Three workers holding an ISO9001 certificate

Celebrating 10 years of ISO9001 certification!

Westcountry Fabrication Ltd are celebrating 10 years of ISO9001 certification! This is a significant achievement for any organisation, and a real testament to our team’s commitment to our mission:

To offer high quality, reliable steel fabrication services for clients in the construction sector.’

Our certification demonstrates a long-term commitment to maintaining a high level of quality management and customer satisfaction.

What is ISO9001:2015?

ISO9001:2015 is a globally recognised standard for quality management that helps organisations of all sizes and sectors to improve their performance, meet customer expectations and demonstrate their commitment to quality. The standard is based on seven quality management principles, which include; customer focus, leadership, engagement of people, process approach, improvement, evidence-based decision making, and relationship management.

What does ISO9001:2015 certification involve?

To gain ISO9001 certification an organisation needs to implement a Quality Management System that meets the requirement of the ISO9001 standard. To be certified, they need to have an external certification body audit their systems and confirm that all requirements are met.

What does ISO9001:2015 specifically involve for Westcountry Fabrication Ltd?

We record everything!

Our management team have completed formal training to facilitate the in house implementation and internal audit process for ISO9001. What you see here as an ISO9001 certificate is just the cherry on the top, the culmination of a huge amount of data that we collect, analyse and respond to as part of our daily operations, this is the ‘plan, do, check, act,’ cycle that is integral to the ISO9001 standard.

We consult with an expert!

We enlisted the support of a consultant, Michael Lunn, to facilitate the fine tuning of our systems. Michael has supported WCF in the maintenance of our ISO9001 certification as well as compliance with the BS EN 1090 standard and our Factory Production Control system.

We are audited by industry specialists SCCS!

Steel Construction Certification Scheme Limited (SCCS) is a UKAS accredited certification body. This means they too have been audited to ensure they are competent to certify us in accordance with national and international standards and regulations. SCCS annually audit our ISO9001 quality management system as well as our BS EN 1090 Factory Production Control and UKCA Marking of Structural Steelwork.


Reflecting on the past 10 years of ISO9001 certifications and business

We spoke with Managing Director Jack Gailer, Manager Jay Hart and Foreman Neil Hart

Three workers pose with their first ISO9001 certificate outside of a workshop in Plymouth
Left to right: Neil Hart, Jay Hart and Jack Gailer with Westcountry Fabrication’s first ISO9001 certificate in 2014

Tell us about the past 10 years in business Jack:

‘It has been tough! Certainly, the last five years must have been the most challenging time to run a business. Massive inflation, Covid 19, material shortages, lack of skilled labour, sky rocketing energy prices. There have been so many adversities, it has been relentless and there is no foreseeable end to it! It has taken considerable resilience and adaptability. Amidst the doom and gloom though there has been a profound sense of solidarity. The team we have established is incredibly strong and experienced, albeit with a few more grey hairs than in that 2014 photo!’

What about the first five years in business, how was that?

The first five years were also challenging, but they were challenges of our choosing. We out grew our 1500 square foot unit in Plymouth and moved in 2016 across the Tamar to a larger premises of 5000 square foot in Saltash. This was a bold move, with limited financial investment available being a young company we took quite a significant risk. The move paid off as we were able to take on large scale structural works which would not have been possible in the smaller premises. Since then, structural steel has become the larger part our work with an established repeat customer base we are once again working at the capacity of our unit space.

What has been a highlight of the past 10 years for you Jay?

I love using the Swift-Cut Plasma machine, it has improved our efficiency massively and enabled us to keep the profiling of plates in house which reduces lead times too. The press brake is also great, we are beginning to use that more and it is a fantastic addition to the workshop.

For all of you, if you could go back 10 years, what advice would you give yourself?

Jay: ‘Save your back and use the forklift!’

Jack: ‘Invest in machinery sooner.’

Neil: ‘Drink more and eat less.’

Jack, how has the ISO9001 certification helped your business?

‘Having the certification, and maintaining it for 10 years, certainly sets us apart from our competitors.’

‘It gives us a solid framework for quality management. Our mission has always been to be to offer a high quality, reliable steel fabrication service for clients in the construction sector and the ISO9001 audit and certification process has helped us to achieve our goals. We have certainly made a great deal of progress in the past 10 years.’

What are your business plans for the future?

Jack: ‘We are keen to work towards achieving ISO14001 certification, the standard for environmental management systems, and of course maintaining our established ISO9001:2015 and BSEN1090 standards.’


Westcountry Fabrication would like to thank the team, and their families for their support and dedication over the past decade. The ongoing ISO9001 certification really is a credit to their hard work and commitment to quality management. To finish, we summarise:

Ten things that we have learned from 10 years of ISO9001 certification:

  • Not all certificates are equal, look out for a UKAS accredited certification body.
  • Quality does not mean perfection, it means there is a process which facilitates excellence.
  • Control the controllables. We know perfect does not exist. But we get close to perfect by addressing issues head on through a documented process that ensures that there are sufficient control measures in place to control the controllables and corrective actions where the uncontrollable means we fall short.
  • A stitch in time saves nine, focus on prevention of issues rather than cure.
  • You are only as good as your weakest link in the supply chain, review your suppliers and look after those that look after you. The cheapest is not necessarily going to be the best choice if your goals are quality based, and the ‘cheapest’ may cost you more in the long run.
  • Effective communication is often the key to good working relationships. Some of the most significant developments have been improvements in the front end of our communications with customers.
  • Management review meeting minutes can reach epic levels of 10,000 words! Give plenty of time to thoroughly review each section.
  • Nothing stays the same, the challenges of today may not be the challenges of tomorrow, adaptability is crucial.
  • Do not underestimate the time, training and administrative work involved in-house in maintaining an effective quality management system. Allocate time for your team to work on this throughout the year.
  • Fierce competition as we move forward makes the cost of quality a key concern, price is king. Will customers still pay for quality in steel fabrication, or in the face of price competition will compromise be necessary? (see here for an interesting perspective on this).
Three workers holding an ISO9001 certificate
10 years on, Neil Hart, Jay Hart and Jack Gailer celebrate 10 years of ISO9001 certification with Westcountry Fabrication Ltd