In April 2019 Kier was tasked with the installation of a 100m new water service connection in Newton Abbot to serve a new industrial unit. The work required excavation, laying and reinstatement 110m of mains. This would mean the road would need closing for potentially up to two weeks. Care was required as other utilities were present at the site with medium pressure gas main, three 11kva electricity, BT fibre optic and overhead LV electricity. Added to this, trees were present alongside the majority of the route meaning tree roots must not be damaged by the work.
The original work duration was planned at ten days, using excavator and hand digging at all utility crossings as well as watching brief from Wales & West on the medium pressure gas main. Kier managers and supervisors reviewed the job and considered the risks involved to see if there was any way of shortening the excavation time.
Vacuum excavation was identified as the best method to reduce by at least half the time the dig team would be on site and would offer cost savings, health and safety benefits and reduced impact on road users. Wales and West were happy for us to proceed without the need for a watching brief providing the vac-ex truck was used.
Following a full survey/mark-up and consultation with the utility plans the route was cut using a road saw rather than a hand-held cut-off saw. This improved productivity, reduced hand arm vibration for operatives and provided a cleaner cut trench. The section of tar was then removed using the 1.5t mini-excavator in readiness for the 32t vac-ex truck to excavate a 750mm deep trench along the carriageway. The excavated material was then deposited at one end of the site for removal.
Using the vac-ex machine on this project produced numerous benefits.
On safety the high potential (danger to life) service strike, due to working around HV electricity and medium pressure gas main, was reduced. Exposure to hand arm vibration was reduced by approximately 50% using a wheeled road saw instead of hand operated cut-off saw, this also reduced the chance of manual handling injuries. Risk of injury through hand digging around other utilities were also reduced.
By using vac-ex we could follow NJUG4 guidelines for working close to trees. This all but removed the risk of root damage which could have led to prosecution and complaints. The road closure only in place for three days as opposed to two/three weeks - achieving our aim of reducing highway occupation. This had significant benefits to local residents, businesses and road users. In AMP7 we would expect to receive positive feedback under C-Mex and D-Mex measures given the speed and efficiency of the work.
" From a H&S, customer and stakeholder perspective I feel we must make use of vac ex more. This piece of work is very positive "Developer Services Manager South West Water
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A unique and distinctive regeneration project promoting Gloucester’s unparalleled heritage from archaeology to aviation. The Hub is a highly symbolic part of the rejuvenation of the main entry point into the city, a gateway used in Roman times which is now served by both road and rail.
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Converting the University of West England conference centre into a temporary hospital in just 20 days, providing increased capacity for the NHS following the outbreak of COVID-19.
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New-build construction of a community Special Academy judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2019, for pupils up to the age of 18 with complex special educational needs and disabilities. The new academy replaces unfit for purpose old buildings, adding animal care, horticulture and construction facilities, a mock flat and pupil-run café.
A brand new 600 pupil secondary academy school for years 7-11, built to support Kingsmere, a new housing development in south-west Bicester. Constructed to BREEAM principles, the academy features 26-classrooms, SEN provision, a four-court sports hall built and fitted to Sport England standard, external social spaces and multi-use games areas.
A ‘Forever Home’ for a nomadic Primary School which originally operated from dilapidated portacabins and then moved to occupy converted offices with no playground. The new Academy is a spacious home to 67 pupils but allows for 420-student capacity as the new housing developments in the area become occupied.