cost. With Tōtika were able to upload our ISO certificate and that's it. And we spend an awful lot of energy and time and dollars on maintaining our ISO accreditation. So, it's very valuable to us. So having that capability certainly removes some of those challenges of ongoing pre-qualification.
Then in terms of our supply chain and looking after our subcontractors, again, that's that multiple prequals, which can cause a bit of tension in the relationship. So, by removing that tension it allows that relationship to move forward pretty quickly and to onboard contractors. If we're asking contractors to do our version of a pre-qual and they've already done 10 or more in some cases, other pre-quals, for smaller organisations without the large administrative resource, that can be quite taxing. So, it does cause a bit of tension.
Gordon Harcourt: You've touched on this a little bit already but tell me what sort of difference using Tōtika has made.
Barry Bignell: Yes, I have touched a little bit on it because I think it's all sort of tied in but Tōtika for us, particularly being able to upload our certification, we spend, like we're currently actually just going through our audit. It's 20 days of auditing and we have about, on average about 200 of our people exposed to that over that time and it costs us somewhere on the order of 200,000 to do that audit. So, it's a very expensive process, very valuable process.
And now we get the recognition for that. So, we're able to just simply upload our certificate, it's reviewed every year by an external auditor. It has a lot of gravitas in that respect, and we rely on that heavily. In terms of our supply chain, probably the biggest differences, we're able to shift the onus or the responsibility to the subcontractor. And they get the choice, probably the choice is the biggest thing for them. They can do it once and hopefully as more industries come on board, then they would only have to do it once. And we know that whatever organisation they've been pre-qualified with that meet a standard across all the pre-quals. So, we have confidence that they've got the right systems in place.
Gordon Harcourt: What's your advice for others in the sector, transitioning to the new system?
Barry Bignell: Probably engage with it reasonably quickly. I think it's added so much value to our process. The benefit is that you get to move very quickly past the challenge of getting pre-qual completed. So, in terms of the overall life relationship with a subcontractor, pre-qualifications at the very start of the process and you need it, you need to have assurance, but you don't need it to be the primary focus. So, what Tōtika allows you to do is get past that focus very quickly. And I would certainly recommend it. We find the database very efficient. We able to download information directly from the Tōtika database and merge it with our own. So, we keep a record for ourselves, but we also have access to that. And the standard categorization has been really important for us. We've been challenged with how we categorise our contractors, Downer is a large contractor in itself and we have contractors for us that work across multiple parts of our business. We're able to manage that now through Tōtika much more efficiently. And so, I would just only encourage any employer out there who's in a similar position to engage with Tōtika.
Gordon Harcourt: Oh, kia ora, thanks, Barry. Really good advice in there for contractors and subbies.
Thank you to all our speakers today. Thanks to you, of course, for joining us. And if you have any questions, please do email or call, the details are on screen there or visit the website. You can contact CHASNZ too of course and their details are there.
Now the next webinar in towards high performance series is going to be all about the Beacons Awards presented tomorrow at Building Nation, unfortunately an online event. The inaugural Beacons Awards, pretty excited about that. Hei konā mai, mauri ora. Have a great day all of you.
Logo: Construction Sector Accord
Creating a more efficient construction health and safety system
Tōtika was developed by Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ) working with representatives from across the industry, including the Construction Sector Accord. The new system aims to simplify the process and create one standard for all health and safety pre-qualification across the construction sector – where suppliers only have to complete the process once for all buyers of their services.
As part of the Accord's Towards High Performance webinar series, we partnered with CHASNZ to discuss the new system and its impact on the sector.
Speakers covered a variety of key issues, including why Tōtika was needed, how it was developed, what the benefits are for the construction sector and practical advice for clients, suppliers and contractors using the new scheme.
Roger McRae – Independent Chairperson, Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ)
CHASNZ is a charitable trust developed in 2018 with the objective of improving the lives of construction workers by raising the standard of health and safety culture and performance across our construction industry. Roger has over 35 years experience in the construction sector in New Zealand and overseas, and talked about why this change was needed, why pre-qualification is important and the status of the scheme's rollout.
Jon Harper-Slade – General Manager Health and Safety Innovation, Construction Health and Safety New Zealand (CHASNZ)
Jon has an essential role at CHASNZ, undertaking key initiatives and researching innovative solutions that contribute to the organisation's aspirations for a world class construction health and safety environment. Jon discussed how Tōtika was developed, the benefits for the construction sector and advice for clients, suppliers and contractors using the new scheme.
Cat Salt – Zero Harm Lead for Capital Projects and Asset Development, KiwiRail
KiwiRail is one of New Zealand's largest employers, with staff in more than 50 towns and cities across the country. Health and safety assessment is crucial to its operations, but previous schemes have been inefficient with conflicting requirements. Cat explained the role of pre-qualification for KiwiRail and how her team are using the new scheme.
Barry Bignell – Executive General Manager Zero Harm, Downer
Downer's zero harm culture is built on leading and inspiring, managing risk, rethinking processes, applying lessons learnt, and adopting and adapting practices that aim to achieve zero work-related injuries. Barry discussed some of the issues Downer has encountered with the previous health and safety pre-qualification schemes and provided his take on Tōtika.