Audited Scaffolding Association Member CCS Scaffolding is well underway with a year-long contract to provide scaffolding for significant improvements to the A14 – currently the UK’s biggest road construction project. Jenny Gibson spoke to Edward Farrell, health and safety executive at CCS, to find out more.
On a 21-mile stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon, a 2,200-strong construction team is busy upgrading the dual carriageway to three lanes, including the creation of a new 17-mile bypass south of Huntingdon that will have four lanes in each direction. This much-anticipated and much-needed infrastructure project will add additional capacity, boost the local and national economy, and cut journey times by up to 20 minutes.
Kent-based CCS Scaffolding, along with sister company Sian Formwork, is one of the many subcontractors helping to deliver this upgraded road system, which is due to open to traffic by the end of 2020.
The specific contract awarded jointly to CCS Scaffolding and Sian Formwork is for Section 2 of this A14 Highways Project. The award, given by the A14 Integrated Delivery Team on behalf of Highways England, involves the construction of various abutments and piers for the required bridge works.
CCS’s health and safety executive, Edward Farrell, described the tender process. He said: “From the outset we had to take into consideration the planning, the materials and the complexity of the structures required, along with the specific deadlines all aspects needed to be complete by.
“Given the largescale structures and multiple bridges, we decided to work with a dedicated scaffold design company – one we’d worked with on many occasions previously – to remove time pressures and allow CCS and Sian Formwork to concentrate on other aspects of the project.”
On appointment, CCS’s site manager attended programme and progress meetings to ensure materials and labour resources were on-site as required to meet the project’s programme objectives.
Mr Farrell continued: “The interaction between the scaffold design team and the client’s temporary works team helped to make sure that the designs for some bridge abutments were fully approved, and ready for when the structure was released to us.
“This avoided delays and meant our scaffolders could help to keep the programme on schedule.”
Scope of works
The structures across Section 2 of the A14 project were all generic abutments and wing walls, all tasks that CCS and Sian Formwork had performed as a joint venture many times before. The BN03 structures had three separate sets of abutments all around 60 metres long, 8 metres high and 1.8 metres thick. This scale required multiple boarded lifts and for all structures to be freestanding with buttresses installed at regular intervals, and with high amounts of kentledge, to ensure the safety and structural stability of the scaffold for Sian Formwork and other contractors needing to install bearing pads and large heavy duty steel bridge beams.
CCS used a system scaffold solution to increase production rate and enhance safety processes while erection, adaption and dismantle occurs at BN05 structures.
For one of the BN05 sections, pre-set formwork shutters were made for sets of three round columns for the bridge sections to sit on. Mr Farrell explained: “Once we’d started the section and we were erecting scaffolding for the circular piers, we soon came to the conclusion that by using a system scaffold approach there was a quicker and safer way to erect these specific shaped columns.
“This also meant we were able to overcome any safety issues with regards to working at height by installing our guardrails via our advanced guardrail tools.
“This had the benefit of saving a large amount of labour and time resources by not using tube and fitting and not needing to install half lifts or installing edge protection via scaffold steps,” he explained.
CCS has an average of 20 scaffolders on-site and commenced the contract in March last year. As a whole team with Sian Formwork, there are around 60 operatives working on this A14 project.
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