Construction firms at the cutting-edge of innovation are improving everything from CO detection and cable-laying to work-at-height and rail stabilisation.
CN Awards 2018 Best Innovation Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering
Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering – Single Guidewall and Cantilevered Equipment for Diaphragm Wall Construction
With a tube station located just yards away, groundworks for the new £400m Marble Arch Place project posed a significant challenge for Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering.
Works were complicated by an error in as-built drawings provided by Transport for London, which revealed that the nearby subway encroached on the site by 270 mm. This created a problem for the original design of the guide wall, which required an external guideway to support it. BBGE developed a cantilevered system for the 300 mm guide wall, which avoided the need for external support. This reportedly saved the project three months of possible delays and up to £2.5m in damages.
CN Awards 2018 Best Innovation Doka UK
Doka UK Formwork Technologies – Dokadek Systemised Hand-Set Slab Panel
Doka has developed a 1 m cantilever solution that allows operatives to use just the one system on concrete frame structures, and is erected from below using a ‘Dokadek’.
The system removes the need to supplement cantilevered edges with aluminium shoring, beams or clamps. According to Doka, it also means multiple systems that require their own inventories and have separate compliance and training requirements are no longer needed. There is also a health and safety benefit, as the system is used while working from floor level.
CN Awards 2018 Best Innovation Gas Safe Europe
Gas Safe Europe – Detectagas
Carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless gas that can have fatal consequences. There are various alarm and detection systems that can help to protect against the gas, but testing and ensuring those alarms are still functional after a period of time can be problematic.
This is because test gases are often supplied in high-pressure cylinders which are heavy and expensive, according to Gas Safe Europe. As a result, the company developed its Detectagas test gas that can be stored in a hand-held aerosol can, making the process significantly easier.
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CN Awards 2018 Best Innovation Glazesafe
Glazesafe – Stronghold Bridge
Glazesafe has been working on its Stronghold range of products to develop simple and innovative solutions for contractors working at height. The company’s Stronghold Mobile Anchor Point and Barrier System allows operatives to access the exterior frame of a window without using a ladder or scaffolding.
Glazesafe has stretched the concept further with Stronghold Bridge, a system that allows workers to walk out into a lift shaft without the need for a scaffold. The system is also designed to be light and collapsible to make transportation and storage straightforward.
J Murphy and Sons – Innovating the Cable-laying Process
Murphy has developed no fewer than six innovations across its business to improve productivity and reduce manual handling. The contractor has been able to put the majority of them to use while doing cable-laying work on Orsted’s Hornsea One offshore wind farm project.
Murphy reports that its trench excavation ‘V-bucket’ increases efficiency sevenfold when compared with traditional timber shoring, while its triple roller cable-laying system and cable-laying frame proved to be twice as efficient as traditional methods. The use of these and other innovative systems has ensured zero accidents on the Hornsea project to date.
CN Awards 2018 Best Innovation Lucas
Lucas – Lucas Innovations
Bloomberg CEO Michael Bloomberg wanted his company’s new European headquarters in London to be at the cutting edge of sustainable construction. Lucas was asked to deliver curved bulkhead metallic graphite cladding panels to finish off each storey inside the internal atrium.
However, the design gave rise to health and safety issues, with metal deemed an impractical material for the work. Lucas developed a modified glass fibre reinforced gypsum (GRG) substrate and a finish using crushed pearl particles which could be spray-applied. The cladding meanwhile was fabricated off site and delivered without any impact on the project programme.
CN Awards 2018 Best Innovation Mace
Mace – Rising Factory
Taking inspiration from jump factory solutions in Europe, Mace has developed a ‘rising factory’ for delivering buildings. This steel-framed enclosure, which looks like a large box sitting atop a building, sits on four corner columns.
The enclosure climbs up the building as the structure and façade are built inside it. As it climbs, a finished shell and core emerges from the bottom of the enclosure. The solution reduces risks associated with working at height, as all the work is done within the confines of the factory walls. Mace says it also offers 25 per cent faster delivery, 30 per cent less transport and 75 per cent less waste.
CN Awards 2018 Best Innovation Van Elle Rail
Van Elle Rail – The Track Bed Stabilisation Smartpile and the SPIRIT RRV Mast
There are more than 1,000 km of sinking tracks across Network Rail’s network that require track bed stabilisation. Van Elle Rail entered the ‘on-track’ rail market in 2013 and in 2016 it secured one of three track bed stabilisation projects.
The contractor says it secured the work having demonstrated that it could meet all of Network Rail’s demands around sustainability, speed and elimination of wet products. Van Elle Rail’s Smartpile innovation was able to reduce the installation time for each pile down to 2m 20s – significantly quicker than the 7 minutes requested by Network Rail.