SafeContractor & NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey Success!

November was a successful month for our Health & Safety team as they have gained Dowds Group a SafeContractor accreditation and Bronze Status for the NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey!

On the 11th November we were granted with our SafeContractor accreditation, demonstrating our on-going commitment to maintaining the highest standards of Health & Safety on all our projects.

Following on from this on the 29th November we received recognition for our environmental leadership and achieved Bronze status in this year’s NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey. The Survey, which is run by Business in the Community, sponsored by Moy Park and supported by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency through the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, recognises and rewards those organisations that are going above and beyond their legal requirements to minimise their environmental impacts and better manage their resources.

Well done to our Health & Safety team for all their hard work towards both successes!!

 

 

Dowds Group Shortlisted for CN Specialist Awards 2019!

We are delighted to announce Dowds Group have been shortlisted as finalists in three categories for the 2019 Construction News Specialists Awards.

Now in their 15th year, the Specialists Awards are the only national awards recognising the outstanding achievements of specialist contractors. Their face-to-face judging process gives companies the chance to highlight their inspirational business and the very best projects of the last year. The event is judged by a distinguished panel of construction industry leaders and experts.

The categories in which we have been shortlisted for are:

  • MEP Specialist of the Year
  • Apprentice of the Year – Matthew Bilding
  • Project of the Year by a Specialist Contract (Subcontract from £3-5M) – PPI Proton Beam Cancer Therapy Centre, Reading

We recently completed the M&E installations on the revolutionary new High Energy Proton Beam Cancer Therapy Centre in Thames Valley Science Park, Reading. The £30 million Rutherford Centre has been hailed as one of the most exciting health and life sciences projects in Europe and includes facilities for proton beam therapy, a linear accelerator, a CT suite and an MRI – read more about the project here.

The Construction News Specialist Awards bring together 800 of the biggest names in the construction industry to celebrate the outstanding achievements of the very best specialist contractors. The winners of the competition will be announced on 27 March 2019 and takes place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

 

Dowds ’40 for Forty’ Finale Gala

Dowds Group marked the end of our 40 for Forty campaign with a magnificent finale event, The Gala, on Friday 19th October at Galgorm Resort & Spa. This night was not only the end event to our campaign but a celebration for 40 years in business highlighting the growth, accomplishments and partnerships we have built. 250 guests were present, including close family and friends, current and past employees, and many supportive clients and suppliers.

As part of the proceedings there were presentations from Lynsey Atkinson of Macmillan, Leona Rankin of The Boom Foundation, Tessa Ogle of Electrical Industries Charity and Bernard McAneney of Aware NI – the four charities our campaign is supporting. Speeches were also made by company founders and brothers, John Francis and Hector Dowds, as well as current Managing Director James Dowds, who all touched on the progression of Dowds Group over the last 40 years whilst looking ahead to a successful future.

In addition to a four-course meal, our guests enjoyed entertainment from local comedian, Colin Barkley, who compered the event and music from Dave Martin & The Casino Cats, as well as a silent auction and prize ballot which included our Gold Prize, a fabulous 3 night trip to Monte Carlo kindly donated by the Electrical Industries Charity & Saturn LED!

We would like to thank all those who attended the Gala event and the companies who donated towards the campaign with silent auction items and prizes. The Gala event was a fitting end to what has been an incredible year of fundraising and team building for Dowds Group, we are delighted to announce that the Gala event alone raised over £10,000 towards our 40 for Forty campaign!

Photography by Angela Cunning

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National Stress Awareness Week

Everyone is at risk of stress, particularly in the workplace. Almost one in every three employees experience a mental ill health problem in any one year. 91 million working days are lost each year to mental ill health within the workplace and Stress is the biggest single cause of absenteeism in work after musculoskeletal disorders.

Feelings of stress are common, normal and experienced by everyone but what is it and what causes it?

In light of National Stress Awareness Week here is some useful guidance and tips from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England to help protect against stress!

 

 

M&E Installations Complete on PPI Cancer Centre, Reading

Dowds Group recently completed the M&E installations on a revolutionary new High Energy Proton Beam Cancer Therapy Centre in Thames Valley Science Park, Reading. The £30 million Rutherford Centre has been hailed as one of the most exciting health and life sciences projects in Europe and includes facilities for proton beam therapy, a linear accelerator, a CT suite and an MRI.

The design and installation of the M&E services in such a heavily serviced and precisely engineered therapy centre, at the very cutting-edge of medical advancements, provided a multitude of technical challenges to ensure the effective and efficient operation of the facility. Attention to detail was critical whilst we were provided with specifications and drawings for the project we had to look beyond these and review multiple other documents and drawings to ensure we considered all essential components.  Not only did we have to adhere to highly complex specifications of the equipment suppliers but we also had to comply with specific Health Technical Memoranda (HTMs) design guides which dictated the highest standard of commissioning.

