Ebrington military barracks

Funds raised for Foyle Search & Rescue from site raffle prizes

H&J Martin Ltd is currently carrying out the refurbishment works to the Grade B listed Building Nr. 80/81 at the former Ebrington military barracks site. The Project commenced in December 2012 and is due to be completed in August 2013. They spoke to Industry Image about some of the challenges they have faced, and how they were overcome.

Ebrington is 26 acres in size and a former military base dating back to 1841. The redbrick billet blocks which we are refurbishing (Buildings 80/81) reflect the military architecture of the period, incorporating all that was learnt from the mistakes of the Crimean War. The building will initially be designed to host the Turner Prize Exhibition and adapted thereafter for use as offices units and community/craft units.

The site management approach to this short duration project has been exceptional with the most impressive feature being the wide range of community engagement initiatives implemented. The range of local engagement and support is the highest levels of illustrating Construction Corporate Responsibility in action. An excellent visual impression is created with local community artwork displayed as part of the Derry-Londonderry City of Culture celebrations. The project Community Engagement Plan covers both 'broad informing' and 'local engagement'. The site team are ensuring social media is used effectively to engage with the local community and key project stakeholders. A key emphasis is placed on education support with safety talks including a sponsored safety Easter Egg competition taking place in the local primary school. Furthermore the Project Manager who is a STEM ambassador and the Company's Sustainability Manager recently carried out Careers in Construction talks and offered curriculum support.

Community artwork on display at the site

The site team also demonstrated extensive good will towards the local community and excellent neighbour relations. Gaining support from the client, architect and supply chain in local charity initiatives which involved sponsoring Foyle Search and Rescue with on site cash raising raffle prizes. This also included accommodating representatives from BBC's "Arts extra" programme and closing the site to accommodate the Radio 1 Big weekend festival. Excellent neighbour relations were further demonstrated when they accommodated the Maiden City Motor Club as part of the Lark in the Park Car Rally and enabled the successful management of the event which was included in a presentation to the Derry City Council Safety Group.

In respect to Caring for the Workforce (a section of the Scheme's Code), the site team excelled in this area with a wide range of benefits provided to operatives. The site team implemented an extensive Occupational Health Strategy in partnership with Derry Healthy Cities. A Health Assessment was carried out to identify the needs of the operatives and an action plan was put in place. This included health screening by a registered nurse and seven weekly health promotion sessions. The site team also arranged for a lecturer at the local college to carry out a seminar on the Essential Skills Literacy and Numeracy training available. Demonstrating a clear recognition of the importance in delivering tangible community benefits the site team participated in the local Employers forum and provided opportunities for three apprentices, three long term unemployed persons and a previously unemployed graduate.

A strong safety ethic was displayed with a 'thumbs up' approach to encouraging feedback and the notification of near misses. The project team also arranged for the Construction Industry Training Board to carry out Health & Safety seminars to include asbestos awareness and manual handling. Environmental improvements were also high on the agenda with Biodiversity initiatives carried out on site to include provision of planters and bird boxes. The project team also offered free environmental improvement audits to subcontractors to assist them in improving their environmental performance and go forward in implementing an externally accredited Environmental Management System.

CITB Mobile Training Unit which carried out Health & Safety seminars