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Featuring Airconaire: Interview With Graham Tolhurst (Commercial Manager) & Barry Bradding (Commercial Director)

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Airconaire: Safety Comes As Standard

(The Following is a Promoted Article)

There’s more to standing out in a competitive industry than just the services you have at your disposal. Increasingly, as repeat business is so vital to the successful longevity of a company, the emphasis is not simply on what you can do but the way you do it.

Airconaire has built an enviable reputation over the years thanks to its extensive portfolio of mechanical engineering, design, installation and maintenance services for air conditioning that has married performance with value. This has witnessed it develop long-term relationships with a broad range of clients including end users, consultants and principle contractors which includes the provision of VRF and VRV air conditioning, air and ground source heat pumps, DX and multi split refrigeration, process cooling, heating, heat recovery, pipework services, close control systems and energy management solutions.

The Kent-based air conditioning specialist, which operates across London and the Southeast, is no stranger to repeat business which has been achieved as a result of its enduring high standards and ability to deliver the right solutions for clients. However, a key component of successful contract completion is the safety of the workforce, partners on site and the occupants of the buildings in which Airconaire works.

As Commercial Manager Graham Tolhurst says, health and safety plays a “massive part” in the way the business approaches its work. “It’s the cornerstone of completing a good all-round job because, from the very beginning, we have to assess how we are going to achieve the client’s objectives not only satisfactorily but, importantly, safely,” he remarks.

Working as both a subcontractor and main contractor, Airconaire faces different challenges depending on the job and the onsite environment but importantly it operates a robust in-house policy which is supported by internal training that focuses on assessing the individual needs of the staff member to complement skills in accordance with their career development.

“No matter how busy a site maybe, it’s important to ensure high health and safety standards remain a fundamental part of the process. The challenge is getting the workforce to understand and implement that approach and that’s where we’ve tried to develop our procedures in recent years. We’ve done that by having in-house training, as well as using an external body to educate both our employed staff and subcontractors as well as employing random site checks, particularly on our larger sites, to monitor how our procedures are being employed,” adds Tolhurst.

Toolbox talks and other traditional methods of training are administered to keep the workforce informed of the latest developments, ensure safety continues to remain at the forefront of their thinking, and address any specific risks associated with individual sites.

That’s crucial, says Commercial Director Barry Bradding, who explains that the diverse nature of Airconaire’s work means sites differ to such a degree safety policy must be tailored to specific risks, especially when it isn’t just staff involved but the public as well.

“We recently completed a major scheme as principle contractor in London in an environment that was fully occupied,” remarks Bradding. “We had weekly meetings with those persons working within that building to ensure they were aware of where and what we were doing. It helped them to understand why areas had to be cordoned off and how long there would be a safety risk. Once you bring them into the conversation they have a much greater understanding of the risks involved and how we can better deal with those risks so that no one gets hurt.”

Indeed, communication is key to a successful health and safety policy. “Meetings prior to the project will take place looking at all aspects of safety, particularly any business-critical risks that may include occupants of the building, educating our staff on those risks. Continual assessment of those plans will take place while we closely liaise with the client so that our procedural approach is mutually beneficial to all parties,” adds Tolhurst.

Airconaire, which saw one of its project managers win a monthly health and safety award from a main contractor on a refurbishment scheme in London recently, is also proudly accredited to CHAS and Safe Contractor.

“Health and safety is such a key part of getting repeat business these days,” concludes Tolhurst. “By ensuring the safety of our operatives and of anyone else working in and around our works, we are confident we can develop long-lasting relationships with clients.”

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BDC 305 Jun 2023