Aesthetics is everything and good interior design has the ability to transform a building, mark its entry into the modern-day, and is key to creating something which is more than purely functional. Acknowledging the imperative of flooring as a key component of an aesthetic structure, and doing so in a manner that affords certainty in both quality and safety, Loughton Contracts has established a mode of practice whereby nothing is left to chance.
Over the past thirty years, the company has grown exponentially, rapidly becoming the UK’s leading flooring contractor, successfully entering the commercial market and regularly working on high profile projects across the UK.
Despite phenomenal expansion, the ambition of Loughton Contracts remains the same: to be the best flooring installer out there, and the company’s health and safety ethic – amongst its quality and professionalism – differentiates it from many like competitors. Refusing to be ordinary, the company is determined to do things differently, as Tony Mills, Director of Operations at Loughton Contracts asserts: “Within the construction industry, companies tend be reactive, rather than proactive. More often than not, health and safety becomes a box-ticking exercise and that’s not what we’re about. We want to be proactive. We want to find what’s best for our operatives and work hard to protect our staff.”
Keen to prevent not just discrete injuries and loss time accidents but long-term health complaints too, the company takes a holistic view of health and safety well beyond either legal compliance or accreditation. In many ways, Loughton Contracts can be defined by being two steps ahead of the pack. The company insists on a 5 Point PPE policy, as well as enforcing any other kit required for each, individual job. Supplying and installing many different materials and in various dimensions, Loughton Contracts is adaptive and able to make subtle changes to working procedure across projects – utilising face-fitting masks for cutting timber and knee-pads for the hard-flooring team being just two examples.
Having worked on a number projects, including prestigious universities and major blue chip organisations, during the course of 2015 Loughton Contracts installed flooring on a phenomenal scale at the new Tate Modern extension. It saw the company win Health and Safety Contractor of the Month multiple times over a twelve month period, pitching above around 30 other sub-contractors on site. The accolade came as a result of the combined efforts of management and operatives, each exuding responsibility for the team and business as a whole.
The company’s specialist workforce is, in part, indebted to Loughton Contracts’ prolonged investment in training and development; the company recognises the importance of regular and progressive development. It’s with the introduction of a training matrix, listing both administrative and operations staff, that the contractor is able to instantly identify when employees are due for renewal as well as capitalise on upcoming opportunities with external providers. “I’ve done the budgets for this year and, with a quick scan of the matrix, know that 7 people need a CSCS card, four need to renew their SSSTS training, two need to do the SMTS course and, on top of that, we’re looking at promoting asbestos awareness and providing further training where we can.”
With such attention paid to staff training and a united code of practice, it comes as no surprise that the company incurred zero accidents last year despite laying over a million square metres of flooring across 700 different projects. Not complacent however, with the log of one accident this January, a minor cut, Loughton Contracts has already launched an investigation as to why it happened in order to prevent it from happening again. As a result of its preliminary findings, the company has already enacted various changes to working practice: for instance, introducing retractable knives for the removal of packaging.
Indeed, Loughton Contracts’ keen health and safety practice is set to tighten and advance further with this year seeing the introduction of an intranet system capable of hosting risk assessments, accident reports, toolbox talks and method statements and all other documentation relevant to the job. Tony Mills provides further detail: “Not only does this work alongside our database and is helping us to create a more paperless environment, the intranet allows us greater efficiency with respect to getting the message out there. When out on site, our operatives can go straight to the most up to date forms and processes and go into a job with all the information they need to carry out work to the standard we expect. By the end of this year, the extranet system will be online and will allow greater interaction with the documentation in cases where things need to be amended, adapted or sent out.”
Embedded within the company’s core and informing its future development, health and safety is something on which Loughton Contracts is simply unwilling to compromise. As their flooring work on one of the largest construction project in Europe, Battersea Power Station, gets underway, the company’s dedicated ethic and unique industry profile remains unshakeable and will no doubt continue to see Loughton Contracts foster the respect of clients and competitors alike.