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Rock & Alluvium

PILING

PARENT company Galliford Try has been keen to see Rock & Alluvium grow in recent years.

'We've doubled our turnover in the past five years, ' says Rock & Alluvium managing director Ken Cromwell.'It's £16 million now, and in the next five years we want to push it up to £25 million.'

The growth has required substantial investment in new kit, with the company spending up to £800,000 a year. Since Galliford and Try merged in 2000, Rock & Alluvium has increased the amount of work it does directly for its parent.

'We look at the big projects the housing and construction divisions win, ' says Mr Cromwell.'But we don't want to lose our edge so we won't go above 35 per cent internal work, it's just too risky.The group agrees.'

Mr Cromwell has a long history with Rock & Alluvium, joining 28 years ago.'I started setting out on site and I've done all jobs through to managing director.When I joined I thought I'd stay 18 months, but every time I considered moving I got promoted.'

Mr Cromwell is senior vice chairman of the Federation of Piling Specialists and will take over from Alan Ball as chairman next year.At the moment he leads the safety and training group, currently promoting an initiative to introduce a working platform certificate which has to be signed off by the principal contractor.

'Our members don't compete when it comes to safety, ' he says.

'We're also one of the few trade groups which audits its members externally every three years.'

The best safety ideas often come from men working on site.One of Rock & Alluvium's workers came up with a way of rigging and derigging without the need to have a man walking on the mast, which contravenes work at height regulations.

'It's a very simple system using a concrete clip and rope - just things that were lying around, ' says Rock & Alluvium operations manager Roger Cox.

'The simple solutions are the ones that work. It's inexpensive too.'