Interview with Piling Operations Manager – David O’Brien
Groundforce has become a key player in delivering some of the industry’s most complex projects by maintaining a sharp focus on continuous improvement. Built on a wealth of experience and backed by a major plc, the Groundforce name has become synonymous with reliability, safety and a commitment to innovative plant investment. They deliver total solutions; making them a market leader and the preferred choice for many in the construction and shoring sectors.
Q. How do you ensure your equipment is always in top condition?
Groundforce’s central policy is to provide customers with the most up-to-date equipment sourced from leading manufacturers within Europe and the UK. This policy ensures that we can provide ultra-reliable equipment and also conform to current safety legislation. For example, we are in the process of adding some new ‘Piling Hammer Power Packs’ to the fleet; these will be Tier 4 category and will reduce harmful particulate matter emissions by up to 80%.
All our fleet is subject to a rigorous maintenance plan and we systematically maintain all our equipment to the highest possible standard; our strong market position means we can employ the best engineers to support this.
Q. How do you approach equipment maintenance and repair?
As well as keeping our fleet of piling hammers in top condition, Groundforce has the facilities and expertise to repair and maintain all manner of equipment, from smaller items such as Ratchet Release Shackles, to major overhauls of our largest vibratory hammers. We are able to diagnose problems quickly, either on site or at our depot where the fleet is kept operating smoothly and at optimum capacity.
Groundforce service engineers commission and test all equipment on site to ensure it is fit for purpose and so the customer feels confident using our equipment. Once the job is underway, we are also able to offer expert advice over the phone if required.
Q. What training/qualifications does the Groundforce team have?
Thanks to VP’s own apprenticeship scheme in which candidates complete Level 3 in Plant Maintenance, we have recently benefitted from an influx of newly skilled staff. They are a valuable asset to our team of service engineers as they continue to develop their knowledge and skills.
We also employ fitters and welders who have gained experience from working on piling job sites throughout the UK, Ireland and overseas. We are always identifying further training opportunities, whether external or in-house, to train and educate our ops staff, ensuring they are up-to-speed with the latest equipment and safety regulations.
Q. How does Groundforce comply with safety legislation?
We have introduced many new products and safety improvements over the years: which include:
1. A new model Culvert Puller that has eliminated the hazardous operation of re-charging powerful batteries and is now powered by 110v for much safer site work.
2. The “VibroSafe Quick Hitch Adaptor”, which has proved to be hugely successful in providing quick, and essentially safe, connection to excavators without the need for human intervention. The connection is made via the Excavator Mounted Vibrator (EMV) and can be used with a fully automatic quick hitch coupler,
Do you have any further comments regarding safety?
Safety is the top priority in our industry, and it is in everyone’s interests keep up to date with safety legislation and as such we will continue to strive for safety improvements in all areas and in all stages of work.