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Rawley Plant Ltd

In 1961 Colin Rawley and his father Jim – a local housebuilder  – hired a ladder and a scaffold board to another housebuilder in Laindon for 30 shillings.  

Today Rawley Plant Ltd provides a range of site accommodation and toilet hire services throughout London and the South East of England, with a turnover approaching £3million.

The firm’s 52-year history is not only a fascinating one; it also sets a fine example of how to generate success and sustainability through ethical and responsible business behavior.

Colin is now the chairman of Rawley Plant Ltd, and his son Howard Rawley is the managing director.

The company’s commitment to business responsibility was recently rewarded with an ‘overall’ Gold award in the Responsible Business Standard. Rawley Plant Ltd swept the board with a run of Gold accreditations in six key sections of the Standard - workplace; environment; community; marketplace; ethics, values & transparency; business processes/business continuity.

Not only did Rawley Plant meet the Gold standard criteria in all areas, ORB’s licensed auditors, Graham Clarke and Susan Rom, also praised the firm for being one of the finest business operations they had seen. “I doubt that we would find a business more worthy of a gold standard award following a robust and enquiring audit,” they explained.

Success story

Rawley Plant’s winning formula has always been a simple one – satisfying customer needs to the highest level, while sticking to outstanding core ethics and values. This has not only helped the family firm survive economic downturns and ever-increasing competition, it is clearly flourishing.

Old Durham RoadThe Rawley family began trading from a small builders’ yard in Laindon, hiring tool and mechanical equipment to local householders and businesses within the construction industry. When the building boom hit in the70s and 80s, Rawley Plant responded by expanding with new depots in Laindon, Grays and Watford.

In 2003 the brave decision was made to sell the contractors’ plant and small tool hire operations and Rawley focused on the portable site accommodation and toilet hire side of the business.

As the company grew, so did its reputation for its regard to staff, customers, the community and environment.


Jim Rawley always believed that responsible business behavior begins in the workplace, stating: “happy staff equals happy customers.” Even today Rawley Plant Ltd credits its employees for their contribution in helping the firm deliver its high standards of services.

The Responsible Business Standard audit revealed that Rawley Plant continues to invest in its staff with training, assessments, flexible working options, profit sharing schemes, pension, life assurance and private health schemes. Workers are kept up-to-date with company policies and procedures, but it is not all work and no play – regular social activities range from a kick-about in the yard every evening, to company parties and celebrations  to mark the company’s 50th birthday.

Day to day benefits include free refreshments in staff welfare areas and a weekly ‘jeans day’ in the office. Regular bonus payments, relating to trading and profit levels , are made up to three times a year and every Christmas the company directors continue their long-standing tradition of packing hampers for staff.

Not surprisingly, Rawley Plant boasts exceptionally high staff retention, with one member of staff still enjoying his job there after 43 years.


Employees also help the family-run firm play a role in local environmental issues.

Rawley Plant has been a member of Essex Wildlife Trust for 17 years and staff member Steve Haggar is a volunteer for the Essex Wildlife Trust at the Langdon Hills reserve.

The company marked its 50th anniversary celebration with a £5k legacy donation to fund a community classroom and recently upgraded its support and involvement in Essex Wildlife Trust by becoming a Gold level investor in Wildlife.

Rawley Plant has also signed up to several environmental programmes and identified its own environmental impacts, establishing comprehensive waste reduction and recycling system and introducing a replacement programme for more efficient vehicles.

An awareness of growing environmental concerns led to Rawley Plant developing the ecoCABIN site welfare unit in 2011. The ‘green’ ecoCABINs, which featured a smaller generator, powerful battery system, improved insulation and double-glazing, enabled customers to reduce their carbon footprint.


Most of those suppliers are located locally, with 70 per cent operating within a 30-mile radius of Rawley Plant’s Burnt Mills Industrial Estate site. But the company’s engagement with its local community goes beyond striving to use local suppliers.

RawleyHoward Rawley Plant employees are encouraged to get involved in community projects and charity events – from holding their own McMillan Coffee Mornings to the more energetic and daring charity bike rides and fire-walking!

Rawley Plant’s primary charity is currently St Luke’s Hospice, which it has helped through fundraising projects, and by sponsoring its Christmas carol concerts for several years.

The company has supported the Pensioners Club Christmas meal and a Youth Football Team and Howard Rawley is the chairman of the Pleshey Village Hall Committee.


Community involvement has not only helped enhance Rawley Plant’s reputation, it has also helped boost the feel-good factor for staff, which brings us back to the company ethos of ‘happy staff equals happy customers’.

Customer feedback ensures high standards are maintained and internal quality checks focus on providing unrivalled quality of product, service and value for money.

Clear consumer information is provided via the company website, brochures, literature and verbal communications, and the aim is to provide complete customer satisfaction - from the initial enquiry through to after sales services.

