Efficient design for safe construction using precast concrete kerbs
Interpave is the precast concrete paving and kerb association, promoting and developing concrete block paving, paving flags and kerbs – ranging from domestic uses to the most taxing industrial applications. Interpave represents the UK’s leading manufacturers and is a product association of the British Precast Concrete Federation Ltd (BPCF). Interpave has worked closely with the HSE (Health and Safety Executive in Great Britain) in developing good practice guidance for the use of precast concrete paving products on site. Also, Interpave members work within their supply chains to promote and deliver safer working practices. This good practice describes the case of an Interpave member working to reduce risks on site by using efficient design.
Setting and problem
Because of their durability and resistance to impact loading heavy duty kerbs were required at a new distribution warehouse at Redhouse Business Park near Doncaster to contain a substantial flow of large delivery vehicles The instruction of the main contractor was to eliminate on-site cutting of the kerbs, despite complex layout requirements. Cutting concrete kerbs without the correct precautions can produce dust that causes serious health problems because of the release of respirable crystalline silica (RCS).
The Interpave manufacturer for this project worked closely with the contractor and applied three approaches to achieving the brief, in line with the AMC principles: Avoid cutting, Minimise cutting and Control dust generation during cutting. The three approaches the manufacturer used are:
- Optimize the use of current standard kerb units in the design.
- Develop and manufacture special units with pre-cast concrete.
- Where necessary, cut and drill existing kerb units in the factory under safe, controlled conditions.
As part of the manufacturer’s design service, consulting engineers’ drawings were used to develop solutions to meet all the requirements.
This approach offers clear benefits to the designer, the contractor, the building merchant and the site operative. The benefits consist of cost-efficiency, and most important health benefits.