As the British weather continues to challenge our natural defences, the government has looked at engineered methods of protecting buildings and the surrounding area from the worsening effects that Mother Nature throws at us.
One such way in which we look to protect ourselves from flooding is the introduction of sea walls, however this has proven controversial as the unsightly walls have become a battle ground between the local residents and the tourism industry.
So is there a way to keep everyone happy?
What is needed is a walling system that is designed to withstand a one in 100 year storm and yet still looks attractive to those who both live and visit the area. Traditionally sea walls have been made from boulders, steel, concrete, aluminum, fiberglass composite and in some cases gabions and have been designed to withstand varying physical forces as well as location specific aspects, such as local climate, coastal positioning, wave regime etc.
However, a range of environmental problems and issues have arisen, including disrupting sediment movement and transport patterns. Combined with construction costs, this has led to an increasing use of other coastal management options such as beach replenishment which has proven short term and not a long term solution.
One solution which the popular coastal town of Blackpool have invested in, is a sea wall for its marine frontage of approximately 11.25 kilometres, all of which is now protected from erosion by the sea wall. However this needs constant maintenance with Engineering Services being responsible for the maintenance and improvement of seven miles of coastal defences.
Under the Coastal Protection Act, Blackpool Council must ensure the stability of the sea walls and ensure their continuing maintenance, for which a detailed Coast Protection Strategy was adopted by the Council in 1995.
Blackpool Councils twenty year coastal defence strategy has rebuild those sections of defence most in need. The £62 million of works have also been completed transforming the promenade between the Sandcastle Centre and North Pier, and a new 3.2 kilometre concrete seawall has been built along the same stretch. This has been Blackpool’s largest ever civil engineering project to date and took four years to construct working from South to North.
Rhyl on the other hand have used a retaining wall concrete block system for their West Coastal Defence works. Conventional solutions such as cladded sheet piles were considered, though the cost of the sheet piles and the associated cladding made the scheme unviable.
The retaining wall was constructed using positive connection modular blocks which incorporated a geogrid reinforced earth system and was completed within just 30 weeks, with 50 blocks being installed over a tidal cycle. Close monitoring of the finished wall and backfill showed there had been no settlement and there is little to no maintenance required.
The Rhyl scheme has proven so popular with the local community and holiday makers that it has become the flagship scheme for the regeneration of Rhyl under the Welsh Government’s North Wales Coast Strategic Regeneration Area initiative.
So can a sea wall keep everyone happy?
Visit your local seaside towns and you decide
Concrete pipeline systems manufacturers continue to innovate as the industry strives for improved pipeline and manhole construction quality and performance, delivering reduced waste, lower costs, faster build times and minimised environmental impacts.
Production techniques continue to advance and the use of modern logistics systems ensure excellent product quality and reliable service.
Responsible sourcing of raw materials from local suppliers ensures that cradle to site “pipe miles” is low and high use of recycled materials keeps embodied impacts to a minimum.
The use of modern, integrally-cast high performance seals helps maintain water tightness and integrity of joints.
The design flexibility of concrete pipeline systems means that many special features can be incorporated in the factory and simply placed into position on site. These “offsite solutions” can replace lengthy in-situ operations, thus improving site safety and product quality, reducing waste, speeding-up installation and reducing costs.
An excellent example of an offsite solution introduced recently is a concrete manhole system, packed with many benefits that will satisfy designers, contractors and operators alike. The new manhole design offers:
Reduced construction time
Decreased installation costs
Improved safety on site
Reduced carbon footprint
Concrete Manhole Construction
Traditionally, manhole construction has required the base to be formed in-situ where building of the channel, connections and benching occurs in the trench, often in wet and unpleasant conditions. The process can take around 40 hours per manhole and is not always successful, particularly in terms of leakage where egress of waste water can lead to contaminated groundwater and ingress can contribute to the common problem of overloaded sewer networks plus increased energy usage and running costs at treatment works and pumping stations.
Concrete Manhole Design
The new concrete manhole design comprises a precast concrete monolithic base unit, complete with channel and benching with predetermined combinations of inlet(s) and outlet and a new design of chamber ring with watertight, flexible joints and no lifting holes, thereby removing points of possible leakage.
Both base units and chamber rings are made with thicker, stronger walls. The robust design means that the requirement for a concrete surround is eliminated, unless specifically required. The excavation is backfilled sooner and there is less need for men to work in confined spaces. This reduces time spent in the excavation, further improving site safety and reducing installation costs.
Concrete Manhole Installation
Installation of the whole system is speedy and efficient. Once in position, wet trades are eliminated, formation of benching on site and sealing of lifting holes is avoided and follow-up operations can start immediately. Field trials indicate that time savings of over 30% can easily be achieved and costs reduced by well over 10%, particularly when installed without a concrete surround.
The system also yields environmental advantages as less concrete is used, there is less waste and less excavated material is disposed to landfill. An annual saving of over 22,000 tonnes of CO2e is estimated in the UK if all manholes manufactured by members of CPSA changed to the new precast base system.
The quality of material and finish is well above that normally achieved on site and the full system is manufactured under factory conditions by third party certified companies to ISO 9001 quality management system. Products are Kitemarked to BS EN 1917:2002 and BS 5911-3:2010Concrete Manholes and Inspection Chambers and tested under laboratory conditions.
