Construction News Awards 2011

01 Aug

Firstly apologies for not submitting a blog entry for a while, must be a sign of my age but the months seem to fly by particularly when you have to compile a monthly departmental report! I mentioned previously that our wireless load monitoring service had been nominated in the Construction News awards category for the “best use of technology”. After a long wait since our appearance in front of the judges, the awards event itself finally took place this month at a rather glamorous black tie event at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.

The bad news was that we didn’t win. However, the judges were so impressed with the “innovative use of technology from other industries” they kindly tainted us with the “highly commended” accolade, putting us in a strong second place finish over the rest of the field. Although we are happy to have been acknowledged, at the same time we would like to go one step further next year and try to get our hands on the coveted trophy with one or two future developments that we have hidden up our sleeves. I would love nothing more than to share these ideas with you now, but you never know who could be reading this and we wouldn’t want to throw away our head start quite that easily!

Going back a step or two, the reason for the award nomination in the first place was as a result of the many schemes that both used and appreciated this technology and this trend has continued at a steady rate. In particular, we have two major projects in the ground at the minute that are using the load monitoring service and are worth talking about for very different reasons.

To kick off we have a scheme in Camden at the moment in which load monitoring has been requested in every single prop, a first for us. All 26 of the high strength hydraulic props in this twin level propping scheme incorporate the technology due to the sensitive nature of this build as it is located so close to other residential properties. As you would expect, these props are all currently transmitting the load results to our website as I write this. It has become apparent over the course of this scheme that by offering this degree of high level monitoring, it not only takes some considerable planning but also requires high levels of attention to detail and constant involvement throughout. We can thereby ensure that everything runs smoothly, whilst at the same time, answer all of the questions from our customers that are generated as a direct consequence of the load results themselves. It would seem that we have created a lot of additional work for ourselves by offering this service, and while I don’t for a minute have any regrets, it does mean that I might have to go to the board to beg for a full time technician in next year’s budget!

Although the second scheme I wanted to mention also incorporates the load monitoring technology, this is not the reason I bring it up. Located on the opposite side of the River Thames, this basement construction for a new underground car park is part of an extension to an existing apartment complex and uses the largest proprietary props in the UK. The 1.2mØ pre-cambered props span a whopping 46.8m between capping beams without any intermediate support. These are the largest props we have ever had in the ground to date and to our knowledge are the largest proprietary temporary props there has been anywhere in the UK, Europe and possibly in the world (n.b. very little research carried out and I stand to be corrected)!

Tony Gould
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