The project required extensive off-site construction and fabrication necessitating Dowds Group working in close collaboration with the client, main contractors and design team to compile a systematic management programme to oversee the works.  Due to the specialist nature of the project Dowds partnered with numerous specialist contractors to complete the installations in complex rooms, which included linear accelerator bunkers, an MRI scan room, CT simulator room, CT Scanner, Superficial treatment room, X-ray rooms and chemotherapy suites. The project was modelled to BIM Level 2 ensuring services could be installed in the designated spaces. Particular attention was paid to the main ventilation for the MRI, CT and LINAC plant areas to overcome the difficulties of limited plant space and access/egress, this involved numerous design developments to guarantee fit and accessibility for future maintenance.

Simon Hardacre - first proton beam therapy patient at Rutherford Cancer Centre, Newport
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Simon Hardacre - first proton beam therapy patient at Rutherford Cancer Centre, Newport

 

To overcome the coordination issues of working with various other on-site contractors we produced main plant deck drawings, showing our plant install routes and identifying plant areas reserved for other contractors. We held weekly coordination meetings with the specialist site teams to demonstrate the model and encouraged comment on walk-overs, where they could be installed and any possible clashes/problems that could arise.  The programme for the M&E contract was extremely tight and there were a number of key milestones that had to be met – lives literally depended on it!  We worked closely with main contractors Graham to ensure we met the sectional and final handover dates so that the specialist equipment was installed and commissioned to meet the clients ‘go live’ date.  Ivor Brown, Senior Project Manager, Graham, said of our work on the project: “Owing to the specialist nature of this contract, there were only a number of M&E contractors with the necessary skills and experience to complete the project to our required high standards.  We were extremely impressed with Dowds Groups’ level of professionalism and look forward to collaborating with them in the future.”

On all our projects we strive to exceed expectations, however we believe our work on this project deserves special recognition, as does the client – Michael Mitchan, Project Manager at Rutherford Estates commented: “We very much enjoyed working with Dowds Group on this project, they have done a very good job.  From management to site operatives we found their approach to work professional, friendly and helpful.  Of particular mention is their post-contract support which has been a source of constant reassurance since handover.”

 

Mental Health First Aiders

Dowds Group now have 3 qualified Mental Health First Aiders on our team. Damian McCamphill, John McAllister & Melissa Cunning, who are all members of our Health Matters Committee, attended a 2-day Mental Health First Aid (MFHA) course held by Aware NI. The main outcomes of the course was to increase their knowledge and confidence to enable them to provide first aid and support for people experiencing mental health problems at home and at work. They have learnt how to recognise signs and symptoms of mental ill health, provide initial help, and to guide a person towards appropriate professional support.

One in four adults in the UK will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in any given year and many people are not well informed about how to recognise these conditions or provide support. Mental ill health can have a serious effect on not only someone’s personal life but also their working life. We want to encourage our staff to talk about mental health as we would physical health, reducing the stigma attached.

The aims of Mental Health First Aid are to:

  • preserve life where a person may be a danger to themselves or others
  • provide help to prevent the mental health problem becoming more serious
  • promote the recovery of good mental health
  • provide comfort to a person experiencing a mental health problem

Damian, John & Melissa found the course to be of great benefit and it has definitely increased their knowledge and confidence should they ever need to provide first aid and support for anyone. We would like to thank Aware NI for holding a very informative and professionally run course over the 2 days and especially thank our MHFA instructors Andrea and Rachel for their support and guidance.

 

Bright sparks complete BS 7671 2018; 18th Edition Wiring Regulations Course

Recently, a number of our electricians successfully completed the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations course held by Training Solutions NI in Antrim. The course is aimed at practising electricians with relevant experience to update and enhance their understanding of IEEE Wiring Regulations. It is intended to ensure individuals are conversant with the format, content, and application of the Requirements for Electrical Installations BS 7671 2018; 18th Edition Wiring Regulations. The course was spread across 3 full days and concludes with an open book online examination.

Delivered by the exceptional Mr Lyle Dunn MIET MIFPO:

It was a privilege to guide the guys from Dowds Group through their recent BS7671 2018 course. As an instructor, I have three simple objectives on this course, the first of which is to assist the candidate in being thoroughly prepared for the reasonably searching assessment. That particular task was made so much easier by a class populated by experienced electricians who showed interest and who were obviously prepared to work hard over three days of intensive training, not to mention homework! Objective number one was achieved with a 100% successful outcome in the exam The second objective is to make the training as worthwhile as possible. This requires as much from the candidates as it does from the tutor and it was great to see the lads get involved especially in the many technical changes that the 18th Edition has introduced. Objective number two achieved!