UK Water companies have embraced the new precast manhole base system and given their acceptance to use the design for new projects in lieu of traditional in-situ construction and full acceptance is anticipated throughout the UK
More information o the new precast manhole base system can be found at http://www.cpm-group.com/products/drainage/sealed-manholes/the-perfect-manholes/
The construction industry’s demand for fast, efficient, sustainable modular systems has led to a diverse range of precast off-site solutions being designed, engineered and manufactured off-site, under factory conditions that offer a real alternative to traditional on-site construction and an answer to the current skills shortage the industry is facing.
Whether it is a precast chamber with a hydro-brake® pre-fitted or a bespoke manhole section which has been specially designed, that speeds up installation, whilst offering a safe working environment or a flatpack system that reduces the site time programme and disruption to local residents, the rise of precast off-site solutions, that are based on sound design and engineering knowledge are resulting in minimal site installation costs and increased health and safely benefits.
This theory is backed by The Construction Industry Council’s Offsite Housing Review from February 2013 that found there is a massive opportunity to use offsite solution products to deliver the new homes that are badly needed. The report identified potential benefits in a number of areas:
• speed of production
• speed of build on site
• cost, quality and uniformity of build
• sustainability and waste reduction
• validation and testing
• health and safety
A large number of off-site solutions are manufactured using precast concrete methods unlike other materials where a large number of solutions are installed on-site using the contractors workforce.
Due to the rise of the popularity of off-site products, manufacturers are now offering CPD style presentations to show exactly what they can offer and how these precast solutions can make life easier for both the construction team and the on-site team.
For more information on how the CPM Off-Site Solutions team can help you please call 01179 814500 or email [email protected]
Over the last few years, climate conditions have altered causing widespread flooding across the UK. Developers are now continually looking for solutions to ensure that the disruption caused by flooding is kept to a minimum where possible and concrete has become a real sustainable solution for many.
Not only are concrete products inherently resistant to uplift or floatation due to their weight during flooding and cases of rising groundwater but they are also resistant to the damage from the impact of hard objects carried during flooding and recent developments in product innovation has seen hydraulic features being incorporated into concrete systems such as flow control devices and silt traps etc.
A wide range of engineered concrete SuDS products have been developed that can provide off-site solutions to on-site situations that make life easier and protect against the climate.
For more information on water management precast solutions please visit http://www.cpm-group.com/products/water-management/
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a new approach to project delivery that uses information to create a 3D model-based process of a building or infrastructure to improve the design, construction, and operation of the development.
The BIM profile provides information for creating and managing the infrastructure, ensuring that building projects are more efficient and more economic with less environmental impact, whilst still addressing wasted costs
BIM allows users to visualise and explore design ideas, simulate multiple alternatives, identify problem areas and improve productivity which is why many consultants are now using the BIM process within the construction industry and why many manufacturers now have their products available to download from arenas such as BIMSTORE as well as their own websites.
One leading consultant is so convinced of the success of using BIM that they have published their top 10 benefits of BIM, which can be found at www.mottmac.com/article/2385/building-information-modelling-bim
The only question left is what are you waiting for?
No one wants anyone on site to be hurt, the Health and Safety Executive promotes a mindset of everyone going home at the end of the day, safely. So why is site safety sometimes in question?
As manufacturers of precast concrete drainage products, that include pipes, tank systems and box culverts, we occasionally see somethings that are questionable, thankfully its reduced considerably in the last 10 years, but we still see a ladder that isn’t secure or a trench where we can’t see the true depth because of rainfall.
When questioned about these, we usually receive the same set of answers, “its someone else’s job”, “we don’t have the time” or “it costs too much”.
So let’s start with “its someone else’s job” – site safety is everyone’s job, how would you feel if something happened and you could have done something about it? Even if it was just telling the site safety officer a ladder haven’t been secured correctly.
“We don’t have the time” How long does it really take to put the end rails on a scaffold? To secure a set of ladders? To establish the depth of a trench? And finally “it costs too much” What is the cost of an extra ladder, trench box etc compared to the cost of an accident, injury or even fatality?
If you have a safe site, you are more likely to have a more productive one, one with clean work areas, proper access and equipment.
With the increased flooding of rivers becoming more common over the last 10 years, the Environment Agency has looked at different ways in which river bank erosion can be avoided.
Concrete pipeline systems have been part of the backbone to the UK’s sewerage network for over 150 years for good reason. The inherent strength of precast concrete products, their durability and their availability in a wide choice of sizes and cross-sectional shapes has made them a favourite choice. This blog adds some of the detail behind the headlines in our Heavyweight campaign
The introduction of asset management period six, known as AMP6 by industry regulator Ofwat has seen water company costs measured on a total expenditure basis for the first time, which requires the proper consideration of the long term performance of assets in addition to capital cost efficiencies.
A ‘Lego’ style concrete retaining wall block is helping Network rail reduce the disruption to services when trackside landslips endanger the rail network.
The concrete block system was first used by Dean and Dyball Rail on the Blackboy Tunnel/Exmouth Junction where a section in a cutting, approximately 20 meters long, required stabilising. Historically, there had been several small slips which had resulted in a timber post and sleeper retaining wall being constructed and this was in the process of collapsing onto the S&T trough route. Continue reading “Retaining the Rail Network”