Customer Success • 06.06.22

Learn how Alcumus SafeContractor helps Sparklean

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Sparklean has been proud to partner with Alcumus SafeContractor since 2012. We had the opportunity to talk with Mike Howes, President of Sparklean Restoration, to learn more about what health and safety means to them and the value the SafeContractor Approval has brought to their business.

SafeContractor: Tell us more about your company and the work you do. How long have you been in business and which areas do you service? 

Mike Howes: Sparklean Restoration is a full-service fire and flood restoration company serving mainly the insurance sector, within 200 kms of Edmonton since September 1st, 1992. We help people who have suffered damage from a fire, flood, break-ins, wind damage, and other emergency cases with everything from the initial response and emergency portion of the claim to replacing flooring and furniture polishing. This property damage can be either commercial or residential, with usually an 80/20 split between the two.

SafeContractor: Can you describe your role at the organization?  

Mike Howes: I am the President and Founder of the company. I started the company about 30 years ago and initially it was a one-man operation. Now we have 35 full-time employees and several part-time staff. On a daily basis, I oversee our day-to-day operations and am involved in hiring staff, training, networking, as well as community involvement.

SafeContractor: Why is health and safety important to your company? Why did you decide to become Approved with SafeContractor?          

Mike Howes: Sparklean is a family business and as such, safety is just part of looking after our family. Their health and wellbeing are of the highest priority, and we will go to any lengths to protect them. The SafeContractor Approval provides our family with this peace of mind, as it helps to surround us with those who are up to our safety standards, creating a safer work environment. This comforts us and helps to ensure that we will all go home for dinner each night.

SafeContractor: What kinds of risks and challenges are encountered by you and your team on the job?  

Mike Howes: Every claim we attend to is different in scope, severity, and magnitude and our team needs to be ready for anything. We literally do not know what to expect until we arrive on the site and assess the situation. For that reason, our job hazard analyses (JHAs) can be a lot different than others for the same kind of job depending on weather or the severity of that claim.

For example, it’s very important in the case of fires to have the structure checked by an engineer to avoid falling through a floor or having a roof fall through on us. With floods, slips and softened subfloors are a risk and there is a potential for mold with water damage. Our workers must be aware of that and possible risks due to asbestos. We don’t enter a property until we determine these factors and they are assessed by an expert.

SafeContractor: What made SafeContractor stand out amongst other competitors?

Mike Howes: It was suggested by one of our customers in the property management industry that this would be the best fit for us and it truly has been!

SafeContractor: What value does being Approved with SafeContractor bring to your business, or what do you hope to gain from your SafeContractor membership?

Mike Howes: We hope it will give our customers confidence that they have chosen the best and safest contractor for the job, and that in turn, it will create more customers. The benefit we’re hoping to get is to be recognized by more clients to get more work. It will also help us to separate ourselves from other businesses since belonging to such groups brings us a greater sense of validation.

SafeContractor: Has going through the approval process changed the way you view or approach health and safety?  

Mike Howes: Fortunately, we were practicing most safety procedures already, however, this process allowed us to be able to now document the fact that we are a safe place to work. Now we can tell people that we’re safe and we have the proof.

For instance, insurance companies use score card metrics to monitor our performance. So now, I have data to prove that 98.6% of the time we were there within an hour’s phone call of a person seeking our emergency services. We can show these metrics, safety records, and the procedures that we have in place. We’ve also taken the time to teach people how to use the tools we have, so having that documentation has truly been the biggest benefit.

SafeContractor: What advice would you give other contractors looking to gain approval? 

Mike Howes: It’s important to have for your company and to adhere to it. Being able to document your safety practices, policies, and metrics can help prove to organizations and regulatory bodies that you are a safe company. It can also help with other avenues you may pursue such as the Certificate of Recognition.

Our Alcumus SafeContractor team would like to offer our sincere thanks to Mike Howes for sharing this valuable insight.  If you would like to learn more about how the Alcumus SafeContractor contractor management solution can help your organization, speak to one of our contractor management experts.

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