Here at Danford Brewer & Ives we want to give you the highest quality service we possibly can. In a nutshell, that means offering our expertise and experience in performing basement conversions and a competitive price to both private households as well as partners, such as building contractors, architects and property developers, who require a specialist sub-contractor.
It stands to reason that Health and Safety matters to us, and its requirements are met as a consequence of our expertise and experience. When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of simple common sense: since we’re not going to cut corners to compromise our own health and safety, we’re not going to do anything that compromises our customers’ health and safety either. But, of course, there’s much more to it than that.
For starters, there’s the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) to consider. This places a duty on us to have a commitment to health and safety in the first place, not to mention an understanding of the legislation.
And now there’s more: a CHAS (Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) accreditation – a system of health and safety procedures specifically for the construction industry that Danford Brewer & Ives are now proud to have in our possession.
The advantages of holding a CHAS accreditation are manifold. But what it basically offers is evidence of an even higher knowledge of health and safety, coupled with less of the necessary paperwork – a double whammy for those in the building industry that take part in the scheme, and for their customers too.
In explaining how it works – and before outlining the advantages it offers – it’s best to, as they say, go back to the very beginning.
Our history lesson starts in 1997, when a group of health and safety and procurement professionals from across Great Britain started working with the Association of London Government (ALG) to develop CHAS.
Their main aim, naturally, was to improve health and safety standards nationwide. And in doing this, they created a system of ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’. In case you were wondering, we’re classed as a seller and if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re a buyer. The buyers have health and safety requirements that the sellers must meet.
The role of CHAS is to ensure that the seller’s health and safety standards are to the satisfaction of their buyers, and to others as well.
That last bit is particularly important, since the ‘others’ in question are, by definition, those of you who might be interested in using DB&I’s services but who aren’t CHAS members yourselves. Private households are the most obvious examples; but since CHAS buyers tend to be large organisations like councils, housing associations, NHS trusts, as well as a growing number of large private companies, then that might also mean the builders, architects and property developers we also sub-contract to.
Arguably the biggest advantage of all is the fact that CHAS buyers, because of their size and the likelihood that large numbers of their employees and others might come into contact with building work while it is ongoing, adhere to stringent health and safety protocols.
And since sellers like us must therefore adhere to them too, it has the effect of upping the H&S ante to the benefit of ALL concerned.
Then there’s the other advantage for us – but one that, we think, also benefits our customers. No-one likes paperwork, do they? It’s onerous and tedious and as dull as the English summer can be…but it’s also an inevitable consequence of health and safety.
And yet membership of CHAS cuts down on paperwork, since membership implies that the requisite health and safety standards have already been reached. Speaking of paper, it’s also worth pointing out that the system has been web-based since 2001.
How might that benefit the customer? Well, there’s necessary paperwork and unnecessary paperwork. Site surveys, project assessments, method statements, risk assessments and references might fall into the former category; but health and safety can also create plenty of duplicate paperwork.
This would take time to complete. But if we can cut down on such duplication, as we can with CHAS, it means instead that we can start – and finish – the job more quickly.
So the advantages of CHAS membership can neatly be summed up in terms of giving an improved level of health and safety but with less of the bureaucratic shenanigans. But there’s more to it than that. Here are a few more considerations for you:

  • It shows that we comply with current health and safety laws. Not only that, however, the accreditation also demonstrates that we have a commitment to improving our health and safety procedures over time.
  • As part of this process, CHAS offers guidance and commits us to consider our procedures in more detail, changing them wherever and whenever necessary. This means that households and businesses we sub-contract to will ultimately benefit from the application of higher standards and greater rigour.
  • When we undertake larger projects for CHAS buyers, it means that they can monitor us as we go about our work – an important consideration when one considers that, in such cases, it’s likely that employees or others might well be in close proximity to our work.
  • Accreditation cuts down on inconsistent decision-making, whereby one supplier might, for example, be judged compliant by one buyer but not by another. Moreover, since a lot of business is now won through tendering, CHAS has increasingly become a prerequisite as part of this.

More than anything, CHAS accreditation underlines that, here at Danford Brewer & Ives, we have the ability, experience and resources to do the job for you. The bottom line is that it will improve our business, and we also hope it will help us win more business – all the while offering our customers greater peace of mind.
A better business will always offer a better service. If we sound like one you want to do business with, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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