Keeping suppliers happy is equally important. Rawley Plant demonstrated to ORB auditors that it has developed and maintained good supplier relationships and has a clear policy of paying suppliers within 30 days.

Ethics, Values & Transparency

Colin RawleyColin Rawley says that it is teamwork that leads to excellent quality of service.  Colin and his son Howard remain as much a part of the ‘team’ as ever. In fact Howard will on occasion attend call-outs, even at weekends.

Everybody’s input and feedback is valued. Regular meetings and a ‘bottom up and top down’ flow of information ensures all staff, on all levels, are kept informed and involved.

The company continues to lead by example with visits to suppliers’ factories to ensure that it is dealing with ethical organisations.

Howard continues to follow in his family’s footsteps of leading by example and setting a good business standard both internally and externally.

The Responsible Business Standard auditors added: “The business operates in a most ethical and moral way. There is not very much more that could be done to promote this aspect any further.

The future

With a business continuity plan firmly in place, Rawley Plant is in a position to deal with most future eventualities. Continued improvements and investment in products, training, vehicles and systems, will undoubtedly ensure its ongoing success.

Today Rawley Plant provides toilets for major events, including V Festival in Chelmsford, Notting Hill Carnival, charity events, parties, weddings, and just about anywhere where extra loo hire is a must.

Last year was an extremely busy year for Rawley Plant as it supplied units at the Olympic BMX site at Hadleigh and even at the official Christmas lights switch-on at the Olympic stadium.

Ongoing major developments, such as Crossrail and the Thamesport project, rely on site accommodation, welfare units and toilet hire supplied by Rawley Plant.

The company continues to look at ways it can further improve its own environmental impact with an ongoing reduction of paper statements/invoices and purchase orders, and waste to landfill.

Rawley Plant is also looking ahead to use social media to communicate any disruptions in service to customers and suppliers.

The audit report concluded: “Rawley Plant hire is excellently placed to take advantage of opportunities to grow.”

Responsible Business Standard

The Responsible Business Standard audit was carried out on November 26, 2012 by ORB certified auditors Graham Clarke and Susan Rom of BIZphit.

The glowing audit report finished with the following Summary Auditor Comment:

Rawley Plant operates in a very niche market and provides site equipment hire to a range of diverse clients.

The business has been established over 50 years and this sense of maturity and quality is something that pervades throughout the business and to whoever you speak to within the business. There is a profound sense of calm, professionalism and collective work ethic from all you meet as well. This really underpins the way in which the business operates; it’s a rare mixture of a good traditional culture of customer service with modern efficiency built in.

From the experience of our audit visit, I doubt that we would find a business more worthy of a gold standard award following a robust and enquiring audit. Rawley Plant not only met but exceeded the expectations we had in every way: the business was an absolute pleasure to visit and the attention to detail in the business was a pleasure to see. Overall, a most humbling yet exhilarating visit to a high quality, family run business".

Responsible Business Standard 

Award Presentation
Colin and Howard Rawley are presented with the Responsible Business Standard, Gold Award by Stephen Metcalf MP.
Pictured taking part in the presentation are from left to right: Grant Maton of Essex Wildlife Trust; auditors Graham Clarke and Susan Rom from Bizphit; Colin Rawley, company chairman; Stephen Metcalfe MP for Basildon; Howard Rawley, managing director; Marie-Ann Capps, marketing manager; Jill Poet and Mike Wilson from the Organisation for Responsible Businesses; Keith Smith & Colin Stroud from the Basildon Green Business Forum.


1961 Colin Rawley and his father established Rawley Plant Hire.
1996 Rawley Plant becomes a corporate member of the Essex Wildlife Trust.
2000 The COMBI and COMBI-GEN welfare cabins are developed, meeting all current CDM Health & Safety Regulations.
Rawley Plant becomes one of the founding members of Portable Sanitation of Europe, which aims to improve hired toilet sanitation conditions. The company holds the Gold level in this standard.
2001 Rawley Plant enters the event toilet hire market. Today it maintains two toilet hire fleets, one for the events market and one for construction site use.
2003 The plant and tool hire part of the business is sold and the company becomes totally committed to site accommodation and toilet hire.
2012 Colin’s son Howard Rawley becomes managing director.
Rawley Plant is warded the Essex County Business Awards Community prize.
The business is named as Finalist in Excellent Customer Service category in the Basildon Business Awards.
Rawley Event Toilets win Gold Loo of the Year Award in the 2012 search to find the best ‘away from home’ luxury range toilets in the UK.
The company adds the FORS (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme) Bronze accreditation to its list of awards.
Rawley Plant is awarded with overall Gold Responsible Business Standard Certificate.
Rawley Plant upgrades its support and involvement with Essex Wildlife Trust by becoming a Gold level investor in Wildlife membership.
2013 Rawley Plant becomes a member of ORB (The Organisation for Responsible Businesses).
The company is successful in its bid to become Crossrail compliant.


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