At Careys, we’re passionate about consistently delivering high-quality work. We believe that we can attain the standard of excellence we demand by constantly learning, successfully overcoming challenges and being resilient.
This week, we caught up with Diarmuid, a site supervisor – who shared details with us about his role and responsibilities, how he decided on a career in construction and how he approaches solving challenges.
My role and responsibilities
I joined Careys in September 2010 as a carpenter at Heathrow Airport. Since then, I’ve worked on various projects across the country, including BMW in Oxford, Jaguar Land Rover in Liverpool, Gatwick Airport and now I’m back at Heathrow Airport.
As part of my day-to-day responsibilities, I ensure that all operatives on site are allocated tasks and supplied with the right tools, training, PPE and information in order to safely and effectively deliver their best work. I prepare and deliver the daily briefing every morning, and make sure that we have the required plant and material on site to fulfil our scope of works.
I also carry out our “golden hour” sessions, which involve walking around site with the team and providing them with the opportunity to highlight any concerns and recommendations that they think could improve the overall, on-site performance and safety for everyone. I then share this feedback with the principal contractor and we discuss the suggested areas of improvement.
Deciding on a career in construction
I followed in the footsteps of my father, who is a shuttering carpenter. I started off by doing an apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery. Then, after years of working on 1st and 2nd fixing, I joined my father as a shuttering carpenter.
An interesting fact about my current role
Each morning, we must get a Permission to Work slip from air side operations (AIROPS ) – the airport team in charge of checking how we’re delivering works and ensuring that we’re working safely. In addition, when working near fuel mains, we are also required to receive permission from Heathrow hydrant operating company (HOPPCO ) – the body that owns the fuel mains, which fuel the planes.
Without securing these permits, we wouldn’t be able to conduct our works.
My favourite project to date
Heathrow Airport is my favourite project so far. This is due to the complexity of working around two live fuel mains. We had to dig around these mains with our vacuum excavator – a high-powered air suction system that removes material from the site of an excavation whilst minimising the risk of service strikes – to set up our trench boxes. We then used high-pressure air flow to clear dust and debris, using an air lance under the fuel pipes, so that our subcontractor could work on the live fuel mains. We even performed welding on the fuel mains, whilst live.
Our subcontractor told us that they had never worked in such good conditions. In fact, they were so impressed that they wrote to Heathrow Airport Limited and HOPPCO praising Careys.
Another part of this job that I have found interesting to work on has been the pavement quality (PQ) breakout and relaying of the new pavement quality concrete (PQC) – a first on this scale for Careys.
With all the different nationalities working on site, sometimes English isn’t everyone’s first language. To ensure that everyone understands our scheduled programme of works, we use translators and, even better, pictorial statements. These pictorial statements – which clearly outline each step of a task – are a highly effective tool, and we have had great feedback about them from principal contractors and Heathrow Airport Limited.
At the airport, security is such a high priority that just getting in and out of the site can be hard sometimes. So, we continually make a strong effort to always keep up with and follow all the security measures.
Advice for anyone looking to pursue a similar career
If, like I did, you start off as a chippie and work hard at it, companies such as Careys will recognise you and give you the chance to start working your way up the ladder.
Don’t be scared of asking questions. Remember, there is no such thing as a silly question.
Also, don’t walk too close to anything unsafe! If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t, and you should bring it to your supervisor’s attention.
So, basically, work hard and stay safe. That will help to make certain that everyone goes home safely each day.
Summarising the culture at Careys
The Carey way – our continuous effort to offer excellence – has taken us to a new level in this industry. Each site has its part to play towards getting “better every day”.