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About us

Conarg Ltd is a medium-sized building company based in the South East London. It operates in the development and refurbishment (private housing), social housing and public sectors. Of these, it is particularly active in the social sector, with the main ar

Geographically, Conarg works from its Grove Park Head Office in South East London on projects such as Sheltered Housing, Lambeth Decent Homes and Sutton Housing Partnership. It controls an average of 3 projects at any one time and sub-contracts approximately 160 - plumbers, carpenters, decorators, floor layers bricklayers, drivers and labourers directly to work on these projects.

Two experienced project managers along with site managers are managing the projects, with the support of a contracts manager, foreman and site co-ordinator.

The Health and Safety Department, led by the Health and Safety Director, provides advice, guidance and support for the work activities as well as continuous monitoring of health and safety in the form of frequent and detailed Site Safety Audits.

Since the Health and Safety Directors, Gabriel Dascalu & Catalin Ghinea, where appointed in 2008, the management of health and safety within the organisation has become a source of pride for the company. A new Safety Management System and a number of forward thinking initiatives have been implemented that have helped cement the Conarg reputation as a noteworthy operator in the construction sector, and this in turn has played a significant part in ensuring continuity of work in these testing times.

The challenge

Since company’s birth in 2008, there has been no record of accidents and although there have been challenges along the way, the company is demonstrating how health and safety are key factors in both securing work and improving productivity at site level. Gabriel notes, “the benefits are visible in that we are securing work in spite of the current climate, which in part, is due to our exemplary safety culture.”

As a result, it has been noticed by members of the senior management team that there are real spin-off benefits, for example, the efficient use of plant and machinery on-site due to the culture of good housekeeping that flows from good health and safety practices. Rates of materials wastage are reduced, and previously concealed inefficiencies are revealed, which all goes to help in meeting time and monetary targets.

However, traditionally the question of consultation with the workforce had always been a difficult one to answer. In the past, the management of the organisation was resistant to the idea of worker involvement in policy making and suspicious of any perceived dilution of its authority. Gabriel and Catalin where aware of these barriers but determined that the organisation could not afford to ignore the benefits that effective consultation could bring. The opportunity to explore the consultation process came following changes at Board level.

“The Board of Directors understood what we wanted to do and were happy to support the idea of worker engagement/consultation,” they said. “This meant that we had a ‘blank canvas’ on which to place whatever engagement/consultation mechanism we felt was most appropriate, so obviously it was important to get this right.”

Getting the workforce on board

Gabriel and Catalin enlisted the help of CITATION Safety Advisor, Terry Cecil, whom they had recently met in our Head Office in Grove park. From those discussions a framework was constructed that utilised the best ideas from the HSE ‘Safe and sound at work’ – they currently working together towards a safer work system Conarg Ltd.

Working with health and safety representatives - Health and Safety Executive

The Consultation Committee

Suitable individuals were asked to consider involvement with the Consultation Committee and these were equally representative of both the frontline workforce, office based employees and management. A basic structure was agreed around a quorum of committee officers, ie:

  • Managing Directors

  • Buyer

  • Secretary

  • Project Managers

  • Quantity Surveyor

  • Site Labourers

  • Sustainability co-ordinator

The first meeting of the Consultation Committee was called in May 2010 and at that meeting it was agreed that the company would elect representatives of employee safety at site level to liaise between the on-site workforce and management, via the committee.

“Learning lessons from experience of others, it was obvious that the representatives would have to be involved voluntarily, as coerced employees, by definition, cannot be considered to be ‘engaged’. Gabriel Dascalu – Managing Director & Health and Safety Co-ordinator.

“One of the most important aspects of engaging workers in health and safety activities is to gain their trust and understanding of the subject and how it will affect them. We achieved this in this instance by clearly stating beforehand our aims and that this was fully supported by senior management. We also explained that their role and subsequent activities would be agreed with them and not imposed.” Catalin Ghinea.

The site-based workers were invited to put themselves forward for the role of representative. Approximately 7 people did and after individual consideration, they were duly confirmed as representatives ‘elect’. “In practice, many of the reps are members of the committee”, Gabriel says, “because both groups draw from a pool of like-minded individuals that are keen to be part of the company’s vision for a fully engaged workforce and its benefits.”

