Picture by Michael Cooper
Safety First: pictured at the launch of the new safety device for construction sites, from left Amanda Corbett, Director, Par Works, Richard Corbett, Managing Director, Par Works, and Olive Hill, Invest NI.
Newtownards-based Par Works Solutions has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to develop an innovative safety product to house temporary electricity installations on construction sites in Northern Ireland and international markets.
The company’s recently launched Parbox makes it easier for contractors to secure electric switchgear on sites, improving safety for workers and reducing risk of vandalism. The innovative Parbox is being trialled by McLaughlin and Harvey.
Support for the development of Parbox was announced by Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation and Technology Solution. Par Works was formed last year by husband and wife team Richard and Amanda Corbett. The new product has been designed and developed with advice and guidance from Northern Ireland Electricity.
Mrs Hill said: “Our support for what is a highly innovative safety product has included technical guidance on manufacturing techniques and ensuring the Parbox name is protected through an EU trade mark registration.
“Invest NI’s work with this start-up business is a good example of the breadth of technical support available from our team of experts in areas such as manufacturing, product development and intellectual property.
“Par Works Solutions has produced an easy-to-install affordable and re-usable solution to the problem of how to house temporary electricity supplies during construction work. It’s also a product with significant export potential because this is a problem procedure on building sites globally.”
Mr Corbett, who has extensive experience in electricity systems and construction with companies such as Building Design Partnership and Eaton Electrical, said: “I’ve designed Parbox as a robust, standardised unit that offers the best, safest and most practical solution for the distribution and control of on-site temporary electrical supplies.
“The plastic construction means Parbox is waterproof, virtually vandal proof and resistant to impact damage as well as salts, acids and the usual grime associated with a building site. It requires little or no maintenance and can be bolted to a surface for security and stability. A unique lid locking system means it can be sealed from unauthorised access.
“These features make it an ideal alternative to the traditional wooden boxes that are often dumped in landfill sites after each construction project and thereby helps reduce landfill costs.
“Invest NI has provided invaluable advice and guidance in the development of the product and in helping us look at volume manufacturing options. We’ve also benefited substantially from Northern Ireland Electricity’s input,” he added.
Parbox has also been designed and developed in line with electricity supply and construction site health and safety regulations. It can be used to secure electricity supply at the main access point on a particular site and throughout the location.
The product design also provides scope for emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers, a standalone fire alarm to be fixed to the box, and the inclusion of general health and safety signage, making the Parbox the centralised location for all the standard health and safety equipment required on a construction site.