Considerately constructing Zurich’s new corporate headquarters on the Isle of Man – Dandara Contracting Ltd

Isle of Man-based contractor Dandara Contracting Ltd has been praised by the Scheme for the exceptional levels of consideration demonstrated on this project.

The building is a new offshore corporate headquarters for global insurance company Zurich International, which was moving from its former premises in the capital, Douglas, to a new business park on the outskirts of the town.

Outlining the project, Site Manager Len Arnold said:

“The work involves the construction of a new three-storey 30,000 sq ft office development, a multi-storey carpark, new road and substation, encompassing landscaping and external paved areas. The building encompasses curtain walling, feature stonework and rendered elevations, chosen to withstand some harsh winter conditions on the island. This design and build development, costing £5.25m has been completed in 54 weeks and finished eight weeks ahead of the original schedule.

“Built under the BREEAM regime, the building achieved the highest air tightness results ever achieved on the island for a commercial building and excellent thermographic results, achieving a ‘very good’ rating.”

Describing how the team incorporated the requirements of the Scheme into its working practices, Len said:

“This was our first project on the island to embrace the CCS. We approached it with a fresh outlook, attending to each area with the intention of improving ‘our game’, over and above what we normally do. Involving the whole construction team, we came up with innovative ideas to roll out the CCS requirements. Once underway, our ideas developed so that we stood out from the average building site.

“The general public could visibly see a difference on approaching our site, from the access to the general cleanliness maintained throughout the project. Site personnel could also see a difference with the cleanliness of the site, the safe access routes and the fact there was a management team that cared about them.”

In relation to the community, environment and workforce, the site team sent out regular newsletters to keep the neighbourhood informed, ensured the protection of surrounding trees and provided blood pressure monitoring on site.

Asked how he feels the Scheme is improving the image of construction, Len said:

“It basically made us change our procedures and those watching us have seen an improvement in how we carry out the construction process. As the island’s leading developer we are watched by others. Our CCS banners clearly showed that we were involved in the Scheme to improve our construction image.

“By involving local schools in the construction process we have hopefully given encouragement to the younger generation who are our future. Construction is a profession on a par with any other profession and should be considered as a career aspiration. CCS helps promote that ideal. The Scheme has assisted in lifting the company profile, improved our site procedures, raised the bar in construction standards and made the industry more attractive to prospective clients, employees and the general public.”

You can find out how the team addressed the challenges of the project, as well as reading about Dandara Contracting Ltd’s many other examples of best practice by clicking on the sliders below:

  • The access, perimeter fencing, compound layout and general appearance were all pre-planned with detailed drawings.
  • From the groundworks to completion, the workforce never walked into an untidy office, canteen or toilet block. From the moment they left any muddy areas, they had clean clear paths to follow and facilities to clean footwear before they entered the confines of the compound.
  • Mindful of the business community around us and the distant housing and schools, we undertook to embrace everyone and keep them involved in the project.
  • Regular newsletters were sent to all of the surrounding businesses and we also involved the schools with health and safety. We visited a local school and carried out a demonstration on how concrete is made, which proved a hit with the schoolchildren.
  • Combining waste management with fundraising, we bagged firewood for sale to raise money for a local charity – the local hyperbaric chamber. As well as dealing with deep sea diving accidents, the chamber is also used by the local hospital to treat patients recovering from various illnesses.
  • We undertook an environmental assessment of the site and set out to improve and increase the native species in our landscape design.
  • Existing trees were protected and we incorporated water run-off catchment and treatment in the building design.
  • No materials went to landfill, but were diverted to either recycling or to the ‘energy from waste’ plant which produces local electricity linked to the island’s electricity supply.
  • The contract achieved zero reportable accidents and no time was lost by the workforce due to injury on site. Regular safety checks, toolbox talks, and safety reviews meant that we could achieve high standards of safety throughout the project.
  • RAMS and COSHH played an important part of the safety culture. Our island-based subcontractors were also encouraged to ensure high standards of safety management.
  • Knowing our male-dominated workforce and how reluctant they would be to attend their local GP, we brought the surgery to them; a first for us, we introduced blood pressure monitoring and referred any operatives to their local GP if necessary.
  • We introduced literature to the canteens which highlighted common illnesses, ranging from a common cold to cancer symptoms, making operatives aware of the various conditions.
  • PPE was always readily available to ensure no job was undertaken while wearing incorrect workwear and this saved time in getting the job done and making sure our workforce was kept fit for service.  

Recently published