Health and Safety Executive

It had been agreed at Board level that a financial remuneration would be paid to them to reflect the importance of the role and the value Conarg places on it. The representatives can be easily identified on site by their hi-vis jackets.

Raising awareness

Consultation Committee meetings have been held monthly since the first one in May 2010, minus breaks over the summer and the traditional Christmas construction industry shutdown. Meetings are held on the construction projects by rotation.

“We decided to do this for several reasons,” says Gabriel, “firstly to give Conarg project managers an opportunity to ‘show off’ their sites and more importantly to share good practice with their peers. In addition, we find that people not used to participating in meetings are much more comfortable on their own territory.”

Meetings are informal and enjoyable. “We have tea and coffee and refreshments – lots of banter, alongside the serious discussions keeps the atmosphere informal and this is crucial to participation.”

Local Council Inspectors have been welcomed at most of the meetings to see the committee in action and the response to this has been favourable. In addition, there have also been a few guest speakers – Conarg’s Insurance Company came to talk about fire precautions.

“Partnership working between management and staff is crucial in helping companies realise health and safety benefits, often leading to real business benefits as well as reducing injuries to workers.”

Benefits

There are advantages for office based committee members too. They gain a valuable insight into the dynamics of a construction site and this helps them understand how their own role complements that of others..

It keeps them up to date with the current health and safety requirements they need to do their job efficiently. It helps them to understand some of the problems on site first hand, and putting names to faces they talk to everyday when visiting projects, means they can now relate to people from a different perspective.

Gabi & Catalin are the first to admit that the success of the Consultation Committee has been largely because the committee belongs to the workforce and not the management. Directors, other than the Health and Safety Director, are barred from the meetings and the agenda is set by the workforce. Every person in the company is asked on a monthly basis to think about any issues that they would like to raise through their committee, and some of the issues raised have resulted in real improvements to working practices and have quite possibly prevented accidents.

Health and Safety Executive

The installation of the committee has created a strong link between the management of the company and the worker on the front line. This relationship has numerous benefits for both parties, reducing accidents and complying with legislation, promoting a sense of worth and pride in the representatives and empowering the workforce in ways that could not have been imagined only a short while ago.

Final word from Gabriel Dascalu & Catalin Ghinea:

“Conarg fully embraces worker consultation and the creation of the committee and the appointment of the representatives have given us a strong foundation to build upon.”

Client Base

Conarg has been working together with well known companies like Keepmoat, United House and Richardson on many projects. They where happy to use Conarg’s expertise in the field in order to successfully deliver on time a considerable number of projects for local Council’s.

Also Conarg has worked on a large number of private residential projects involving new build, loft conversions, central heating installations (working together with a gas safe registered sub-contractor), kitchen and bathroom installation, extension’s, renovations, render, repointing, garden refurbishments and fencing. All the projects have been executed to the highest standards and Conarg’s work force was able to meet even the most demanding task’s given by our clients.

The experience we have gained makes our services beneficial and suitable for any client, no matter how complex or unpredictable your construction project is. The use of the latest technology in the industry and modern comprehensive approach to construction allows us to develop and constantly improve the quality of our services.

Friendly and reliable, our highly experienced team share the common objective of delivering the best possible construction solutions to our diverse client base in a manner that clients can easily understand. Whether it is a small size house extension, full house renovation or a new build project, we make sure that our clients receive the same degree of focus and attention. What sets us apart from our competitors is our distinctive business approach, knowledge and our commitment to understanding client's requirements and vision. By choosing us, you choose the experience of the best professionals.

Health and safety

Conarg Ltd is a medium-sized building company based in the South East London. It operates in the development and refurbishment (private housing), social housing and public sectors. Of these, it is particularly active in the social sector, with the main area of specialism being Kitchen and Bathrooms Refurbishments, New Build, Voids Hotel Refurbishments conversions and de-conversions.

Health and safety

Company profile

Geographically, Conarg works from its Grove Park Head Office in South East London on projects such as Sheltered Housing, Lambeth Decent Homes and Sutton Housing Partnership. It controls an average of 3 projects at any one time and sub-contracts approximately 160 - plumbers, carpenters, decorators, floor layers bricklayers, drivers and labourers directly to work on these projects.

Company profile

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