Brian Mears, Director of Site Management, Rudolph Libbe Group
Performing demolition around utilities within operating facilities is always a challenge. We must keep everyone on and near the project safe—the customer’s employees, construction workers, suppliers, visitors, and the public. We must protect the environment and ensure that there are no interruptions to the customer’s operations.
The construction demolition and recycling landscape has evolved dramatically over the years, with current technology and a heightened commitment to safety throughout our industry.
A robust utility locating procedure, which can include everything from GPRS to locating by hand, is essential to planning demolition projects. Before beginning demolition, it’s imperative to identify and communicate the location of all utilities in the area. That essential information must be collected, stored, and made available electronically to everyone on the project. These steps ensure that our databases are more complete and the workers have all the information they need to perform demolition safely.
A robust utility locating procedure, which can include everything from GPRS to locating by hand, is essential to planning demolition projects.
Once demolition starts, remotely operated equipment lets us remove the worker from the immediate area. Equipment like excavators equipped with shears allows us to demolish and remove overhead structures, eliminating the need for people to work at heights, face exposure to environmental hazards, or both. Environmental cleaning used to be done by hand with high-pressure hoses; today, that too is all done with remote technology.
The best technology is only effective with a well-organized team and a detailed plan that includes established roles, responsibilities, and continuous communication throughout the workday. The personal commitment to safety from everyone on site is essential. Safety must be planned into every aspect of a project, including environmental and demolition tasks. Crew-level pre-task planning, at least twice a day and whenever job site conditions change, is a valuable tool for identifying specific hazards, best practices, and ways to eliminate those hazards before work begins. Preventing all incidents must be the core value of the owner, contractor, and workers.
More than ever, our customers appreciate our commitment as contractors to safely deliver the work scope free of all incidents—from the safety of people to environmental impacts to production interruptions.
Customers are seeking trusted, experienced contractors to provide innovative solutions and new approaches that will help them minimize environmental impact and maximize production uptime and asset values.
Technological trends continue to influence construction demolition and recycling. Sophisticated, innovative contractors who provide continuing education for their management staff and labor force and who can perform work incident-free in hands-off, remote ways will have a distinct advantage over contractors who do work by more traditional means.
Industry veterans and budding entrepreneurs who want to be successful in this ever-changing space need to get everything right. They must constantly seek out and implement technology that eliminates risk and drives costs from projects—and train an effective team committed to safety and success.