In our new series ‘Thriving Through Lockdown’ we will be celebrating lockdown achievements from across the Practice.
While the past year may have presented many challenges, our Health and Safety team has continued to thrive and grow. We talk to one of the newest team members Darren Rice to discuss a career journey that took him from Carpenter to Senior Health & Safety Consultant.
My career in construction began in 1985 when I worked as a carpenter. I was keen to keep learning and developing my skills, so I gained additional qualifications studying part time while working. With new qualifications I progressed my career working as a Building Surveyor and Project Manager within local authorities, the NHS, consultancy, manufacturing, and property management.
One very notable experience was when I was part of the team that organised and managed the clear up and refurbishment of a pharmaceutical office and warehouse, which was closed off after a fuel explosion at the nearby Buncefield Oil Depot in Hemel Hempstead. The building was not accessible for two weeks due to the area being unsafe. Our team managed to clear the warehouse and ensure the building was functional in six weeks. This experience really gave me a deeper understanding of health & safety on site as well as the importance of collaboration with other teams, which enabled us to achieve something that would usually take months to plan, let alone complete!
Unfortunately, during my time as a Building Surveyor, I was made redundant and took on agency work to keep working. However, this was ultimately a blessing in disguise as I was able to use my previous contacts to develop my skills in a new direction as an Asbestos Surveyor and CDM/Health & Safety Consultant, I achieved this through more distance learning and working for small consultancies.
I joined calfordseaden in September 2020. I was initially a little anxious as I had not been involved in a work environment for five months, and there was the added challenge of having to adjust to a new company remotely without being able to meet my colleagues. However, I was incredibly fortunate in joining such a great team who welcomed and supported me. Teamwork and communication are now more important than ever, and it is great to see how the teams across calfordseaden have adapted to ensure collaboration is still being achieved.
I have been able to get stuck in and involved with several large development projects. I am currently working on mainly residential projects around London, as well as with land development organisations in the early stages of developing land for new residential communities in the South of England, involving housing, schools, and commercial spaces. I am finding it very interesting to see how large areas of land can be transformed into thriving communities.
Through working within different teams across different sectors in my previous roles, I think I have developed an ability to successfully adapt to organisation and industry changes, as well as more recently, changing work methods. For me, one of the main highlights of working in Health & Safety is being able to make a difference to how people think about safety, not just for their own personal wellbeing but those they work with, and the environment they work in.
I look forward to supporting my team in growing further and developing other work streams for our clients. I hope to eventually progress further within calfordseaden and be an integral part of the Health & Safety team.