Maintaining and upgrading our UK utility network is a major undertaking for authorities, asset owners and contractors, but what about the role that temporary works play? Read on, as Lisa Bury, our resident utilities expert, explores how working with a ‘one stop shop’ temporary works provider can deliver immense value to the utility sector and less of a headache for you.
Our utility network is a major part of our daily life, with miles upon miles of services, pipelines and drainage systems stretching underneath our feet. When it comes to repairing, investing and upgrading this essential infrastructure, groundworks excavations of all sizes and complexities will be required. In order to deliver these works safely and with minimal disruption to local residents and businesses, temporary works will have an essential role to play.
Understandably, managing the temporary works element of a project has the potential to be a bit of a headache; especially when site constraints result in a complex installation, a range of different equipment is needed (requiring multiple suppliers), or the works are taking place in a built-up residential area, meaning that environmental monitoring solutions may be needed. With all of this in mind, it’s clear to see the benefits that a temporary works supplier offering a ‘one stop shop’ approach can offer.
When it comes to temporary works within the utility sector, project requirements can differ hugely. Jobs can range from a small trench to large, deep excavations, and it’s not just groundworks to consider. Projects can also call for propping support, for example if the pipeline or sewer network is carried over road or rail via a bridge, or even temporary bridging as a means of access for heavy plant equipment, if the site is in a rural location.
As such, it’s important that you work with a temporary works supplier who can keep up with the variation that utility projects can present. This is both in terms of the equipment they have available and also the experience and expertise they can offer, always ready for the unexpected.
For the larger groundworks excavations, this often calls for a bespoke engineered temporary works scheme. By working with a supplier who can offer design support, you can benefit from the peace of mind knowing that the scheme will meet your requirements and facilitate the safe delivery of the works, as well as helping to manage and mitigate risk.
With the rise of BIM and digital technology, consider looking for a temporary works supplier who can work to these standards. By modelling and visualising the temporary works in this 3D digital environment, you can benefit from a more accurate image of the scheme, resulting in greater accuracy and a more streamlined delivery out on site, with any potential clashes able to be detected at an earlier stage. Providing in essence a digital rehearsal of the works, working to BIM is also great for enhanced collaboration and communication, with the 3D model able to be used for team meetings and site briefings.
Alternatively, when it comes to smaller trenches and groundworks schemes there can often be a need for speed, such as reacting to a gas leak or burst water pipe. With this in mind, it’s important to look for a temporary works supplier who can do both: design, engineer and deliver the larger, more complex schemes and also deliver fast, out-of-the-box solutions.
This can take the form of ‘standard solutions’, whereby you can take advantage of a temporary works supplier’s expertise by having access to a range of pre-engineered designs. After answering a series of questions about the type of trench and the ground conditions, you can be provided with a selection of the most suitable designs for your specific job, with the equipment able to be ordered promptly with just the click of a button. All means less hassle for you!
All of this said, the physical equipment is often just one part of the jigsaw that makes up the safe delivery of a utility project. Often, environmental or structural monitoring solutions can be required, depending on the excavation size and also the site location. For example, working in built-up, residential areas is one such case of when monitoring may be required, ensuring consideration of the local community and existing buildings and infrastructure.
Section 61 applications form a critical part of this, with local authorities requesting information about proposed site operating hours, as well as details of the plans in place to assess and manage noise, vibration and dust levels on-site.
Consider working with a temporary works specialist who can offer both the physical temporary works equipment and the monitoring solutions, with the combined expertise offering extra peace of mind and a streamlined supply and procurement process for you.
At Mabey Hire, we’ve been supporting our customers across the utility sector for the last 60 years, meaning that we have a wealth of experience and expertise to offer. As well as having the widest range of temporary works equipment on the market, a dedicated digital engineering team and specialist monitoring department, we are also one of the only suppliers to have an in-house installation service, meaning that you can rely on us to speed up installation and take some of the project complexities away.
As if that wasn’t enough, our MyConstruct standard solutions portal puts you in contact with a range of pre-approved, engineered temporary works designs for shallow shoring requirements, ready for ordering from your local depot at the click of a button.
With all of this, we’re here to help!