Here, Dave Holland, National Engineering Director at Mabey Hire, explains how you can best safeguard your project’s temporary works in the event of unplanned site suspensions.
All across the country, construction workers are beginning to put down their tools and sites are temporarily closing, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. However, while sites may be closed, temporary works, including groundworks, propping and bridging, will remain in-situ to ensure that the site or structure remains safe.
By their very nature, temporary works are designed to be exactly that - temporary. Some temporary groundworks, for example, are designed on an assumption of lasting less than twelve weeks. So, when construction sites are unexpectedly forced to close for an unknown period of time, it’s important that you are aware of the steps to take in order to mitigate potential risks. Failing to do so could lead to costly structural or environmental damage and serious health and safety hazards.
For example, the engineered design of a short-term temporary works system may only encounter a small amount of water, due to rainfall, or a slight amount of wind damage. But, when you increase the length of time that the temporary works equipment is in-situ, it is only logical that the likelihood of it being affected by extreme events also increases. Will ground anchors remain stressed after a significant number of wet and dry cycles in the soil? Will falsework, propping or bracing systems be able to cope with a greater number of load cycles from wind and temperature changes? These are all important questions that our customers have been asking us.
While it is good industry practice to inspect the area and construction equipment on an active site before the start of each working shift, what happens when the site is temporarily closed? Depending on how long a site shutdown lasts, it could result in projects being left uninspected for a long period of time. To ensure that the site and temporary works equipment remains safe and stable, it’s important to continue these regular inspections, even if construction work has been halted.
So what should you be looking out for?
If anything doesn’t look quite right, it is important that you don’t try to fix or modify the fault yourself. Make sure you speak to your temporary works supplier first. To help our customers, we’ve recently set up a dedicated Emergency Response team, who are there to help should you need emergency support on site.
To read our full guide, please click here.