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Being considerate is business as normal

Kris Karslake Kris Karslake   01 Dec 2014 Community

Although being considerate and adhering to the Considerate Constructors Scheme’s Code is something all of our sites do, the industry has really upped its definition of what a ‘normal’ considerate site is. I was presented with a good example of this when I recently visited the new development of the Bodmin Council Offices which we are building for Cornwall County Council.

The new Bodmin Council Offices will provide an energy efficient office space for staff

The team has retained the existing tarmac road and kept it clean and mud-free, a great first impression. On approach, visitors are greeted and ushered to the ample tarmacked parking area, which has been completed early in the programme, by a friendly gateman. This has meant no on-street parking or disruption to the surrounding roads due to construction vehicles. The hard standing extends to all access routes around site. So during this rainy November day, I returned back to the cabins almost with cleaner boots than when I started! This sets the tone for the behaviour and high standards of housekeeping expected on our sites, and subcontractors are clearly adhering to this as all work areas were clean and tidy. This means that work can happen efficiently and safely.

Senior Project Manager David Hawkins said “I have been told that we have just been lucky here because of the amount of space we have been blessed with, but this kind of setup is what I’ve always done, and I would say that for smaller sites it is even more important to get the site planning right from the start.” 

BAM's Bodmin Council Offices site with a tarmac road and plenty of off-street parking

Flicking through photos, letters and news clippings of the engagement the project has had with the local community, I notice assistance with fundraising for the scout jamboree, a cycle Ride for Precious Lives Challenge, and assistance with the Friends of Bodmin Hospital summer fete where Bob the Builder made an appearance and gave tours of a 13 tonne digger. The team has also liaised closely with local businesses, employing local people when possible.

“We really do think that, if it hadn’t been for BAM, the fete could not have gone ahead – it certainly would not have been so successful”” John Sampson, Chairman of The Friends of Bodmin Hospital about the Bodmin fete.

The team helped fundraise at a local scout Jamboree

With respect to the environment, the building has to achieve a high standard for air tightness. To ensure that joints are air tight Site Manager Chris Scoins used a smoke gun to detect air leakage. This highlighted a potential issue with the windows which would not have otherwise been spotted. 

To reduce the traffic on and off site, waste plasterboard is chipped to reduce void space in skips meaning fewer skips are needed and the project has made space to receive large quantities of materials too, saving on cost and deliveries. By creating a dedicated haul road, they have reduced the environmental impact of the job as there is no requirement for a road sweeper or wheel washing facility. So in the long run the upfront cost pays for itself.

Fewer skips are needed as plasterboard is chipped 

The Bodmin Council Offices site was also praised by the Local Council Safety Officer in the Cornish Guardian: “This is the safest construction site I’ve inspected currently operating in Cornwall.” Although I'm inspecting the site from an environmental point of view, health and safety affects us all and I can’t help but be impressed with the dedicated area for offloading vehicles and the segregated cutting areas. There are no trailing leads on site, there is a safe pedestrian walkway with access control… I could go on.

The project management has matched its high standards on site with high quality facilities for the subcontractors: clean off-road parking, ample canteen area, a drying room with a dehumidifier, a TV screen to display important notices and planned deliveries. Shower facilities are available as well.

While there is always scope to improve, the industry ‘best practice’ has been refined to such an extent that we are doing all these kind of things as a norm, and not for awards or external recognition. A truly considerate industry.

Kris Karslake is a Senior Environmental Manager at BAM.

 

 

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