The third objective might be regarded as the most important of the three. This is simply for all involved in the course to enjoy the time together. I can honestly say that it was a pleasure to provide tutorial support to such a grand group of lads. So from my perspective at least, objective number three achieved!

I am confident that Dowds Group have a team of first class electricians who are now fully up to date with the latest national standard for electrical installations. I wish both them and Dowds Group every success in the future.

We would like to especially thank Mr Lyle Dunn for delivering the course to our electricians and extend our thanks to Training Solutions NI for organising and running 3 successful days of training for our group as always!

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Bryan completes The Crossing !

We are delighted to announce after three long tough days Bryan is home safe and sound after successfully completing ‘The Crossing’ challenge in aid of our 40 for Forty campaign!

Read his account of the event below:

“Day 1 saw a 7am start leaving Whitehaven and after a tough 5 hours of non-stop torrential rain into the lake district, the sun came out just in time for a major mountain hike where the decision for all riders was whether it was easier to push or carry the bike! The long downhill sections more than compensated though. I was glad to see the campsite and get the first day under the belt.

Day 2 with 72 miles ahead to travel across The Yorkshire Dales from Shap to Northallerton – this day was the longest distance in the saddle. There was a fantastic mix of single track, rocky trails and some big tarmac climbs into the moors. The food stop was welcome, the sun finally came out but the heat from the sun added more of a challenge to the uphill climb before ascending into grassy fields! After trekking across the fields I re-joined the roads that lead over to Kirkby Stephen and up into the Yorkshire Dales.

After the final night’s rest in the Rat Race camp, Day 3 arrived with 60 miles left to complete cycling across The North Yorkshire Moors from Northallerton to Scarborough. At this stage of the game I was definitely feeling the physical strain from the last 2 days but with the end in sight the adrenaline kicked in for a final push . The route delivered wonderful sections of moorland, woodland tracks, quiet lanes and short descents before leading into Scarborough North Bay to the long awaited finish line!

Luckily I didn’t experience any punctures during any part of the route, but had to accept that being on a hard tail bike, the terrain took its toll as the last 90 miles were spent listening to a grinding / squealing rear wheel bearing which gave out.

Overall this was a truly memorable challenge and the event itself was very well organised by Rat Race HQ between the bag shuttling, excellent way marking, the food and campsites at each of the start, overnight and finishing stops.”

A massive well done to you Bryan, we are all very proud of your achievement and glad to welcome you back home safe!

If you would like to show your appreciation for Bryan’s efforts please visit the link below – Bryan’s Virgin Money Giving page is still live so any donation (no amount is too small or large) will be greatly appreciated!

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DowdsGroup40Forty

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Bryan completes Day 1 of The Crossing challenge!

Bryan set off on Thursday to Whitehaven with his bicycle and gear at the ready to take on ‘The Crossing’.  Upon arrival at the Rat Race camp he registered for the event and settled in for a good night’s rest before the first day of the challenge.

After a very early start at 5.30AM Bryan got a bite to eat and all the riders were then briefed before setting off around 7.00AM.

Bryan had a tough start on the first day travelling across The Lake District, as if 64 miles between Whitehaven and Shap was not tough enough he had to battle against the elements with rain pouring down for 5 straight hours! With his first day now complete, he has really had a baptism of fire and we’ll not even mention his poor backpack 🙈🙈

Bryan has said: “1st day is done. Extremely difficult is putting it mildly! It completely bucketed down for 5 hours right from the start then cleared. Really tough terrain in places but now I’m back and showered starting to feel OK.”

Keep going Bryan, you’re doing great!!

 

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If you’d like to show Bryan your support please visit our donation page:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DowdsGroup40Forty

Bryan Armstrong takes on The Crossing!

On Friday the 10th August our commercial director, Bryan Armstrong, will be setting off on an epic mountain biking challenge known as ‘The Crossing’ in aid of our 40 for Forty campaign.

Bryan will be taking on 200 miles over 3 intense days along fully way marked tracks that span through the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors. The journey will venture across 3 national parks, with each providing their own challenge, and between 2 coastlines holding stunningly breath-taking views of scenery.

Bryan will be truly grateful for any donations, no amount is too large or too small, in support of our 40 for Forty campaign to raise £40K between our four worthy charities. You can make your donations safely in the knowledge that every single penny will go exclusively to our chosen charities as Bryan has personally funded all the costs associated with The Crossing!

To donate please follow the link to our Virgin Money Giving page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-portal/fundraiserPage?pageId=957700

The countdown is now on and we wish Bryan the best of luck! We will keep everyone fully updated when Bryan sets off on his challenge, but for now check out the video below to find out what ‘The Crossing’ will involve: